Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jun 2012 22:09 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless If you're a Palm fan, you might want to look away - or not. Chris Ziegler has written a fantastic article on the short rise and eventual demise of webOS, and with it, Palm. I'm generally not a fan of companies, but I have my exceptions - and Palm is one of them. Correction - Palm was one of them.
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webOS
by mlankton on Tue 5th Jun 2012 22:29 UTC
mlankton
Member since:
2009-06-11

webOS had a superior user experience with no apps. Does it surprise anyone that OPENSTEP was my home desktop from 97-2003? I seem to fall in love with os'es that are ahead of their time and no one else much cares.

Love my Galaxy Nexus, but there are things about the webOS user interface that I miss.

Reply Score: 2

Hurra to Palm!
by dionicio on Wed 6th Jun 2012 00:01 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Happy to see things remembered
in the right perspective.

:)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kovacm
by kovacm on Wed 6th Jun 2012 01:02 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16

decade before the iPhone, a decade before Android. Without Palm, there would be no iPhone. Without Palm, there would be no Android.


c'mon... Atari had STpad "devices consisting of almost nothing but screen" before anybody else!

without Atari there would be no TabletPC, no iPad...

oh... gosh. :rolleyes:

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kovacm
by redshift on Wed 6th Jun 2012 01:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by kovacm"
redshift Member since:
2006-05-06

Apple did have the Newton long before the world was really ready for it, and before the tech could be packed into a less than awkward form factor.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by kovacm
by smashIt on Wed 6th Jun 2012 04:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kovacm"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple did have the Newton long before the world was really ready for it, and before the tech could be packed into a less than awkward form factor.


and palm even predates that by about a year

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Comment by kovacm
by steve_s on Wed 6th Jun 2012 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kovacm"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

"Apple did have the Newton long before the world was really ready for it, and before the tech could be packed into a less than awkward form factor.


and palm even predates that by about a year
"

No it doesn't.

The Newton MessagePad came out in 1993.

The first Palm Pilots came out in 1996.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Comment by kovacm
by smashIt on Wed 6th Jun 2012 15:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kovacm"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

The Newton MessagePad came out in 1993.

The first Palm Pilots came out in 1996.


thats all correct
but the first palm-pda was the zoomer (not the pilot) in '92

palm didn't manufacture it, but licensed it to tandy (it's parent-company) and (iirc) casio

http://www.8bit-micro.com/tandy-zoomer-z-pda.htm

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Comment by kovacm
by steve_s on Wed 6th Jun 2012 16:13 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by kovacm"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

Ah - yes - you're quite right. I stand corrected. I'd forgotten all about the Zoomer, mostly because it wasn't Palm branded.

I tend to think that Palm Computing effectively began with Graffiti. That was their first genuine success, and what paved the way for the Pilot.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kovacm
by moondevil on Wed 6th Jun 2012 08:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kovacm"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Sadly dylan also died with Newton, that could have been a nice programming language, as far as I can tell.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kovacm
by steve_s on Wed 6th Jun 2012 15:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kovacm"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

Sadly dylan also died with Newton, that could have been a nice programming language, as far as I can tell.


Dylan, whilst it had at one stage been intended for the Newton, didn't make it onto the device. It wasn't really ready, and besides which it used a bit too much memory for such a constrained device.

Dylan did escape Apple, and didn't really die with the Newton. Carnegie Mellon University developed Gwydion, and a software company called Harlequin made a commercial version for Windows. It was never a great success though. Harlequin became Functional Objects, and has since ceased to exist, but before they departed they open-sourced their Dylan compiler, which lives on as Open Dylan http://opendylan.org/ which now runs on multiple platforms.

Edited 2012-06-06 15:36 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by kovacm
by zima on Tue 12th Jun 2012 23:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by kovacm"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

c'mon... Atari had STpad "devices consisting of almost nothing but screen" before anybody else!

1991 of Atari STpad... (which never shipped, and at least most demo units were mock-ups it seems: http://www.old-computers.com/MUSEUM/computer.asp?st=1&c=269 - oh, and certainly developed at best in parallel with the first Thinkpad, which probably was the more visible one http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/ThinkPad_History )

...is before 1989? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GRiDPad http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/6565/GRidPad-1910/ actually sold and used)

Well, I suppose that's the expected, from the likes of you (with unquestioning Apple praise and all), standard of historical accuracy...

Edited 2012-06-12 23:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

And Another Thing
by HappyGod on Wed 6th Jun 2012 01:50 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

I was/am also a huge fan of Graffiti. It was definitely the best form of text input for small screens. Once you got used to it, you could spit out text very quickly.

Palm eventually dropped graffiti, but MS kept including it in PocketPC, right up to the present day actually (not in WP7 obviously)! Weird.

Reply Score: 4

RE: And Another Thing
by Pro-Competition on Wed 6th Jun 2012 03:55 UTC in reply to "And Another Thing"
Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

Same here. I wouldn't mind having access to Graffiti on one of the new smartphones/tablets that support a stylus.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

think it was patents specifically that forced Palm to intentionally make input more cumbersome than Graffiti. Some parasite had a "alphabet of letters each drawn in one stroke or so" kind of patent and Palm/Palm's Users got screwed over it.

I've yet to find a stylus input method as fast and accurate as graffiti. Never let user benefit and technological evolution get in the way of profiteering though I huh.

Reply Score: 4

RE: And Another Thing
by fretinator on Wed 6th Jun 2012 15:25 UTC in reply to "And Another Thing"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

I use Graffiti on my HTC Android phone - it still rocks for me. It is a free install from the Market.

Edited 2012-06-06 15:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Newton
by David on Wed 6th Jun 2012 02:49 UTC
David
Member since:
1997-10-01

The Newton did pretty much all of those things, and also drew upon other handheld computers that came before. What Palm did, which is super-important, is 1. wrapped it in a smaller, more affordable package, and 2. developed a robust developer ecosystem.

Once Apple came back around to handheld computing, they took their lessons from what had made the Palm Pilot more usable and more popular than the Newton had been.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 6th Jun 2012 06:25 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I have been a Palm user for years. Starting with a Palm Pro, then a Palm Vx and ending with a Palm T|X. At the time I was traveling by train a lot and the Palm was a great time killer. I found it so cool you could write an email while on the move and have it sent "automatically" when you arrived at your computer and synchronized the Palm.

Still, they could never surpass my Psion 3a. It was a much better PDA, but it was bigger, heavier and had a keyboard. But what it lacked most was 3rd party apps. But I still have it, it still works and still looks almost new.

It would have been more interesting if both Palm and Psion had survived/stayed in the consumer business.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Sat 9th Jun 2012 11:14 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The consumer side of Psion pretty much ended up at Nokia, right? But I don't suppose you want some recent Symbian qwerty handset... ;) (Nokia E7-00 seems to be the most recent with Psion-like form factor http://www.developer.nokia.com/Devices/Device_specifications/?filte... - and quite possibly better than any Psion was)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sat 9th Jun 2012 11:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Two people at work have one, not too impressed with them. The screen always feels very busy and crammed.

But you are right, Symbian originated from the Psion OS.

I have a Nokia 9500 and a E90 that both are kinda like a Psion.

Still I prefer my Psion 3a. The Psion 5 and Revo that came after it didn't quite capture me. A number of people had either of those, but I stuck to my 3a.

Recently I acquired a Psion 3MX. Yes, I have a whole bunch of PDA's.

I also found my Palm Pro, when it was still 3COM.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Sun 10th Jun 2012 00:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Presumably the recent Symbian release also for E7, Nokia Belle, brings quite a few UI changes; makes it more in-line with the present times. Who knows, you might like it now? ;)
(but curious how they pretty much dropped "Symbian" from the naming conventions - maybe to escape from the Elop "burning platform" Effect?)

WRT Psion: from quickly glancing over Wiki pages about them ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion#The_Psion_Organiser - second section, starting with "A second effort"), it seems you perhaps weren't alone, with 3 vs 5.
(is the keyboard of 5 seriously good enough for touch-typing? That could be awesome, even now, perhaps a reason to get one)

Also, curious bit from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Series_3

Psion's industrial hardware division continue to produce handhelds running the same 16-bit operating system, some 17 years after its introduction on the Psion MC range of laptops and 5 years after Psion Computer's final 32-bit EPOC PDA was released.

There even seems to be sort-of-Linux for 3... http://elks.sourceforge.net/introduction.html

Anyway, are you making there a museum or something? ;)


PS. If I would like to experience the original Palm, the early models are perfectly fine, right? (the later ones maybe even with needless bling? Also while PalmIII can be had for peanuts at my local auction site)

Edited 2012-06-10 00:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 10th Jun 2012 08:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I guess I could make a museum. Apart from a number of PDA's I also have a HP calculator collection and a large amount of Apple stuff (pens, posters, clothes, etc...).

Old Palms are cool, I just found my Palm Pilot Professional and it still works. I runs on 2 AAA batteries. But my Palm Vx and Palm T|X have a build in battery, so if that goes they're dead.

My Palm Vx needs screen calibration on a very regular basis and it keeps forgetting settings, so I guess it turned demented. The T|X is fine.

So the older Palms probably are a safer bet than the newer ones, if only for the replaceable batteries. Linux should be able to synch them (if you have the cradle, which needs a serial port). I didn't have much success with it, but it's now 10 years later so maybe they finally have could it working.

The only problem with older Palms is that they are stuck on a low operating system level and newer software might (well, probably) not run on them.

I can't reply to your other reply, the story is now too old. So I'll slip it in here:

The Amiga keyboard was fine, but the C128 one was better. Not as good as an IBM keyboard, they are the greatest. The original C64 keyboard seemed it was made for people who couldn't type anyway. The C64C keyboard was a vast improvement.

Buying Ultima V may probably enhanced my satisfaction and view of the game, but it was also rare to get such a game via the illegal games grapevine. Simple and popular games like say Operation Wolf, R-Type or Test Drive were passed down pretty quickly: everybody wanted them. RPG games like Ultima, AD&D or even The Bard's Tale didn't play well without a manual and a specific interest. All the RPG games I owned I bought.

Ultima V came on 4 double sided disks. Other RPGs often also came on multiple disks. Nobody wanted to "waste" so many disks on a game they didn't understand, didn't play and nobody else wanted.

Edited 2012-06-10 08:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Very sad...
by prOSy on Wed 6th Jun 2012 07:24 UTC
prOSy
Member since:
2009-10-22

...that Palm OS6 "Cobalt" never reached the masses. I had high hopes back in 2003 or 2004. The BeOS/BeIA/Cobalt/PalmSource story is well known here i think, so i won't repeat it here. As a BeOS user i wished Cobalt could have been a "successor" of the good old BeIA/BeOS stuff. But times have changed and the younger generation praises iOS and Android as "revolutions", but the real revolutions for such devices happened -as Thom mentioned- much earlier.

Reply Score: 2

I Owned Some Palms
by JeeperMate on Wed 6th Jun 2012 11:49 UTC
JeeperMate
Member since:
2010-06-12

Yeah, I owned some Palms, starting with Tungsten T, ending with the T5 (bad choice, I know) and I loved them all, even the much loathed T5. But, I've been longing for the Palmtop/Psion form factor to make a comeback.

I can still remember the days when I could code apps on-the-go on the same device/platform that would run them, and I would love to see that become the norm again.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I Owned Some Palms - T5 bad?
by jabbotts on Wed 6th Jun 2012 14:24 UTC in reply to "I Owned Some Palms"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I payed less attention to the opinion noise at that time. What was wrong with the T5? The chassis shape, the hardware on board.. for lack only of a wifi radio I still maintain that it was the best Palm device done. The slide away input area maximized screen viewing space, no moving parts like the LifeDrive, no hardware downgrade like the T/X (was that the one between the T5 and lifedrive?). I held on to my T5 until it died forcing me to choose a replacement from the options of the time (all of which meant a downgrade from the T5 in some way).

Reply Score: 2

JeeperMate Member since:
2010-06-12

Well, there were a few things many people hated about the T5, mainly the slab-like form factor as opposed to its predecessors' signature slide out design and held-back performance. I personally loved the thin slab thing and didn't mind the slightly reduced snappiness in exchange for better reliability (thanks to the use of flash memory for internal storage).

The T/X was released after the Lifedrive but, despite its improved actual performance compared to the T5 and Lifedrive, it came out too late.

All my Palms are still alive and well, by the way... I replaced my T5's soldered battery with a new one a few years ago, and it still provides around 5.5 hours worth of juice, at least last time I checked.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I Owned Some Palms
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 6th Jun 2012 15:28 UTC in reply to "I Owned Some Palms"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

FYI, although it is not the norm, you can do create android apps on android with aide.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aide.ui&hl=en

Reply Score: 2

RE: I Owned Some Palms
by ricegf on Wed 6th Jun 2012 16:25 UTC in reply to "I Owned Some Palms"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

That was a major draw of Maemo / MeeGo to me - a full Python implementation with with PyGTK+ / PyQt (respectively) as well as PyGame, such that apps I write directly on my N900 run virtually unmodified on my PC.

I keep hoping to find a successor, but hope is fading...

Reply Score: 2

Fond memories of my Palm Pilots
by OMRebel on Wed 6th Jun 2012 15:11 UTC
OMRebel
Member since:
2005-11-14

Back when my work required me to travel 80% of the time, I relied upon my Palm Pilots a great deal. I used to have Palm III, then the Palm m505. I had various accessories for them - the collapsible keyboard, modem, camera, and GPS unit. Eventually, I had managed to drop my m505 at just the perfect angle as to hit the corner of a metal toolbox and crack the screen. After that incident, I ended up grabbing a Compaq iPaq 5550 (due to the lure of built in Wifi and Bluetooth) off of an auction site. However, after using the iPaq for awhile, I realized just how much I missed the UI of the Palm and purchased another m505 off of a buddy who had upgraded to a later model (can't remember which one).

Reply Score: 2

Excellent but Incomplete
by ricegf on Wed 6th Jun 2012 18:27 UTC
ricegf
Member since:
2007-04-25

The information in the article is fascinating, but doesn't cover quite a bit that I was hoping it would.

For example, when the Pre was first introduced, a major battle erupted with Apple over webOS's ability to play songs from iTunes. Apple finally won - but with its distributor relations strained by $0.99 universal pricing and such, I had expected Palm to cut a separate deal. None of this is mentioned in the article.

Also, the article mentioned that no PalmOS 6 devices were shipped - but doesn't address why not. Given its excellent multimedia capability (I presume, from its BeOS heritage), I'd love more detail on why not.

Much appreciated the info, but I'm still hungry for more.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Excellent but Incomplete
by zima on Tue 12th Jun 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "Excellent but Incomplete"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I think there could be just more to an OS shipping or not than its (supposed) multimedia capabilities... (plus, it's not like contemporary non-BeOS lineage devices have any issues, especially with media playback often supported by ~DSP - not so much for perf, more for power saving - and since it's a quite "single tasking" thing on a small display - so there's even not really any space for, useless back then anyways, few videos at the same time BeOS demo...)

Similar with music shop, would be a huge undertaking (and with target demographics probably "locked" into iTunes, if they won't already use other options - oh yeah, Palm providing a nice UI to Amazon MP3 or such would be probably more likely)

Edited 2012-06-13 00:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Tue 12th Jun 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "Excellent but Incomplete"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

double

Edited 2012-06-13 00:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

what was wrong with webOS??
by kovacm on Thu 7th Jun 2012 04:03 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16

I read article and I am confused: what was wrong with new OS for Palm (Prima)?

"Mercer's stuff was garbage," one source bluntly told us. "All he had was a nice demo, but nothing really worked," said another. "The software team was getting close to mutiny. It was untenable to build what we wanted to build." Simple tasks like centering text on the screen required five lines of code. ...


It wasn't looking good. Just months into Elevation Partners' investment, morale in Palm's engineering corps was already flagging. Executives had sold them on a change-the-world mentality and Duarte had delivered the blueprint for a revolutionary user interface, but Mercer's operating system had few believers beyond the small group of engineers (around four, we're told) that he directly controlled.


ok, so what exactly Prima was?

I see that Prima was major problem in Palm but I can not figure out what part of OS Prima was... ?? or it was complete OS?

Reply Score: 2

RE: what was wrong with webOS??
by Xeron on Thu 7th Jun 2012 08:36 UTC in reply to "what was wrong with webOS??"
Xeron Member since:
2012-03-08

As far as I can tell, Prima was a Java based user interface layer on top of the Linux kernel.

(Just like Luna is a webkit based interface layer on top of the linux kernel, that replaced Prima).

Reply Score: 2

RE: what was wrong with webOS??
by phoenix on Fri 8th Jun 2012 18:48 UTC in reply to "what was wrong with webOS??"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Prima was the UI/app framework on top of the Linux kernel, written in Java. Basically, it was analogous to Android's Dalvik framwork.

WebOS 1.x shipped with Prima on the device, but not accessible to normal application.

WebOS 2.x removed all traces of Prima. In theory, 2.x should have been smaller in size, so an upgrade from 1.x to 2.x should have given you a good chunk of extra storage.

WebOS 3.x shipped with Enyo, an upgraded UI/application framework.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: what was wrong with webOS??
by kovacm on Sat 9th Jun 2012 01:07 UTC in reply to "RE: what was wrong with webOS??"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

thanx phoenix for clarification!

Reply Score: 1

Palm was ahead technologically
by libray on Thu 7th Jun 2012 17:21 UTC
libray
Member since:
2005-08-27

Before they took the easy road..
"The company eventually bridged the gap by licensing Microsoft's Windows Mobile, which debuted on the Treo 700w."

My Treo 600-755p were and are innovative in terms of offering a private suite that is (minus web browsing and new apps) as capable or more capable than even the current set of smartphones on the market.

this articl give a great hint at the role that verizon played though. And for that, I'll never switch to them from Sprint.

Reply Score: 2

I agree Palm devices and OS were good
by jefro on Fri 8th Jun 2012 20:31 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

The only problem was the connection between MS world and Palm world. Otherwise it was a great device.

Reply Score: 2

at least devices doesn't stop working
by SeeM on Sun 10th Jun 2012 14:41 UTC
SeeM
Member since:
2011-09-10

Thankfully my IIIxe and Centro are still working perfectly. ;) I hope they stay alive for years.

Reply Score: 1