Similar to Sharp's Zaurus PDA which uses Linux, Hitachi has been working on a new PocketPC PDA which includes a built-in keyboard. In addition this device includes an integrated digital camera and uses Sprint's CDMA 1xRTT wireless network. PocketPC thoughts hosts a picture and some very little details on this device which were gathered from the GadgetFest in San Diego.
"The number of operating systems in the handheld market will increase next year with the release of the much-anticipated Symbian-powered devices. But, while Symbian was set to dominate the consumer space, analysts said, it would be a while before the operating system posed a real threat the dominance of Microsoft and Palm in corporate computing." Read the report at AustralianIT.
The Economist is running a cover article on the next great battle of the computing age, and one that may be even more far-reaching than the PC war: the truly personal computer, the so-called smart phone.
"Shortly after one of Microsoft's key partners unceremoniously dumped its software for one made by Nokia, the company said it remains a player in the combination cell-phone and PDA smartphone market. In a move industry analysts called a "blow" and "stumble" into the marketplace by Microsoft, cell-phone maker Sendo scrapped plans to release a Microsoft-powered smartphone just days before it was due to launch." Read the rest of the article at Wired.
"PalmSource has offered us a glimpse of the next milestone for PalmOS, version 6.0 due for release next year. Version 6.0 will be as dramatic a change for the platform as OS X was for Apple, or NT was for Microsoft, and represents the culmination of work from the former Be team Palm acquired last year." Read the report at TheRegister.
Samsung has licensed Symbian OS for a new line of PDA-enabled mobile phones. Now all five of the major mobile phone manufacturers have licensed the OS, though only Nokia has released a major handset running Symbian. Samsung will release a phone that uses Nokia's Series 60 user interface. Some handset manufacturers have licensed more than one OS. Samsung has licensed OSes from all three major makers: Symbian, Palm, and Microsoft. A ZDNet article and and PC World article have more. Update: A PC World article reports that the first Microsoft powered smart phone has been launched by European carrier Orange SA. AT&T will be the first US-based company offering a Microsoft-powered phone, in mid 2003.
Dell Computer is planning to unveil two handhelds--one priced at $199--based on Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 OS this fall, according to sources. This possibly will be the cheapest PocketPC to date, which can create lots of market and sell problems to Palm's new products. In the meantime, Sharp is preparing the new Zaurus. A great place to stay in touch with mobile computing, would be InfoSync.
PalmSource, Inc. today featured their OpenHouce day (with the Sunnyvale mayor cutting a ribbon and all), a number of press releases and a few insights. OSNews was there, so here is our mini-report and a few pictures of the event.
The information that I could find on the web about Sprint’s new '3G' high-speed data service was a little short on solid information, so I spoke with Kevin Packingham, Senior Manager of Business Marketing for SprintPCS’ new Vision service. I sought him out because Ubiquitous, affordable high speed wireless data services are something of a holy grail for tech-savvy road warriors like myself, so I received each morsel of information about Sprint’s new service with great interest. Mr. Packingham spoke over the phone and he clarified many of the questions that I had about the new service.
Palm's biggest challenge with respect to OS 5 may be migrating its sizeable and valuable developer community, which has populated the handheld landscape with Palm devices and applications. Read the editorial at NewsFactor.
Sony Ericsson challenges developers to come up with an irresistible program for its P800 phone. Analysts say it's a sign that software development for smartphones is in the doldrums. Read the news at News.com. Our Take: This is so unoriginal. There is only one application that can be re-created easily, to match a phone's requirements, that is completely a must-have for a phone/PDA that has internet access: A Watson replica. Even Apple had to copycat it for its new Sherlock, and even we asked for it. Watson just rocks, and it is extra useful when you are "on the go".
A thought-provoking New York Times article examines the evidence that Apple may secretly be working on a PDA/Phone device. It cites some cryptic statements by Steve Jobs about how PDAs are going to be replaced by phones, and some not-so-cryptic ones about the sorry state of the handheld offerings today. The article's main evidence, though, is the interesting proliferation of features in Max OS X.2 that have more immediately applicable benefit in a handheld, like handwriting recognition and the "internet distilled" functionality of Sherlock (also seen in the shareware app Watson). Apple already has a license to use the iPod software in a second device.
Danger has released pricing information on the new SideKick device (previously codenamed HipTop) for the consumer market, as reported and reviewed by the Hartford Courant. This consumer grade wireless phone/PDA/internet connected device will list for $199. Mossberg did a review, ZDNet has one too. On other PDA news, Palm is looking to fund a company split. The handheld maker is in talks to raise money as it seeks to separate its operating system unit (PalmSource) from the part of the company that builds and sells handheld computers. PalmSource CEO David Nagel talks about competition with Microsoft in the handheld market and his company's planned split with Palm.
"The combination of cell phone and Web-browsing handheld, which the company had hoped to have in the hands of consumers by the beginning of this month, is unlikely to be widely available until next month, industry sources say. Danger CEO Andy Rubin declined to offer a new launch date, saying that is up to the company's carrier partners. However, he said the company is in volume production of the device, with 6,000 Hiptops being produced each week (will sell for $200, unlimited browsing and some free phone minutes for $40/month). Initially, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion should not feel much of a threat from Danger, given that the former sells primarily to business users and the latter is pitched at consumers. The device's arrival could pose problems for Palm, which gets much of its business from consumers". The story is at News.com, earlier coverage here.
"Microsoft announced Wednesday a partnership with AT&T Wireless to offer wireless software and services to corporate customers. As expected, the companies said they plan to distribute software on Pocket PCs, Smartphones and laptops that will provide wireless access to e-mail, information and applications behind corporate firewalls." Read the report at News.com.
aJile Systems has announced a new 100% J2ME PDA that runs Java bytecode natively in hardware. It also has wireless connectivity, mp3 support, a thumb board, and other fun stuff. Read the story and more technical details at InfoSync and check also a hi-res picture of the prototype device.
"Palm Inc was considering Linux as the foundation of the next-generation PalmOS as recently as last spring, sources tell us. Palm eventually acquired Be Inc's development team last August, but internal discussions on the viability of a Linux-based handheld OS were taking place as recently as fifteen months ago. These were squashed by the lawyers, who concluded that Palm couldn't reconcile the GPL with the in house view of intellectual property. Palm is not using the cut-down embedded version BeOS, BeIA, which was targetted at the NatSemi x86 system on a chip, but a ground-up OS for ARM." Read the report at TheRegister.
Operating systems are all the hype in the PC world and lots of companies want to get a good market share within the wireless space, especially in the new smartphone category. Microsoft is pushing their Smart Phone operating system, Danger has developed a new OS for their Hiptop, Palm is throwing theirs into the playing field and of course there is Symbian. Developers have a lot to choose from.
"Two Singapore programmers claim to have created an operating system that can run programs written for different platforms such as Windows and Linux. Called MXI (Motion Experience Interface), the new operating system will allow handhelds to run any desktop program, said R. Chandrasekar and Sam Hon Kong Lum, the 22-year-old co-inventors." Read the report at ZDNews.
C|Net News.com hosts two interesting articles about Danger, the company behind the HipTop handheld device which is a combination of wireless web-aware applications, PDA and a phone. The operating system for the device has been written from scratch (the kernel is the work of a team of ex-Be engineers, including Travis Geiselbrecht, who also brought us NewOS) while it also runs a Java VM. First article can be found here, and interview with Danger's Rubin and Britt is here.