Home > Wireless > Palm OS 6: the Evolution Palm OS 6: the Evolution Eugenia Loli 2003-05-10 Wireless 10 Comments PalmSource said this week that Palm OS 6.0 is expected by the end of the year with products shipping as early as 2004. “OS 6 is the evolutionary path to the future,” PalmSouce CEO David Nagel said. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 10 Comments 2003-05-10 2:46 am you really need to dump those dumb overly-excited titles 2003-05-10 2:56 am You really do have to admire Palm. They are still very big and going quite strong, despite everything. Despite the fact that their handhelds are woefully slow, underpowered, and lack many of the features (like hi-rez color screens) of their compeditors (Pocket PC and the Zarus). They are also way overpriced compated to the compeditors. This is really a testimate to the power of software. I think most of us can agree that the thing that makes a Palm a Palm (besides the name) is the fantastic software. It’s easy to use, well thought out, looks good, and just works wells. Anyone who knows alot about computers knows that better software/hardware isn’t everything. Many great programs and OSes have fell despite being great or even superior (NeXT and BeOS come to mind). You also need to have the marketing and just get into the market. Let’s face it, Palm basically CREATED the palmtop/PDA market. Sure there were PDAs before them, but Palm was a big success. All that said, if they don’t get MUCH better hardware soon (and for a reasonable price) then it’s only a matter of time before PocketPCs, Zaruses, and such overtake them due to their shear value for the money. 2003-05-10 3:26 am but becasue it is less than the bloated PPC 2002 they are woefuly underpowered? 2003-05-10 4:38 am this is what i said at http://www.newmobilecomputing.com : can’t wait to see it- let’s hope they’re adding other features to POS for POS 6. I guessed I had hoped for POS 6 to be the first OS that resembled something a little more modern, rather than being DOS with a built-in GUI API. You know, little things, like semi-real multitasking, etc. Perhaps not, though. :/ POS 6 would be the best place for it though… well, POS 5 would’ve really been the best time for such an archetecture switch. After all, moving to a new CPU from Dragonball, running 68k apps in a box would’ve been the perfect time to revamp the whole OS, the API, and put all the old Palm rubbish into its own little box. Alas. Perhaps by POS 10! and new stuff: I had some high hopes for POS 6 until some of the information that has been available lately has been coming out… Doesn’t sound like much of an upgrade. Maybe we’ll all be surprised with something more than stupid buzzwords. PPC 2002 isn’t actually all that bloated. A lot of people assume it is because the basis of it is Windows CE. And people automatically assume that it has all the bloat of desktop Windows, which is just plain wrong. WinCE actually does a lot of things really well. I am no MS fan in general, I am a Mac guy. However, after I grew up, got past my childish assumptions, and actually used a WinCE device for a while I found that PocketPC and WinCE are actually pretty nice. They have little things like being able to handle more than 16 MB of RAM (PalmOS just got this in POS 5.2) and multitasking. PocketPC is a bit limited in some ways, there are some good features in vanilla WinCE that they’ve left out, and it certainly could be improved. But on the whole, it’s pretty decent- I’d much rather be running WinCE than Win 95/98/NT/2000/XP on my x86 desktop, if I had one. After all, it can run Squeak ( http://www.squeak.org ), has a decent web browser (although Opera would be nice!), and has a wide variety of the Unixey tools I am used to. And for Michael: Umm, Palm and Sony have been putting out some POS devices with very decent hardware lately. Sony did it first with a mega-rad Clié, but Palm now has the Tungsten T and C, both with a fast ARM processor. Maybe you’ve not read the articles lately, but you’re no longer capped at a 66 MHz Dragonball with a PalmOS devices. Granted, it’ll be a while before a lot of people have a POS device with any decent amount of RAM and CPU speed, and consequently it’ll be a while before there are many apps which take advantage of this. 2003-05-10 5:03 am More efficient OS, and much easier to use then MS. So, its much more productive. On top of that, they are cheaper. Since these are mostly used by business professionals, it all makes sense. 2003-05-10 1:00 pm I believe the PDA market to be the toughest there is. It is unbelievably demanding on the hardware reguiring stability, toughness, low power consumption, data preservation etc. The usability factors are extreme as it must be drop-dead simple to use while performing complex tasks. What a challenge. The original Palmpilot was the first to meet the commercial challenges and it has been nearly continuous progress since then. Palm survived the internet bubble and continues to perfect a very difficult platform that meets customer acceptance. They have to get the basics nailed flawlessly before they can slowly move to add new features. It is a very tough task and they are making the grade as I see it. 2003-05-10 4:09 pm Yes, Sony has pushed the Palm platform a long way, but they seem to be fighting the OS to do it. Sony has forced Palm to come up with better modles and probably lower their prices a bit, but I still don’t think that the devices are in the same range as the PocketPCs are (Hardware wise). It’s good Sony makes Palm PDAs, but where would Palm be without them? My point is I think Palm is getting stagnate. 2003-05-10 9:17 pm reply to Michael: Yes, Palm is pretty stagnate. I too am not sure where Palm would be if Sony wasn’t there to actually come out with better machines running better software, doing a lot of fighting (aka rewriting and additions) against the PalmOS they get from PalmSource. Wasn’t it Sony who created the first Palm device to go past the laughable 160×160 resolution to which PalmOS itself was limited and the PalmOS changes which allowed it? reply to Kyle: More efficient OS, and much easier to use then MS. So, its much more productive. On top of that, they are cheaper. Since these are mostly used by business professionals, it all makes sense. Have any numbers? The last reports regarding current sales from both US and Europe (both seen on Newmobilecomputing.com) show that PocketPC-based PDAs are out selling PalmOS devices by quite a bit. It is quite true that POS devices still have a foothold, but unless Palm starts actually advancing their platform, rather than adding trivial bits here and there, that foothold will be compromised. PalmOS devices are no longer much cheaper, especially when comparing equiavlent functionality, etc. You can get very nice PocketPC devices for $200, and ones that are pretty much top of the line for $300-400. Yes, you can still buy an original Zire for $99, and that can’t be beat. But when you want something that is more than an overpriced organizer, a $225 Axim running at 300 MHz really has no competitor in the POS realm. Closest thing would be the Zire 71, which has a camera and a slower processor. It also costs more and has less RAM. The Axim has twice as much RAM as well as two standard expansion ports, SD and CF. When the issue of RAM is brought up, so many people cry “But POS apps are smaller than WinCE apps!” That is true, but it’s not the whole story. Maybe people with Palm PDAs have no other data than applications on their PDAs… who knows. I have crazy things like Ogg and mp3 files, images, ebooks, etc- all data that takes up the same amount of space on any sort of device. Then again. in some senses, you’ll never find anything as nice as the newest, bad-assest Sony Clié (which costs $800!). No where can you find a PocketPC PDA with a resolution other than 240×320, while Sony has models running at 320×480.  But what good is a badass $800 PDA if most of its badassness is potential rather than manifest. Who will buy a $800 POS PDA when you can’t do some relatively simple things that you can elsewhere? It is just me, or does anyone else find it amusing that Palm lists “classic organizer features” as a big feature for their models? Yes, the organizer functionality of my girlfriend’s Palm Pro are satisfactory, but there is some definate room for improvement in the “classic” tools from so-long-ago and what you get today. Notes:  You can get non-PocketPC WinCE devices at resolutions from tiny to 1600×1200 plus. However, from a dopey end-user standpoint, you have to jump through a few hoops to get some PocketPC apps working fine on a vanilla WinCE machine. and for anonymous- What you said would be great- if it were true. PalmOS does some things very well, no doubt- but in a lot of cases their software isn’t being perfected, it is just remaining stale and stagnant is no excuse. What sorts of things on PocketPC are there as features but very half-baked? I know a couple really stupid flaws (like closing applications! HAH!), but aside that I can’t really think of much. I mean, life with PocketPC isn’t anything like it is with a Linux-equipped Sharp Zaurus, where most of the apps are half-baked, without a PDA user in mind. 2003-05-12 1:20 am When it comes down to the end user who wants to get things done, I hold that it all comes down to what a particular device can do for you. For most, everyday users, the underlying tech specs are meaningless. When I was sitting on the fence between choosing a Dell Axim or some variety of Palm OS 5 PDA, I looked at ways that I could justify my purchase for business reasons (as opposed to having a new toy to play with). For me, this meant having excel and word docs on the go for when I’m on the train, visiting clients or if I’m far away from my computer. I had assumed that PocketPC devices would have greater Excel/Word compatability since MS made the operating system …a reasonable assumption, right? Well, it turns out that Documents to Go for Palm OS actually handles Office files better than Pocket Excel/Word for PocketPC devices, especially in the area of preserving formatting. I ended up getting a Tungsten T. No amount of CPU power or RAM or screen resolution could have persuaded me to get a PocketPC device since Documents to Go under Palm OS sufficed my needs in better fashion. 2003-05-12 2:32 pm The new Palm Zire 71 is a great PDA at only $299.99. It runs OS5.2, has a 320 x 320 screen, MP3 and movie playback, is FAST, SMALL and LIGHT, and has the 640 x 480 built-in camera.