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Rumor: More Details on the Next-Gen Palm Handheld

Several weeks ago, an image surfaced of what is supposed to be Palm Inc.'s first OS 5 handheld, called the Oslo. A few things are immediately obvious from this picture, like the fact that, instead of having just Up/Down buttons like on current handhelds, it has a complete directional controller. However, the picture doesn't tell the whole story. A couple of people who've had access to this device were willing to reveal a few more things about it.

The Screen
There was a tremendous amount of debate when the image of the Oslo was first available on what its screen resolution will be. All the sources agree, it is a 320 by 320 screen.

Palm OS 5 has built-in support for hi-res screens and Palm announced at the PalmSource conference that it would begin to use them in some of its future models.

Bluetooth
Last year, Palm promised that at least one model it introduces this year will have built-in Bluetooth. It is fulfilling its promise with the Oslo.

In fact, one source went so far as to say that all future handhelds from Palm would have built-in Bluetooth. This is quite possible. OS 5 has support for Bluetooth and the hardware necessary has finally dropped in price to the point where it will hardly add anything to the cost of the handheld.

Processor
The Oslo runs the Texas Instruments OMAP1510, which runs at 175 MHz. This should be fast enough to show a noticeable increase in speed when running the vast majority of applications.

Palm's CEO Eric Benhamou said in early June that his company would be putting out three new models this fall. One would be a smartphone and another a sub-$100 model. But the third he hardly mentioned at all. When the Oslo picture first surfaced, some believed that it was the smartphone Benhamou said was coming. However, if it uses the OMAP1510, this is extremely unlikely. TI makes a processor specifically designed to power a smartphone, the OMAP710. If the Oslo was a smartphone, that's the processor that would be inside it. Finally, we know the Oslo won't be less than $100 so it seems likely it is the third model Benhamou mentioned but didn't elaborate on.

Memory
Getting information about unannounced products can be a difficult and frustrating process. Sometimes, not every bit of information can be learned. This why the amount of RAM the Oslo has remains unknown.

The Oslo doesn't have the constraints that earlier models had so it seems quite likely it will have more that 16 MB, especially considering that even some low-end models come with that much these days.

Like all of Palm's recent models, it has an SD/MMC slot for external storage.

Hardware
One of Oslo's most unusual features is that the entire bottom of the handheld can slide up or down. This allows it to be compact when being carried around. Later, when the Graffiti area is needed for text input, it can be expanded to its full size.

The Oslo is about 3 inches wide and 4.9 inches tall when fully extended. When retracted, it is 4 inches tall. It is roughly .75 inches thick.

Audio
The Oslo has a built-in speaker and Palm OS 5 has the ability to play CD-quality digital audio.

OS 5 also has the ability to record sound. However, it is not yet known whether the Oslo has an internal microphone.

Nomenclature
One interesting question in all of this is what the final name for this model will be. The handheld in the leaked image is clearly labeled "Oslo", but it isn't yet known whether this will be this model's final name of if it's for internal use. While many people will assume that its name will be some variant of Palm's current number system, the company trademarked several words in May: Tungsten, Zire, and Veld.

It seems unlikely that Palm would use these as actual product names but, if not, there seems little use in trademarking them. It may be a coincidence but Benhamou's announcement that Palm would be releasing three new models later this year came close to the time that these three words were trademarked.

This don't seem to be Palm covering its tracks by trademarking the code-names for its products as "Oslo" isn't trademarked.

Availability
None of the sources were able to confirm the rumored release date for Oslo, which is said to be around the beginning of September. This is also no currently no information on its price, though it is likely to be a high-end device.

This is all I was able to get. Hopefully more will be available later as the release date gets closer. -Ed

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Sounds Very Cool, But.....

Beavis @ 7/24/2002 10:01:59 AM #
3/4 of an inch thick? That's getting into the brick territory. I know it seems to pack a lot of features, but the thickness is the least appealing one to me.

I'll wait and see on this one.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:23:01 AM #
I agree....except for the part about the features. What features does this include that could make it so thick? BT? 320x320?

Sony has managed to make some of the thinnest models to date, and still have an MS slot, hi-res screen, on-board DSP, and other features. I can't see any reason to have this unit be so thick.

The unfortunate thing is that when Palm does come out with this hardware, it will be immediately comparable to (cover your eyes) Pocket PCs, which have significantly more impressive hardware. With something like Toshiba's e310 to compete with (which is half the thickness of Osloe) I think Palm will have a tough road to hoe.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:24:49 AM #
I have to agree. It seems a little chunky for my taste. I really like the low profile of my M505.
Size vs. m515
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:33:44 AM #
M515:
4.5" x 3.1" x .5"
Weight 4.9 oz.

Is the .75" thickness of "Oslo" vs. .5" of m515 that much diff in the real world?

I wonder how the rest of the dimensions/weight compare?

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:35:20 AM #
The fact that the bottom slides into the top kind of makes the extra thickness mandatory plus the fact that it is plastic which is going to make the case thicker too. For the extra thickness you get shorter length.
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
jjsoh @ 7/24/2002 10:45:05 AM #
: Is the .75" thickness of "Oslo" vs. .5" of m515 that
: much diff in the real world?

I guess it depends on who you ask. I agree that it's not that significant of a difference. But when I put my Palm m505 in my pocket, it's much more comfortable than my Palm III ever was in that same pocket. :) Every little bit helps.

: The fact that the bottom slides into the top kind of
: makes the extra thickness mandatory plus the fact that
: it is plastic which is going to make the case thicker
: too. For the extra thickness you get shorter length.

Interesting point. Initially I thought that the TI OMAP1510 chip was bigger than the Intel StrongARM one in the slim 0.5" Toshiba PocketPC e310, but that's probably not the case. Then maybe because of integrated BT?

If the extra depth is due to accommodate the sliding out bottom, then I'd rather wait for a model that does not have moving parts. Not only for a more slim form factor, but because I moving parts scare me; they're more likely to break/loosen over time and through repetitive use. Anyone with a TV remote that has a sliding cover should know what I'm talking about. ;)


Jim

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 11:04:28 AM #
I hope that the boys at Palm are reading these comments. 3/4 inch is obviously 50% thicker than a m515. That makes a BIG difference when you carry the PDA in your pants pocket. Adding a hard case to the Oslo will make it an inch thick. An absolute brick that you will be hard pressed to carry in your pants pocket. I hope that Ed's sources are wrong. If it is significantly thicker than my 515, I may have to just pass on upgrading, or switch to a Clie. What a shame that would be, because I was hoping that Palm would stay away from making a PPC like brick.
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
Beavis @ 7/24/2002 11:06:09 AM #
"Is the .75" thickness of "Oslo" vs. .5" of m515 that much diff in the real world?"

To me, Yes. It is 1.5 times the thickness of a Sony Clie T6xx or Palm m5xx series. That is not an insignifcant size difference.

The poster who mentioned the Toshiba PPC was right on the money. At first I thought it might have something to do with the processor, but the Toshiba PPC certainly proves that is not the case.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
Ed @ 7/24/2002 11:13:56 AM #
Please keep in mind, this info is from people who were only able to play around with an Oslo for a few minutes for one reason or another. People who actually have hardware given to them by Palm are under NDA and I couldn't find one willing to talk about it. That's why the info is piecemeal.

Also, the dimensions don't come from someone who took a tape measurer to one. I'm working from descriptions like "It is a little more than a half inch shorter than an m515" and "It is thicker than an m515. Maybe 3/4 inch?" So don't get your mind set in stone about any of this. It is a rumor.

---
News Editor

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 11:20:28 AM #
It's probably big to accomodate the battery for Bluetooth and Hi-Res (although Ed never explicitly comfirmed that it has hi-res). Palm may be more committed to healthy battery life than Sony is, but they're slipping on pocketability. I give it an "eh."
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
Ed @ 7/24/2002 11:22:56 AM #
Second paragraph:
"All the sources agree, it is a 320 by 320 screen. "

---
News Editor
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 11:56:17 AM #
With Sony already ahead of the game with 320x480, makes me wonder how many people will jump to the Oslo or see what Sony can do with OS5.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 12:02:49 PM #
In all honesty, for my needs and purposes , I'd like to see Palm just keep tweaking and refining the m515....juice up the battery capacity even more, make the grafitti area backlit, and put a 66 mhz Dragonball in there. I'd like high-res too but you can't ask for too much in that formfactor and this iS Palm we are talking about here. Right now I have an m505 in the Palm hardcase and that is absolutely as big as I am willing to put in my pocket. Oslo just ain't gonna do it for me--would a hardcase even work with that formfactor? Is there a rail on the left side to attach one?

Do date the best "feeling" palm in my pocket has been my old Vx with the hardcase. It was so light and so thin it was almost 100% unobtrusive.

V/m5xx Form Factor
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 12:23:46 PM #
I agree - it's a shame if that beautiful V/m5xx Form Factor is gone.
And dont forget the added leather case.
graph @ 7/24/2002 12:34:40 PM #
For a highend device like this people will always buy a case for it to protect the investment..and we all know how much bulk it adds. a hardcase isnt a good idea too coz it doesnt absurb any impact when you drop it. im sure it will total into an INCH.


But i have to admit, i love the directional button and voicerecorder.

gs

Palmpro, IIIe, Vx, IIIxe, m505
& Clie Peg-T665c owner

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 12:37:34 PM #
"For a highend device like this people will always buy a case "

this is not true - I always buy high end and never bought a case. if you take care of your things, don't work on a construction site, and aren't a klutz, you don't need a case.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
graph @ 7/24/2002 12:37:45 PM #
""In all honesty, for my needs and purposes , I'd like to see Palm just keep tweaking and refining the m515....juice up the battery capacity even more, make the grafitti area backlit, and put a 66 mhz Dragonball in there. I'd like high-res too but you can't ask for too much in that formfactor and this iS Palm we are talking about here."""

I like this guys idea. But it will hold back innovation. But still its a good and not too risky move. Im still skeptical with OS5 but i am open for convertion. My t665c is doing pretty well but if the juiced up m515 existed i would stay with palm.


gs

Palmpro, IIIe, Vx, IIIxe, m505
& Clie Peg-T665c owner

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 1:47:38 PM #
Yup, it'll hold the market back but hasn't Palm already done enough of that already? Better to keep an award winning, proven design that's a cash cow than put it to pasture only to be replaced by a brick.

Seriously, Gm has been selling their Astro/Safari vans for the past 15 years with a few tweaks and updates every few years (airbags, CD player, etc) to keep it current. As long as there's a market, they'll build 'em. Look how long Motorola has sold the Startac phone--most people don't care if it's a first gen analog model or a recent one with an EL screen and a web browser-they are still dazzled by the small size and Captain Kirk style flip action!

I think the number of Vx units still in use by executives and middle-aged types is a testament to the popularity of that formfactor and style. I think most middle management types would be hard-pressed to fill up their existing 8 megs, much less know what to do with a 175/206 mhz CPU. So yes, I too would continue to buy m5xx/V formfactor units if the could keep ramping up the battery life, screen quality, and clock speed, regardless of which OS they run. For what I use a Palm for, I am served well by OS4.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 2:08:39 PM #
>>I'd like to see Palm just keep tweaking and refining the m515....juice up the battery capacity even more, make the grafitti area backlit, and put a 66 mhz Dragonball in there

Thats fine except for one thing - the 66 mhz Dragonball Super VZ ISN'T ARM AND CAN'T RUN OS 5!! Motorolas MX1 can - but that starts at 140mHz.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 2:08:39 PM #
>>The unfortunate thing is that when Palm does come out with this hardware, it will be immediately comparable to (cover your eyes) Pocket PCs, which have significantly more impressive hardware.

Illuminate us please - how does Pocket PC have 'significantly more impressive hardware'? yeah - PPC run on 206 mHz vs 175mHz here (and yes - some now run on xscale - but we know the story there...), but Palms now have 320x320 screens (as opposed to 320x240 ppc), also have capability to do same quality sound of a PPC (whther or not they do is up to Palm or other liscensees). This unit also has built in bluetooth - like certain ipaq models. So where is the 'significantly more impressive hardware'??

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 2:08:39 PM #
I doubt that this unit is actually .75 inches. As ed said a couple of posts ago - these people did not measure the thickness, they simply said it seemed thicker then a m505 'about 3/4 inch. The Palm design team has to be very aware of the importance of this issue with customers - thats why they've mostly let the pack in this regard. Yeah - maybe its is .75 inches - but i bet its more like .68 inches or somthing like that.
RE: Thickness
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 2:52:54 PM #
The 705 is .61 in. thick. Oslo would have to be thinner than that....would'nt it???
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
Palm_Otaku @ 7/24/2002 2:54:27 PM #
Pocket PCs, which have significantly more impressive hardware

I own a Toshiba e570 and it's a pretty cool device (despite the OS) but I don't think it has "significantly more impressive hardware" than the Oslo.

Once the ARM-based PalmOS devices are on the market, expect to see all kinds of debates about which processors are "better". But note that PocketPC is locked into using the Intel products (gee, no surprise there....) while there are a number of options available under PalmSource's "PalmOS Ready" program.

I think the next-gen PalmOS devices are going to compare extremely well to the PPC-clones.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 3:05:23 PM #
I agree with all the comments about the thickness of the Oslo. If it turns out to be thicker than the i705 then it would be somewhat disappointing especially because it will be a ground-breaking product in many ways.
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 3:31:21 PM #
Greater shortess offsets thickness. Try carrying an M series Palm. No way is it like carrying a III. If it is light, and short it will feel like nothing at all.

Dont worry. Palm HAS no doubt tested "pocketabilty" and knows what its doing. Palm is NOT going to all the trouble of making it slide if it feels bigger in your pocket. That would defeat the purpose altogether.


RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 3:34:50 PM #
Wow.

I'm completely in the minority.

For me, what made my old IIIc "unpocketable" compared to my m505 was the LENGTH, not the THICKNESS.

Hey, to each his own.

For instance, I think Sony has it all wrong. I'd rather the device be WIDER (like a Palm III), and shorter, instead of narrow & tall. Again, Sony made those decisions based on the difference in hand size between our 2 peoples, so I completely understand their motive.

The Treo 90, for instance, has exactly the form factor I'd like. Shorter would be even BETTER (for me). Sounds like the Oslo fits the bill, as it is even shorter than the Treos.

My curiosity has officially been piqued.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
Altema @ 7/24/2002 3:48:33 PM #
"It's probably big to accomodate the battery for Bluetooth and Hi-Res"

Probably the most logical explanation. A plastic case will add a little bit to the thickness, but not a quarter inch. The difference in thickness between the M500 plastic case and the M505 metal case is not that much.

We also know Palm is concerned about battery life. Their own engineers were not happy with the battery life of the M505 during development, so they brought the frontlight down to a minimal level just to make it run longer... but we know how THAT panned out! Yes, the battery life was adequate considering the date for a thin color device, but look at the flak they received. I'm certain that Palm does not want the extra processor load, hi res screen, and wireless bringing the battery life down to "barely adequate". Having all of the mentioned features, and a battery that goes on and on, would make people rethink the value of pda's that can't make it through the day.

RE: Flip Lid???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 4:18:32 PM #
Good comment about the Treo 90. A key feature of the Treo 90 is the flip lid. Will the Oslo have an integrated flip lid? The Treo 90 is 4.2 x 2.8 x .65 inches and weighs just 4 oz. If the Oslo is 4 x 3 x .65 and has an integrated flip lid, then that might mitigate the thickness concern and provided a shorter PDA that is very poketable.
RE: Flip lid
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 4:50:46 PM #
I was actually trying to figure that one out. How are they going to implement a decent cover for this thing. I can't see it coming from the side like they do now since the sides will move up and down with the sliding bottom. The only thing I can think of is that they'll do something similar to sony where it flips over the top but will the cover be Long to cover the Oslo while it's open or short to cover only the screen???
RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 5:04:30 PM #
>>Thats fine except for one thing - the 66 mhz >>Dragonball Super VZ ISN'T ARM AND CAN'T RUN OS 5!! >>Motorolas MX1 can - but that starts at 140mHz.

I'm sorry, but I believe you completely misread my previous post, as well as the other person's reply to it. What I meant was that there is still quite a market for a "relatively high end" OS4 handheld in an ultra svelte/thin m5xx formfactor.

Imagine an m515 with the Sony 665C specs....and w/o mp3, of course. Same OS.

If Palm could sell their new m105ish OS4 unit for under $100, and begin pricing their OS5 units at $300 or so, that leaves a huge gaping hle in the line. Imagine a slighty beefed up m515, "m525" we shall call it for now, to cater to those that want a somewhat more powerful unit than what Palm currently offers, but for whom an OS5 multimedia machine is total overkill (for now, mind you). This device could be brought to market cheapily, quickly, and easily and appease all of those that have sunk some $ into m500 style accessories and cases.

That's all I was saying--that for the forseeable, especially in the all-time great m500/Vx formfactor, there will be a good market for an easily pocketable, stylish OS4 machine. I never meant anything about a 66 mhz dragonball running OS5. At the very least, they could bump up the clockspeed and screen quality of the last of the OS4 models without cannabilizing any OS5 sales.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 5:30:33 PM #
"I'm certain that Palm does not want the extra processor load, hi res screen, and wireless bringing the battery life down to "barely adequate". Having all of the mentioned features, and a battery that goes on and on, would make people rethink the value of pda's that can't make it through the day."

I don't think this is the case, the Toshiba e series has all this and is half inch thin. Heck the Toshiba e310 has a 10 hour battery life even running on PPCrapware (that would be 20 hours on palm OS software).

I just wich Toshiba licenses OS 5, With the incredible feasts they have done on PPC just imagine what they could do with Palm OS.

It is roughly .75 inches thick.
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 7:01:44 PM #
It is roughly .75 inches thick.

GAME-OVER MAN!

Note to Palm: The Palm V was the best selling and reviewed Palm of all time. The m505 and m515 were nice units that remained elegant although failed to have industry leading technology or a decent screen. When are you going to understand that thousands of people like me are waiting on a simple, THIN, Palm OS 5 handheld with the design elegance of a Palm V (or m505) mixed with Apple designs (ie. iPOD, etc.) for a new handheld?

I can't believe their isn't a "Palm V" handheld coming this fall, I am floored. Yeah Sony will have something and likely I will finally be forced to buy one (I am loyal, although I did buy my wife a Sony T615 so I could "try" it out... hehehehe).

Unreal.

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 7:10:14 PM #
I have a Compaq Ipaq and a Palm V. The Ipaq is acceptable form factor, but the Palm V/m500/m505 form is by far the best of any handheld on the market. It is perfect, especially with the built in flip cover or optional hard case.

Even the sonys do not have the same level of "pocketability" that Palm achieved with the Palm V form factor. Hopefully the Olso will at least have a built in flip cover.

If the Olso really is 0.75 inches thick, I suppose that my next handheld will be an m500 (which will be on the clearance rack at bestbuy...).


RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 8:40:55 PM #
> the Toshiba e310 has a 10 hour battery life

No it doesn't. This is a lie. I have one and the battery life is about 2 hours.

Get a brain
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:22:28 PM #
Game over???

I don't think so.

This unit is narrower and shorter than a Palm Vx.

Thickness is irrelevant. Heck, my Nokia cell phone is thicker than my Palm, but feels infinitely more "pocketable" due to its smaller dimensions.

I don't think you guys get it....THIS THING IS TINY!!!

Oh, and to the wildman a few posts up....blathering on about how the public has spoken, and they want smaller PDAs.

Ahem.....this thing WILL be perceived as smaller by the general public, just like a Treo is perceived as tiny by Joe Six Pack, and will thrive, just as the thick yet easy to sell m100 series.

Get a clue, dude.

This thing is STILL more "pocket-friendly" than the Toshiba, let alone the other PPCs.

It's all about the overall dimensions.

.....Oh, and I guarantee you this thing isn't bloody .75 inches thick, but that's another story........

RE: Sounds Very Cool, But.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 6:55:54 AM #
When up oslo is slightly taller than my palm III
When down it is half an inch smaller
The width and depth is around the same as my palm III
Not really that tiny, but i have never held a small model, only III and m105, which was small but wasted space on the round bit, and was thick
Size Theory
potter @ 7/25/2002 10:38:52 AM #
The Oslo is obviously a prototype device. A theory: With a small production run for the device and with designs not being completely final, Palm makes the Oslo's casing out of tooled plastic. However, the final version is slatted to have its casing made out of tooled metal. I could see that, if so, this could shave as much as a quarter inch off of the size of the device in all three dimensions. Thus bring .75 down to .5 (the stated thickness of the m515). I however would expect, because of the sliding graffiti cover, this device to be thinker than the m500 series.

Unit Name

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:07:52 AM #
The picture has been very obviously altered. Zoom in and in between the name Oslo and the Palm logo, you can see some one did a little airbrush to the units real name. I'm not 100% sure, but it looks as though the word Oslo was dropped in after the fact, as well.

Bruno

RE: Unit Name
chrisb @ 7/24/2002 10:12:14 AM #
I've seen the unaltered picture on another site. What's blurred out is some kind of serial number that Palm probably uses for tracking development units.

RE: Unit Name
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 10:14:42 AM #
The alteration you are talking about is where the unit's serial number was blurred out.
A link to a picture showing it unretouched was available here last week or so. Your speculation that the name was changed too is unfounded.
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