Hawkins Strikes Back Against FUD

Jeff Hawkins, CEO of Handspring and co-creator of the Palm platform, used a session at PalmSource 2000 this week to dispel a few false myths about the Palm. These have been spread by the Palm community's rivals in an attempt to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) and remove the luster from the foremost handheld computing platform. Microsoft is well known for using this tactic on its competitors and Hawkins mentioned Symbian, too.

Hawkins started off with "The Palm can't do Multimedia". He used a Prism to play a video and an MP3 file. Next he tackled "The Palm can't do telephony" by plugging in a mobile phone Springboard and trying to call someone who he claimed was Colly Myers, Symbian's CEO. When all he got was voicemail, Hawkins started a three-way conference call and then sent an SMS message.

Hawkins did admit that the Palm platform does have limitations. He cited the limited memory and processor speed and the lack of multitasking, but he said, ""All these things you can work around. The bottom line is none of this gets in our way of building user-friendly products. They are annoyances at best. We don't see any products on the horizon that we can't build using the Palm OS."

He went on to say that people are getting side tracked with discussions about. technology "These are not technology products. Our competitors don't understand that message; it's all about user experience."

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mobile phone for handspring

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2000 9:02:29 PM #
when is it coming out already dammit!

RE: mobile phone for handspring
Ed @ 12/18/2000 10:37:37 AM #
The VisorPhone is available now for $300.


Palm Infocenter

68K: 32 bits + more power than you think

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2000 10:52:26 PM #
Of course Motorola is going to boost the DragonBall's processing power, but don't forget that a Palm IIIc or Vx has 2.5 times the processing power of the original Atari ST, Macintosh, or Amiga, along with more memory. The VZ goes to 4x.

PalmOS (pre 3.5) wouldn't allow for more than 64k chunks, but that is less of a problem.

The basic 68000 architecture IS 32 bit (pointers and integers) with a few 16 bit areas (e.g. you can do 16x16 multiply -> 32 bit). The enhanced cores - 68010, CPU32, 68020/30+ are full 32 bit and can include things like barrel shifters and floating point. If any of that is really needed. And they can do virtual memory.

That said, it's stupid in the days of 3D graphics cards not to have a Blitter to do the graphics and DSP for audio (here is a legit criticism - the speaker is terrible). Assuming they aren't stupid they won't try to do everything - especially multimedia - in a general purpose processor, so while everyone is speculating and spinning processors, the next device might have some interesting peripheral chips.

The ARM Dragonballs should also be interesting and be useful for different things. But it is not obviously superior to the 68K architecture. This, like most other things, depend on what you use the processor for.

The only question is with 10x the processing power and proportional battery drainage, why do WinCE/PPC devices seem so much slower...

RE: 68K: 32 bits + more power than you think
bcombee @ 12/17/2000 3:18:24 AM #
The big advantages of ARM are:

1) Lower power consumption for equivalent MIPS. This means you get longer battery life, which is very useful.

2) ARM is already used as the core CPU by many of the cell phone manufacturers. PalmOS on ARM means that it can play well in the smartphone world.

3) ARM chips are made by many manufacturers, while DragonBall is Motorola-only. Diversity of CPUs means not being held hostage to a single supplier.

No more simple?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 6:09:38 AM #
I thought Palm users didn't WANT mp3, multimedia and high-res. I thot Palm was all SIMPLE. Michael Mace, Bill Maggs and now Hawkins sound like they work for MS. Honestly, the hypocrisy is striking per Palm OS types. Hawkins "Mr. No Flash Rom" is promoing his already outdated Handsprings, and he's suddenly on a future-ish multimedia, high-res, color kick. Ummm, Pocket PC's have all that NOW by default.

RE: No more simple?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 6:32:36 AM #
I really don't understand why people get so personally involved in this inconsequential Palm vs PPC "war". There are some PPC users and Palm OS users who seem to have their self esteem tied up with the popularity or not of their preferred unit. "If I can just heap enough dung on PPCs and show that Palm OS is better then I can feel better about myself, for the other guy must be a jerk!" and vice versa.
Some of us prefer Palms and some of us prefer PPCs. This is really materialism and consumerism pushed to ridiculous limits, but then again, technology is the new God, however my form of worship is better than yours! Thsnk God for America!

RE: No more simple?
Ed @ 12/15/2000 7:48:18 AM #
This is the most interesting news tidbit I've read in a while. It's from a Wired article from a few days ago:

Michael Mace, Palm's chief competitive officer, said Microsoft has been aggressively feeding Palm-vs.-Pocket-PC stories to the press in an effort to position the company as the leading challenger, when in fact, they aren't.

The strategy is to make Microsoft look like Palm's major competitor, instead of Symbian and Research in Motion, which runs the Blackberry pager.

"They are trying to make themselves number two when they are number three and fading," Mace said.

Palm Infocenter

RE: No more simple?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 9:45:30 AM #
>I really don't understand why people get so personally >involved in this inconsequential Palm vs PPC "war".

I think a large part of why people get so wrapped up in promoting their favorite handheld is that they want to protect their financial investment. Nobody wants to pay hundreds of dollars for a device that they won't be able to find software for down the road. The more people you can convert into using your device, the more likely it is that people will keep writing software for it.

RE: No more simple?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 12:27:43 PM #
No PDA Wars, I agree...

But he/she DOES point out the interesting quirk of saying 'simple' on one hand and then offering 'multi-media' on the other. Some like PPC's, some like Palm's...each have strength's and weaknesses.

But I find it somewhat humorous that Palm is forsaking the 'less is more' simple organizer philsophy.

People want their PDA's to do more...not saying anything pro-MS. But all very interesting...

RE: No more simple?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 5:50:13 PM #
I think the issue with "simple" is this:

I can get a cheap grayscale Palm to use for the built-in applications, plus maybe some enhancements (Hi-note, Flash if I'm a student) with a simple user-interface.

I can also blow out for a color screen and do the mp3 and video thing.

However, I have a price range and upgrade path through that range, with a simple user interface that allows complex applications if I so desire.

Pocket-PC devices, as far as I know, are mostly all geared towards the techno-head. At their simplest, they are more complex than the Palm at IT's simplest. The way I use my Palm, I have no use for a color screen nor IrDA and so I'm happy still using my Pro. But I can pick up the latest Handspring or Palm and still know how to use it off the bat. I don't know of an M100-level P-PC that someone could start off with before they are willing to blow $350+ on a gee-wiz device, and then easily move over to the gee-whiz unit later. Palm offers this.

Being Raped

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 12:50:51 PM #
Oh boy..... I know I am going to get raped for thinking this... But the Palm and all it's licensees need to realize is that it's all about technology. We are not living in the Paper Day Planner age with these things. Paper Day Planners are about the user experince, because they offer nothing else beyond that, ( no multimedia, no computer sync, and so forth. ). PDA's are about technology no matter how you look at it. The GUI and the interface of a PDA is about user experince. The programs written for each of the PDA out there is about user experince. But what lies beneath that is 100 precent technology and if that technology is out dated and or limited, than the user experince begins to suffer as their needs and wants grow with the technical advances of socity. I commend Jeff Hawkins for helping to bring about the Visors and creating a better "user experince" with his limited technical advance known as the spring board. But how can he sit there and say it's not about technology when many users are limited to what growth they can grow too. The video stream for the Palm is POOR at best and does not qualify for multimedia. That's what slide shows are for. A 200 to 300 dollar add on device that can act as a standalone MP3 player is not an advancement to the PDA world, but is only a strap on.
I think what Palm and Jeff Hawkins really need to realize, is that most people who go and debate about these things aren't saying the Ipaq is better or that everyone needs to convert over, but are discussing a concern because most of us really like the the Palm OS and their PDA's. We want them to stay on top and always be there. We discuss because we hope that we may be heard and because we see a need that could be met. It's not a a PDA war. They can still keep all the simplicity of their OS and interface of the PDA, and still offer more technology with their hardware in their devices. For them to ignore these concerns when their competitors only lacking is their software would be devistating.

But than again.. This is just my own view of things.

RE: Being Raped
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 6:00:18 PM #
The point is - I'm happy with my original III. I sometimes wonder how I managed before my Palm, yet I feel no need to upgrade and have no desire for color or streaming M-Media.

Some day, I might need to replace it or need more memory for growing applications.

However, I DON'T want to get stuck with the tab for all the technology crap I don't want, nor for "looks" (like the V).

Third-party add-ons, like an MP-3 player, allow the device to be customized. Also, I'm not stuck with the original hardware. Somebody can make a BETTER 3rd party MP3 player which I can stick on. If it's built-in, I'm out for a whole new PDA and the pain of switching everything else over if I want something better.

P-PC shoves the technology crap down my throat- it's there whether I want it or not.

There will always be propeller-heads and techno-wonks who feel they NEED the latest crap.

RE: Being Raped
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 6:40:57 PM #
Read the post again.. I think you're missing the point. It's not Mp3's that so many people are complaining about. It's the little dumb things, like the ability to add more memory if ever needed ( not that Palm would be sholving the extra 6 megs down your throat just becase you bought an 8 meg PDA over a 2 meg PDS ). It's about the ability to have the option to grow. Something dumb like adding a tiny speaker on the Visors. I mean you already have a mic there that serves no purpose unless you spend the extra 60 to 180 bucks for a voice memo springboard. How hard or how much for sight do you need to see this? As far as your example about having technolgy that is being forced down "our" throats and never being used, than you'd hate Visor. They They give you non flashable Roms with software that you can NEVER delete if wanted, which just takes up memory. And they have YET produced an upgrade path to 3.5 OS on the older Visors, ( makes you wonder if they will for 4.0) and you have Mic that most people will never use.. But what if a third party comapany had a more sensitive mic that can be used in its place, you're stuck with what's on the board.. IT'S a stupid argument to even bring up what PPC's in this discussion.. Because everything you mentioned about sholving technology down your throat is ALL SOFTWARE BASE ON PPC'S. Where as pound for pound looking at the hardware of most PPCs running WinCE or a veryation of Lynix (like the Ipaq Lynix), or maybe even someday an emulater for the PPC's to run the Palm, Still has more ability to allow you to do what youwant if youwanted to with out sholving anything down your throat, Where as Palm it's self is limited so much so that they have enough trouble running some of their own software written for it, with out using some kind of overclocking program which voids your warranty anyway. You don't want streaming video or Mp3 players, THAN DELETE THE DARN SOFTWARE on the PPC devices..
The point being.. Again I think Jeff Hawkins is smoking some happy joints to tell people that the hardware has nothing to do with technology when it has everything to do with technology. They can still keep the OS to BE SIMPLE and give the user that "user experince", which after all is what anyone who isn't a techie really cares about anyway.

RE: Being Raped
digichimp @ 12/16/2000 7:21:14 AM #
i loved hawkins demo of what his visor did running the current palm os. he played mp3s on a soundsgood springboard, showed an activesky video clip and 3 way conferencing on the visorphone.

He dispelled the myth that la palm os is not technologically robust enough to do these things.
It was quite effective to see all this using current standards. if you want more more more, palm powered handhelds allow for customization, but feature expansion from market pressure is no substitute for real solutions to real problems.

I'll wouldn't trade my technolgically inept 9600 wireless radio on my Palm Viix with its palm.net web clipping solution for a decked out ipaq with sierra air card. sure there is different ebay valuation but try 'surfing' with full internet browsing and you will wonder why avantgo is pitched to ppcs.

its all about the user experience and i think palm has the best one out there.

people will always want the latest and greatest, but in my experience they really want to fill an empty spiritual need through 'technology' and end up stocking their materialistic shelves with useless paperweights and giving more money to Gates and co. to help immunize poor children of the world.

So I guess the lesson is buy microsoft and help poor children of the world ;-P

Save your money, buy a palm powered tool, and use it to better manage your life and work to make this world a better place before you leave it.

RE: Being Raped
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2000 5:07:54 PM #
I think the original post is an excellent view on what is frequently clouded with the usual anti-Microsoft crap.

Microsoft wrote CE, but it is the hardware (technology) manufacturers that bring it to life. I do not want to get into the usual Palm vs PPC war, but how would a lot of these arguments go if we were comparing Palm with a iPaq running Linux (no microsoft anywhere).

I think the iPaq (qa problems aside) is the PDA of choice and it has nothing to do with the OS it is running. It shows what is technologically possible with a PDA that has the basics built in (great screen, flash memory, microphone, speaker, earphones) and an super-expandable design where you can currently add-on just about every device ever made for the PC. The unit can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, and I am still not talking about anything Microsoft has acheived here.

If this thing would run the Palm OS, it would slaughter the Palm and Handspring colour offerings...because of the technology alone.

sorry wince - palm rules

arrestthisman @ 12/15/2000 5:49:35 PM #
I wonder if any wince users can play a couple of mp3s, a few minutes of a movie, and still have enough power left to write a report on a full size keyboard? I don't think so, unless the screen is off. :)
RE: sorry wince - palm rules
EGarrido @ 12/16/2000 5:19:02 PM #
I am an avid Palm AND WinCE user, which makes my answer even more valid: Yes, I can do all that on my CE device. I own a IBM z50 (full sized keyboard, color display, etc.) and I do all of that daily. PLUS, I can do it off of an IBM Microdrive which takes even MORE power to use.

Don't get me wrong. I love my palm. But I also love my WinCE device for what it does.

Eric Garrido

MP3 & MM

Eston Bond @ 12/16/2000 12:49:08 AM #
Palm should release a Pocket PC competitor, but don't forget a lot of Palm users want affordability. I'm a power user and a developer, and even though the Prism is appealing, my Vx is great. It does look good too. Like Palm said contrasting it with a Pocket PC: "One you can put in your pocket, the other you can put in your pocket and it pulls your pants down." Pick up a V and Pick up an iPaq. You'll see a difference. And if I want MP3, isn't that what my Rio 600 is for?

Eston Bond
CEO Pine Tree Software

RE: MP3 & MM
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2000 7:05:14 PM #
No... what Palm and visor should do is release a "beefed" up version (again meaning hardware) of a PDA running the Palm OS. I can't see why they wont. The PPC comunity enjoys this, with their different CPU speed's some with built in sound cards and not, some with color and some not, somewith 8,16,32 megs and some wireless. I think that would solve the problem with geeks or techies who would like to take their palms based PDA to the limit. And Idon't think they would need to change the OS either...Thats of course unless their OS is limited and can't handle those changes.

RE: MP3 & MM
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/26/2000 6:42:08 PM #
I think consumers want a GOOD organizer, not an "all in one" appliance. That's what MP3 players and laptops are for. Just improve the existing device without too much cost.

Stick with Palm OS, but IMPROVE on it.
- Add a Photo feature to the Address Book.
- Improve the processor speed.
- Improve the battery life.
- Keep it CHEAP. Keep it SIMPLE. Keep it SMALL.
- Add the T9 keyboard.
- Improve on the Handspring Calculator.
- Buy out somboday like Iambic, and incorporate features from Iambic Software (or any other good third party software company)
- Continue to develop/expand Springboard modules.
- Make the microphone FUNCTIONAL.
- Improve the SPEAKER.

And the list can go on and on....

I think that Palm has the greatest share palmtop users. Handspring can capitalize on the Palm customer base by continuing to IMPROVE the Visor, but not by making it "do everything" (like MP3 and MM) and costing double.

MP3s etc.

Da Mohel @ 12/17/2000 8:00:39 PM #
You know what? My DAYTIMER doesn't play music either. It doesn't do slide shows and didn't fit in my pocket. The palm suits my ORGANIZER needs. My laptop meets my travel needs and my desktop meets other needs. I don't want a SPORTSCAR / DUMPTRUCK. This is the right tool for the right application.
Just my one fiftieth of a dollar.

To Jeff Hawkings.. Heres User Experince..

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 2:40:21 PM #
For ever Palm user who has ever complained about simplicity, and to Jeff Hawkins who has a twisted idea of what "user experince" means to those who really use their PDA's, I give the following;

"Let me recap this for you: I was connected to my office via modem, from a Paris hotel room, and I was downloading my e-mail, surfing the Web and streaming live audio from MSNBC Cable. All at the same time. All on a PDA. And computer manufacturers are wondering why desktop sales are beginning to slow down?"


That is an example of User experince. Don't offend our intelligence by giving us your lame definition of what user experince should be. And I know Palm could do this too, if they would step out of their shell and work on their hardware for their PDAs, and keeping the OS simple.


I.M. Anonymous @ 12/26/2000 7:05:56 PM #
Ron is back-peddleing. I think consumers still want a GOOD organizer, not an "all in one" appliance. That's what MP3 players and laptops are for. Just improve the existing device without adding too much cost. Don't tell us that the Handspring is "perfect". It's far from it. We DON'T want a device that's lost it's simplicity, effeciency and value.

Stick with the Palm OS and do things like:
- Add a Photo feature to the Address Book.
- Improve the processor speed.
- Improve the battery life.
- Keep it CHEAP. Keep it SIMPLE. Keep it SMALL.
- Add the T9 keyboard.
- Improve on the Handspring Calculator.
- Buy out somebody like Iambic Software, and incorporate features from their software (or any other good third party software company)
- Continue to develop/expand Springboard modules.
- Make the Handspring microphone FUNCTIONAL.
- Improve the SPEAKER.
- Make the ROM Flashable.

And the list can go on and on....

I think that Palm has the greatest share palmtop users. Handspring can capitalize on the Palm customer base by continuing to IMPROVE the Visor, but not by making it "do everything" (like MP3 and MM) and costing double, or else Handspring will definately loose the Palm customer base and have to earn their own customer base for their NEW Multimedia Do Everything Visor device. A scary proposition if you ask me.



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