Opinion: My Predictions for the Palm OS in 2002

At the end of the year, it is human nature to either look back over the year that is ending or look ahead toward the coming year. Long-time contributor Mike Cane has decided to play Cassandra and give us his predictions for what we can expect over the next twelve months.

My Predictions for the Palm OS in 2002
by Mike Cane
Copyright © 2001 by Mike Cane.
All Rights Reserved.
Exclusive to Palm Infocenter.

It's been a strange year for Palm OS. The m505 screen controversy. The surprise waves of Cliés from Sony. TRG becoming HandEra and winding up on shelves in CompUSA. Palm acquiring and then abandoning new companies and old strategies. Then the surprise bombshell of Palm acquiring BeOS. And finally the long-awaited end of Carl Yankowski's reign of error.

The next year will be even stranger -- but exciting too. Based on trends already in motion (to those who have been observing carefully), here are my predictions for Palm OS in 2002 (in no particular order).

1) Sony will release a dual-slot Palm OS PDA. It will have a conventional Memory Stick slot on top. In its side will be a slot for its to-be-introduced half-sized Memory Stick. The advantage is to use the side slot for data storage and the top slot for a camera, GPS, Bluetooth or even conventional Memory Stick storage. (This may seem old hat to HandEra and Pocket PC owners, but it will further illustrate Sony's intentions to continue innovating with Palm OS.) With this model, Sony will have finally fixed the letter-spacing problems with its English-language fonts.

2) Late in 2002, when ARMed/BeOSed Palms start to appear, Sony will introduce the first Palm OS PDA with a built-in hard drive. Sony will use -- or will have licensed or developed in-house a version of -- the tiny 5GB Hitachi hard drive currently found in the Apple iPod. This PDA ("Super Clié"?) will be the first to really show off Palm OS as a multimedia PDA. Video and MP3 without the expense or limitations of Memory Stick (or MMC/SD). And forget USB (1 or 2). Think iLink (aka Firewire or IEEE-1394). (How else would you download TV programs from Sony's PVR?)

3) Microsoft will relent and port Microsoft Reader to Palm OS. If they can't crush Palm with Pocket PC (and they can't; at least not yet), they will at least want to try to "own" the ebook space. They will succeed, too. Porting Pocket Internet Explorer to Palm OS will not be as successful, however. Not up against Opera and other fuller-featured competitors. Palm OS will prevent Microsoft from finally "owning" the Net.

4) Apple will license Palm OS and produce a "Palm OS Companion." Not exactly an iMac, it will be a scaled-down and very-affordable machine that is what the 3Com Audrey should have been -- a very Palm-friendly syncing/desktop device for people who don't want an iMac or PC. Developers will flock to it, to create "desktop companion" versions of their palmtop programs. Imagine using WordSmith on your desktop -- the features of MS Word at a fraction of its cost! Not to mention the multimedia features of the "Palm OS Companion" that dovetail into Apple's "digital hub" strategy. (Apple will want Palm owners locked into QuickTime -- not the bizarrely-named "Windows Media Player for Palm OS"!)

5) Handspring will drop the Springboard concept. The form factor has become too large and Springboard peripheral sales will continue to disappoint. Few will care. All of the new Treo owners will have never even heard of a Springboard. Handspring will focus on the mainstream consumer market with new Palm OS PDAs, minus Springboard slots.

6) Palm will abandon the low-end and mainstream consumer markets. Say goodbye to the ugly m1xx-series. Asian manufacturers -- Taiwan, South Korea, and China -- will license Palm OS and produce very-cheap and nearly-disposable Palm OS PDAs based on the Dragonball version of Palm OS (viz, pre-Palm OS 5). Palm will insist these new licensees use their Universal Connector -- making existing peripheral manufacturers very, very happy. Tens of millions more Palm PDA owners will join the fun. (Don't laugh at the Barbie and Hot Wheels versions.)

7) "Palm OS -- Connected to Your World" will be the latest strategy for Palm. With its installed base of millions worldwide, and its new and buffed Palm OS 5, Palm will begin to migrate Palm connectivity to other devices. Using a Palm as an e-wallet with Visa software will just be the start. There will be Mobil Speedcash via a Palm PDA. ATMs will begin to offer wireless Pocket Quicken connectivity. The consumer model of Segway will have Palm connectivity (stats, diagnosis, directions). AOL will incorporate special "Palm OS-friendly" features -- such as being able to download software that will automatically transfer to a Palm OS PDA on its next HotSync (you will love the TV Guide software that links to the Date Book!). No more separate Install step (at least for AOL subscribers). (And no more AvantGo -- unless AOL acquires them.)

8) Finally! Palm will announce it has licensed Calligrapher for Palm OS (v. 5). But just like Microsoft's licensed version for Pocket PC (Microsoft Transcriber), the included version will contain a limited feature set. It will probably be called "Palm Writer." Still very useful, but power users will quickly upgrade to the full-featured Calligrapher. Millions of veteran Palm users will start the painful process of learning to really write on a screen; unlearning Graffiti will not be pretty.

9) Java! The very word gives Gates and Ballmer indigestion. It is the weak point in Microsoft's Pocket PC strategy to dominate the enterprise market. Full Java compliance and special Palm OS hooks -- with huge support from mainframe/server suppliers such as IBM, Sun, Dell, and even HP/Compaq -- will give Palm a real edge in enterprise sales. Oracle's Larry Ellison will be very happy.

10) Palm will shift its focus to the high-end consumer and businesses, to prop up profits. Sony will address multimedia for consumers, Handspring will go after mainstream consumers with new Springboard-free Palm OS PDAs and its Treo. Newbies and the low-enders will snap up the super-cheap Asian Dragonballed versions. HandEra will get lost in the shuffle.

11) Of course, Palm will still miss a great opportunity. It can't shake its myopic past altogether. Palm will again neglect to produce the first truly global PDA. There will still be separate ROMs for different languages. My dream of having a PDA in which I can effortlessly mix English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Greek and Korean in a single Memo or DOC will still have to wait. But then, there's always 2003 -- and just wait until you see what's in Palm OS 6!

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How about this...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 8:56:35 AM #
Palm finally makes memory expansion truly seamless.

I have a hard time believing palm OS 5 will work so well given the headaches involved in getting expansion memory to work.

Apple will not release a audrey like device which would cannibalize iMac and iBook sales while providing thousands of support headaches on a low margin device.

RE: How about this...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:45:17 AM #
Agreed...Apple will never license Palm OS so long Jobs is at the head.

2002 iPod PDA
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:54:52 AM #
Prepare for a new 2002 iPod from Apple which will feature a Newton-like Apple proprietary OS/Applications along along with color screen and hardware expansion capabilities. This is a super-top secret project at Apple, and they are finishing the final prototype as we speak. Look for it around end of Q2.

RE: How about this...
Smaug @ 12/28/2001 9:22:03 PM #
I highly doubt it, not only did apple get spanked on the newton. The handheld market is oversaturated with little room for another player, especially at apples prices.

RE: How about this...
He||Raiser @ 12/29/2001 2:11:05 AM #
Remember, Jobs has been becoming much more loose towards other products recently. He's jumped on the Microsoft bandwagon by integrating MSIE and MS Office into the MacOS. I was doing research for a speech on the computer industry and I found a quote from Jobs in which he said that he believed that the new version of Office for the Mac would be the poster boy for the way software for the Mac should be designed. Scary huh?

RE: How about this...
mikecane @ 12/29/2001 4:08:28 PM #
Jobs went with MS software because MS propped up Apple with a little $100M investment... (still, MSIE beats the hell out of Netscape!).

RE: How about this...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 12:01:54 AM #
> Jobs went with MS software because MS propped
> up Apple with a little $100M investment

Not really. The $100M investment was symbolic, didn't mean much for cash-rich Apple or Microsoft., and Microsoft has already sold all of that stock. Yet Apple continues -- in appropriate forums -- to be friendly with Microsoft because Apple needs to keep MS Office on the Mac. Jobs is smart enough to understand that, and has done an excellent job working with the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit -- a division that has (ironically enough) produced some of the most Mac-like software that is out there. Go figure.

I predict that the iPod's capability will be expanded, but I don't see it becoming a Palm-like device. Apple realizes that there is not much money to be made in that sector right now.

Instead, I predict that Apple's focus on Palm will simply be to encourage development of Palm software compatability with Mac OS X. Steve Jobs tried to buy Palm a while back, and it would have been one thing for Apple to own this market, but without owning the market I don't see Apple making any Palm-like devices any time soon.


oh my god!

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:05:54 AM #
Man mike cane, you are AMAZING! All your predictions actually seem like they will come true! Wouldn't that be great if it were... Palminfocenter is VERY lucky to have you as an exclusive author.
PDANature - http://pdan.has.it - Great hourly refreshed pda news, discussions, chat, reviews, commentarys, software, software update notices, features, and what not! Simply the best. http://pdan.has.it

RE: oh my god!
mikecane @ 12/28/2001 1:37:41 PM #
I expect to be about as right as Criswell. You should be that lucky!

RE: oh my god!
Foo @ 12/28/2001 1:58:19 PM #
You know what's really pathetic? That site is using a poorly "hacked" graphic, stolen from TechTV's site. And it still looks like crap.

RE: oh my god!
mikecane @ 12/28/2001 2:17:49 PM #
I just went there. The entire site looks like crap.

RE: oh my god!
digichimp @ 12/28/2001 3:43:30 PM #
I recall a certain Mike Cane predicting the death of Sony in the PDA industry. I could be wrong but the industry is in such a flux; we're in for some surprises.

RE: oh my god!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 4:49:25 PM #
sorry mike, i still do think your editorial was amazing. But you personally is no wheres near THANKYOU!PDANature - http://pdan.has.it - Great hourly refreshed pda news, discussions, chat, reviews, commentarys, software, software update notices, features, and what not! Simply the best. http://pdan.has.it

RE: oh my god!
Edward @ 12/28/2001 7:56:51 PM #
what ever size I put my browser window at, the site is always larger ...


RE: oh my god!
Coyote67 @ 12/29/2001 2:18:37 PM #
All of these are completely possible, except the little PVR thing. In order for Tivo to be legal, the data can not be moved off. Sony has no right to alter the tivo format anyay. Sorry, that is totally out. Although someone might have said that already.

When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: oh my god!
mikecane @ 12/29/2001 4:09:35 PM #
I think the Slashdot crowd would find a way around that. Plus, the Copyright laws for TV taping would allow it, I believe.


I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:52:28 AM #
I just hope Handspring and Palm make new year's resolutions to get with the program and make high-rez screens like Sony and Handera. It seems bizarre that Palm and HS seem unwilling to try. I'm happy enough with my Prism, but I'd like to see them wake up and smell the high resolution coffee. :)

RE: Resolutions
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 3:02:57 PM #
Yes! One of the missing predictions! High resolution in OS5. SHould be compatible with at either Sony or HandEra.

Tim Denton

RE: Resolutions
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 4:37:22 PM #
I do wish virtual graffiti would catch on!

Unlearn Grafitti? Did that years ago!

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 10:22:26 AM #
Been using Jot pretty much since I got my Palm 3 years ago. Why bother with grafitti anyway?

RE: Unlearn Grafitti? Did that years ago!
mikecane @ 12/29/2001 12:38:08 PM #
How fast are you? Do you use the Graffiti area or on-screen?

RE: Unlearn Grafitti? Did that years ago!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 7:13:16 AM #
I kinda like the graffiti, i can write fast on it(as fast as someone is talking to me and thats without even looking

better than anything else, nice thing is that i dont have to move my hand across liek on a piece of paper...


Quik_Fix @ 12/28/2001 10:52:24 AM #
Though I agree with so much that Mike says, I wonder if some of it might not happen in a year. Perhaps it will take a little longer than that for ATMs to get integrated into the mix.
Also, I'd really hate to think that my 330's company will go the way of the dinosaurs. If you haven't tried one, you're not aware of the ease of AutoCF and the nice virt. grafitti. Not saying mine is the best (please don't flame me), just that it certainly isn't below the sealine of what's hot. It's not sexy, but it's not dead, either.

...In accordance with the prophecy...


RE: Hmmmmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 12:07:55 PM #
Note first that this is NOT a flame, and that I am making NO COMPARISON to Sony, Palm, or any other device. This is just my personal opinion.

The Handera 330 has a great monochrome screen... However... after seeing it and feeling it at CompUSA yesterday, I think it feels extremely cheaply constructed and physically weak. (Nice jog rocker, though)

While I do not agree with much of that which Mr. Mike has said, I do agree that Handera is on its way out. I seriously doubt that any company putting a handheld that cheap on the market can survive.

-Palm Man

RE: Hmmmmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 12:50:31 PM #
How do you mean 'feels extremely cheaply constructed and physically weak'?

I don't agree with that statement, but I do think they could have made it a bit more attractive looking.

The 330 I have has a stronger and sturdier case than my PalmIIIx had and was MUCH better than the cheap plastics that were in my Visor 2mb.

I believe that HandEra does have some promise because they have lead some of the best innovations lately in the PalmOS, but they do need to get the ball rolling on new products. A new model every 18 months just isn't going to cut it, especially when Sony is releasing a new model every 2-3 months (granted there isn't much innovation in each new release).

I like supporting the 'little guy' because more often then not, its the little guy that has the best service. They don't have the rigid policies in place that can make larger companies 'customer unfriendly'. Although I have never had to deal with HandEra support, I've heard good things about the customer service so I am not worried.

Sacramento, CA

RE: Hmmmmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 1:15:25 PM #
After using a Handera 330 for six months, I finally had to stop. They are basically a piece of crap. I have three Handeras in front of me right now and all three have some technical problem. One hard resets all the time. One has a soft graffiti area problem. They all have screen rewrite issues. I loved the CF and SD, but had to switch back to a 505, due to stability issues. I might even switch to the new iPaq 3870 that just arrived.

RE: Hmmmmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 1:47:24 PM #
LOL You do know that they have warranties...you don't have to buy a new one if something goes wrong. Not sure what a person needs with 4 or 5 different handhelds.

I'm just guessing, but i bet that handera would probably replace those with 3 working 330s if you asked. They should still be under warranty, unless you've tampered or abused them. I do have a few handhelds that are in my technology graveyard in the garage.

It seems with handhelds, no matter what company you go with there are people that are unlucky and have 3 or 4 bad units in a row. I had a PalmIIIx for several years without a problem (until I dropped it) and a coworker had 3 of them go bad in a matter of 4 months. I then got a visor 8mb and replaced it twice due to quality control issues before I moved on.

I guess its just the luck of the draw.

Aaron T.

RE: Hmmmmm...
GKreamer @ 12/28/2001 2:30:23 PM #
I agree, there will always be a few devices that ship with problems. However, I do not share the same rosy outlook regarding HandEra's customer service/support for software. I purchased FlashPro and have had extreme difficulties dealing with tech support to get upgrades, even after several e-mails. If you have to deal with anyone there, deal with Brock he has been the only one to respond favorably.

RE: Hmmmmm...
Quik_Fix @ 12/28/2001 5:51:53 PM #
I just wanted to mention that I don't think flashpro works at all on Handeras, if you have one. If not, just ignore me :-).

...In accordance with the prophecy...


RE: Hmmmmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 9:12:41 AM #
Also, I don't know about apple as well. When they made their #1 mp3 player for the imac (which cnet says is the beast ever). But then they states that they do not intend to work with palm or create a pda whatsooever. Do you think they might change their mind?
PDANature - http://pdan.has.it - Great hourly refreshed pda news, discussions, chat, reviews, commentarys, software, software update notices, features, and what not! Simply the best. http://pdan.has.it

RE: Hmmmmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 3:14:35 PM #
The early Handera 330's had some problems. This was a manufacturing issue that seems to be resolved now. I had to replace my first HE330 because of this, but my current unit is running strong with no problems whatsoever.

This also explains why a demo unit at a store might seem cheaply constructed. One of the issues was an inferior grade of plastic to what Handera had specified (as I understand it).

As I said, current units should pose no problems and leave people very happy.

As far as product cycle, Handera seems only to release products that are revolutionary, rather than evolutionary upgrades like some vendors (*cough* Sony *cough*)

Can't wait for a color OS5 Handera. Don't count them out yet.

Just my $0.02 =)

RE: Hmmmmm...
mikecane @ 12/29/2001 4:10:50 PM #
I'd like to see HandEra stick around too. Not *all* my predictions are things I'd *like* to see happen. I think a 240x320 65K-color HandEra would be very intriguing!

RE: Hmmmmm...
sub_tex @ 12/29/2001 4:33:50 PM #
color handera would be a nince thing.

I still think they have the best idea for a screen (the 320x240). if they could make an OS5 device that had a color version of that screen, and change the form factor, they'd sell tons.
(not that i have anything against the Palm III look, i loved my IIIxe until my batteries blew up in it. but after using a s320 for months now, i'm sold on the slimmer design.)

Very Technical but not Professional

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 11:03:52 AM #
The "half-sized Memory Stick" is called Duo.

You prabably know that but the fact you didn't list it makes people *THINK* that you don't know it.

I'm not picking on your article, but since it gets a name, you should introduce that as well.

More detail about Duo is here:

RE: Very Technical but not Professional
mikecane @ 12/28/2001 1:38:11 PM #
I had a block when it came to the name of the shortened MStick. Thanks for filling that in.

Ridiculous in <no.2>

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 11:08:40 AM #
Have you ever seen the actual iPod?

How would SONY (or any manufacturer) put that hard drive into a PDA? I mean in willingness, not discussing the diffculty.

It will be very weak in durability under the circumstance as how we use our PDA today!!

PDA is a PDA, not a "carrying computer" or "Mini Tablet PC", they're designed for different purpose, please do not try to move anything you see on other computer-related device to a "PDA" and make it gain size and weight, that wiould be terrible.

I hope the manufacturers do not think as the same way as you, otherwise we'll need a BIG carrying bag to carry our SUPER (HEAVY) PDA after 2002, which is not any Palm OS PDA user like to see!

RE: Ridiculous in <no.2>
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 11:44:35 AM #
Gee, the rod up your butt has a rod up its butt. Chill man!

Some people prefer to have something comparable to their computer that can fit in the palm of their hand. Would you like to haul around a laptop to school? Or would an average student have the money for a Picturebook?

RE: Ridiculous in <no.2>
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 12:23:42 PM #
If you want something comparable to a "PC" that fits in your "pocket", spend the extra $300 and get a Pocket PC. A Palm is specifically a peripheral, not a pocket sized PC.

RE: Ridiculous in <no.2>
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 12:37:18 PM #
Spend some extra money on a car battery to feed the PPC...

RE: Ridiculous in <no.2>
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 2:11:54 PM #
that is funny, PPC's get better battery life than the high end clie's OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

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