Palm and Handhelds: The Writing Is on the Wall

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Ed Hardy, Nov 14, 2007.

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  1. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    A few months ago, I wrote an editorial asking for peoples' thoughts on what the next traditional handheld from Palm, Inc. ought to look like.

    At that time, I promised to write a followup editorial compiling everyone's suggestions. I never did this, and I want to explain why: I am now convinced that Palm will never release another traditional handheld. Ever.

    I'm basing this on several statements from company executives, both public and private. Palm CEO Ed Colligan talks regularly about the demand for traditional handhelds declining into a "soft landing". What he means is that he expects sales of devices like the Palm TX and Tungsten E2 to gradually drop off until they reach zero.

    Palm isn't going to replace these handhelds with new ones, it's hoping to transition their users into smartphones. A senior director put it to me like this: in Palm's opinion, a $100 smartphone is a better device in every way than a $100 handheld.

    This same person -- Joe Fabris, Senior Director for Wireless Solutions at Palm -- pointed out that the company has to concentrate its limited resources on its key products, smartphones.

    So there it is; there isn't going to be a TX2. Palm has decided this would be a niche product and an unnecessary distraction away from its focus on smartphones.

    That's why I never compiled your suggestions for a new Palm handheld into an editorial. Doing so would feel like I was raising your hopes for a device that's not going to be built.

    There Are Alternatives

    I'm not writing this because I enjoy playing Captain Bringdown. I want everyone who is looking for a replacement for their current Palm handheld -- and who is absolutely opposed to getting a Treo -- to realize that you have to stop waiting for Palm to put out the TX2.

    Fortunately there are some good options out there. Palm may have given up on the traditional handheld, but others haven't.

    [​IMG]
    Nokia N810 and Palm OS Apps
    (view large image)

    Nokia N800 and N810: An announcement from Access, Co, Ltd. yesterday that it is releasing software that lets Nokia's Internet Tablet series run Palm OS applications has catapulted the N810 and N800 to the front of the line as Palm TX replacements.

    The new Access software is still a beta, but it shows a lot of potential, and the Nokia devices themselves have an impressive feature set, including large, high-resolution displays and multiple wireless options. All they are missing is a large collection of third-party software, and that's where a Palm OS emulator can really shine.

    HP iPAQ 110 or 210 and StyleTap: I realize that for some of you this seems like turning to the Dark Side, but StyleTap makes an application that allows Windows Mobile devices to run Palm OS software.

    In addition, HP is bringing out a couple of new iPAQs that you should really consider. They have fast processors, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and much more. Admittedly the iPAQ 110 has a QVGA screen, but the iPAQ 210 will have a full VGA one, and two types of memory card slots to boot.

    Apple iPod touch: Apple's first handheld since the demise of the Newton is the dark horse candidate. Unlike the other two there's no way to run your favorite Palm OS applications, but Apple is going to open it up to third-party developers.

    The iPod touch has a very nice web browser and a user interface that's a breeze. It's missing some features you might consider necessities, like email software, but developers might come to its rescue.

    Which one of these is best depends on your needs. But they are all much better than you continuing to wait for a device Palm is never going to release.


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  2. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    When I say "Palm will never release another traditional handheld" I realize that forever is a long time. If the devices from Nokia, HP, and Apple I talked about earlier do surprisingly well, Palm might change its mind.

    Maybe there's more of market for non-connected devices than Palm currently thinks, and it will decide that it can make money by diverting some of its resources away from smartphones and putting out a successor to the TX after all.

    And maybe the horse will learn to sing, too.

    But keep in mind, even if this miracle occurs it's not going to happen until after Palm has smartphones running Palm OS II on the market; I'd say 2010 at the earliest. In the mean time you need to think about some of those alternatives in my editorial.
     
  3. ro_bro

    ro_bro tech geek in denial

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    I totally agree with your article. Palm is way too behind in the race to make up for it. It will be a forgotten name, and even perhaps swallowed up by bigger companies such as Nokia here. I would not be surprised.

    The bigger surprise is why Palm has kept its mouth so shut re: its progress on their new OS. Perhaps it's b/c there isn't much? On their palm blog site, all they do is talk about useless stuff.
     
  4. maceyr

    maceyr Palm Explorer

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    Thanks for a great article. You have at least given the Palm community something to think about, so that they don't keep wishing for a standalone PDA to come out. Like I've said many times before, these guys are so stuck in their narrowmindedness that they fail to understand their loyal users. Being stuck only making smartphones is a mistake. It's not like their smartphones are at the top anymore. So many others are in that space already and making better ones that I often wonder what they are seriously thinking.

    They've lost precious time coming up with their innovative (insert sarcasm here) Foleo and then canned it. Now the new Palm OS II isn't coming out until 2009 at the earliest and yet they expect that they can keep coming out with Centros that offer very little upgrade if any from their Treos. Okay, I guess, they can come up with different special color versions of the Centro the entire 2008, like a banana version, a peach version, a blackcurrant version.... Hey, that's a great idea! Heh.

    I have given up on Palm coming up with anything in the next few years. This is very sad for Palm loyalists.

    Here's to hoping that the "other guys" will come out with the standalones or alternatives that will "wake" Palm up. Sheesh.
     
  5. Timothy Rapson

    Timothy Rapson Mobile Deity

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    I am completely lost.
    I recall going into a cell phone place every week (I deliver mail there) and seeing that there were no color screen camera phones that did anything like my Clie NR70V. Now they all match the phone and other capabilities of most old Palms like say the Zire 71.
    Now last week my wife got me a Tracphone with a nice tiny color screen for $13.50. If Palm had just made a nice competitor to the Sony TH55 it might be the current Zire $99 model. It is all about volume production.
    But, Palm never released a single full featured model. Not even close. So the bottom end is a weak selling poor competitor to my daughters $50 Motorola (also Tracphone) camera phone.
    The $99 Palm Centro. What a laugh. If it was a pay as you go Tracphone it would cost $300. That is iPod Touch price.
    I guess Palm will try to play the phone consumer for a sucker until they get swamped by far superior HTC, Motorola, Nokia, and Apple products....the way they suckered millions of Palm users to pay for under-featured broken OS models for the last 3 years. I am guessing it won't take long for most users to look elsewhere.

    My most hoped for model would be a TX sized iPod Touch. If my Axim dies I might get an N810. I await a review of how WordSmith runs on it.
     
  6. robrecht

    robrecht Pretty Good Member

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    Finally! I think most of us have assumed this for some time now. I can't imagine going back to Palm, but that Nokia N810 is really sweet. Can most Palm software take advantage that 800x480 screen?
     
  7. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    No. Garnet software isn't even mapped for VGA, let alone WVGA. Instead, it displays in a 320 x 480 stripe in the middle of the display. PalmInfoCenter has a photo which shows pretty well how this works.

    http://www.palminfocenter.com/images/palm-garnet-vm-4.jpg
     
  8. deserttaxguy

    deserttaxguy Mobile maniac

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    I would add after reading the latest reviews of new devices for all the various O/S types, now is a good time to remind everybody to try to buy your next unit from the advertisers at Brighthand! I was sort of waiting for the Nokia 810, but I already have GPS and I like the handwriting recognition of the N800.
    I picking up an N800 from our sponsors right away. Thanks for the helpful information everybody.
     
  9. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Mobile Deity

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    Palm slipped as far back as July of 2005. That is when I bought a PPC to replace my T3. Had Palm come out with the TX then, rather than the LifeDrive and the T5, their momentum might have been maintainable.

    Fast forward to the present.

    Palm has the TX, the E2, and a handful of Treo models. None of which multitask, have VGA graphics, or provide the choice of keyboard/no keyboard.

    HP seems to understand that there is still a market for traditional non-phone PDAs at least with the introduction of their model 11x/21x Windows Mobile PDAs.

    Other manufacturers are coming out with VGA PDA/Phones that will work on the two US GSM cellular networks, but are unlikely to be picked up by either telco.

    The converged (PDA/Phone) choices from the telcos is even more dismal. The AT&T 8925 is the apparent best of show with only a 240x320 (qvga) screen.

    This is what happens when there is no real competition.
     
  10. dmccunney

    dmccunney Mobile Deity

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    As far as I know, no Palm software can. The Garnet VM runs in a 320x480 window, and so do the apps that run under it. (It's not clear whether apps that use the full screen and collapse the DIA work.)
    ______
    Dennis
     
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