Comments on: PalmSource Considering Laptop Licensee

Recent comments made by David Nagel at the PalmSource European Developer conference, hint at the possibility that the Palm OS may end up in a full size laptop in the not so distant future.
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Argh! That Nagel!

mikecane @ 9/25/2003 9:17:32 AM #
If he keeps hinting at stuff like this, I won't have anything to put in my Predictions article!

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
plm922 @ 9/25/2003 9:30:43 AM #
How cool is that? I would welcome an ultralight, thin, long battery life notebook based on the Palm OS. I've been thinking that Palm OS would be perfect for a tablet...think of the following specs.

Palm OS 6
640 x 480 screen (VGA)
built in Wi-Fi
otherwise...same hardware specs as hi end palm devices.

I think about having a small light tablet like this in my hands so I can roam around my house hooked into the wireless network...hooked up to my high speed internet access and browse the web or access files on my PC.

Palm! I think this would be a hit.

reformed lurker

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
NikMan @ 9/25/2003 9:32:26 AM #
he should be thinking about mobile phones now, not laptops. In mobile world he could win Symbian and PPC, but with that ideas he will collapse the whole Palm company.

Tablets! PLEASE!
dschuetz @ 9/25/2003 9:44:13 AM #
I agree, a slim, lightweight, instant-on tablet would make me incredibly happy.

I'd even say a bit larger than VGA, maybe 800x600 or even 1024x768, though that impacts battery life. A cradle with built-in charger and WiFi port, and a "screensaver cradle mode" that turns it into an electronic picture frame. Keep it in the family room for argument-settling IMDB visits while the TiVo is paused.

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
crustyedgeofinnovation @ 9/25/2003 9:48:24 AM #
this would absolutely be great.
RE: Whats new on this?
Georg @ 9/25/2003 9:54:08 AM #
Nothing new on this!!!!
It´s common know how, that palm OS5 can run on 640x480
It just need to be written an screen driver for the Laptops which run PPC OS. PalmOS 6 will be enabelt anyway. Have seen an prototype 6 month ago! But anyway, where is the beef?????

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
jjsoh @ 9/25/2003 10:20:08 AM #
Or perhaps they'll just use the obtained code from beOS and use that instead? Just Palm-ize the GUI, and keep the beOS kernel, and I don't see it being too far into the future. :)

Who knows?... maybe they already have been working on a prototype ever since they purchased beOS a few years back.


RE: Argh! That Nagel!
Nate @ 9/25/2003 10:25:08 AM #
I would have to assume that Alphsmart is already working on a redesign of the Dana. They have improved it with the WiFi, but surprisingly haven't come out with a color version or anything that runs OS5. But if they could do it right -- a OS6 unit with a 10"-12" transflective color screen, battery that would last 8 hours, that weighed less than 3 lbs -- I think they'd do extremely well in the education market and with business users looking for something really efficient on the road.

It could do to the Apple eMate what the PalmPilot did to the Newton.

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
plm922 @ 9/25/2003 10:35:56 AM #
I would like to see a tablet version without the keyboard, or even with one of the nice foldable keyboards....for sitting on the couch surfing the web, I don't need the extra bulk. I nice thin and light tablet would be the key.

reformed lurker
RE: Argh! That Nagel!
arielb @ 9/25/2003 10:52:41 AM #
nikman he is thinking about mobile phones-where were you yesterday?

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
Uncle Steve @ 9/25/2003 11:02:29 AM #
Not a full-size notebook but screen size midway between a handheld and a laptop. Just enough for a full-size keyboard (or a flip-out expandable keyboard).

Long battery life!

No bootup time!
No bootup time!
No bootup time!

It doesn't sound like Alphasmart...
JonAcheson @ 9/25/2003 11:18:56 AM #
I don't know about this being a new Alphasmart device. It would be nice if it were, but Alphasmart is a niche market company, not a mass-market company. Plus, the phrasing makes me think "new vendor."

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
statik @ 9/25/2003 11:20:26 AM #
Or even a tablet with a thumbboard so you can type without needing to put it down on a table.

(Think of a Tungsten C, but with a screen 4-6 times as large)

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
MarcosV @ 9/25/2003 11:23:46 AM #

This could be huge indeed, but I'm thinking a huge potential market would be the baby boomers.. my parents spend $1000 on a desktop computer just to check email every so often and do some very light browsing on the internet. It takes up tons of space and isn't used to its potential.

A Palm laptop could have mave mass appeal to this crowd, especially with a built in 56K modem. Not everyone is on broadband with WiFi just yet...

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
Nate @ 9/25/2003 12:54:09 PM #
No, I don't think that Alphasmart is the company he's referring to either. They have more experience with this sort of device than any other licensee, and they probably have the distribution channels to capitalize on such a device, but they are too small probably to make a big splash.

I just like Alphasmart (for some reason) and would hope that they could get in on this action. I don't want to see them go the way of Handera.

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
yvonnickb @ 9/25/2003 4:26:37 PM #
It's probably just a dream, but imagine the vadem clio (now property of Pinax Group )with palmos6 !! sure it will interest lot of users... and I will be the first!
TTrules @ 9/25/2003 5:38:46 PM #
Finnaly!! That's all I have to say.

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
jodihansen @ 9/25/2003 7:51:37 PM #
That is so cool. I dreamed of this only yesterday. What a coincidence.
I think that a laptop smaller than the traditional laptop would be the go, but with a good resolution.
Way to go PalmSource.
I hope that this goes ahead.
I'll buy one!!!!


RE: Argh! That Nagel!
davidv @ 9/26/2003 12:30:52 AM #
Any of you folks remember the PSION 7/Psion Workbook.

Psion (nay Symbian)OS in a mini-laptop. Small light and instant on. Was launched about 5 years ago I think and still available?

Would still be great though. Instant on!! Yes.

dave the rave

TT is an evolutionary product yet still true to the Palm concept.Brilliant.

Roadmap to Palm's survival
The Ugly Truth @ 9/26/2003 1:26:00 AM #
This sounds familiar:

"5) Want to get innovative? How about pushing Palms as a low cost laptop alternative? A clone of the CLIE UX50 with a slightly bigger screen, CompactFlash and SD slots, 802.11b, Bluetooth and Word/Excel/Powerpoint apps is all the "laptop" a lot of employees really need. Cheap to buy, cheap to support. A TCO dream come true."

I like this one, although you have to be careful to market it as a device for certain tasks people do with a laptop, rather than as a full PC. Otherwise you end up with the HPC syndrome.

CCO, PalmSource

While people like Mr. Mace may manage to keep Palm afloat over the next year, it is disappointing to see that Palm apparently doesn't already have a device like this in the pipeline. A PalmTop™ seems like too obvious an idea to not have been developed years ago. (What does Palm's R + D department do all day?)

Since Palm seems to have suddenly gained clarity of vision, perhaps they will soon be adopting the other suggestions given in the original post:

1) Release a 320 x 480, Vx-sized (thin, LIGHT) Palm ASAP. If you can't make it as small as a Vx, forget it. Despite what they say, size matters. Only a few fanatics will be submitting to those big, thick, heavy monsters that Sony is trying to ram down peoples' throats. Let Sony cater to suckers that want Monster Palms. Palm needs to get back to designing simple, elegant hardware that works for the way most people actually use their handhelds.

2) Make the Treo 600 available for $300 or less. If it's priced right, the Treo could become the new executive toy du jour - like the Vx was a few years ago. Price it much higher than $300 and watch it be ignored by everyone except the few hundred people that read Palm fan sites. The Treo 600 (or its immediate successor) may save Palm as long as the desire for quick profits doesn't win out over The Big Picture.

3) Stop the redundancy in Palm's software portfolio. Pick the best of breed apps and stick with them. If you really want to show what Palms can do, get users Hooked On Palm by creating a licensed suite of the best freeware and shareware Palm apps/games/utilities and bundling them with every Palm sold. I'd suggest looking at including as many of these as could be licensed for a reasonable price: Bejeweled, DiddleBug, HandyShopper, iSilo, Open, Vexed, Vindigo, YAUC, Zagat. Others - like APCalc, DateBk5, FindHack, LauncherX, McFile, TealLock, TealScript, To Do PLUS, Ultrasoft Money and Uninstall Manager - would make good replacements for those ancient original Palm ROM apps that do the same job. Sure, bundling hurts other developers, but it's all about survival of the fittest. Just look at what Microsoft has done over the years.

4) Stop skimping on the RAM. Yes, I know you want to sell SD cards, but at this point there's no excuse for releasing any PDA with less than 64 MB RAM.

5) Want to get innovative? How about pushing Palms as a low cost laptop alternative? A clone of the CLIE UX50 with a slightly bigger screen, CompactFlash and SD slots, 802.11b, Bluetooth and Word/Excel/Powerpoint apps is all the "laptop" a lot of employees really need. Cheap to buy, cheap to support. A TCO dream come true.

6) Hire what's left of the HandEra software engineering staff and use them to make some real improvements in the Palm OS. The "Zen of Palm" spin just doesn't cut it these days. Unfortunately, I envision a whole lotta current apps breaking if Palm finally advances the OS to where it needs to go.

7) Fear Microsoft. Palm's historical dominance in handhelds won't mean much if Microsoft starts giving away basic PPCs with every copy of Office. Don't think they can't or won't just buy the PDA market outright. The petty cash fund in Redmond could probably cover what was spent on worldwide sales of all PDAs last year.

8) Fear Nokia. Cellphones are already doing what most people use their Palms for. The average Joe isn't going to buy a Palm if their "free" cellphone comes with an address book, to do list, memo pad, date book, digital camera and games. Only geeks will be willing to carry two devices.

9) Adhere to the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Most Palm users never even use any programs other than the built in apps for a reason: Palms are almost perfect "as is". Just make them smaller, lighter, faster and more integrated with cellphones, digital cameras and MP3 players. Sound easy doesn't it?

10) Don't wait too long before selling out to Sony. A purchase for 800 million within the next six months - say, January 15, 2004 - sounds like a good way to exit stage left. Don't let me down - baby needs new shoes...

(The invoice for my consulting fee is in the mail and is due upon receipt. Remit cash payments only please - no checks or Handspring stock accepted.)

Armchair analyst

Sometimes the truth just isn't pretty™

2004 Sony CLIE UX90 PalmTop
The Ugly Truth @ 9/26/2003 2:12:20 AM #
- Same size as CLIE UX50
- 128 MB user-accessible RAM
- Larger 480 x 320 screen with portrait mode
- 1.3 megapixel camera with flash
- MP3 player
- Dual Memory Stick/CompactFlash slots
- 802.11b and Bluetooth(less)
- Word/Excel/Powerpoint/proxyless web browser
- Improved keyboard
- Video recorder (optional)
- TV tuner (optional)
- Black metal case


Build it and they will cum.

Sometimes the truth just isn't pretty™

RE: Argh! That Nagel!
helf @ 9/26/2003 12:24:53 PM #
Why do you people always add "mp3 player" ? Why don't you add "headphone jack". palms havent had 'MP3 players' since the older sony's.....

Sounds like this is a year off.

ganoe @ 9/25/2003 10:11:09 AM #
If he's just now talking about the company "considering bringing in a hardware partner" then there's no way we see this anytime soon. Too bad. I had hoped this was already in the works.

Why not Sony ???

Solo @ 9/25/2003 10:53:24 AM #
I am not a Sony fan, but their Vaio line of Notebook is very nice looking. Why not do something even simpler with a Palm OS in it.

They are probably the one who could develop something interesting the fastest at an interesting price point.

... and doing so, I am sure they would love to hit MS who is trying to lure away their gaming market with its X-Box.

P.S. : If only they could put a SD Card instead of a Memory Stick in it....

Just like Dire Straits sang so long ago in their hit, Money For Nothing : "I want my, I want my, I want my MTV." Same thing now, but different lyrics : " I want my MP3 software".

RE: Why not Sony ???
Solo @ 9/25/2003 10:57:12 AM #
Sorry for the signature, I've not been posting for a while... lolll
RE: Why not Sony ???
jjsoh @ 9/25/2003 12:47:32 PM #
but their Vaio line of Notebook is very nice looking.

And usually, that's all it is. In my experience, having supported SONY branded computers for a while, they give me nothing but trouble (mostly hardware problems). Their official site doesn't help much either when I'm trying to download patches/updates for software incompatibility.

IMHO, they're second worst right under Compaq (desktops/laptops, not servers).

They are probably the one who could develop something interesting the fastest at an interesting price point.

Maybe they can, but they wouldn't be doing a good job supporting it, if their current and past supporting trends are any indication.

... and doing so, I am sure they would love to hit MS who is trying to lure away their gaming market with its X-Box.

MSFT is in no way catching up with SONY in gaming. MSFT has a better chance beating out Nintendo (if they aren't already). I don't think SONY is worried about the X-Box, which is a total flop in Japan (that is, at least not until the next generation of gaming consoles are revealed).

P.S. : If only they could put a SD Card instead of a Memory Stick in it....



RE: Why not Sony ???
bobes @ 9/25/2003 6:42:25 PM #
A Sony Clie with U101 form factor would be sweet.

RE: Why not Sony ???
RhinoSteve @ 9/29/2003 11:41:05 PM #
I am convinced that there is a VIAO, PalmOS laptop prototype somewhere in the bowels of Sony PDA engineering. The question is who will green light the release?


sub_tex @ 9/25/2003 11:02:25 AM #
"...hoping a licensee will show up who wants to make a true notebook."

sub_tex @ 9/25/2003 11:06:11 AM #
whoops, double post here, sorry.

LiveFaith @ 9/25/2003 10:32:52 PM #

My source could not (would not) reveal the hardware vendor, but a Photoshop expert may be able to pull it out. Here are a few specs he revealed on the laptop:
> Touchpad pointer
> 101 keyboard
> IR port
> SD slot
> 19.2k modem
> Universal Connector II
> 160x160 monochrome (no backlight)
> Expanded 8k memo limit
> Large 2k clipboard limit
> 16mb ram
> Static grafitti area
> Mono headphone jack
> OS 4.2L (laptop)
> 75mhz Dragonball ZZ
> 2400mah nimh battery (non-replaceable)
** Estimate 3.2 years battery life.

Pat Horne;

LiveFaith @ 9/25/2003 11:09:48 PM #
That was a joke.

Seriously, this notebook idea would be fabulous in Palm OS w/ multitask! Imagine a 15oz device with 128mb ram, 3/4" thick folded, 7" x 9" folded, "full" keyboard, 800x600, Docs2Go6, SD, CF, wifi, bt, ir, e-mail, web, modem. Don't bloat it, don't complicate it but simplify it so that my mom could read ebooks, surf and get mail on it with zero learning curve.

This would truly be an INSTANT ON/OFF "notebook" that could change this totally screwball "boot + wait + load + wait + bloat + wait + freeze + wait + service pack + crash + wait + hourglass ..." computing world that we are imprisoned in.

Sure it's not going to have the power of a P4, storage of a 120gb drive nor 19" lcd. But 90% of real productivity could happen this way ... and fast!

Recently, I started and typed a quick document on my kid's (my old) Compaq 486 with Win31 & MSWordWin v2.0. I was amazed at how "simple" and quick it was compared to my PIII, XP, MSWordXP with that little flaoting clipboard idiot! Now which system is more powerful? For getting that document done, the 486.

Just visualize a Palm OS laptop with no harddrive light, no hourglasses, no waiting ... and it all does 95% of what we'll ever use. I believe!

Pat Horne;

"True" file handling?

sub_tex @ 9/25/2003 11:02:25 AM #
"...hoping a licensee will show up who wants to make a true notebook."

Until you let the OS handle files like users are used to when using their computers, a laptop with Palm OS would just be frustrating instead of helpful when you tryo to do anything other than view web pages and email.

Once you put me in front of a laptop with a keyboard I'll be expecting a lot more control than I would with a PDA.

Either that or sell it for $500. But this has Win CE written all over it. And we all know how well $1200 "laptop-like" devices sell.

RE: Open filesystem dead?
ronpro @ 9/25/2003 11:13:20 AM #
I disagree. Although compter savy folks such as ourselves are quite comfortable with file systems. I work with and know a lot of people who just don't get it -- folders and all. For people like that, something like the palm OS is great because the 'file system' (I use the term loosely) is not exposed to the user. One less thing to have to learn. Ever since I first picked up a Palm I've been convinced that this will be the way of the future.

Hell, for that matter. I think in the future, the average user won't even know anything about operating systems. The end-user experience will be VERY SIMPLE!


RE: True File Handling.
statik @ 9/25/2003 11:15:31 AM #
With Palm OS 6, the file handling will be there.

I see this as a possible big winner in the vertical application business market.

We tried using Win XP tablets at my company and found that they didn't meet our needs for several reasons. 1) Purchase Cost, 2) Battery Life, 3) Support cost, 4) Weight, 5) Data input speed.

If Palm could address the above, then I think they could have an awesome tool.

sub_tex @ 9/25/2003 11:41:03 AM #
Even if the file handling is there, the price point is what would cripple these devices before they even had a chance.

They can't be anywhere near a laptop price. That's just obvious. A salesman trying to justify what the Palm 'laptop' can't do as to what a similarly priced notebook can do is going to have a hard time.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love a 6" tablet to mess with. But not running Palm OS in its current state.

RE: Cost
statik @ 9/25/2003 11:54:04 AM #
You're right. They can't compete on the initial hardware costs. The market is flooded with cheap Windows laptops.

Where they can compete is with the support costs.

Laptops and tablets are horrible to support from an IT view. Trying to get a user half way across the country to keep their laptop up to date with the latest service packs and virus protection is a nightmare. When was the last time you had to apply a critical patch on your Palm?

A simple (Palm OS based) laptop would be wonderful for businesses. It would let us IT geeks concentrate on supporting our applications, and not the OS.

RE: Cost
hotpaw4 @ 9/25/2003 12:20:34 PM #
Windows and linux laptops require a spindle or two and a lot more power hungry of a CPU to meet modern expectations. This adds cost and weight and greatly shortens battery life.

Something like a Tungsten C with 2 SD slots, a 3x larger display and a full size keyboard could weigh under a kilo and still give you over a days worth of battery life. Try getting anywhere near that with an under $700 laptop.

A PalmOS laptop might not make a great 3d gaming machine, but a 400+ ARM CPU has plenty of performance for basic web/email/note taking, and would be far more immune to viruses and misconfiguration than todays typical Wintel laptop.

Then again, a whole bunch of Windows CE hardware vendors tried something like this a few years ago and failed miserably, so something has to be done differently to succeed (even more agressive pricing?).

NikMan @ 9/25/2003 1:48:54 PM #
Mobile phones (smart phones I mean) are very important. We will do with them everything. Buying, operation, talking, bla bla ....

But i don't see any good news here with PalmOS.

Only Treo and Samsung! where are other hot phones?
Sony is using Symbian in P800 and future p810!!!

AzureGuy @ 9/25/2003 10:43:21 PM #
It would probably be cheaper to make a laptop/tablet like device powered by the Palm OS than it would be to make a regular laptop. As for this whole mobile obsession goin on around here, all I can say is ARGH, THEY'RE ANNOYING. I want a phone that is good at what it does, and only that, being a phone! Too many features just makes it less useful, and more complicated.
RE: "True" file handling?
ganoe @ 9/26/2003 8:51:52 AM #
> Until you let the OS handle files like users are used
> to when using their computers


> With Palm OS 6, the file handling will be there.

Yawn. This has come up time and time again. OS 4, 5 and even 3 with VFS supports files just like users use on their computers. The simple fact of the matter is that you don't see this because:
1. Palm has discouraged developers from exposing the file system in that manner to users.
2. Some developers have taken lazy approaches to adpoting it even when it is appropriate.

Don't expect OS 6 to magically make changes to 3rd party software, the developers have to do it.

sub_tex @ 9/26/2003 12:33:53 PM #
"Yawn. This has come up time and time again. OS 4, 5 and even 3 with VFS supports files just like users use on their computers."

You mean like when I'm home and always have to save all my files to floppies?

Please. VFS, gives us the option to store *SOME* file types in folders, and not always folders *WE* organize. I still can't open up a file browser (what's that? Oh that's right, there is no default file browser on my Palm) and click on any file to have it open up in the application I choose.

Hell, even Mac OS 9 with it's crappy resource forks could do this (even if you were forced to open it in the same app you made it in).

Memo PAd should be saving .txt files. Period. It's Notepad for Palm. Nothing more.

From any web page I should be able to file==>save as any page I seem fit. How else to save online receipts? The Palm is close to offering at least ways for 3rd party developers to put functionality in there that we want, but PPC has a lot of these in there by default.

As it's been stated on here more times than I care to know, many people never even install 3rd party apps. What they get in the box is it. *That's* what you need to worry about.

And any laptop that forces me to have an SD/MS/CF card always in there to work with native file types is going to fail. Period.

hotpaw4 @ 9/26/2003 1:06:38 PM #
someone wrote:
> I still can't open up a file browser (what's that? Oh that's right, there is no default file browser on my Palm) and click on any file to have it open up in the application I choose.

That's right. The Palm is not optimized to be a computer, it's optimized to be a low-power PDA. The UI trade-off's are different. Try a PPC if you want something more PC-like, and compare the usability for typical PIM users.

Palm's method, which I prefer, is where the device has the capability to become a computer using 3rd party applications and extensions, but the base device is more optimized for low-power PDA and typical PIM usage. If you've ever done ad-hoc tech support for non-computer savy neighbors, you'll realize that a good portion don't need a full fledged computer, just a simple web/email/entertainment appliance. A PalmOS tablet with a full-size keyboard would be great for these people.

Power users are free to add VFS aware apps, and use those instead of the MemoPad.

sub_tex @ 9/26/2003 2:23:21 PM #
"Try a PPC if you want something more PC-like, and compare the usability for typical PIM users."

I still don't get this argument. Just adding a file browser to an OS does not mean I want to change the entire UI experience I love. McPhile could easily be extgended to accomodate the extra features, but they would need to be available in RAM to do what I'm talking about.

"Palm's method, which I prefer, is where the device has the capability to become a computer using 3rd party applications and extensions, but the base device is more optimized for low-power PDA and typical PIM usage."

Yeah, I like that too. I just don't see how a file system (that most typical PIM PDA users will never even know is there) takes away from that goal. Do you know how many people don't even know that windows Explorer exists on their PC? They just do what people on Palms do--open the app they want to work with, and file-->open from there. Sacing all of their work in one folder.

What I'm asking for is no different. People like us who want more out of our PDA can get it, and it's invisible to those who don't even know it's there.

"If you've ever done ad-hoc tech support for non-computer savy neighbors, you'll realize that a good portion don't need a full fledged computer, just a simple web/email/entertainment appliance."

I agree. But when they go to attach the small note/story/poem they wrote in MemoPad to an email to send to a friend, is the friend going to know what to do with a .pdb file? This is where the problem lies.

When you want to *view* content, POS is fine. When you want to start sharing that content with others who are not on Palm PDAs then it gets worse.

Just attaching a jpg would cause many people problems. They're gonna know to browse to the SD card, into the Palm/Progams/app name/whatever folder to find it?

On Windows, most (non-tech) people use the idiot-proof folders named "My Pictures", which is right in their "My Documents" folder. We lack that on the Palm (which I'm happy for, btw, but I'm not the kind of person those types of features are designed for).

ganoe @ 9/28/2003 10:40:02 PM #
> Memo PAd should be saving .txt files. Period.
> It's Notepad for Palm. Nothing more.

Yep, it's a notepad. No, it shouldn't be saving .txt files by default. You would have to name the .txt files for them to have any practical meaning, and that would totally defeat the purpose of being able to quickly just jot down some notes whenever you desire. Having to save notes as .txt files would totally change the function of that application. You'd lose categories as well.

Should you be able to import and export .txt files from the notepad, sure. Is there something in the OS that prevents you from being able to do that, NO. Myself or any other reasonable programmer could add that functionality yesterday to the notepad. As I said in my previous post, don't expect that functionality to magically appear in OS 6 unless Palm decides to put it in there. It has absolutely nothing to do with the OS.

Sounds like you want a text editor application (and a file explorer-like launcher, and a web browser that saves html). Somebody could've written those yesterday as well, if they wanted to. I think some of those may already exist as 3rd party apps (except maybe the browser saving html).

bcombee @ 9/29/2003 3:12:08 AM #
There already is a way for McFile or any other file manager to support launching programs on files in a VFS file system. It is called Exchange Manager -- apps in Palm OS can register to handle MIME types and file extensions, and if you send the file as a bundle through Exchange Manager, it will be routed to the appropriate program. For example, taping on a .txt file would be like beaming it to the Palm and having Memo Pad accept it. The weak link is editing and saving these files back out to VFS -- Exchange Manager doesn't handle links to VFS files very well; they would always look like new documents.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at
ganoe @ 9/30/2003 10:25:28 AM #
> There already is a way for McFile or any other file manager to support
> launching programs on files in a VFS file system. It is called Exchange Manager

Are there any programs, McFile or similar, that offer that kind of feature? I'm surprised that more developers haven't jumped on this.


mj6798 @ 9/25/2003 11:03:34 AM #
"We think our platform is flexible enough to support this kind of device," he said. "A number of us inside the company are hoping a licensee will show up who wants to make a true notebook."

Let's see: limited multitasking, no movable overlapping windows, limited file system, limited font handling, and crashes with regularity. I think we had such a laptop OS. It was called "DOS", and, yes, people were using it for several years while they were already using Windows on the desktop. But, do we really need to go back to that?

If you want a small, light, cheap computer that "just works", get one of these It even has overlapping windows and multitasking.

RE: retro-computing?
mj6798 @ 9/25/2003 11:33:21 AM #
Oh, here is another nice, small, cheap laptop that "just works":

RE: retro-computing?
ronpro @ 9/25/2003 11:57:10 AM #
It seems, at least some of those features may be addressed in OS 6. As for overlapping windows, that's a deskop manager's resoponsibility (desktop manager, like a command shell, is an application -- usually but not always provided with the OS. It is not, by definition, a part of the OS). Some of the new tablet PC's have clip-on/clip-off keyboards, so I don't think data input would be a problem. Price is another story. These high-end palms/clies are already getting up there in price. But it's a difficult to argue that nobody would buy it. After all, people are paying how much for the new Sony Clie UX? Scale up the size of the display (and resolution), add a keyboard, hard drive, customized window manager... Now how many dollar signs is that?

...makes me think we've already overpayed for the 'pocket' devices we currently own.

RE: retro-computing?
hotpaw4 @ 9/25/2003 12:44:02 PM #
The iBook weighs over 6 times as much as a T|C plus a full size keyboard, and the linux laptop gets much worse battery life than either of the above. Seems like there might be room for some niche product to fill that huge gap.
RE: retro-computing?
arielb @ 9/25/2003 12:54:54 PM #
someone is working on such a desktop manager right now

RE: retro-computing?
Larken @ 9/25/2003 2:29:57 PM #
Ronpro, why would you need a hard drive to slow the unit down and suck up juice? Just build the unit similar to what Palm is doing now. I think 64MB to 128MB onboard with a couple SD slots would be sufficient. I, too, think that this would be a good move for OS 6 after it is shown to be stable. It would implement the idea that I've been argueing for a while now: You should be running the OS from programable memory chips, not a hard drive. The speed increase would be worth it.

RE: retro-computing?
Gar @ 9/26/2003 12:46:15 AM #
Hmmm... can anyone say Newton 'Bic'?
You just knew someone had to bring it up. :-)

My wife has to sell a lot of candles ( to buy her new Palm.
RE: retro-computing?
mikecane @ 9/26/2003 12:09:04 PM #
That Lindows notebook is intriguing. It runs Win stuff easily? I know someone who could go for one...

One spindle or none?

JonAcheson @ 9/25/2003 11:21:55 AM #
It seems most likely this would be a no-spindle device, basically a Palm with a big screen and keyboard. In which case, the price would have to be around $500, because the low end for real laptops is in the high-$600's now. You can even get a "deskmate" in the $500's.

OTOH, a one-spindle device with a slim DVD-ROM reader might be nice, because it could play CDs and DVDs. But it makes the device larger, somewhat more expensive, and would seriously impact battery life. It would also require an 800x600 screen to make DVD playback worthwhile, as well as hardware DVD playback, because I doubt an ARM chip is going to do software playback any time soon.

I suspect if you put a hard drive and CD/DVD into it, you would pretty much eliminate the power and hardware cost advantages of using PalmOS over an x86/Windows system. So I'd guess one spindle would be the limit, if even that is doable.

Jon Acheson

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

Great idea, also how about just a video out???

madmaxmedia @ 9/25/2003 11:58:27 AM #
I'd like to see a Palm OS in this form factor. I used to have a NEC MobilePro 770, with a 640 x 240 screen and very nice keyboard, and built in modem with CF and PCMIA slots. Too bad it was running Win CE on 133 Mhz processor, and the version of IE on it was horribly slow (slower than the modem).

An instant-on computer is very nice, especially one with Wi-Fi, good web and email clients, and something like Docs To Go. The only negative about such a device is that once you get bigger than pocket-sized, it's not as convenient to carry around. It was ultimately better for me just to have a regular PDA. And I wouldn't have paid more than $400 for it (bought it for $300 on EBay).

My TG50 can already almost replace a notebook computer, a larger one with at least 640 x 480 screen actually could (for the most part).

Another 'form factor' I would like is a regular sized PDA with built-in VGA or s-video out, and either USB miniport or good folding keyboard. Carry it around and use it like a PDA, but when you are at home or in the office, you can plug it in and use it like a regular computer. If Palm OS6 can support these different screen resolutions, I'd pay extra for the video output.

Instead of making the PDA bigger, just keep 'extending' what you can do with it...

RE: Great idea, also how about just a video out???
ronpro @ 9/25/2003 12:27:11 PM #
640x480 might work for some applications, but not for me. My laptop is my primary computer, which I used for software development. I have a 1600x1200 screen here and still find myself going back to the dual-head Solaris workstation for some tasks. It's really nice to be able to view a header file, source file, man page and command prompt all at the same time, side-by-side (not overlapping windows which cover-up half of what I need). Seems like there's just never enough screen realestate.

...hmmmm, think they'll every make a big-screen-TV-like monitor with a proportionately large resolution? :-)

RE: Great idea, also how about just a video out???
enjolras @ 9/25/2003 2:54:22 PM #
Are you familiar with Pitch? It's a neat bridge to exactly what your asking for. It has VGA out and can talk to your Palm, allowing you to use it on any monitor. The versions I've seen even have keyboard/mouse support..

This would sell in the medical community as well

devildoc @ 9/25/2003 12:26:30 PM #
Besides the academic communities, this would do well in the medical field. A thin, light-weight tablet that has no boot up time, no painful waiting for apps to open, color screen and multimedia capabilties would be great. being able to take imaging with me everywhere, accessing notes and texts, fill out forms...all in an 8.5X11 format. I have grown weary of scrolling 50 times to get through text on the horribly small PalmOS screens and data entry is painful when you can only see a few fields and image viewing is useless [a CXR on a PalmOS screen, please].

Add wireless connectivity to the network and printers. I don't need a phone a la AT&T EO, and please leave the sub par cameras off the machine. CF and SD slots.

RE: This would sell in the medical community as well
stillaresident @ 9/25/2003 1:05:21 PM #

It's common knowledge to anybody in the healthcare industry that physicians and many of the hospitals' ancillary services have been dreaming of something like this for years.

I know there are *many* of us physicians on this website who have been fantasizing of a larger Palm OS device that could provide not only portability (i.e. small and light size with wireless connectivity), but even more importantly, *speed*.

It's not uncommon for physicians to be so busy that we sometimes find it too slow to find a piece of paper on which to write. (We'll instead write directly on our scrub pants.) A portable, wireless device that will have the "instantness" provided by the Palm OS could facilitate a revolution in hospital information and clinical systems.

I continue to dream...

RE: This would sell in the medical community as well
Miss Clie @ 9/25/2003 1:43:15 PM #
I see it right out of Star Trek. The device will have a wireless connection to the main database, it'll have a scanner built in, and perhaps even some diagnostic tools.

It could be the next step.

RE: This would sell in the medical community as well
Tuckermaclain @ 9/27/2003 12:39:08 AM #
Yes, yes. Could Palm OS be the Savior that Linux was supposed to be--free us from the stranglehold of the slow, unstable windows platform? Maybe we wilol see Palm OS evolve into a replacement for Windows.

Until then, I want the ultrasound SDIO card so I can do bedside scans with my Palm ;)


helf @ 9/25/2003 1:43:57 PM #
I'd buy one. A thin, light wieght laptop running palm OS with dual sd, cf, wifi and bt plus intergrated NIC and a 640x480/800x600 screen would be killer :P

About time

Rhauer @ 9/25/2003 2:01:40 PM #
This makes lot of sense. A larger palm type tablot would be great. I am so tired up waiting fow Windows and then Outlook to boot up. It is f... rediculus. Turn on my Palm and away I go, mail, contacts, excel etc. great idea.

Count me in

jbarr @ 9/25/2003 3:12:27 PM #
I know this is a redundant post, but this is the kind of thing I have been waiting for!

I have looked at the ProGear Webpad. I have looked at various TabletPC's. I have looked at trying to retrofit old laptops. Unfortunatly, NOTHING yet will give me what I am looking for:

A small, wireless tablet with no hardware keyboard that will let me web surf from anywhere in or around the house via WiFi.

The screen should be large enough to render a "typical" web page. 640x480 would work, but I would prefer 800x600.

The screen (actually, the image) must be "rotatable" to allow for portrait or landscape viewing.

Make the whole thing fit in a form factor smaller than 8 1/2" x 11"--maybe 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" (take a piece of paper and fold it in half. THAT's the size I'm looking for.

Battery life should be at LEAST 4 hours of continuous use (with WiFi.)

And of course, Instant On.

I have a Sony Clie NX70V, and though I do really like it, lack of Landscape viewing sucks and the WiFi card is a plain hassle. Integrate it in like the new UX-50.

If I could have THAT kind of platform with "larger-screen-aware" apps, it would be great!

RE: Count me in
plm922 @ 9/25/2003 3:51:30 PM #
YES YES YES, that's exactly what I'm thinking. If they could come out with something like that, I'd plop down $500 for it. Plays MP3's..even better. Pefect for e-books too. Wireless web while laying in bed, like holding a paperback...that's unique. Keep it less than 1lb. (much less)

reformed lurker
Buy a Tapwave!
madmaxmedia @ 9/25/2003 5:10:59 PM #
Buy a Tapwave Zodiac, it's close!! (when Wi-Fi card is compatible with Palm)

Screen resolution isn't there, although a good web browser will help with that. Don't know about battery life though with Wi-Fi...probably less than 3 hours?

my palm is an agenda

gijsraggers @ 9/25/2003 4:56:10 PM #
reading this thread on a my 17" Powerbook is doesn't make me believe on can read a web page on a 640x480 screen or even at 800x600.

It's true, I'm not a believer. Palm make the perfect agenda. Apple makes the best notebook/laptops and I like the way a Saab drives.

RE: my palm is an agenda
Lucky Bob @ 9/25/2003 6:40:56 PM #
"doesn't make me believe on can read a web page on a 640x480 screen or even at 800x600."

I'm reading this page on one of those resolutions, and I have no problem. And I'm using a desktop...

(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: my palm is an agenda
The Ugly Truth @ 9/28/2003 4:01:14 PM #
I like the way a Saab drives.

So, you like torque steer and a rubbery shifter? Interesting. To each his/her own. Your comments about the things you prefer illustrate why there is no such thing as the "perfect" car, PDA, computer, cola, adult diaper, etc. for all people.

Web pages already can be quite readable on the current generation of CLIEs and this will only get better with time. (Of course if you have presbyopia, you will disagree...) It is interesting to note that">Opera Software
has not yet introduced a port of their browser to the Palm OS when they already have a very effective version out for Symbian-based smartphones. Opera for Palm OS could have been a good way for Opera to advertise its desktop browser - which is a great alternative for those of us tired of Internet Explorer's various ills. Opera need to release a Palm OS version in the next few months if they hope to have a chance - Access' NetFront is becoming the standard by default.

Sometimes the truth just isn't pretty™

Have to declare this licensee upscale, personally

vesther @ 9/25/2003 6:48:57 PM #
This LapTop Licensee is going to be an upscale one because "Tablet Palms" or Laptops that would run under Palm OS, would be labeled as "Upscale" and IMO would be targeted towards lawyers, physicians, doctors, whatever you can name it...

Dunno if a Mechanic will have any use for a Tablet Palm (Laptop running Palm OS), but I think a Mechanic will need a Heavy-Duty Palm Handheld, though.

My Primary Handheld: Palm Tungsten C "Air Swallow"
My Secondary Handheld: Palm Tungsten T "Sea Chugger"

RE: Have to declare this licensee upscale, personally
stillaresident @ 9/28/2003 2:13:02 PM #
I think this is a fairly true statement. I don't know of too many consumers who actually *need* anything more than the original U.S. Robotics Pilot.

I would speculate, that or the most part, a lot of the recent "innovations" allow PDA's to function more as a "toy" for the average consumer. But for certain industries (e.g. healthcare), the use of PDA's is already almost mandatory. The only reason it isn't truly a requirement yet, is because the technology is still too lacking. Hopefully, the availability of a Palm OS on notebook or tablet computers can finally fulfill the still undiscovered needs in many industries (e.g. healthcare!).

vga + usb enough

awdr @ 9/25/2003 8:06:27 PM #
Just add an vga plug for a display, 10gb microdrive and 3 usb ports:

1 usb for external storage: usb stick, cd burner
1 usb for keyboard(optional bluetooth)
1 usb for mouse(optional bluetooth)

WIFI is mandatory

I don´t think 90% of all laptop users right now would miss anything

"PCs have become too complex"

VisorMiser @ 9/25/2003 8:20:45 PM #
He's hit this one on the head. WinXP is powerful but ridiuclous overkill for the individual user--the =personal= user. Nowdays, PCs are only personal in that an individual can own one, but the beauty has succumbed to bloat. Micro$oft's predatory business practices haven't helped, as they've justified putting everything but the kitchen blender into the operating system.

The Palm philosophy is still customization--PERSONALization--through add-in apps. Things stay simpler and like YOU want 'em. The Palm owner can still recognize and USE everything on his or her device ... and get rid of the rest! All this not to mention the open and flexible Palm development environment, where apps are and stay abundant and reasonably priced.

A Palm laptop? It'll probably take a couple of iterations to get the functionality right but I'm chompin' at the bit to give it a spin.

the VisorMiser
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. -- Sir Winston Churchill

batmon @ 9/25/2003 9:16:05 PM #
For me, I don't want to buy anymore new devices to replace my laptop. I would prefer to install PalmOS to my current laptop. I have a Panasonic T2 ( and it only weighted 2.6 lbs with 12.1 screen, PC card slot, SD card slot, wireless, etc. With PalmOS installed and no boot time, this will be the perfect device for me.

btw, Linux ppl is already doing this. They are planning to have OPIE x86 version soon.

Palm better hurry up.

OS 5/6 laptop? Why didn't anyone think of this before?!

Jacques T @ 9/25/2003 9:46:21 PM #
Palm OS on a laptop would be the end of mecanical noisy hard drives! and ... * DRUM ROLL *

No boot times!

For god's sake people, why has this not been done already? LOL

Palm OS has great office suites, games, etc. It can do mostly anything most people need in a computer.

I have an even BETTER idea. :-)

Jacques T @ 9/25/2003 9:56:34 PM #
Don't make Palm OS laptops. Make Palm OS PDA docking stations!

Ex.: At home, your "shell" docking station would be made up of a full size keyboard, a normal sized LCD screen, a mouse, etc. You simply take your Palm OS PDA and plug it in the docking port! The PDA serves as the brain and it charges as you use it as your desktop!

RE: I have an even BETTER idea. :-)
Jacques T @ 9/25/2003 9:59:07 PM #
Note: I want royalties on this brilliant idea. :)

Just kidding. hehe

Open Office?
ignatius @ 9/25/2003 10:33:35 PM #
I already envision a Star/OpenOffice port. And of course it does need a hard drive. Why is it that PDAs don't have HDs already when MP3 players do?

Also, this will be a great easy to use Internet terminal for web and email for those who hate dealing with a complicated OS.

RE: I have an even BETTER idea. :-)
dustbunny44 @ 9/25/2003 10:45:34 PM #
Why are MP3 players w/HDs not better PDAs?
Will my next PDA (ok, maybe the one after that) come from Ear instead of Palm?

Earsource sounds a bit gooey.

RE: I have an even BETTER idea. :-)
Gabriel Morales @ 9/26/2003 4:36:10 AM #
mj6798 wrote:

"Oh, here is another nice, small, cheap laptop that "just works":"

I second that! Going to try to get one this December. And no huge constant virus/security patches like Windoze, either!

But, I also agree that there's a place for a "midway" device, between today's PDAs and laptops. Bu, I do think they need a hard drive, unlike contrary suggestions.

The main OS can run from a flash card, but I think a great application for a device like this would be for downloading digital photos and even video to the device, thereby freeing up flash cards for more pictures. Why? Because hard drives are reliable and much cheaper per megabyte.

A device, smaller than a laptop, but bigger than a Palm OS PDA, with a color screen (and no, or next to no, boot up time), sporting a capable web browser, e-Mail client, word processor, picture and video viewer, e-Book reader and simple games would fill in perfectly. It'd have a few gigabytes free for photo and video storage. Wi-Fi is a must.

Of course, the deciding factor would be the price. It would have to be much less than what a decent notebook would cost. Certainly less than $1000.

If there were a device like that out right now, I would probably be looking into it.

RE: I have an even BETTER idea. :-)
JonathanChoo @ 9/26/2003 9:01:34 AM #
pictures of the Dell Axim X3 seems to indicate it is capable of 'docking'. This is also similar to IBM's Meta idea. However I wouldn't get a PalmOS laptop. Its just not powerful enough. However I think its very useful in industrial/medical field and also for students.

Psion 5 -> Palm Vx -> Palm m505 -> Sony N770C -> Sony T625C -> Sony NR70V -> Toshiba e310 -> Palm Tungsten T -> HP h2210 -> Palm Tungsten T/3
RE: I have an even BETTER idea. :-)
jbarr @ 9/26/2003 11:38:52 AM #
Hmmm. A Palm Docking Station is a clever idea. This hints at an idea that I'v had for a while:

My idea is to integrate, a "Smart Card reader" on EVERY networked PC, public or private, desktop, laptop or Kiosk. Then, no mater what computer I want to use, I just insert my Smart Card, authenticate, and it initiates a remote connection to some controlling "server" that opens a window "session" that contains MY personal "workspace". Kind of like a Citrix or Teminal Server connection initiated by simply inserting a Smart Card and authenticating. The "workspace" would contain all the apps and tools that I use, customized to my liking. Because it's a remote connection, as long as each "workstation" PC has required minimun specs, my "experience" would be identical regardless of machine or OS I'm using. All "processing" would be handled on the "server".

But YOUR idea could be taken to this level: Set up every PC as I recommended, but instead, of a Smart Card reader, make it a PDA Docking Cradle. Connect your PDA to any of these PC's and instantly, the PC opens up "YOUR" remote screen. If a network connection is unavailable or if you prefer not to connect remotely, then the PDA would provide all of the functionality locally. And, you wouldn't even really need a full-blown PC, just a "smart cradle" that would handle Network and PDA connectivity, video output to a monitor, and basic user I/O through a keyboard and a mouse.

THAT would be cool!!!!!

Now, where did I put that extra venture investment capitol? Oh, that's right...

A good move for Palm

Ezra4no1 @ 9/26/2003 7:14:23 AM #
I personally think this is a brillent move for Palm if they can actually do it right.

The Palm industry is huge and nothing is more common among people than a Palm of some sort. Palm also has a very large base of programmers which I belive would support a laptop of some sort.

I also think a laptop style Palm is perfect for students and even travelers types in the business field. If you really think about it, most people with Laptops aren't power users and aren't doing heavy CPU crunching either. A Palm based Laptop I think would be perfect for writng papers, presentations, checking email, accessing the internet, mobility, PIM stuff, and so on. It would keep the Palm OS for many people in the center of all that a user would need, from PIM stuff, to using a lighter version of a laptop today.

Truth be told, if my current Palm was in the form of a light, thin, and easy to carry laptop right now, I would have no need for my current Laptop as my Palm currently is the center of all my work. Palm could put out a Laptop stye PDA as well as a smaller Tablet syle. I thnk that would be perfect and my totaly defection from using Windows would almost be

RE: How about just a dockable palm?
ronpro @ 9/26/2003 9:25:52 AM #
I think this would be slick. If my palm WERE my computer. I could dock the palm when I'm at my desk. There I would have a monitor, keyboard and mouse. When I'm on the go, I undock my palm and take it along. It's got its own screen so I have access to everything I need right there with me. If I'm going to a meeting to do a presentation, I bring my palm with me, dock it into the overhead projector and voi la. Hotels and planes would have docks so when I'm on travel I can plug in and work just as if I'm in my office.

Oh great, they'll labor mightily and give birth to a

pdouglas12 @ 9/26/2003 11:37:07 AM #
Oh great, they'll labor mightily and give birth to a Toshiba Libretto. Granted, a new Libretto is a couple of thousand, and boots up Windows-slowly, but it will do everything you ever wanted from a computer or a PDA in a coat pocket sized machine. And you don't have to buy a folding keyboard, memory cards, ethernet/phone modems, wi-fi cards (oh, yeah, SD still hasn't given us a Wi-Fi for Palm, have they? Why do you think I even read Palm Infocenter every day? Just to see if there is an 802.11 SD card that works with my Tungsten.) And if you're carrying a Palm in one pocket and an iBook like I am (and that's another thing. Why can't Apple make a lightweight machine that doesn't damage my supraspinatus tendons in both shoulders?), then maybe the solution for some of us is a single sub/sub notebook capable of running all the PC software, including the personal management stuff we keep on our Palms.

RE: Oh great, they'll labor mightily and give birth to a
hotpaw4 @ 9/26/2003 1:20:45 PM #
A PalmOS laptop would cost far less than a Libretto and have far better battery life.

The problem is that most potential customers have certain expectations for a Wintel/linux/MacOS laptop. Under-power it, or leave out some spindles, and very few people will buy one.

However for not-much more than the cost of a Tungsten C or UX50, you could add a full-sized keyboard, and exceed people expectations for a PalmOS device. Add a 6X larger battery to this, and you could blow away almost any laptop in terms of battery life at less than half the weight, and at a lower price.

However the real win is in terms of sysadmin costs/time. How many Palmtops have been 0wn3d by sobig.X, et. al.?

It is the cost of the apps!

RhinoSteve @ 9/29/2003 11:45:57 PM #
One thing you are all missing is the average cost of PalmOS apps vs. Windows applications. The going price for a single license of MS Office Professional is $350. While the full, single user license of Dataviz Documents to go is $45. That is a signifigant difference in cost of ownership and a wonderful opportunity for the small Palm OS developer to take on matured PC software companies.

When a computer is loaded up with apps by a professional user, the cost of the software well exceeds the cost of the hardware. While there is not the speed to run things like Photoshop or Maya on a PalmOS laptop, more common apps like a office suites, web browers and email clients can work very well.

Also, on the developer side ... a Palm OS laptop, you can now have enough screen real estate to actually do development of Palm apps on a Palm OS device.

Exciting for sure! Makes me glad I abandoned Windows development five years ago.

Why don't people want BlueTooth?

dona83 @ 10/16/2003 12:20:20 AM #
I'm a Tungsten T owner and it pairs great with my Nokia 6310i. Unlike WiFi, I can use the internet on the train, bus, during class (hehe), anywhere. I mean I don't like being confined to my house to use the internet and quite frankly I don't want to be confined to a hot spot just to use the internet either. Bluetooth is a great little thing, doesn't waste much power, gives access anywhere. I'm waiting for WiFi to gain more ground (literally) before I buy an expansion card for it.


What ever happenned to this?

gfunkmagic @ 12/2/2004 10:45:09 PM #

Oh, how mightly things have changed since this story was first posted... :(

I support


RE: What ever happenned to this?
mikecane @ 5/24/2005 6:09:53 PM #
Nagel resigned.


How's THAT for change?



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