Still Room for a Palm OS VGA Lead?

Brighthand's Ed Hardy has written a editorial entitled, There's Still Room for the Palm OS to Take the Lead in VGA. He thinks that Palm OS Cobalt offers much better support for handhelds with VGA (640x480) displays.

From the Editorial,

Microsoft seems to have emphasized making what's on the screen look better, rather than having more information appear. It doesn't matter if you are using the Default Layout or the Desktop Layout; a handheld running Windows Mobile 2003 SE doesn't display much more than a QVGA Pocket PC does on the same setting.


The latest version of Palm OS Cobalt has support for VGA built into it. Full support for VGA was only added a few months ago, and no handhelds have been released running Cobalt, so exactly how well VGA has been implemented isn't clear yet.

What I'm hoping is that Cobalt devices will come with a web browser that has a "true" VGA mode. I want a browser that shows a web page as it would appear on a PC if it had a 640-by-480 pixel display. This sounds simple, but it isn't available in Windows Mobile SE.

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Gekko @ 1/17/2005 3:01:26 PM # Q

Someone please tell Mr. Hardy that Cobalt is dead.

RE: Cobalt
LiveFaith @ 1/17/2005 4:46:01 PM # Q
One fact that makes VGA a bit more difficult is the form factor. HVGA is a "longer/thinner rectangle" that VGA or QVGA. In other words, a PPC screen is closer to square than Palms with 320x480.

For P1 or another Palm OS hardware seller to release VGA requires a near total redesign of form factor in order to build a device around VGA. While I'm all for it, P1 cannot simply put VGA in the T5 or Tapwave into the current Z1,2.

Hopefully, that forsight is what P1 is preparing for a Cobalt launch and why they just dumped the T5 on us for the mean time. For some strange reason I have my doubts.

Pat Horne;

RE: Cobalt
skccs @ 1/17/2005 5:45:10 PM # Q
well, lifefaith, this is simply not true at all. After 7 palm-os pda's I changed this year to a toshiba e800 vga pocket-pc. It run's terribly slow, but it hat a vga-screen build in with exacthly the hvga size of the latest sony-clie-pda's. Brando and other screen-protector producers do even provide the same protector for the palm-os hvga clie-nx-series and my toshiba e800 full-vga-pocket-pc! (it might be 4 inch)

For the e800, a programmer did a hack (a bit buggy) which minimizes the menus and the other gui-objects to the size aspect, which you can find on desktop pc's. You would't beliefe that even the standard internet-explorer of win mobile 2003 se does a better job than any netfront seen on my previous clie's. I even can see my school-mind-maps and read them on the go (generated by mindmanager x5).

Watch these screen-shot's:


day-view (look at the start-menu)



Christian Stocker

RE: Cobalt
JKingGrim @ 1/17/2005 6:32:54 PM # Q
LiveFaith is correct. The aspect ratio is different. HVGA has a hieght 1.5x the width. VGA has a hiegth 1.3x the width. Applications that work in portriat and landscape mode on devices with HVGA will only work in square mode. They would have to be modified to support another screen size. If you dont believe me, try the cobalt sim in VGA mode. In VGA mode, apps nolonger resize when the DIA is opened and closed. The DIA is just superimposed over the app transparently.

I personally don't want VGA until it is widely supported by apps and is made on a small enough OLED. A VGA LCD would be a big battery sucker. Before Palm starts making VGA PDAs, they need to start standardizing OLED screens and Cobalt. VGA is second to those.

RE: Cobalt
Texonite @ 1/18/2005 4:24:15 AM # Q
Agh... Just download Cobalt Simulator and see.
There is no theme to discuss as long as PalmSource have solved that issue with Cobalt.

Future Online!
Sorry for my bad english :(
RE: Cobalt
skccs @ 1/18/2005 4:57:55 AM # Q
Well this must be a missunderstanding. For me there is no doubt, that applications have to be redesigned or the application-framework of cobalt has to help the existing applications.

livefaith mentioned also the hardware formfaktor:

"For P1 or another Palm OS hardware seller to release VGA requires a near total redesign of form factor in order to build a device around VGA. While I'm all for it, P1 cannot simply put VGA in the T5 or Tapwave into the current Z1,2."

All I wanted to say is, that this should be no problem, as my toshiba e800 has the same screen size as for ex. my former clie nx73v. They even share the same brando screen-protector. So any T3 or T5 could use a vga-screen without having to redesign the pda-case essentially.

There might be a lot to do on the os- and application-side.

It would be great to have all my well known palm-os apps and a much better response-time back with a palm os vga-screen ;-)

RE: Cobalt
Gekko @ 1/18/2005 8:05:11 AM # Q

Why don't you nitwits understand that Cobalt became instantly obsolete the day that PalmLinux was announced? There's not going to be any Cobalt devices. Copland Redux.

RE: Cobalt
JKingGrim @ 1/18/2005 6:42:05 PM # Q
Go away. We don't want to hear the "Palm is dead" mantra.

RE: Cobalt
Gekko @ 1/18/2005 8:53:44 PM # Q

>"Go away. We don't want to hear the "Palm is dead" mantra."

Of course you don't! Now go stick your head back up your ass where it's safe.

RE: Cobalt
svrontis @ 1/18/2005 10:38:18 PM # Q
Off topic:

Looks like Gekko was right about the Dell Axim

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the real answer is no

Frenchie @ 1/17/2005 2:58:22 PM # Q
I know for a fact PalmOne will never release a VGA palm in at least 2 years. Why? Because just look at the T5. The T5 has a lot of awesome software but it sits upon a a lot of really bad hardware. We can dream about Palm OS having a VGA screen and then wake up and see the dark side with it. Palmone WILL NOT release a VGA PDA in more then 2 years from this date.

The world will end in 2006. Just as it was predicted in the bible along with the release of Microsoft Longhorn.... :p
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Can't teach and old dog

Foo Fighter @ 1/17/2005 3:00:36 PM # Q
The problem is that although Cobalt supports VGA, it's up to licensees to exploit it. PalmOS can't remain competitive if licensees aren't interested in competing with Windows Mobile, tit for tat. You bet we're going to see a VGA PalmOS device this year, but PalmOne hasn't been in a hurry to get it to market. They clearly don't see display resolution as a priority, and rightly so to some extent.

Contributing Editor,
RE: Can't teach and old dog
hkklife @ 1/17/2005 3:54:06 PM # Q
Toshiba or Panasonic. The only real hopes for rescuing PalmSource (directly) and P1 (in the light that competition will only push them harder to progress)

Both of the above companies have deep pockets, close affiliated with the SD consortium and have no love for Sony, HP, Dell, or MSFT.

Toshiba has exited the PPC biz so they might have reason to pause before jumping back into a dying handheld market. Plus they have their partnership with Audiovox for cell phones to consider. Still, they have plenty of VGA-worthy handheld experience and a pretty good knack of industrial design in the portable market. No one has stayed as consistently strong in all price points of the retail laptop market for as long as Toshiba has.

Panasonic would be the ideal licensee (if not outright purchaser of the whole kit & caboodle--P1 and PalmSource). Let them market a slim & sexy multimedia line alongside a ruggedized ToughPalm line and the Treos. Panasonic has either exited the US cellphone market or is playing it very quie right now. Purchasing P1 would instantly give them the Treo line and a chance to take on Nokia & Sony/Ericsson head-on.

RE: Can't teach and old dog
AdamaDBrown @ 1/18/2005 8:40:48 PM # Q
Toshiba hasn't exited the PocketPC market, just the U.S. market. They still make and sell PPCs for Japan, Europe, Canada, and points in between. And the handheld market is hardly dying.

Reply to this comment

We need another PalmSource licensse to make the "PalmSlate"

RhinoSteve @ 1/17/2005 3:15:41 PM # Q
TapWave started with Palm OS 5.0 and took full advantage of it. Now they have a nice and steady growth cruve that is catching a lot of the "Nintendo graduates" quite well.

We need another company to take Palm OS 6.0 and with a clean slate, design the "PalmSlate" that every power user tp do a totally, solid state Palm OS device that kicks the crap out of all of these tablet computers out there.

Business plans are invited. Do not hire anyone that worked at Palm One nor Handspring in the last three years and you will be in good shape.

mikecane @ 1/17/2005 4:01:34 PM # Q
It damn well better have G1 *and* Decuma OnSpot both in it by default (ie, no hacking G1 to get it in, no having to buy Decuma separately).

This, and not the Sony U, could be the OQO killer.

RE: We need another PalmSource licensse to make the
hkklife @ 1/17/2005 4:14:36 PM # Q
Well, guys, it ain't gonna be Tapwave. Brighthand has a story up today basically confirming the earlier PCWorld CES article that there won't be a new Zod until '06 or later. So they are going to try and milk the current Zodiac for all its worth. It's going to end up being the $400 T|E by the time it's all said and done! ;-)

But Mike, I agree 110% on having either G1 standard, as a free download/plug-in, or as a nominal cost add-on (and I DO NOT mean Teal Scrip--no one should dare recommend that vile program again!)

RE: We need another PalmSource licensse to make the
valleyink @ 1/17/2005 6:53:01 PM # Q
Well Mike,
Decuma has gone to the corporate "bargain bin"... slate idea is waiting for Evernote to do something on Palm.

RE: We need another PalmSource licensse to make the
mikecane @ 1/17/2005 8:34:02 PM # Q
Bargain bin?! I don't follow.

Sony had money invested in them, did you know?

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Tamog @ 1/18/2005 11:20:05 AM # Q
Hi y all,
I think that the current lineup of Microsofts VGA PocketPCs ios not yet stable or useful at all. While the screen resolution may be higher, there is not much more data beeing displayed...
BTW, that was already covered almost two months ago at TamsPalm-see
Something else: The current ZOD still is very good. I deem it as one of the first candidates for an OS6 upgrade-much more likely than T3, T5,...
Have Fun
Tam Hanna

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
AdamaDBrown @ 1/18/2005 8:44:13 PM # Q
I've used several VGA PocketPCs, and I disagree with the assessment that they're 'not stable or useful'. You don't by default get 4x the screen space going from LowRes Palm to HiRes Palm either, but it's still considered a worthwhile upgrade for the improved detail, quality, options, and sharpness. Likewise for PocketPCs.

Reply to this comment

Palm One Special of the month (?)

oceanman177 @ 1/18/2005 7:58:16 PM # Q
Palm Ones January special of the month is a Tungsten C with a FREE KEYBOARD!!! Oh boy! Wait a minute....doesn't the Tungsten C come with a BUILT IN QUERTY KEYBOARD???
COME ON GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Palm One Special of the month (?)
RhinoSteve @ 1/19/2005 2:17:36 PM # Q
It is a larger keyboard. Try writing e-mail with the embedded keboard and you will know what is going on.

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