Several New Palm-Related Technologies on the Horizon

Wireless Roaming
Columbitech has developed a method to allow handheld and notebook users to roam between different wireless networks during a single session. The Wireless VPN would allow, for example, a user to access the office network using a wireless local area network card, then travel home, still connected using a CDPD connection. At home, the user would then automatically switch over to a Bluetooth connection, all the time still on the same online session. A prototype was demoed at CeBit. "We're planning on developing a Palm version of the seamless roaming technology by the end of the year," the company's CEO said.

Solar Power
Germany's Fraunhofer Institute has developed a new method for powering small devices with solar power. A superefficient solar cell built into the handheld would recharge a miniature hydrogen fuel cell. Researchers have demonstrated a high-performance solar module in the lid of a Casio handheld that completely frees it from external power supplies. "The decisive factor is that the device can run on solar power alone even under low lighting levels," said Christopher Hebling, head group that developed it. "At a normal workplace, you have only 3% of the brightness of summer sunshine. Even down to a level of 1%, the electrical voltage provided by our solar module remains virtually constant."

Organic Displays
Companies are working on making organic displays the replacement for the LCDs used in current handhelds and notebooks. Back in the early 80s, a scientist discovered that some organic molecules glow when a low voltage current is passed through them. Since then, much work has gone into making this discovery into a workable display technology. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens have numerous advantages over LCDs. Their structure is simple: an electrode, an organic material, then another electrode. There's no backlight, no diffuser, no polarizers, or any of the other complex and power-draining parts needed for LCDs. This leads a thinner and lighter screen. OLEDs shine much brighter than LCDs and are visible even in daylight. Also, their simple structure could make manufacturing them 20% to 50% cheaper than their rival.

However, OLEDs still have a ways to go before they are in handhelds. The screens have distressingly short lives. The colors begin fading after a 1,000 hours of use on the best ones. Research is ongoing to make the screens last longer. Even with this limitation, there are already handheld phones with organic displays and manufacturers are ramping up to make more, and larger, screens.

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OLEDs. . .

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2001 11:24:15 AM #
I think it would be fair if they sold replacement screens. That way the screens would be like light bulbs: if it burns out, replace it.

BTW, what would be the price for a Palm-sized OLED screen?


RE: OLEDs. . .
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2001 11:55:27 AM #
Do you really want to turn your handheld into something that "eats displays"? I can't imagine displays would get cheap enough for them to be replaced without making wallets go thin, but let's say they were. How attractive is the idea of having to regularly change the display? Isn't that why a lot of us have rechargeable handhelds, so we don't have to worry about *replacing* batteries? Having to replace the display would be an added inconvenience. Then again, maybe I'm being a PDA snob, but this would probably be a good idea for the low end of the market, a la Palm m10x.

Nash Barday

RE: OLEDs. . .
atrizzah @ 4/29/2001 8:02:34 PM #
I agree, but it would take a while to run out a 1000 hr screen. I think all of these new technologies are really cool.

Peace Out
RE: OLEDs. . .
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2001 11:04:05 AM #
If we would use the best possible scenario, the replacable (light bulb-esque) idea could be a real

Lets see, if the screens could be made at 50% cheeper and last 1000hrs...
I, on average, use my Palm(pilot) no more than 3hrs per day. A 1000hr screan would last me
333.33 days.
Now if the screans are 50% cheeper, lets assume that current screen price is $100, I would have
to add $50 to my Palm(pilot) every year.

Next we can add in the advantages...
(1) less battery usage - the screen is a leading consumer of your battery, rechargable or otherwise.
(2) less battery weight - again due to the need for less battery for the screen
(3) smaller PDA - thinner and lighter screen

and one last assumption - most people (that I know) are replacing their PDA about every 3-4 years.
This is mainly due to the advent of new technologies. Total estimated lifetime cost of Palm(pilot) with
this new screen would be very close to current cost.

And a nice benifit I would like to dream up could be the development of a truely upgradable system in the PDA world.
Don't like your resolution, plug in a new screen, don't like your memory - swap some more in, don't like your
Processor speed - well you should be able to see where I'm going. And, yes, I know the idea of a swappable PDA
has been thought up before, but it still is majorily vapor-wear.


P.S. - before anyone desides to point it out, Yep, Assume makes an ASS of U and ME, but it makes
an ASS of U first.

RE: OLEDs. . .
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2001 5:13:22 PM #
Also, if you were 'forced' to replace your screen after a certain period of'd get a new, scratch-free screen every 333 days...e.g. every year.

But since I've had a new PDA every 12 or so months for the past couple years....I don't know that it'd matter.

Super efficient solar panels AND fuel cells, vs the OLED

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2001 1:05:31 AM #
If I never have to charge my batteries manually again I wouldn't replacing my OLED screen once every 10 months or so.

Hey I suppose that Sony's new Clie uses a faster processor now that it can decode music on the fly...

Still I am going to wait for Handspring to release a module like the Handera 330, you know with the soft graffiti area, and two expansion slots.

The Handspring will have to be in color though, and thinner than the edge using a high res active matrix OLED. And the handspring will have a super fast processor, built in always on email/internet with roaming, wireless lan, bluetooth, music decoding out of the box. Now add voice to make it a third generation mobile phone. Then all I need is a high res digital camera springboard, probably 8 megapixels, with great zoom, but it's removable (springboard) so I don't always need the extra weight of a zoom lense.



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