Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th Mar 2013 14:51 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless After a few months of planning, several weeks of work, and possibly a few kilometres of aimless pacing through the living room, I'm happy to present "Palm: I'm ready to wallow now". This massive article (22,000 words) covers countless aspects of Palm, its devices, its operating system, and the company's importance to the mobile industry. I start with a detailed look at the history of handwriting recognition, after which I move on to the four hardware products I believe are crucial in understanding Palm as a company. Of course, I also dive into Palm OS, covering the kernel, its filesystem (or lack thereof), 'multitasking' capabilities, user experience, and much more. Important Palm OS licensees like Sony and Handspring make an appearance, and I cover the failed attempt at modernising the Palm OS: Palm OS 6 Cobalt. Finally, the conclusion ties it all together. For the first time in OSNews' history, you can also buy this article to support OSNews and make more articles like this possible in the future (don't worry - the regular online version is free, as always!). I suggest you grab a coffee, sit back, and enjoy.
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Some other problems
by Machster on Tue 12th Mar 2013 18:11 UTC
Machster
Member since:
2007-05-15

An entertaining article that rekindles fond memories.

There were a couple of omissions to Palm history that are important: 1) the Lifedrive and 2)NAND.

Palm introduced the $400 Lifedrive to much fanfare. It was meant to compete with Apple's iPods of the day. I recall meeting a Palm rep who was showing it off at one of those electronic stores that has since closed. It relied on a 4GB hard drive as storage and memory, to my best recollection. This memory arrangement had bad effects. Many complaints surfaced about frequent freezes and lockups. Although it was a beautifully designed machine, but with a rather poor, blue-tinted screen (something Palm was notorious for) it was a failure.

After the Lifedrive Palm started to bring out their phone line they switched to NAND flash memory. Palm touted this "feature" by stating that users would no longer loose their data if the battery ran dead. Unfortunately, as the hard drive had done in the Lifedrive, the NAND introduced other problems such as instability and lack of instant speed so valued up until then. Software utilities soon sprang up which were needed to flush the cache.

The best Palm-made non-phone device has been acknowledged to be the T3, a device with a decent screen that I bought used. The second best was the Tapwave, which is another company with a sad story. The Tapwave had many digitizer screen problems and joystick controller issues. I had to return mine 3 times before I got one that function satisfactorily. Neither of these units use NAND and are still going strong. The Tapwave was to have been a new gaming platform. Unfortunately, it was released right before the PSP.

As far as Sony's later offerings they were uniquely designed on the outside but woefully underpowered and way overpriced. I think the UX50 ($500 or $600?) and some others used Sony's proprietary CPU which only reached a speed of something like 125khz. Sony never advertised the speed, of course.

I looked at the UX50 when they came out. Sony shrank the screen to fit the device so it was smaller than competing Palm screens and darker. The keyboard buttons were completely flush with the wavy designed base and made it hard to type. This is another case of form over function I am afraid.

Once Sony left the PDA business Palm was doomed partly because it had no competition to push it forward. By that time the cell phone revolution started.

Edited 2013-03-12 18:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Some other problems
by MOS6510 on Wed 13th Mar 2013 12:39 in reply to "Some other problems"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I had the choice between the LiveDrive and the T|X. I went for the T|X because it was cheaper and it was part of a bundle that included Tomtom navigation.

At the time I remember that the LifeDrive was a very nice and interesting device, at least in theory. Apparently it wasn't so nice in real life use.

If the LifeDrive didn't have its flaws it may have become successful enough to give Palm some extra hit points.

Reply Parent Score: 2