PalmSource: Giant Wrap-Up Article

During any conference like last week's PalmSource, the large stories tend to get lots of attention while there are many small stories that don't get the attention they deserve. This even includes new product introductions, updates, and notes on upcoming products. While Ed Hardy was at the conference, he made notes on numerous small stories, all of which are collected together into this large article.

Palm OS 5
Of course, the top story of the PalmSource was OS 5. Texas Instruments was there showing a beta of the operating system running on its ARM-based processors on a test board. The user interface being shown off was almost indistinguishable from OS 4, though this was at 320 by 320 resolution. Even the HotSync process looks the same.

The processor TI was demonstrating at the Expo was running at 120 MHz but the final shipping version will run at 170 MHz. TI's Palm-ready offering also has a dedicated Digital Signal Processor (DSP), which is a secondary processor just for handling multimedia like MP3s, digital video, etc. Palm has already announced that TI will make the chips for its OS 5 handhelds, which should be out by fall.

Speaking of multimedia, PACE Soft Silicon was at the Expo showing off code that can be used on any ARM-based processor that will allow it to display streaming MPEG4 video and audio. The company was looking for licensees for the technology. Intel was demoing MPEG video playing on its processor, too.

Developers seemed pleased with the support they are getting from PalmSource to make sure their applications are ready for OS 5. The President of Active Corp. said a one-hour session with a PalmSource engineer helped him speed one of his applications up 50%.

Also, most developers seemed confident that OS 5 would allow them to build the applications they want to build, and there was some relief that they wouldn't have to immediately totally rewrite all their apps for the new ARM-based handhelds.

Hardware News
Motorola was demonstrating its 66 MHz DragonBall Super VZ processors, which it said were now available in sufficient quantities to be included in a handheld.

One disappointment at the show was that developers had been told they would be able to buy the Bluetooth SD card, which wasn't the case. However, there were plenty of them being demonstrated during keynotes and at the Expo. Palm reps at the show were telling attendees that it would be available in about two weeks for $120. The card sticks out surprisingly far from its slot (see photograph of fully inserted card.) It will come with a simple drawing app that will let two handhelds share the same whiteboard and a chat program, too.

According to one of the press people, an m515 was at PalmSource. A third-party developer had one and was showing it to a few attendees, off the record of course. According to the reporter who had seen it, the screen had a brightness adjustment and at full power was much brighter than an m505's. He said the guy who had it told him that, at max brightness, it has a shorter battery life than the m505's. Of course, lowering the brightness reduces the battery drain.

Samsung will be releasing a mini-keyboard for its I300 smartphone. It has been licenced from TT-Tech and is a modified version of the SnapNType. The image is of a prototype that has the standard SnapNType button labels; The final version won't use these. The keyboard will be available March 1 for $60.

Pico Communications was demonstrating their PicoBlue Internet Access Point, which allows Bluetooth-enabled handhelds to connect to a network or the Internet. It has a range of up to 100 meters and supports up to 7 simultaneous users. It is available now for $500.

MARGI Systems announced that it will be releasing a version of Presenter-to-Go for the HandEra 330 and TRGpro on March 1.

Software News
DataViz has put out a free Bonus Add-On Kit for Documents to Go Professional. It includes a new app, Pics To Go, which lets users view GIF, JPEG, Bitmap, and PICT graphics directly on their handheld. The Add-On Kit also allows users to create, edit, and synchronize charts in Sheet To Go.

Cutting Edge Software released Quickoffice Conference Edition as a beta. This lets users work together on spreadsheets and documents in real-time using Palm OS based devices with a TCP/IP connection. It can also work between a handheld and a PC or laptop. Changes made on one device are immediately updated on all the devices participating in the conference.

Trust Digital LLC unveiled SecureCard, designed to encrypt data stored on an expansion memory card. It allows users the choice of encrypting a single files, multiple files, or the entire card. Trust Digital was also demonstrating PDASecure which can lock the entire handheld, applications and their associated databases, or individual records.

Electric Pocket introduced two new wireless messaging applications. The first, Mailer, is a POP3 email application that offers a multi-account email engine to let users get only the email messages they want. It is currently in open beta. The second, Pixer, lets users send annotated picture messages and photographs. It is $30. The company also introduced SmartInstall, which lets software distributors automate the installation and configuration of applications from SD/MMC cards. When the card is inserted, SmartInstall automatically launches and prompts the user with directions for installing the application.

Bachmann said it is coming out in March with a desktop client for FilePoint that will display a picture of the file structure on the handheld, allowing users to more easily organize their files.

Handheld Computing Magazine announced its annual Best Palm Powered Products Awards. Top honors went to the Sony Clié PEG-N760C as Best New Palm OS Device. Best Document Editor/Viewer went to WordSmith 2.1 while Best Office Suite went to Quickoffice.

Palm announced its Powered Up Award Winners. Best of the Best and Enterprise Solution went to ActiveECG from Active Corp. Best Productivity/Education Solution was CopyWrite from Revelation Computing. Best Entertainment and Leisure Solution was Handmark Scrabble and the Best Student Developer Solution was Ultimate Table Hockey by Bryant Lee.

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Sticks out...

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 11:17:58 AM #
HA! I figured it would. "Oh, no problem, I can just access the network and get that information for you. Let me just pull out my m505..." *SNAP*!

Of course, with the springboard slot, the Blade stick out not a whit, and is avaiable *now*. Why was that dead, again? Oh, right, because of HS statements. they'll make a statement with their next visor, mark my words.

RE: Sticks out...
mtg101 @ 2/12/2002 11:23:31 AM #
And it looks like the Sony BT MS doesn't stick out either. But that's only pre-release pics - we'll have to wait and see when it's released I guess. But if it's only the SDIO card that sticks out - that's going to be bad for SDIO.



RE: Sticks out...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 12:08:33 PM #
Hmmm ... well that's not good for the m125 and i705. I really didn't think it was a good idea to put those SD slots on the side, and this proves it.

RE: Sticks out...
Scott @ 2/12/2002 12:41:31 PM #
I was pretty sure this would be the case. Back when I saw the mock-ups of the SD and MemoryStick Bluetooth cards, I was very skeptical that they would hide completely inside the device. As others have said, sticking out of the device is bad. Sticking out of the side (for an m125) is even worse. Of course, the cost doesn't help much either. IMO, these things need to cost less than $75 in order for people to buy them, especially considering that there's not much software that can take advantage of them yet.


RE: Sticks out...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 12:52:14 PM #
I'll up the ante by stating that the fact that these protrude as they do from the device and the projected cost makes them unusable and undesirable.

RE: Sticks out...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 1:14:02 PM #
According to the BT SD card won't work with the M125. No idea why not though.

RE: Sticks out...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 8:08:13 PM #
Aren't you guys getting a little extreme? I can see myself easily using this with the Picoblue network access point. Need the latest figures from your backend database? Just stick in the bluetooth card, walk up to the access point and hotsync. Then pull out the card and go on your way. Why would you assume that someone was going to leave it in the slot all the time???

RE: Sticks out...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 11:18:07 PM #
Stop crying like babies...Unless you use the latest Nokia or Ericsson, the antenna protrudes out of the cellphone, what counts is what it gives, not how it looks. You can buy it now (as soon as available) and enjoy it now or wait until it doesn´t protrude...

RE: Sticks out...
mtg101 @ 2/13/2002 4:07:34 AM #
What counts is what it does, not what it looks like?

That's sort of true, although over here in the EU (cell) phones are basically a fashion accessory, certainly in the prepay / pay-as-you go teenage market. Here you'll see changable covers and no ariels as standard.

However, beyond how nice it looks there's the issue of practicality. Having an ariel or BT card sticking out of a device makes it awkward to use. You'll spend time jabbing yourself with the ariel, or worrying about the BT card breaking off. For the solution to be really usable day-to-day, you have to be able to use the things on the move, in bars, on the buses and so on. You can't do this if you're worried about the BT card snapping off, or your ariel snapping off or just poking you in the goolies while it's in your pocket.



VFS Support in PalmOS 5?

Flood @ 2/12/2002 11:33:38 AM #
Hi Ed. First post and I really appreciate your excellent efforts to thoroughly and objectively cover the Palm platform.

My question is:

Does the new PalmOS 5 include seamless support for SD/MMC cards (as in having the OS recognize programs stored and display them, and maybe even run them from the card without third-party apps) or do we still have to deal with the same shoddy support from PalmOS 4?

Thank you,


RE: VFS Support in PalmOS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 11:43:40 AM #
You're not the first post

RE: VFS Support in PalmOS 5?
Edward @ 2/12/2002 11:54:41 AM #
Maybe it is Flood's first post?

RE: VFS Support in PalmOS 5?
bcombee @ 2/12/2002 11:56:14 AM #
OS 5 has the same VFS support that OS 4 had, but I don't understand what you're asking. In OS 4, all you had to do is go to the launcher, choose the card, and run a program. It already was fairly transparent.

I don't think the OS will ever treat files on the card the same as in-memory databases. The performance characteristics of the cards just don't allow that to work well, and for a good user experience, programs just need to know where their data is.

CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead

RE: VFS Support in PalmOS 5?
Flood @ 2/12/2002 3:36:52 PM #
Edward is right, this is my "first post" as in the first time I write in the PalmInfocenter forums. I couldn't care less whether I am the first to post a response to an article.

As for bcombee's response, thank you for clearing that up. It is obvious that I phrased my question incorrectly, and that I needed to learn a bit more about the inherent limitations of the SD Card.


RE: VFS Support in PalmOS 5?
TDS @ 2/12/2002 10:36:11 PM #
As a response to Bcombee:
Try PiDirect. It does allow the PalmOS to see the items on the Memory card as if they were in RAM. Very powerful program...Highly recommended. Also, programs accessed through PiDirect launch A LOT faster than any VFS Program.
Check out for more info.

RE: VFS Support in PalmOS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 1:47:18 AM #
I think what the original poster was getting at is the poor support of the capabilitys of VFS. Eg without 3rd party applications such as McFile etc you cannot put stuff any where but in /palm/launcher.

There also should be a way (again without the 3rd party apps) to store any program including its data bases on the card in its own directory then load it to ram to use it then send it back when finished.
(whats the name of the program that does that again?)


Free Dataviz add on kit?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 12:34:28 PM #
Ed you said that Dataviz as a free add on kit with the new programs and you evn provided a link. The only thing I could find was the add on kit that you had to purchase. Can you let us know where we can find the free add on kit?

RE: Free Dataviz add on kit?
GeauxVols @ 2/12/2002 12:51:51 PM #
RE: Free Dataviz add on kit?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 7:33:13 PM #
its not free for bundled version

RE: Free Dataviz add on kit?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 11:40:27 PM #
The bonus kit is free for the Professional version, as the article clearly says. Except for the i705, all the bundles have the Standard version.

RE: NOT Free Dataviz add on kit...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 9:55:02 AM #
Or, for $29.95, you can still buy the "Best Office Suite", and the "Best Spreadsheet", from Cutting Edge:

SecureCard support?

fleegle @ 2/12/2002 12:39:48 PM #
That SecureCard looks interesting. Unfortunately, it looks like it doesn't support all expansion card formats. The only cards mentioned on their website are: SD/MMC, the Handspring Flash Module, and the IBM Microdrive.

What about support for Compact Flash or the Memory Stick (it mentions Sony as a "System Requirement")?

RE: SecureCard support?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2002 12:53:39 PM #
The Microdrive is a Compact Flash card, and I'm pretty sure it behaves to the device just like it is a CF memory card. So it seems like CF cards should work.

RE: SecureCard support?
fleegle @ 2/12/2002 5:09:20 PM #
I wouldn't really call the Microdrive a "Compact Flash card." Rather, it uses the CompactFlash form and connector. Yes, I don't see why it shouldn't work.

Too bad there isn't a trial program to try yet.

Sony Bluetooth Info/Memory Stick
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 3:28:34 AM #
Sony Bluetooth stick soon here?
By: Jørgen Sundgot, 05.02.02 11:00

Sony has just recently gained qualification from the Bluetooth SIG for a product referred to as the "Infostick", which is a name that was mentioned back when Sony started promising a Bluetooth Memory Stick expansion module back in late 2001. However, the Infostick is listed under the product category Comp-HW-Integrated, which could indicate that the module is also targeted to be an integral part of new products from Sony - which again could indicate handhelds in the CLIE series showing up with integrated Bluetooth, particuarly with Sony's current pace of churning out new models.

Infostick Infostick Sony Corporation Components Comp-HW-Integrated 2002-01-30

picoblue internet access point

ahwong999 @ 2/12/2002 1:23:04 PM #
hmmmm....this product doesn't make sense to me. well...the 100m range seems kinda useless when the range of the device using it is just 10m. let's say we're 50m away from the access point. thre's a connection to another device but the other device is not connected to it coz it's too far away.

RE: picoblue internet access point
hadocon @ 2/12/2002 2:01:33 PM #
You just wrote

" picoblue internet access point
Posted by:  ahwong999 @ 2/12/2002 1:23:04 PM
hmmmm....this product doesn't make sense to me. well...the 100m range seems kinda useless when the range of the device using it is just 10m. let's say we're 50m away from the access point. thre's a connection to another device but the other device is not connected to it coz it's too far away. "

... what are you talking about? I can not even understand what it is you are trying to say.

It is my understanding that the 10m range is for peer-to-peer networks, or as they say: "your personal area network (pan)". The base station allows you to transmit over greater distances, because the base station augments the network. so to speak...

RE: picoblue internet access point
Ed @ 2/12/2002 2:02:39 PM #
That 100 meters is both coming and going. The device has both a powerful broadcaster to reach the handheld and a very sensitive receiver to pick up the weak signals from the handheld.

On the other hand, I'm assuming that 300 feet is through the air. Walls and such will interfere and shorten the distance. Still, this is significantly farther than the 30 feet typically quoted as Bluetooth's top range.

News Editor

RE: picoblue internet access point
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 3:26:24 AM #
"picoblue internet access point
Posted by: ahwong999 @ 2/12/2002 1:23:04 PM

hmmmm....this product doesn't make sense to me. well...the 100m range seems kinda useless when the range of the device using it is just 10m. let's say we're 50m away from the access point. thre's a connection to another device but the other device is not connected to it coz it's too far away."

Posts like these shows us that people don't no s##t about WIRELESS.

RE: picoblue internet access point
ahwong999 @ 2/13/2002 10:31:33 AM #
let me rephrase this again. for a connection to be active, both devices must be able to transmit and receive. thre's no problem with the picoblue access point transmitting and palm receiving. but the problem lies when the palm is transmitting. this is because the range of palm's bluetooth or as a matter of fact most bluetooth device is just 10m. so this means that this is just a one way tranmission which doesn't work.

RE: picoblue internet access point
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 11:05:58 AM #
No, NO, NO, NO!!!

Read, people, READ!!

The access point's receiver is sensitive enough to pick up the signals from the handheld's transmitter 300 feet away. This has been explained twice.


RE: picoblue internet access point
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 2:35:04 PM #
the is a fortune... $500! i was hoping for some form of add on to my current router (from Linksys) that would give me Bluetooth broadcasting for my home... or even a direct USB attachment to my computer. considering full routers with 802.11 are under $200 i can't understand why the bluetooth version is soo pricey.

RE: picoblue internet access point
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 9:10:51 PM #
checkout for an interesting developer oriented bluetooth device. there was a guy at PalmSource who was showing it around to people. It's very cool and very small. Can be setup as an access point - and it's way smaller than the PicoBlue device.

m505 vs m515

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 12:24:43 PM #
So the show was a success but here I sit with a m505 having waited patiently for the m515... I have 2 weeks left to return the m505 for a full refund.

Should I return the m505 and then go Palm-less for 1-3 weeks waiting on the m515 or live with the only acceptable display of the m505?

Feed back?

RE: m505 vs m515
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 3:03:01 PM #
man,id be happy just o HAVE a stuck with a lousy m500 =(

id return it and get a m515... thats just me ...



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