PalmSource Day 3: Keeping the Palm OS Competitive

At PalmSource this morning, there was a keynote speech from Michael Mace, PalmSource's Chief Competitive Officer, on how the new company plans to keep the Palm OS on top of the handheld market.

He said their primary plan is to create an operating system that can run on as many different types of handhelds as possible. As he pointed out, Intel is here demonstrating the multimedia possibilities of their processors while Motorola is showing off how small devices can be and still run OS 5 on its chips. As Mr. Mace said, "The killer application is diversity."

Mr. Mace made a point of contrasting this with Pocket PC 2002, which can only run on expensive, high-end hardware. PalmSource doesn't want to same thing to happen to the Palm Platform as it leads to a situation where all the devices have similar feature sets and all the licensees just compete for the lowest price.

Instead, PalmSource wants PalmOS licensees to have room for innovative hardware. Some will built multimedia powerhouses, some will build very small handhelds, some will take on the low-end market. The company intends to strongly encourage its licensees to explore new markets.

Mr. Mace gave some evidence to prove that everyone doesn't need a high-end device. There is an often-quoted statistic that there is at least one game on two-thirds of all Palm OS handhelds. According to Mr. Mace, this isn't a real indication of the amount of games are actually being played.

He reported on the results of a survey that showed 29% of high-end Palm users never play handheld games and 28% do so only rarely. On the other hand, 10% of users play a game every day and 8% say they play games several times a day. As Mr. Mace said, with numbers like those there is a market for handhelds of all types.

He also took the opportunity to bring up again SEGA's announcement that it would be making games for both Dragonball- and ARM-based Palm OS models.

PalmSource is aware that one of the primary strengths of the palm platform is the large number of developers and applications. Earlier this week, David Nagel, PalmSource's chief, said there were 200 thousand active developers. He emphasized that this doesn't include everyone who has ever signed up to be a developer; just those whose accounts have shown activity in the past few months.

In an effort to encourage developers to keep creating new applications, Mr. Mace released the results of two surveys of Palm owners' use of applications.

In the past, there has been some question whether the average user is even aware that third party software exists or if they are interested in it. Mr. Mace said that a survey showed that 82% are aware that they can load third-party applications onto their handhelds and 67% have done so.

Some potential developers may believe that there is no point in releasing a new application because the market is already dominated by currently existing ones. Mr. Mace had another survey that showed that there isn't a single application that is on even 10% of all Palm handhelds, not even the big names like AvantGo or Documents to Go.

Palm vs. Microsoft
Mr. Mace also took the opportunity to point out the strength of the Palm OS's lead over the Pocket PC. While PPC has had a higher percentage growth worldwide in the past year, the Palm OS has had a larger growth in actual number of handhelds. He also pointed out a statistic that hasn't gotten much attention: last year the number of handhelds sold running neither the Palm OS nor the PPC outnumbers the total of PPC sales.

I have an interview with Mike Mace in a few hours. Got any suggestions for questions I should ask him? Update: The interview is over. We talked about most of the issues you asked about. I'll post the results as soon as I can, which might be tomorrow. -Ed

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Nice typo Ed :-)

mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 2:19:52 PM #
20 million developers eh? One per palm device sold? We'll assume you meant 200,000 developers :-)



RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
druce @ 2/7/2002 2:24:07 PM #
..or 20,000 is still a healthy number.

RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:26:01 PM #
maybe 20,000... 20 million... naw, they only sold 21 million Palms in the first place. ;-)

RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:26:24 PM #

RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 2:45:41 PM #
21 million devices
200,000 developers



RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
Ed @ 2/7/2002 2:50:02 PM #
Wishful thinking maybe. Sorry, I was thinking about the 20 million handhelds sold. Jet lag is killing me.

News Editor
RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 3:45:01 PM #
20,000 developers - are you on crack? This is probably the number of registrations on Palm's site, thats all.

According to Palm ( they have 13k software programs, as it always happens with marketing they probably count few versions of the same software separately, less than number of developers (and no, even best software for palm should not take more than 2-3 peple to develop)

RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 5:18:59 PM #
200,000 registered developers. As in two hundred thousand. PalmSource claims that they've stripped out most of the inactive developers (think what you will of that).

Last news I saw was 14,000 released applications. The reason that doesn't add up with the much larger number of developers can be for many reasons. Firstly many applications are written by teams of people - so 20 developers may be responsible for a single application. Then maybe some are still working on apps that haven't ben released. But probably the bigest reason is that not all developers are writing apps that get released to the public. There will be many corporate developers who make apps and services in-house, but which never get released to the outside world, thus don't get included in the number of apps released.



RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 7:58:20 PM #
Your having TOO MUCH FUN. Why AM I not there????

RE: Nice typo Ed :-)
mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 8:19:59 PM #
I won't mention all the free beer various companies are giving out then :-P



Questions you'll prollly ask any way

Dearman @ 2/7/2002 2:19:33 PM #
With OS5 will we be able to emulate some higher end apps and networking. How are "hacks" going to be implemented into the OS. And can it do the dishes at night? (that last 1 is just a joke)

"you can't build a reputation on what you are going to do". --Henry Ford

RE: Questions you'll prollly ask any way
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:30:32 PM #
Palm devices as for now, are quite weak on
expansion devices, like Wifi cards, etc.

As a developer, we have to go to PPC
whenever there is such problem.

SD and MS don't really have any expansion
devices other than memory.

I hope PalmSource will help solve this problem.

Also, BuiltIn BlueTooth will be great, but the
cost should be much less than $150. Adding
$50 or less to a Palm device will be acceptable
to many customers.

I think BuiltIn BlueTooth will open a whole new
application field as this offers
a totally new communication way.

RE: Questions you'll prollly ask any way
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:56:16 PM #
I have to disagree with Mace on games don't need
a high end machine.

A game machine needs color and good sound.
And Palm devices with these capabilities
belong to Palm's high end devices right now.


RE: Questions you'll prollly ask any way
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:59:05 PM #
Right now, probably only Sony's color Palm devices
have the capabilities to be good game machines.
Good color and sound.

But they have very poor buttons, and the
betteries don't last long enough.


RE: Questions you'll prollly ask any way
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 3:31:20 PM #
"Also, BuiltIn BlueTooth will be great, but the
cost should be much less than $150. "

You may be a bit behind the times. Mace doesn't work for a hardware company. There's not much PalmSource, as an OS company, can do aboiut hardware costs. That's up to Palm, Sony, etc.

Non-palm/phone type devices?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:26:26 PM #
Ask if there are any plans for non-palm or phone type devices with the new OS. Any other types of devices they hope to be supporting with the new OS.

RE: Non-palm/phone type devices?
bcombee @ 2/7/2002 2:46:02 PM #
Garmin is a Palm OS licensee. They primarily make GPS receivers, and its likely they will have a information-oriented PDA with GPS capabilities this year.

CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
RE: Non-palm/phone type devices?
digichimp @ 2/9/2002 6:34:03 PM #
Let's just say PalmMap.


I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:29:08 PM #
I have more of a comment than a question. From everything I have read, OS 5 will basically be a port of OS 4.1 to the ARM processors with a few enhancements thrown in. I would really like to see Palmsource upgrade the built-in applications (calendar, phone list, to do, etc...). I think that pocket pc 2002 is rapidly catching up to palm in PIM applications (at least the ones that are built in). I want an email/calendar app that can show me everything that an outlook 2000 would.

I need to know who is invited to the 2pm meeting I'm attending.

I need to know at a glance what meetings I accepted and which ones I said tenative (by color).

I want to be able to sync email without the 8k limit per message. I want the ability to view and manage attachments in my mail messages (doc, xls, pdf, jpg, etc..)

I don't think I want much. Just upgrade the friggin' built in apps. My girlfriend has the original US robotics palm pilot and our PIM applications are essentially the same!

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:55:50 PM #
I agree that this is a very important concern of mine. I want a NEXT GEN pda. I had the origional palm personal and more RAM for avante go and docs to go is the only reason I upgraded. I need the same kind of features that are mentioned here. And I want my e-mail and pim to be intergrated WITHOUT using a MS soultion on the desktop. It's great that Palm OS 5 is going to have all of these great advances but what about updating the desktop, AND don't forget the mac users. Palm desktop 4 for Mac OS X is great, but it's basicly just a port of the older version with no real new features. If I'm going to have email on my palm i want it in my palm desktop and not a seperate application.

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 3:01:27 PM #
I absolutely agree. I would add to your list such improvements as an ability to assign more than one category to memos and to-dos, the ability to have more than 15 categories, the ability to assign categories to appointments (one of the primary reasons I have invested in Datebook4). In other words, enhance the built-in productivity applications. The bells and whistles of multimedia etc. are nice, but they don't improve the day to day usability of the device's core functions. (Sort of like releasing Windows XP, and not releasing a word processor better than Word 6).

RE: Comments
sford @ 2/7/2002 3:17:09 PM #
HERE-HERE!! I have been using a Palm device since my Palm Pilot Professional, and the basic PIM functionality is essentially the same. (That's why I've invested in ActionNames.) It's time to stop taking the small steps and to get going with some giant leaps. The fluff is nice, but we need some meat! So far, I see no reason to upgrade from my IIIc--not for $500, especially--and this should not be the case.

RE: Comments
He||Raiser @ 2/7/2002 3:37:45 PM #
In addition to improving the PIM applications to better match the features in Outlook 2000, we need native support for synchronization with Outlook, other than Chapura's PocketMirror. It's a fine program, but I want some better/native solutions. I don't want to have to deal with duplicate entries or entries that get deleted without a trace.

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 4:51:45 PM #
Honestly if palm doesn't improve these built-in apps in OS 5, I'm going to get an IPAQ 3870. My co worker has a ipaq 3600 with the 2002 upgrade (I have a Clie). He really doesn't use his ipaq for multi-media but, it was able to tell who was invited to our afternoon meeting. The sad thing is that it seem that Palm isn't even excelling at the things they claim to do best, PIM functions. I will say that Palms are still much easier to use but, they are confusing "Simply Palm" with "Simply Less Enhancements".

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 5:16:49 PM #
Yes, Action Names is great. They are really bringing up new features. I'm very excited that they have integrated phone dialing support into their contact list, if you have an palm phone. Why does't palm think to add features like that.

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 5:52:23 PM #
3rd Party apps are great in many cases, but frankly I would rather not shell out another $100 to get the functionality that Palm should include with its basic PIM apps.

Am I asking too much? No, I don't think so.

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 6:14:08 PM #
Actually, I'd much rather not shell out even an extra $20 for functions I don't need and which are available from a 3rd party. There lies the way of Microsoft. Gooble up all functionality. Steal any good idea developed by a 3rd party. Build it all into your giant bloatware.

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/8/2002 10:06:22 AM #
I completely disagree with your idea of upgrading the apps in the base OS. That's why we have third party software developers out there providing solutions for people that need more functionality than what the base apps supply.


I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:40:09 PM #
Please ask about what is on the horizon for bluetooth-enabled handhelds.

I would especially like to know if your PC/Mac with bluetooth would be able to work with your handheld as if they were two computers on a network, or if your handheld could act as a remote mouse or a second monitor...

RE: Networking
mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 2:51:59 PM #
The BT spec allows for LAN access connections over BT. Once you've set this up, you can use any networking app you want.



RE: Networking
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 3:22:10 PM #
There is already software (PalmVNC, Win-Hand, Remote Commander, etc.) to do that kind of thing. Why you would want to do it (at least on any regular basis) is still beyond me though.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2002 4:59:55 AM #

By Brendan O'Bryhim, Contributing Editor
CEE News, Jan 1, 2002

One day in the not-too-distant future a new wireless communication standard with a crazy name may allow your laptop, cellular phone and PDA to chat with each other without any language barriers.

Bluetooth, the wireless radio frequency technology named after a legendary Viking warrior, was developed to seamlessly link mobile devices at home and in the office. While it may not be as universally applicable as some would like it to be, industry experts say its longevity in the personal area network (PAN) market is secure.


*Microsoft: Windows XP to support Bluetooth

Microsoft Launches Windows CE .NET
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2002

Windows CE .NET provides support for the latest wireless technology such as Bluetooth and 802.11.....

**Behind the scenes they are working on the Bluetooth 1.2 spec, a 2-4Mbps spec (the cost for 2-4 mbps is power and die size.) and Bluetooth 2.0, as far as i know ;o)


Bluetooth info sites:

Bluetooth Products
by: angelseye2000 (31/M/LA) 02/08/02 12:41 pm
Msg: 24177 of 24213

- Medical
-Online Retailers
for Bluetooth
-Port Adapters
-PC Cards
-Tagging &
-Compact Flash Cards
-PCs, Laptops
& Notebooks
-USB Dongles

RE: The editor deleted my post
bradleyboy @ 2/7/2002 2:49:44 PM #
Are you sure you didn't post those comments under "Initial Sales of the i705 Strong"? I read remarks exactly like that over there, so maybe you are confused and have made an erroneous assumption about your posts being deleted.



UI Themes & Hacks

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:47:22 PM #
Please try and get more details on the UI Themes - what are the elements that are going to be customizable?
Also, there have been hints that hacks might be allowed in the next release after 5. Any additional info on this?

RE: UI Themes & Hacks
mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 3:14:09 PM #
David Fedor of PalmSource just filled in some info on the themes - it's just being able to change colors of UI items, like Khroma does. It's not going to change the look&feel of UI objects (can't specify square buttons or 3D effects for example), and you won't be able to change fonts for UI objects with it. Just colors I'm afraid.



RE: UI Themes & Hacks
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 3:32:47 PM #
Man theres a name from the past. I met Dave Fedor at MIT one night when he was demoing the Newton 2000 to the local Newton Group. Great that he's still around.

RE: UI Themes & Hacks
Ed @ 2/7/2002 3:36:41 PM #

Want to meet up with me at 3 pm near the Palm Store?


News Editor

RE: UI Themes & Hacks
mtg101 @ 2/7/2002 3:48:07 PM #
Ed - yeah - see you at 3pm.



RE: UI Themes & Hacks
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 4:10:16 PM #
can i come too?


RE: UI Themes & Hacks
Ed @ 2/7/2002 4:23:37 PM #


News Editor

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