Opinion: Mike Cane's Predictions for the Palm OS in 2004

Mike Cane is back with with his highly anticipated Palm OS predictions for the new year. Read on for a speculative and entertaining look at what the year ahead may hold for the Palm Powered economy.

Copyright 2004
by Mike Cane.
All Rights Reserved.
Exclusive to Palm Infocenter.

This year I am taking a rather modest approach since in past years all of the companies involved never met my expectations. This year, I set my expectations very low. Let's see if they can meet these!

If you want to review past predictions, see 2002 here and 2003 here.

Then you can feel cheated that it'll only be in the next year that some of those predictions "such as embedded tiny hard drives" will come to pass.

Now onto 2004

1) Oracle Corp. Acquires PalmSource & palmOne
Larry Ellison wants to be richer than Bill Gates. He can achieve this by absorbing the Palm OS. The PDA today is what the desktop microcomputer was back in the early 1980s. Desktop PCs overthrew the existing order. The battle for the global palmtop will dwarf that. Just as MS-DOS ate away at Digital Research, DEC, et al, Palm OS can eat away at Windows (and its smaller mutations).

2) PalmOS's Bad Perception Continues
"It's just an organizer" is the litany repeated against Palm OS devices. palmOne does not help itself by churning out what are little more than "just organizers." They'll finally realize they have to kill kill kill the low-end monochrome Zires for the greater good of the platform.

3) Sony Cuts Back
When Foo Fighter first said Sony would quit Palm OS, I laughed. And I continued to laugh until I saw Sony's TJ series. They look like the beginning of a retreat from Palm OS. I expect 2004 to mark the death of the CLIE in favor of the handheld PlayStation (with "Play OS"?).

4) palmOne Does Infomercials
Before Larry Ellison takes out his wallet to buy The Two Palms, palmOne will start an infomercial blitz on cable and late-night broadcast TV. In an effort to sell higher-end units to the general public, palmOne will go all-out to show the kinds of things its PDAs can do. And also why everyone should have a Treo instead of an ordinary cellphone. (Microsoft will follow suit -- but only for its atrocious Smurfphone, leaving Pocket PC users frustrated [as usual!].)

5) HVGA vs VGA
Sony, Garmin, palmOne, and Tapwave all challenged Pocket PC's 240x320 screen standard with 320x480 resolution. Toshiba fired the first shot back with its e800/805 Pocket PC with a gorgeous four-inch 480x640 VGA screen. (Yes, I know the Sharp Zaurus clamshell had VGA first, but that's not being sold here by Sharp!) The biggest battle next year will be over the best screen resolution for a PDA. (Yes, next year will be that dull!)

6) Textmaker for PalmOS
Already leaked in 2003, it's arrival will help keep PalmOS units in corporate channels.

7) Opera for PalmOS
Never, ever announced or even hinted at for PalmOS, the best palmtop web browser will be the surprise release of 2004.

8) Decuma Fix
Decuma will finally get real and the next version of its OnSpot HWR for Palm OS will use the Soft Graffiti area of the Tungsten 3 (and similar devices).

9) PDA Fuel Cells Arrive
Don't look for palmOne to do it here first. hp/Compaq will have the first fuel cell-powered PDA for sale in the U.S. (but owners will still complain about the yellow tint of the screen!).

10) Jeff Hawkins' "Virtual Dendrites"
An outgrowth of his passion, hacking the human mind, palmOne will be the only company to offer this remarkable new software. It will turn a dumb Personal Digital Assistant into a Personal Digital Savant.

Now click below to rant about my prior predictions and, of course, these predictions too!

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Maybe not Oracle

Verteron @ 1/2/2004 2:02:42 PM #
Hehehe...

I'm not sure whether it will be Oracle, but it's certainly true that PalmOne and PalmSource would make an interesting aquisition for a number of companies in that kind of area. Possibly a large electronics firm (such as Texas Instruments or maybe even still Sony...) or some other large tech company (IBM has had relations with Palm before and sold rebranded handhelds, someone out of the blue like Hitachi or some other dissilusioned PPC licensee).

On points 2 & 3, I agree that more adverts of PalmPowered devices doing things like spreadsheets or playing full screen video/MP3s might help their perception.

RE: Maybe not Oracle
Marshall Flinkman @ 1/2/2004 2:24:50 PM #
> On points 2 & 3, I agree that more adverts of PalmPowered devices doing things like spreadsheets or playing full screen video/MP3s might help their perception.

I'd say palmOne has a start on that with their web ads of the T3 doing spreadsheets to emphasize the larger screen. Now they (and other licensees) need to bring more of that to Joe Public's attention, not just techies.

RE: Maybe not Oracle
hotpaw4 @ 1/2/2004 4:14:36 PM #
Oracle has no retail presence; and Ellison has gotten burned by most of his investments in hardware, so my guess is that a PalmOne/Oracle deal is quite unlikely. However, both Ellison and IBM might like to make PalmSource a stronger surrogate opponent against Gates and company, given that linux has no traction in the handheld space. Of course, the killer combination in the handheld space would be for Apple and Nintendo to team up for an iGamePodBoy(tm) family of entertainment PDA's.
RE: Maybe not Oracle
Palm Cow @ 1/2/2004 9:35:52 PM #
The whole reason palmOne spun off of PalmSource is because if they are together, licencees are discouraged. Although I think Garmin would stay with PalmOS, I think that Sony will pioneer PPCs with VGA (after getting mega-pissed at Palm being 1 again (no relation to palmOne ;) ) ). Yes, I know Toshiba has the e80X, but I think Sony will really main-stream it.

Oh, and ... read my other comments.

Chess or Chyes
Palm Cow loves it.
CHYES! kevin707s@mchsi.com

RE: Maybe not Oracle
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 11:31:46 AM #
If Sony does PPC it will have ... drumroll! ... Memory Schtick!

And what would distinguish their PPC from other PPCs, other than that? Toshiba is already to PPC OS what Sony has been to Palm OS.

RE: Maybe not Oracle
HandyMan @ 1/4/2004 3:33:00 PM #
I think this is a stupid prediction. It's not going to happen. Even if Oracle wants to be part of the PDA scene they'll just buy PalmSource not palmOne. Oracle is a software company not a hardware company. And combining PalmSource palmOne under the same ownership will kill PalmOS.


RE: Maybe not Oracle
Jejoma @ 1/5/2004 5:26:59 AM #
Interesting about Sony but why assume they switch to PPC? They already have a strong showing with Symbian and the major expansion is already happening in the smartphone arena - as with the Treo - somewhere where Microsoft are trailing, as ever. In Q3 for Europe and Asia the sales of the Sony Ericsson P800 alone were
something like 2/3 of Palm's total sales.

Cheers,
Jejoma

2003 - 3 of 11

Token User @ 1/2/2004 2:26:07 PM #
I'll give you 1, 3, and 9. Fujitsi *might* be the mystery PalmSource licencee, but it is unknown. I had hoped OS6 would be out, but looks like 12/29 has come and gone.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~
RE: 2003 - 3 of 11
mikecane @ 1/2/2004 5:50:15 PM #
Fujitsu I said *last* year. So if they come *do* come in, they're a year late by my calendar...

RE: 2003 - 3 of 11
cscullion @ 1/5/2004 7:03:22 AM #
Fujitsu already has a Windows CE .NET device on the market... I doubt they'll jump ship any time soon.
RE: 2003 - 3 of 11
rsc1000 @ 1/5/2004 2:18:08 PM #
>>Fujitsu already has a Windows CE .NET device on the market... I doubt they'll jump ship any time soon.
Who said they have to jump ship? Samsung has both Palm OS and PPC devices.


Delayed publication

mikecane @ 1/2/2004 2:31:05 PM #
This was submitted to Ryan on Wednesday 12/31 at 4PM EST for publication *that evening*.

Unknown to me, he had already taken off for the holiday.

It appears now, late, exactly as originally written.

I've yet to see the predictions of others (I've been offline myself since Wednesday), so if there is any duplication, it is entirely coincidental.

I held off publishing mine this year because last year, suspiciously, everyone published theirs (including people who had *never* done any *before* -- I'll not name any sites...) after I did mine. I wanted to play chicken with everyone else.

So much for *that* gamble...

RE: Delayed publication
Foo Fighter @ 1/2/2004 3:24:14 PM #
I still haven't finished predictions yet. Just you wait! Other than the Sony prediction, our predictions won't look very similar.

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: Delayed publication
Strider_mt2k @ 1/2/2004 3:39:35 PM #
I wondered why you made a point of putting that notice up front!

More cool predictions, let's see what happens!


RE: Delayed publication
PlasticMan @ 1/2/2004 4:03:29 PM #
------------------------
I held off publishing mine this year because last year, suspiciously, everyone published theirs (including people who had *never* done any *before* -- I'll not name any sites...) after I did mine. I wanted to play chicken with everyone else.
-------------------------

so many of your past predictions came true, i can see why people would want to steal your ideas. i'm using the palm version of microsoft reader and calligrapher on the fujitsu palm now. ::rolls eyes::

you didn't get hardly any thing right. every one copied you but some how did better?

who are you and why should i care what your opinions are? how long have you worked in the pda industry?

We're the people we've been waiting for

CORRECTION!
mikecane @ 1/2/2004 5:41:04 PM #
The article is *NOT* as I wrote it.

When I typed the above message, I hadn't proofed it. The point of my original message was to state that although it was published late, I had *not* seen other's predictions and gone back to change my own. (I have since read another site's predictions and see they are saying tiny HDs will be in PDAs -- something I said *last year*!)

Several paragraphs are in fact MANGLED and I've emailed Ryan to find out WTF happened. Specifically, predictions 3 and 4.

Geez, did 3 and 4 make *sense* to you people?!!?

RE: Delayed publication
mikecane @ 1/2/2004 5:51:07 PM #
PlasticMan (I'm sure the handle fits), I don't give an eff whether you care about the predictions or me or not. But I noticed you GAVE ME YOUR TIME TO READ THEM.

Sucker!

RE: Delayed publication
PlasticMan @ 1/2/2004 5:55:52 PM #
looks like you mangled the html in #3

--------------------------------
When Foo Fighter first said Sony would quit Palm OS, I
laughed. And I continued to laugh until I saw Sony's TJ series. They look like the beginning of a retreat from Palm OS. I expect 2004 to mark the death of the CLIE in favor of the handheld
PlayStation (with "Play OS"?).
--------------------------------


---------------------------------------
We're the people we've been waiting for

RE: Delayed publication
I.M Anonymous @ 1/2/2004 6:50:20 PM #
I had to read the HTML source to understand 3 and 4. It appears that the link tags are screwed up somehow (although they look fine in the source to me).

RE: Delayed publication
Strider_mt2k @ 1/3/2004 8:49:29 AM #
Mike, it hurts your credibilty to throw around insults with the rest of the morons.

Every time I see a cool article by you it's completely offset by the way you handle the comments.

If you are going to be a dude, be a dude, not one of the rabble.

Unmangled paragraphs
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 11:09:58 AM #
Ryan is AWOL again. If he can't keep PIC going properly, he should SHUT IT DOWN, dammit. Better to kill it altogether than to see if slowly sink into a slum....

Here are the UNMANGLED paragraphs with the links forcibly embedded...

3) Sony Cuts Back

When Foo Fighter

http://www.pocketfactory.com

first said Sony would quit Palm OS, I laughed. And I continued to laugh

http://tinyurl.com/2z5sr

until I saw Sony's TJ series. They look like the beginning of a retreat from Palm OS. I expect 2004 to mark the death of the CLIE in favor of the handheld
PlayStation

http://tinyurl.com/2gbmt

(with "Play OS"?).

4) palmOne Does Infomercials
Before Larry Ellison takes out his wallet to buy The
Two Palms, palmOne will start an infomercial blitz on
cable and late-night broadcast TV. In an effort to
sell higher-end units to the general public, palmOne
will go all-out to show the kinds of things its PDAs
can do. And also why everyone should have a Treo

http://tinyurl.com/3g5uq

instead of an ordinary cellphone.

http://tinyurl.com/ytcwm

(Microsoft will follow suit -- but only for its atrocious

http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=6355

Smurfphone,
leaving Pocket PC users frustrated [as usual!].)


RE: Delayed publication
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 11:52:41 AM #
Less than an hour after my post, Ryan mysteriously shows up to fix the mangled paragraphs. 2004 is real keen so far!

RE: Delayed publication
Admin @ 1/3/2004 1:05:45 PM #
sorry I wasn't on duty, friday night!!!
RE: Delayed publication
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 4:26:00 PM #
Hair of the Dog this AM?

RE: Delayed publication
PlasticMan @ 1/5/2004 10:09:14 PM #
------------------------
I have since read another site's predictions and see they are saying tiny HDs will be in PDAs -- something I said *last year*!)
------------------------

you said they would be in pdas during 2003. you were wrong, they aren't. if they are in a pda this year, that other site will be right, cause that's what they said. (you will still be wrong, you got the wrong year.)


---------------------------------------
We're the people we've been waiting for

RE: Delayed publication
mikecane @ 1/6/2004 12:49:51 PM #
Once a prediction is made, it stands until it is *fulfilled*.

Just because the baby didn't come 9 months on the dot, does that mean it's not coming at all?

RE: Delayed predictions
PlasticMan @ 1/6/2004 1:53:46 PM #
------------------------
mikecane said:
Late in 2002, when ARMed/BeOSed Palms start to appear, Sony will introduce the first Palm OS PDA with a built-in hard drive.
------------------------

when you make predictions for 2002 that don't come true in 2002, then you're predictions are wrong.

if you had predicted the florida marlins would win the world series in 2002, you wou be wrong, even though they won in 2003.

if your predictions are meant to last forever, say that. "some day there will be a pda with a mini hd." If you say its going to happen in 2002, you don't get to say you were right if it happens in 2004.


---------------------------------------
We're the people we've been waiting for

RE: Delayed publication
mikecane @ 1/6/2004 3:56:02 PM #
Bicker, bicker, bicker.

no subject

UZI4U182 @ 1/2/2004 2:35:21 PM #
quote:



Copyright 2004
by Mike Cane.
All Rights Reserved.



That was my favorite part of the whole article.

UZI4U182@suscom.net
Main PDA: NX70v + WL100
http://clieflash.shorturl.com

RE: no subject
mikecane @ 1/2/2004 2:49:43 PM #
Aren't you special.

RE: no subject
UZI4U182 @ 1/2/2004 4:51:46 PM #

Not a chance!

abosco @ 1/2/2004 2:26:14 PM #
Your predictions are funky this year!

#1 - Oracle? No way; who else is out there? Apple? Nope. When was the last time they used technology that wasn't their own? So who could gobble up PalmSource and/or PalmOne? Could it be *gasp* Sony? It is SONY that has the biggest goal of world domination, and it puts Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple's world reign plans to shame. But I wouldn't bet any of them touch PalmOne or PalmSource. Not this year, at least.

#2 - Zire 21 is the last greyscale PDA we'll see. 320x320 color plus OS 5 ARM for $100 will be snatched up by consumers.

#3 - If the OLED rumor is true, Sony could EXPLODE with manufacturing handhelds. They could have a very defined segment where the Clie and PSP could co-exist. 2003 was a terrible year for Sony, starting with the NZ90. They just went in the wrong direction, and they'll correct it this year.

#4 - I don't think informercials, but all the companies (including PPC) will do a good amount of advertising. The OEM's and software companies will finally understand why PDA sales are in a steady decline - not many people know what can be done with them. Bring aboard some good software developers, license and create some good technologies, advertise in magazines and electronic shops, and watch your sales go way up. I can't believe this hasn't been done earlier.

#5 - If OS 6 really does have the ability to adjust software according to the device's screen specifications and other factors like memory heap and processor speed, then you better believe many companies will use VGA. If PalmSource drops the ball, we'll be looking at HVGA for a long time.

#6 - Textmaker for Palm OS. I don't know if that's really a prediction, but it'll come true. It'll face fierce competition from Docs To Go being bundled with many PalmOne handhelds, and users may not see a reason to upgrade. Softmaker will see weaker sales in the Palm OS side, and come out with PPC versions first in future releases, with Palm OS versions far behind. Zealots will use this argument like the old, "Can I play Quake on that?"

#7 - Opera? Sorry, your fantasy won't come true. Start a petition, show there's people willing to buy, and then you might get them interested. At the moment, NetFront reigns and is officially licensed by PalmSource. Give them a good reason to try to join.

#8 - Decuma won't want to, but PalmOne will license the technology alongside Sony. Both will use the soft graffiti area and come bundled with all handhelds. PPC users will claim superiority because they can write in cursive (nevermind the fact that they have to delete a ton after misinterpreted words!).

#9 - Fuel cells still won't be here. In the beginning of 2005 we'll see them, but not now.

#10 - Nope, all PDA's will still be dumb. Maybe in five years this will be a reality.

From reading these predictions and those at BrightHand, you guys both went conservative.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Not a chance!
Lucky Bob @ 1/2/2004 2:50:33 PM #
"Opera? Sorry, your fantasy won't come true. Start a petition, show there's people willing to buy, and then you might get them interested. At the moment, NetFront reigns and is officially licensed by PalmSource. Give them a good reason to try to join."

Hey, if they have versions of their browser for four smartphone families...

(Why do some people say you can kill two birds with one stone when it's hard enough killing one bird with two stones?)

RE: Not a chance!
EH @ 1/2/2004 4:10:14 PM #
"Apple? Nope. When was the last time they used technology that wasn't their own?"

Mac OS X, Apple's most important product, was not written by Apple. Neither was the iPod's OS. Nor was iTunes. Or Final Cut Pro, Shake, Logic, or WebObjects. (Going back further, they didn't write Emailer either.) Apple bought all of those from third parties after they had been written.

Mac OS X's BSD subsystem of course wasn't written at Apple or at NeXT, and Safari's HTML engine wasn't written at Apple either.

And of course, they didn't invent the mouse or the GUI, though they were the first to make those things usable.

As far as hardware goes, Apple popularized USB but didn't invent it. I'm pretty sure they didn't invent 802.11b, which they also popularized.

So I wouldn't be surprised if Apple bought any company so that they could use the company's hardware or software.

But Steve Jobs did say that he wasn't interested in PDAs, so I would be surprised if Apple bought PalmOne or PalmTwo.

My bet is on Disney buying them.

RE: Not a chance!
abosco @ 1/2/2004 4:31:36 PM #
Fair enough; I stand well-corrected. Nicely done, EH. But the point still stands as valid - Apple has expressed zero desire to enter the PDA market again. They have bad memories of the Newton and think it'll never work for them.

I mixed myself up.. I wanted to mean, "When was the last time they licensed a technology," but this didn't apply because we are discussing who could buy either Palm company. My fault.

But honestly, when was the last time they licensed a technology and paid royalties for it?

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Not a chance!
mikecane @ 1/2/2004 5:53:51 PM #
>>>Mac OS X, Apple's most important product, was not written by Apple. Neither was the iPod's OS. Nor was iTunes. Or Final Cut Pro, Shake, Logic, or WebObjects. (Going back further, they didn't write Emailer either.) Apple bought all of those from third parties after they had been written.

Isn't OS X simply based on NeXT OS? If so, that hardly counts as an acquisition (unless the other way around: NeXT actually bought *Apple*). I knew about the iPod OS, but not the others. Those are very surprising to me (but I've been out of the Mac loop for a long time).

RE: Not a chance!
EH @ 1/2/2004 6:12:21 PM #
"Apple has expressed zero desire to enter the PDA market again. They have bad memories of the Newton and think it'll never work for them."

Steve Jobs said that they don't want to enter the PDA market because they don't see it going anywhere. They see smart phones as replacing PDAs, and Steve (wrongly, IMHO) said that there are enough phone companies. I really wish Apple would release a smart phone, but I don't see any reason why they'd have to use Palm OS to do it.


"But honestly, when was the last time they licensed a technology and paid royalties for it?"

I assume they have to pay something for USB and 802.11. They co-invented FireWire, so I imagine they don't have to pay for that. But those are pretty small things and I assume you are talking about bigger things like operating systems.

Apple licensed BSD and KHTML, but since those are free, they didn't have to pay any money. But they still license them in that Apple doesn't gain an advantage by being the only company that can use them.

(Interestingly and a little bit relatedly, IIRC Apple bought Toshiba's entire supply of 1.8" HDs for the iPod, which is why it took so long for iPod competitors to arrive.)

RE: Not a chance!
Courante @ 1/2/2004 7:20:52 PM #
-POS lost majority marketshare this year, falling below 45% and keep dwindling.

-OS 6.0 is slightly late and it's a dog. It's crash happy, slow, and has massive incompatibilities. POS gets the bad rap for releasing unpolished product. OS 6.0, just like OS 5.0, again fails to reverse Palm loosing trend.

-PPC rules everything above $199. Palm belows it. It will only change slightly after Palm releases a second OS6.0 model that fix the glitch in the later part of the year. (similar to T|T -> T|T3 in 2003)

-unlike 2003 where the action are in low end models, 2004 will see actions in all price range. Vendor will experiments will far wider form factor, design and features.

-Palm fumbles with BT/WiFi yet again, specially with applications.

-Palm is out from any high end models until late next year when Sony returns with a high end snazzy model with video/TV and new screen. Majority of Palm's sale will be T|E, Zire, and some new low end model.

-2004 is the year of screen and wireless.

-MS finally gain meaningfull marketshare in phone market. Treo 600 dies a sad and pathetic death by summer. cheap treo shows up, PPC PE finally gains market, MS smartphones continues runaway sell closing in to Symbian. Dell dips their toe on wireless handheld with a GoodTech. clone.

-First mass market ultra expensive communicator costing $1200 shows up for Christmas 2004, heralding the new dawn of wireless handheld golden age. It runs either UIQ or PPCPE.

-Sony PSP shows up, tough battle at first but scares the hell out of any handheld maker in the market. Zodiac dies. PPC becomes a legit gaming platform when directX for handheld is released

-Toward the end of the year there will be handhelds with TV reciever, GPS reciver, and multi MP digicam. Also: Intel Bulverde, 128MB+, dual wireless, USB2go

RE: Not a chance!
abosco @ 1/2/2004 7:26:51 PM #
You forgot to put "PPC r0x0rz" at the end of your post. Why can't you just go back to your poorly-written MSMobiles website and stop trying to convince yourself you're not an illiterate prick. And stop acting like you know what's going to happen. PPC2k3 did absolutely nothing. Oh look, now we've got 'Wizards' in our PPC. Fan-freaking-tastic. They don't work properly on the desktop, so why in God's name would I want them on my handheld? Listen up, moron. You better pray PPC2k4 will live up to the hype you're projecting or Windows Mobile will turn out like the bastard child of Bill Gates. Smartphone will not take off, Tablet PCs are laughable, and PPC, even if it captures all of the handheld market, is way too insignificant to keep the entire Windows Mobile platform alive. Keep talking about Palm dying, but know that once Palm dies, Microsoft won't do squat after that. You already had a lengthy list of improvements to PPC2k3, and imagine how much more lengthy it'll be in five years when you're stuck with the same thing (think MSIE6).

T-minus three years until Windows Mobile becomes totally neglected by Microsoft. There's a good prediction.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Not a chance!
Courante @ 1/2/2004 7:51:37 PM #
chill Bosco. have some more egg nog.
just because my predictions have higher chance of being right than your blurb is no reason to get all pissy on me. (did you say Sony will be #1? hah.)

and yes 2k4 will live up to its hype, while OS 6.0...ehrrr. crash ...bomb... flop...kaboom...a thud.

PS. msmobile? eh?

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