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Handhelds Hardware

The New Handspring Visor: The Edge 162

Posted by Hemos
from the it-sounds-like-pizza dept.
Bono writes "Handspring had their site down until 11:30am today so they could announce their new handheld...the Visor Edge. Looks pretty sweet at .44" thick...although the Springboard expansion requires a little add-on that comes with it." When I first read the name all I could think was a thin Visor...with pizza toppings. In any case, the device looks pretty darn cool. The Springboard expansion reminds somewhat of the iPaq does, but hey, more devices, better.
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The New Handspring Visor: The Edge

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  • Thin notwithstanding, the Edge is still a hand/palm-ful, just like other PDAs.

    If you like the idea of a credit-card sized PDA that gets you a lot of the basic functionality of a Palm/Visor, try the REX 6000 [rr.com]. You can get it now for about $120-$150, a little pricy but still reasonable.

  • ...I'd be a little suspicious. Someone called "Bono", submitting a story about a product called "The Edge"? Looks like someone's got a U2 fixation! :-)

  • You wouldn't happen to have a definite name would you? I wouldn't mind have a CF slot on my IIIc.

    ---
  • I guess the new Visors have the ability to mask private records because that is the option I am using now on my Visor Platinum.

    I bought my Visor because I like the idea of Springboard modules. If you go out an look at the Springboard modules available, maybe you'd see that there is alot more to them than extra storage space.

  • This app is just a licensed version of DateBk3 or DateBk4. Noting is keeping a Palm owner from purchasing this app.

    In fact, the last time I checked DataBk3/4 had a few more features. And it is only about $25 with profits going to a Gorilla sanctuary in Georgia. http://www.pimlicosoftware.com/

    This is one of the very few apps that I thought was worth paying for.

  • by JatTDB (29747) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:52AM (#366861)
    Now more than ever, I have to remember a lot of things, make a lot of notes, be at certain places at certain times, etc. Over the years I've tried a whole host of non-electronic notepads, planners, appointment books, organizers, etc. Every single time I lose the bastards...you know why? Because they cost $5.

    My Visor Deluxe was $250, plus $30 for a nice beltclippable Rhinoskin case. I've had it for a year and a half now...and you know why? Because I paid too damn much for it to accidentally leave it somewhere. When I first got it, I constantly checked for its presence on my person to make sure I hadn't lost my investment. Now that I've become very dependent on it, I still check for it so I can do things like jot down the model numbers of the routers at a customer site, or make a few notes to myself about things I need to do when I'm back at the office, or maybe write down the trouble ticket number the telco just gave me for that messed up frame relay line. It's now an integral part of my daily processes. Sure most of the things I use it for could be handled with a good notepad and datebook, but I'd lose those in 10 seconds flat.

  • Handspring was started by some of the original Palm engineers. They license the PalmOS from Palm. I'm sure that they would not share the cost with us. :-)

    Perhaps Palm recognized that competition is good for the marketplace.
  • I don't know if it works with the IIIc. Certainly not with the hardware that comes with the kit, as the IIIc is much larger than the III.

    The kit consists of a gizmo that fits into the memory expansion slot on the Palm III, and a plastic clamshell replacing the back of the III's case. The clamshell has a slot in the side to accept the CF card. There's a link to a review of the thing here:

    http://www.geekvortex.f2s.com/reviews/colorcase/ in dex.html

    I'd paste the review to the expansion directly, but geekvortex absolutely SUCKS over slow connections.

    You know, on further reflection, I'm not sure it's CF at all...it might be SmartMedia expansion cards...oh well. You'll look at it and see if it suits you. : )
  • I have a 128MB CompactFlash card in my TRGpro. Using AutoCF I have direct access to that space. I recently, for example, found out that Liberty can only cope with 32 Gameboy ROMS (I'd got up to 34 - 20-something MB). Since it's flash it's also great for backups. I always keep 4 generations of system backup on the card, usually updated after my morning sync.

    --

  • Don't forget the enhanced calculator. That's right, you can set it to scientific. It's a pretty damn good replacement for many other calcs, and better than the freeware ones (if you hate RPN as much as I do).
  • The vanity. The arrogance.

    The defensiveness! Just because you suck at writing, don't take it out on the poster. I always find it amazing that people who can't write worth a damn seem to need to imply that it's some sort of useless skill that you shouldn't be judged by.

    There is no question that a lack of writing skills limits your effectiveness.

    Instead of whining, why don't you take a few classes and learn to write? Your coworkers who have to read your pathetic specs, and your boss who can't trust you to respond to customer questions would surely appreciate it.


    --

  • what was not mentioned was the amount of 3rd party hardware and software available for the palm. Tons more then for the revo. this is both consumer as well as developer software. If you are simply looking for a fast chip, the iPaq has a 206mhz ARM chip, tons of emulators, and other apps. True, you have to run a M$ OS, but they are getting a ton of traction these days....
  • Basing someone's skill as a programmer based on their grammatical abilities is idiotic. It's similar to basing physicist's ability on their physical appearance. Or a girl's personality on her looks.

    And yes I've hired people. And yes they're not perfect, nor would I have wanted them to be perfect. If I sat around waiting for those types of people, I wouldn't have anybody working for me. I'd have drones. Can the people that make grammatical mistakes work well? Yes. Do they have personalities? Yes. Can they do the job? Yes. Will they fit the job? The only way to find out is to meet them. Are cover letters a good indicator into an employee's ability? No. To make as rash a judgement as that based on a cover letter is moronic. I know what a coverletter is. It's a BS statement filled with buzzwords and action verbs. They're a complete waste. You might as well believe Marketing material. In order to get a true understanding, you must meet the person. Ask them questions. Look at their examples. Give them problems to solve on the spot. Converse with them. So what if it wastes 30 minutes of your day. That's part of your job when you're responsible for hiring people. Where is the meticulousness you mentioned now?

    Of course you could also just be a jerk and exercise your little bit of power over some nameless, faceless prospect. Crush his hopes. How dare he waste your time. Those idiots who end sentences with propositions. Sanitational Engineering is too good of a job for them!

    I'm happy I do not work for someone as close-minded as you.
  • Huh? the m505 is due to be released next week.

    Wanna see what it looks like? [palmstation.com]

    Sony are also planning on releasing [cnet.com] a new Clie in Japan today (no more information available yet)

    It was also announced that the Handspring range will go on sale in Australia this week. They're being distributed & supported by Vodafone. Prices range from AUD$349 - AUD$1043, the Edge will cost AUD$899. There was an article [news.com.au] in yesterdays's AustralianIT and there's a small article [cnet.com] over at cnet today.

  • Actually the site wasn't down all of that time... I think it was just being jammed by all of the people looking at the new Edge. I was able to get to it yesterday (after they posted the Edge info). It was just really, really slow.

    Just so everyone will know, the whole reason they chose to release the Edge yesterday is because I finally bought a Visor last week. Most companies seem to be watching for me to register their first generation product so that they can immediately release their next generation.

  • I'll take credit for that...I posted it! :-) It was the first time one of my attempts made it onto /. Thanks for catching that...I thought it was pretty clever. ;-)
  • Remember, son, when we bought you that Palm, we told you that you'd have to feed it and play with it every day. If you can't remember to take care if it nicely, we're just going to have to take it to the Palm pound, and we'll never buy you another pet again!
  • Personally, I don't think so.

    What disturbs me with pocket PCs is that M$ attempted to squeeze a desktop user interface into a PDA, while the Palm UI appears to be designed for just that.

    It's sort of like some braindead marketers cooked up WAP, to give you the convenience of Web browsing on an eeny tiny display in black & white. I have yet to see a WAP service that a) works and b) adds some sort of value.

    Further, I don't need features like color, the ability to play videaos or to listen to sound. I need (simple, almost primitive) software like Titrax to bill my customers and mangle the data into a perl script at the end of the month, which in turn mangles it into a nice, proper invoice.

    I'm not slamming CE here, I'm just definitely not in their focus group.

  • Um, it seems to me my now old school visor deluxe is also equipped with a backlight... RTFM.

  • I swear it had nothing to do with the hot chick handing out brochures, either.


    So you're saying you wouldn't prefer the hot chick to a Palm?

    --
  • Palms are still a few years out. They have severe memory restrictions. Once we get to 128M palms, we will be there. The applications will follow.

    This is a great area to start boning up. They will be a hot item. I have seen some really good projects involving palms and analysing weather and insect data for growers. But the memory restrictions are holding them back.

  • I think flash is cool, but I think it's not very well applied. I *loved* the flash demo of this thing, what a great use. User controlled zooming, user controlled 3d rotation, and color swapping. That's just slick.
  • FYI red is only available from handspring.com [handspring.com]

    Cheers!

  • Well Duh.

    Palm tried to make itself sexy by hiring Claudia Schiffer to promote it and releasing a special "Claudia" edition [cnet.com] (a Vx with metalic blue faceplate)

    I wonder which supermodel handspring will use?

  • kind of off topic but i hear even edge's mother calls him edge.. and the rest of hte band reffer to her as "mrs. edge"
  • I bought a Vx about 3 months ago. I spent an extra $50 on a leather slip case. Then, after a static charge, the Vx destroyed my serial port, so I spent $50 on the serial-usb adapter, which still runs at serial speed.

    The Visor Edge has USB syncing (yes, it is worth it- those avantgo web pages take too long to sync) and a nice flip cover (the leather case for my Vx doubles the thickness). My Palm Vx runs natively at 24mhz and I have it overclocked to 33mhz. There is an absolutely noticeable difference in responsiveness.

    The Edge also has a little light that can be used to alert you. This is important after your Vx goes off in the middle of class and the prof chastises you!

    The Visor Edge is a clear winner.

    So.... anyone want to buy a Vx? I have one here for sale, excellent condition...
  • With the exception that the visor is rechargable,
    the Ebookman is a better unit, and quite a bit
    cheaper. The 'high' end model runs about $230.
    Franklins page doesnt give much technical detail
    other than dimensions and memory, but some can
    be found here [franklin.com]
  • Jesus, don't they have separate development and production servers? Someone should teach these people how to update a website...

    -- Yoz
  • OK, I am sitting here, looking at the visor page, and I am thinking nice toy. Then I look at the top of the page and I read "Visor Edge: proving thin is in." and I am thiking "thanks for reminding me that I am an overweight comp geek." I mean..is that bad marketing or what? Maybe they could do that on print but on the net? seriously..who do they think is gonna view their page more: supermodels or me?

    thanks for the ego boost, Visor. sheesh

    I mean..I'm right, right? You know what I'm talkin about. bah...

    ::goes to console himself with a cheeseburger and fries::

  • Found it. It's called an AxxPac, and it's SmartMedia, not compact flash. So I'm on drugs. : ) I know that the TRGPro (http://www.trgpro.com) accepts Compact Flash, but I don't know of any other way to do it.

    http://www.ams-fl.com/axxpac/e_index.html
  • by crashnbur (127738) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @04:49AM (#366886)
    Funny, I was thinking of U2 with pizza toppings. Did anyone else notice that "Bono" submitted "The Edge" article?
  • Well, I guess the story here is how thin the device is, not that there is yet another device out on the market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @04:50AM (#366888)
    When I first read the name all I could think was a thin Visor...with pizza toppings. In any case, the device looks pretty darn cool. The Springboard expansion reminds somewhat of the iPaq does, but hey, more devices, better.

    Agree do me to, but maybe Hemos checking speller or/and proof reed before posting? Not maybe look idiot, than.

  • I was disagreeing with this [slashdot.org] post. It has since been modded down as flamebait.
  • and then I realize the Vx is actually smaller and thinniner and I realize, as many have before me, the story posting process is rather..uh...fnargled...
  • they put out the Palm m105, a model inferior to the Palm IIIxe, at a higher price

    I'll agree with this. I have the Palm M100, which I chose over the Palm IIIe because of the newer software and the nice rounded shape.

    I figured I have good eyes, the smaller screen doesn't matter. Unfortunately, whenever I see someone's non-m100 palm, I drool over the screen. So big. So much space.

    For this reason, I can't recommend these small-screen models (m100 and I assume m105).

    -Erik
  • I'm sure it was more of, lets keep everyone waiting for our special cel-e-bration. Doors open at 11 o'clock where we will unveil or new Edge!
  • A good example is that a Pentium 2 333 was not ten times faster in real life then a 486/33, excel to 2 seconds instead of 7 to load up, but during the actual work not much different.

    The fairest way to measure that is to get the old harddrive from the 486, load it into the P2/333, and then do a crunvhing calculation that took a couple of minutes on the 486.

    Most of the fill time is the User Interface bloat.

  • I would probably venture to say Palm makes their money on the deal. That is to say, licensing fees for the design of the product itself, not to mention the software platform, are what gives Palm operating capital. Handspring is definitely not the only Palm licensee, just maybe one of the most visible. IMHO I can see Palm moving out of the direct hardware production business entirely and move to strictly software production and platform enhancement. This would still mean hardware would be developed, but the production sourced out to the licensees who might tweak the design for full-out performance.

    Then again, this is just my opinion.


    -----
    I think I'll call this one Bob.

    Live with Love for Love is Life. --mine.
  • our even ;)
  • Actually, the site was up...but they had this message stating that the site would be down until 11:30am for SOMETHING BIG...and they had a stupid poll for people to guess what it was. I don't remember all the options, but one was "Counting Florida votes" or something to that effect. That's so, like, January!
  • by CaptainZapp (182233) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @04:52AM (#366897) Homepage
    Let's see, now we have the following options:

    Springboards I & II, which are aparrently incompatible

    Memory sticks, for Sonys incarnation of the Palm platform

    Palm, which doesn't really provide expansion, save for a keyboard, or a modem

    Methinks, that if I'm in the business of building peripherals for the palm platform, I'd search for another field.

    As much I love the Palm for it's simplicity and it's straightforwardness the concept of multiple, incompatible extension slots/ports is just damn stupid.

  • I'm sure that the PalmOS license is at a sensible level for them both, and if you are going to have competition for handheld devices its better that a larger overall market share is running your OS.

    Do you think Microsoft would have been better off if Windows 3 only worked on Microsoft hardware, or would OS/2 (or an early Linux, or SCO Unix, or whatever) have turned them into Apple?
  • Seems there dae is a litle off... cert was signed last week. WHOOT
    SPOON!!!
  • Great! I love it when companies go for the slim profile! That way I can easily fit it in my back pocket!

    *QwkHyenA sits down*

    Great! Broke another one!

    I hope they make'm cheap! at this rate, I'll need 3 every week!

  • the fact that this company reinvented the wheel

    More specifically, they probably invented it in the first place. =)

    Handspring was started by the original PalmOS designers who left when 3Com bought USRobotics.

  • The Edge has an advantage over Deluxe or Platinum in that it's a lot smaller (Palm 5x size), and runs on rechargable internal batteries. Other than that, not much difference, but that will be enough for a lot of people.
  • Linux isnt supported by their software, big suprise. I don't think they realize the market they would expand to if the box just said "linux supported". It's incredibly hsrd to install some of the higher end palm applications on Palm OS as it is. Developers like to package their applications in self extracting zip files, with installer programs. I guess i'm pissed because I have to use a console program just to load avantgo. (fun).
  • No, I don't think you are missing anything at all. It is a Palm Vx, with a USB connector instead of a serial connector, a slightly faster processor, slightly enhanced apps (enhanced calculator woo!, and enhanced calendar). The Vx is smaller. The price is the same. So you basically pay for faster syncs and miniSpringboard. Until miniSpringboard devices appear there isn't much point of that unless you want to add a brick to your Visor. The stylus looks nice though. I will still get a GBA though, wait for a GBA keyboard, and some PIM software for it. Mostly game playing, with some PIM (todo, calendar, birthdays, notes) functions is all I need. COsts a lot less. Bigger screen. Colour. So what if the games are on cartridges, and the PIM stuff would be as well. About the same speed as well! Graham
    • 2001-03-09 15:45:01 Palm m505 (aka "Palm Vc") to be Released March 19th (articles,pilot) (rejected)
    Funny, that. Anyhow, here's the article [cnet.com] that I originally linked to (with some Edge info as well).

    Alex Bischoff
    ---
  • For me, the main advantage of the Handspring products is the enhanced calendar app. It seems trivial, but integrating the To-Do list and allowing several new views is a really nice feature

    The Visor includes both the Palm calendar app and Calendar+ (the Handspring version), and there just isn't any reason to use the original Palm app (other than some very slight slowdown on the larger views).

    So, for those who think the Edge is roughly equivalent to the Palm Vx ... maybe the Calendar+ app will sway them... ;)

  • They have severe memory restrictions. Once we get to 128M palms

    Yes, of course they do. There's also no threading, let alone multitasking.

    On the other hand, ther's a stunningly small footprint. You have applications, that take 7-10k and are just great (even games).

    As long Palm doesn't start to feature bloat it's products (in my book, even the IIIC was a stupid move). I'm very happy with what it provides.

    It probably really depends where you're coming from: As a geek gizmo the Palm seems a bit, well, lame; if you find professional applications however then its simplicity (including itslimitations) is actually very appealing...

  • Hmm. I stand corrected. The blurb I read said they were going to be introduced in May. Thanks for the info, and the picture.

    I still like the red one, and the springboard slot. Color's fine and all, but it's not on my list of PDA necessities. A red aluminum case, however, is. : )
  • by 0x00 (224127)
    why don't you just clip $250 cash to your notepad, then you wouldn't lose it.

    --
    0x00

    Nice clowns finish last.
  • by Lucretius (110272) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:21AM (#366910)
    Yes, of course they do. There's also no threading, let alone multitasking.

    Well, to be truthful, I beleive that the operating system is fully multithreaded, however, they just don't give the developers the ability to do muliple threads. Perhaps if they would just give us a peak at that source code, life would be a bit happier in this realm... though most likely not

  • "The Handspring Visor Edge(TM) is the thinnest, infinitely expandable handheld computer"

    I don't suppose they have an even thinner, but finitely expandable handheld computer. (I'm assuming infinity requires a bit more space) I don't really need to store life, the universe, and everything, and I wouldn't mind saving another hundred bucks.
    -----
    D. Fischer
  • You seem to believe that Resumes and Cover letters should be written in the exact same way
    that you would write anything else. Well, that's not correct. A Resume and cover letter is a test, It is proof to the employeer that you are capable of doing at least one thing with absolute precision, just like a math test should be proof that you are capable of at least doing those problems. You may not be able to do those problems on request off the top of your head, but at least with concentration, you should be able to do those problems again. It is a universal convention that resumes and cover letters should be as precise as possible. Therefore, not being error free on those items makes it appear that you would be unable to be precise, no matter how hard you tried.

    Your analogy is bad. You're not comparing everything that a person did with perfection, you're comparing a persons BEST POSSIBLE WORK with perfection. If you make mistakes when precision is key, then you ARE sloppy. And I've had to deal with many subtle bugs that sloppy programmers left behind where their code didn't QUITE do what they thought it would do. No one said that they had to get it right the first time, but they obviously didn't double check their work, because the bugs remained in there for YEARS.

    I don't understand where the classist argument comes in. Someone who is presently poor possibly has the same ability to be precise as someone who is well off. In fact, the poor person may actually be more precise because s/he gained more discipline in his/her upbringing. It is often not a matter of resources but a matter of attitude and discipline.

    Now, this doesn't mean that I agree with all the grammar nazis on here. I don't expect that all of my posts here will be completely grammatically correct. As long as I am somewhat understandable, I'll be happy. That's because there is a different standard for Slashdot comments compared to Resumes and Cover Letters.
  • The sad thing is almost everything we run on our superfast new computers, other then the 3d games worked fine on a 486. A good example is that a Pentium 2 333 was not ten times faster in real life then a 486/33, excel to 2 seconds instead of 7 to load up, but during the actual work not much different. And I have a palm color and my 486/25 with 4 megs of ram could do a hell of a lot more. Palms are toys simply put, not a real computer, because if they were who would have a desktop or a lap top.
  • 'Less you want me to splurt cappucino on my screen...

    +5, funny

  • by JatTDB (29747)
    A) I'd spend the cash eventually (grr...checkout line taking too long already...hey, I've got $250 in cash, I'll just pay cash and get out of here)

    B) I wouldn't get the side benefit of games to play during boring meetings.

  • by iainl (136759)
    one small difference you didn't note; the Edge is roughly twice as fast. Not much call for extra processing power on your average diary app, but it might come in useful on some things.

    Oh, and in my experience the IR port is much better on the Visor - the little learning remote app is really useful on basic Visor, while testing it with a Vx was a disaster.
  • by Lucretius (110272) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:29AM (#366917)
    Yet, this new "Edge" is simply not that much better .... here is a link to a handspring hosted comparison table . It shows that the Vx is smaller and lighter. Where the Edge is better is only because it has the latest software (which can be upgraded on the Vx anyway), has a microphone, the "springboard" (which I have never seen used...) and has a blinking light ... ;-)

    Well, you can look at it that way, or you can look at it as Handspring finally coming out with an answer to the Palm V and Palm Vx, which are quite possibly Palm's sexiest models out there (though, when the Palm VIIx comes out in the Palm V case, the wireless will push it over the top). Handspring now has an alternative to their (in my opinion) rather ugly cases that they used in the past, allowing more buisiness type people to pick them up and use them (though I guess they weren't really stopped before).

    Handspring is continuing their past trend and taking the old Palm model and giving it a kick in the ass. In this case, they bumped up the processor (which actually makes a good deal of difference) and added a few amenities to make it prettier to the end user.

    The one thing that I've never been sure of is why Handspring chose the route that it did for expandability. Why didn't they choose the compact flash format rather than their format? I'm sure there is a good explanation, but right now it seems sort of silly that they would have their own proprietary format when they could vastly expand their compatibility if they would just have compact flash ability.

  • At dealcatcher.com do a search for staples.
    Find the $40 off for purchase more than $200, and use the $50 rebate from Handspring...
  • by IHateEverybody (75727) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:49AM (#366921) Homepage Journal

    Gawd, Palm seem to be creeping up on Handspring. The m100 is clearly better than the old Visor.

    How do you figure that? The m100 is smaller than the original Visor but it also has a smaller screen. The Visor also has enhanced Datebook and Calculator apps in ROM and a Springboard slot. The m100 has changeable face plates. I'd say that they are both equivalent low end models with a different focus.

    The Visor Deluxe needs a $50 rebate to look like it competes with the IIIxe. Sure, the Handspring devices use USB, not serial, which is nice, and include microphones, nice for quick voice memos I am sure, but in the end it just doesn't look comptetitive enough. You can't update the OS without installing a springbrick module, etc.

    I have a Visor Deluxe and it competes quite nicely with the IIIxe, rebate or no rebate. As I mentioned before, it has enhanced Datebook and Calculator apps in ROM. I also find that the Visor fits more comfortably in my hand than Palm III machines and that its button have a better feel to them. And the Springboard modules are very useful, I can make a complete backup of my Visor anywhere with the Backup Module and the Flash Module gives me a machine with 16MB of memory.

    Now the only thing that you don't get the details for is the speed of the processor. Handspring say that they use the latest PalmOS processor technology (you what?) and that everybody else doesn't - but the IIIc uses the 33MHz Dragonball just like the Prism, etc. Palms are flash upgradable as well.

    The IIIc uses a 20MHz Dragonball EZ processor, while the Visor Prism, Platinum, and Edge use a 33MHz Dragonball VZ processor.

    Someone care to ease my mind about Palm actually being better value than Handspring?

    For me, the Springboard slot is what really makes Handspring a very good value. I have a Backup Module and two Flash Modules. The Backup Module gives me the peace of mind that I can always have an up to date backup of my Visor even if I can't get to my PC to sync. The Flash Modules allow me to have dictionaries, maps, a complete copy of the Bible in two languages, and numerous e-books at my disposal while still maintaining a large number of AvantGo channels and Usenet postings on my Visor and still have plenty of room left.

    As far as upgrading the OS is concerned, I don't really worry about it too much. I upgraded my old Palm III from PalmOS 3.0 to 3.3 and only saw minor differences (Euro support, better IR). I have a Palm IIIc and a Visor Deluxe and the only feature from PalmOS 3.5 that I miss on my Visor is the ability to mask (instead of outright hide) private records. In exchange, I get a faster machine (Handspring does a better job than Palm when it comes to tweaking the PalmOS for speed) with tons of extra storage through Flash Modules. I'd say that's a fair trade.
  • but hey, more devices, better.

    Both Casio's E1XX Series & Compaq's iPaq and 2XXX Series use Industry Standard CF devices. There are far more CF devices available than 'SpringBoard' Modules.

    SpringBoard modules are based on a proprietary interface. From what I understand Handspring will license or bless 3rd Party Modules. There is therefore less competition - less variety - and higher prices in "SpringBoard" modules vs. CF Cards.

    I never understood why people were excited about SpringBoard modules - it sounds like 'Memory Stick' from Sony: An unnecessary proprietary interface who's sole purpose is to provide control and limit choice to the Proponents. Silly really.

  • That is an awful lot of money for what you get here. 8mb, .44" thick, and no color... $400... I would much rather a slightly larger machine w/more processing power (33mhz is slow) and more ram and upgrade capabilities...

    Just seems like an upgrade to nothing.

    Just my worthless .02
  • I think Handspring would do well to offer a longer attachable Springboard slot for this, so it mounts flush onto the back of the unit and includes its own battery (yes, like the iPaq expansion sleeve). The eyemodule kills my Visor's battery in about two minutes. How long would an 802.11b springboard module be useful? Modules that solve the problem by including their own battery like the VisorPhone feel clunky. Those are the issues that affect the market I'm developing for. Sigh.

    --
  • Methinks, that if I'm in the business of building peripherals for the palm platform, I'd search for another field.

    Like maybe CF devices which are useful across the majority of PalmPCs? You could even do support for your industry standard CF card in Linux and win big geek appeal in the coming Linux PDA jihad.

    Palm's/Handspring/Sony are doing themselves a dis-service for not simply adopting the Cardbus standard. Whats wrong with The Millions of CF et al devices that already exist that makes Handspring & Sony adopt their proprietary interfaces?

    I bought a Casio E100 (Now auto-booting Linux when I insert my 96MB CF Card!) for this reason (and the fact that the Casio Hardware (and now Compaq) were attractive to me (MP3/Video/65K Colour TFT). There still isnt a Palm device that matches the hardware of the Casio/Compaq devices (I know its only killer hardware to run WinCE - but it still exploits the hardware in ways that no Palm device is capable of (multi-media beauty)).

    Im not suggesting that WinCE/PocketPC are better OS s, Ive run a Palm - I understand its design beauty, that it was built only to serve as a PDA and the assumed metaphors in that OS are designed from that perspective, but Ive always bought Hardware based on its capabilities/merit. I couldn't bring myself to buying a Palm device when the Casio had so much more to offer.

    That said - I am waiting for the "Pocket PC" or "Palm PC" industry to grow up to a model more closely aligned to the PC world. I want to buy a device that is OS AGNOSTIC. I want to be able to run WinCE on it, Palm on it, and Linux PDA on it. Let the device boot whatever OS you install on it. Move the OS into EEPROM and lets give our Palm Hardware more longevity in the process (my Casio E100's hardware is no where near being properly used when WinCE is on it - I don't want to have to buy a new device just to upgrade the Software - Im surprised more people aren't making the same requests I am.)

    Hardware is Hardware. Software is Software. I don't like buying Hardware that only runs the software that ships with it. This makes the device shorter lived and less dynamic/durable/capable/ and limits its potential to that locked in Software.

    I hope the 'Palm PC' market moves in this direction.

  • Puleeze. If you're to make the Palm/Handspring rivalry into that kind of personality game, consider the arrogant stupidity Handspring has shown. Raise your hand if you wanted to be an Visor early adopter but gave up after HS misplaced its mailing list, screwed up its web site, produced a lot of substandard units, created the worst fulfillment operation in history, and created the customer service department from Hell.

    Competition is good. I'm glad PalmOS licenses are so popular (and available!). But so far Palm has the only CS department in this market that actually answers the phone. ("What? You cracked your screen? Poor baby. OK for $100 bucks plus your broken unit, we'll sell you a repaired unit. No, you don't have to send it in first.") Even if they were more expensive, I'd stick with them.

    __________________


  • I won't even think about gettting a Visor until they fix the flashable ROM issue. I don't want to be stuck with the same OS for the life of the unit. Why hasn't this been fixed? I would think this would be a big issue for people in the know. I love the springboard concept, but come on Handspring!

    Hanspring doesn't believe that the lack of flashable ROM is a problem and after using a Visor Deluxe for over a year alongside a Palm III and now a Palm IIIc, I tend to agree with them. There is only one feature in PalmOS 3.5 that I miss on my Visor, its ability to mask private records. Most of its other improvements could be duplicated on my Visor with third party software.

    On the other hand, I always keep an 8MB Flash Module in my Visor's Springboard slot, so I can access the Noah [arslexis.com] dictionary as well as numerous DOC files and several large applications like Datebk4. Overall, I have 11.4MB of data and applications on a a machine that is only supposed to be able to hold 8MB -- there's plenty more storage space left to use up.

    I have owned a Palm III, a Palm IIIc, and a Visor Deluxe. I upgraded the PIII's OS to version 3.3 once and there wasn't much new in it besides Euro support and some some minor bug fixes. The Visor already had Euro support and bugfixes can still be installed in RAM. PalmOS 3.5 brought color support and software improvements that, for the most part, could be duplicated on my Visor with software hacks. The truth is, that by the time the PalmOS has changed enough to make an OS upgrade necessary, rather than optional, the hardware will be obsolete anyway.

    For me the Springboard concept trumps the lack of Flash ROM.
  • That's it, direct evidence that Slashdot is in fact being run by the White House....

    ;)



  • by Deluge (94014)
    The bloody thing's $399! USD! That's like $700 CDN or some such thing. I find it incredible that these overpriced annoyances enjoy the kind of sales that they've been getting.

    I can't imagine the justification for dropping that much money for something that a $5 appointment book will do better. Aside from the geek-chic thing, I suppose.

    And people why the economy's goin' to shit -- everyone's wasting their cash on useless crap like these things (well, ok, I'll admit, they are useful in so far as any sort of personal management doohickey is useful) that cost 10 times what they should, and then when they realize that they really shouldn't have thrown their money away, they uh, lose their confidence as consumers, and stockholding idiots freak in reaction to the confidence index drop of other idiots and for some reason it affects even the sane people, and that's what really bothers me.

    I'll shut up now.

    ---

  • Gawd, Palm seem to be creeping up on Handspring. The m100 is clearly better than the old Visor. Maybe Handspring should update their low-end market? How about a 4MB device with the latest OS for $150?

    The Visor Deluxe needs a $50 rebate to look like it competes with the IIIxe. Sure, the Handspring devices use USB, not serial, which is nice, and include microphones, nice for quick voice memos I am sure, but in the end it just doesn't look comptetitive enough. You can't update the OS without installing a springbrick module, etc.

    The Clie looks more enticing than the Platinum, even though it costs $50 more. It is smaller, has some interesting looking apps, and also has its own proprietary memorystick expansion.

    The Prism looks like it would compete with the Palm IIIc, but then you compare the prices - USB and a few more colours for an extra $120? Yeah, right.

    Now the only thing that you don't get the details for is the speed of the processor. Handspring say that they use the latest PalmOS processor technology (you what?) and that everybody else doesn't - but the IIIc uses the 33MHz Dragonball just like the Prism, etc. Palms are flash upgradable as well.

    Someone care to ease my mind about Palm actually being better value than Handspring?
  • by joshv (13017) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:01AM (#366943)
    I first owned a Palm 500, Palm 1000 (if I remember correctly that far back), a Palm V and now a Palm Vx. I simply love the Vx. All I can say is that Handspring's new offering is simply not competitive - I might have bought it if I did not already have a Vx. And I might think about buying one in the future if they double the memory and halve the price (or add color and price it at around $300).

    These companies are still trying to make Mac like profit margins in a market that is rapidly being driven to PC like commodity level economics. It is only because the few current vendors of Palm devices participate in a de facto form of price fixing (they are all greedy) on their high end models that these damned things are still so expensive.

    I can't wait until there is some *real* price competition in this market.

    -josh
  • by RobertAG (176761) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:01AM (#366944)
    1. It doesn't use existing cradles. I purchased an extra cradle for my home when I purchased my VISOR. Handspring says I have to purchase another one now?!?!

    2. At $399, Jumping up to one of the WinCE devices isn't going to be that much of leap. For myself, I'm going to wait for a Linux device. But for other people, the incentive to buy a WinCE device will be greater: Color, Multimedia, the MICROSOFT (tm) name.

    The older Visors offer many of the benefits of the new Edge Visor without the price hike. Is $200 justified for more memory? Sure you also get an OS upgrade, but this is invisible to the average user. Over the past few years I've seen 2 classes of devices: The cheap (around $150-$200), but powerful Palms/Visors and the expensive WinCE devices. Anything in the middle usually includes wireless (like the Palm VII) and doesn't seem to be as popular. I don't see the real appeal of the Edge Visor as it doesn't seem to offer a decent performance for the price.

    3. Wireless connectivity. Forget these stupid subscription services. I want to see REAL wireless networking. I want to see wireless TCP/IP capable devices NOW. I want to see these handheld companies team up with manufacturers of wireless hubs and access points and give me something I can use to connect to my building's wireless network. I'll worry about the ultimate connection to the internet. As long as I have a choice in the matter, I'll be able to negociate the best deal for ME.
  • Why do they do this? Yup, chasing the buck with proprietary "innovations".

    I have had a Palm IIIx (only 4Mb) for a year and a half. The last 6 months or better I have been salivating for a TRGPro [trgpro.com]. Same specs as the Palm IIIxe (8Mb ram) but with a compact flash slot on the back. It's form factor is identical to the III series except for a 1mm raised area on the back to make room for the CF slot. The speaker is louder and it can do multifrequency sound.

    This thing is wonderful. I got a 16 Mb CF card for it for $40.00. The CFBackup software that comes with the Pro allows a one tap backup of your ram as a monolithic file (a la Ghost). The CFPro software allows you to transfer files back and forth from ram to CF, and AutoCF allows the PalmOS to directly access apps or databases on the CF card transparently as if they were in the memory.

    My next purchase is a USB CF card reader which I will plug into my old PowerMac 7600 and be able to transfer files directly to the CF card without having to sync them through the PalmOS (necessary for .wav files which the HotSync won't transfer, but the Pro will play if they're on the CF card.)

    The CF card uses DOS file structure and naming conventions (restrictions?) but I can live with that.

    In addition to memory, the Pro is compatible with CF cards that provide modems, bar code wands, and even IBM's 1Gb Microdrive ($459, so I don't think I'll be getting one, but it's nice to know it can be done.) No GPS yet, but I'm sure someone will do it.

    I didn't buy my Pro until I saw it in the local Sam's Club for $249. TRG's site had them at $329 forever, they have now dropped to $299.

    In short, there is another option from the memory sticks, Springboards, etc.

    I recommend the TRGPro highly.


  • OK, I am sitting here, looking at the visor page, and I am thinking nice toy. Then I look at the top of the page and I read "Visor Edge: proving thin is in." and I am thiking "thanks for reminding me that I am an overweight comp geek." I mean..is that bad marketing or what? Maybe they could do that on print but on the net? seriously..who do they think is gonna view their page more: supermodels or me?

    thanks for the ego boost, Visor. sheesh

    I mean..I'm right, right? You know what I'm talkin about. bah...

    The Visor Edge isn't meant for you fatso. :-) It's meant for your boss who wants something cool-looking that he can show off to the other suits. Why do you think they call it the "Edge?" Because it looks cooler than other PDAs, giving busy executives an advantage in the race to look hipper than the next guy. This increases their chance to get that big promotion/laid.
  • From the 1st paragraph:

    "the thinnest, infinitely expandable handheld computer"

    "organizer with endless expansion possibilities."

    Cool! Can I turn it into a pony?
  • Palm IIIxe's for $150?? I might have to wander over to Best Buy this Friday. What's Palm doing for their m105 promotion?

    Between the Edge and the Vx, I'd probably pick the Edge..IMHO, it looks better.

  • by SMN (33356) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:10AM (#366961)
    First of all, you're missing the two most important differences, IMHO. the Visor Edge is 33 MHz, the Palm Vx is only 20 MHz (I think - sombody correct me if that's wrong). The Visor Edge has a special optimized version of PalmOS that runs slightly faster and several superior apps are built in (eg, DateBk3), but at the cost of Flash ROM.

    That being said, of course Visor Edge is playing catch-up -- in case anyone hasn't noticed, the Palm Vx has been Palm's best-selling model, largely because Handspring has no comparable model. Handspring is making a good business move by putting out an essentially equivalent model with a flashy design, which nearly guarantees that they'll capture at least a piece of the Palm Vx market.

    I know you were only commenting on the model itself and not Handspring or Palm, but I just have to point out that Palm's new marketting strategy is absolutely absurd -- they put out the Palm m105, a model inferior to the Palm IIIxe, at a higher price, with a flashy appearance and an extensive advertising campaign. And it'll work, too.

    That being said, I prefer Handspring to Palm in general, mostly because I've always been rooting for the underdog. But when Best Buy started selling Palm IIIxe's this week for a mere $150, I went out and bought it. I'm appalled by Palm's promotion of the m105, but everything boils down to money.

  • by aidoneus (74503) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:11AM (#366965) Journal
    33mhz is slow? Not for a PalmOS based system... From a quick check of Palm's page most PalmOS based systems are clocked at 16-18mhz, which is more than fast enough for what they are supposed to do. There is a Visor on the market (the VIsor Platinum) that runs at 32mhz. Considering the memory, processor, and size I think they've hit their market perfectly.

    33mhz may be painfully slow for a desktop, but for a palm, it's blazingly fast. Remember, people aren't running X on the Palm.
  • by gus goose (306978) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @04:57AM (#366971) Journal
    I have always been a fan of the PalmOS devices. I still use my PalmIII after three years. Handspring is a good machine too.

    Yet, this new "Edge" is simply not that much better .... here is a link to a handspring hosted comparison table [handspring.com]. It shows that the Vx is smaller and lighter. Where the Edge is better is only because it has the latest software (which can be upgraded on the Vx anyway), has a microphone, the "springboard" (which I have never seen used...) and has a blinking light ... ;-)

    Really, Visor Edge is playing catch up still.

  • Er, yeah, but a big sign on the front page would have sufficed... taking the entire site offline's a bit extreme.
  • Now what's that thingy made of, aluminum? Doesn't matter too much. The specs are one thing -- they're as good as a Palm device needs to be (which is still nothing special, but the beauty of the platform has always been its ability to milk hardware that the more upmarket of its competitors would consider marginal). The alarm light is pretty cool as well, though I have issues with the outboard Springboard board.

    What bothers me about it is that it seems to be such a plain and obvious ripoff of the new wave of titanium portables (i.e. Apple and IBM). At least as it looks online, it doesn't even seem to be a particularly slick ripoff; it doesn't even begin to compete with the Palm V for elegance, for example (just IMHO).

    I've always thought Handspring's big virtue was cheap, expandable hardware. The Edge certainly manages to carry on the expandable tradition, but I've never thought too highly of Handspring's industrial design. This tradition carries on as well (sadly).
    /Brian
  • It does. Three of them.

    /Brian
  • Then buy an iPaq.

    Palm from the very beginning was a Keep It Simple, Stupid sort of thing. Expecting all-singing, all-dancing out of something you can slip in a pocket and not worry about too much is unreasonable; that's why WinCE boxen have such horrid battery life compared to the month or so you can get out of a pair of AAAs in a Palm. (Granted, the rechargeable ones don't have to worry, but...)

    My take is that if you want more than a Visor can provide, you really don't want a PDA. That's how I see it.

    /Brian
  • Yeah, that's ridiculous. Makes me wonder if they were actually having "technical difficulties" (virus, DoS, cut fiber, etc.) and used this as a convenient excuse to cover it up . . .
  • by JediTrainer (314273) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @05:52AM (#366982)
    I respectfully disagree. I just read an article [kuro5hin.org] on K5 [kuro5hin.org] which I totally agree with.

    In a nutshell, sloppy writing tends to indicate sloppy thinking. This leads to disorganized thoughts being put down in a barely coherent manner. Comments which have been thoughtfully written and given a 5-second review are the ones which I take more seriously.

    Likewise, when I'm hiring somebody, I toss their cover letter and resume in the can if I catch a mistake. Why, you ask, would I care about spelling and grammar for a programming position? Because if they didn't take the time to check their work then I feel that they will produce sloppy results if I hire them. The one time I relaxed this requirement of mine I was quickly proven right.

    I didn't even care so much that their own writing was so sloppy. They could just as easily have taken the effort to have it corrected by somebody else and would have, and then their resume wouldn't be in my fine paper recycling box, but instead perhaps in the "interview" pile. That they didn't know how to spell is of no consequence. I only cared that they take the time to do it right, and perhaps get the resources they need to do that. That way I know they'll make an excellent programmer.

    Let's face it. Nobody is going to understand you or take you seriously if you can't get your thoughts across in writing. Content can only be king if people can read it.
  • Technical specs include 33mhz processor, and 8 megs of ram.

    The flashback for me is that this compares to the 486 desktops when they were shipping consumer desktop models some years ago.

    One has got to ask what will they be like when they get to have the power of todays' low end desktops in 5 to ten years?

    Let's face it, when the 486/33 was king, if you told people that gigahertz machines with dozens of gigabytes of storage would be commonplace, who would have beleived you? or imagined that it would be like it ?

    So my flight of fancy for today is to imagine what one of these would be like when they have todays desktop PCs.

    Wooo - head rush!

  • I keep hoping someone will come out with something that beats my 6 year old HP200LX, but I haven't seen it yet. I have access to thousands of DOS shareware programs, a full PCMCIA slot, a keyboard, and a screen that's visible in most light conditions (I'm not quite geeky enough to install my own backlight, like those crazy japanese [din.or.jp]). I'm an embedded s/w engineer, and I can use the standard serial port to give me access to a fair number of diagnostic devices that would otherwise require a laptop. I can carry my source code around in it (though the 80186 is DOG slow to use for editing 100,000 lines of code!). It has 6 MB internally, so I can keep a large amount of information on it. There are two sets of batteries, so I never lose any information unless it sits unused for a month or more. It'll talk to my Linux machine or my WinDoze machines, and I have duplicate versions of the PDA applications that run on my laptop as well.

    It has lousy graphics, but I can still play "LodeRunner" or other classic x86 games on it during boring meetings. It's not quite as small as a regular Palm, let alone a Palm Vx, but I've still managed to carry it with me all over the world for the past 4 years. It takes standard AA batteries, so I'm never far from a power source, and it'll last me for 3-4 weeks between battery changes.

    When they come out with a palm device that at least equals this one for usability, then I'll consider the upgrade, but I haven't seen one yet.

    If the 200LX ran Linux and was backlit, I wouldn't even be thinking about an upgrade. Where are the Palm devices for the geeks?!

  • I'd rather have the colour of the Prism [handspring.com]. That plus an Minstrel modem with OmniSky [omnisky.com], and PalmVNC [btinternet.com], I can connect to my linux box from anywhere, and have the nice rich full colour of my KDE desktop.
  • After compareing these the Handspring to the Palm, I'm left shocked and amazed. Not in this engineering marvel, but the fact that this company reinvented the wheel; or more specifically, the Palm V(x).

    Flashing lights and expantions slot are great bells and whistles, but other than that, I see no major differences.
  • by miracle69 (34841) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @05:02AM (#367000)
    Today, Palm announced that they were introducing a new model. Breaking with their current naming traditions, they decided to call the new model "Bono".

    U2 can have one, for the low low price of $399.
  • If you want an insanely great calendaring solution, check out WeSync.com. WeSync calendars is a free service that's a lot more flexible than the Palm calendar.

    1) Multiple calendars. I have one for work, one for school, one for whatever my family's doing this week.
    2) Shared calendars. I can publish my own calendars, and subscribe to other people's.
    3) Killer desktop app. I have the WeSync desktop installed at work, where I don't have a cradle. I can enter an appointment on my desktop PC (I don't care for Graffiti very much), the appointment will sync to WeSync's server, and then it'll be synced to my home desktop and Palm when I get home. I almost never use Palm Desktop any more (except to edit Notepad items).

    WeSync has been acquired by Palm, and their functionality is going to be incorporated into my.palm.com. Right now, the service is free (beer)...I have no idea how these guys make money. I do know that I would pay for this software...it's absolutely awesome.

    Works fine on Palm and Handspring (of course).
  • Man, that's a hell of a lot of memory. My Palm III has 2mb of memory, and runs my entire life. I haven't the vaguest idea what I'd need 128mb for.

    8mb would be nice. 16mb if I was going to be using some heavy duty mapping stuff. 128mb? There's no purpose I could turn my Palm to that would require that much memory. Do you have any idea how long that would take to sync?

    My Palm is not supposed to replace my computer. It's supposed to give me the data I need when I'm not near my computer. This function, it does perfectly.
  • Over the past few years I've seen 2 classes of devices: The cheap (around $150-$200), but powerful Palms/Visors and the expensive WinCE devices. Anything in the middle usually includes wireless (like the Palm VII) and doesn't seem to be as popular.

    The other market is the "Executive" market, where folks are willing to shell out an extra hundred dollars for the metal case, just because it looks cooler and/or more professional. From a pure techie point of view, it's silly. But you show your average VP a Visor Deluxe and a Visor Edge, and he's going to buy the Edge. It looks sexier, it's more expensive ... it must be better!

  • I disagree that the expansion slot is a bell and whistle. I have a visor with the backup module, and find it unbelievably useful, If only for my piece of mind. Whenever I get a really important number or other piece of data, I backup to the flash ROM. Before I do an install of new software, I back up to the flash ROM. Yeah, HotSync will save your data, but it doesn't save your apps, and HS ain't perfect. Plus, I have been known to loose my visor at times (now is such a time, actually, been lost for 4 weeks), and even though the batteries run dry in that time, all the data is there.
  • by Fjord (99230)
    To steal a quote from Blake Winton, "you can't grep dead trees".

    and yes, there is a regexp hack for the PalmOS find utility

  • But what are the other advantages? Reading the site it looks roughly comparable to a Palm V and costs as much as a Palm VIIx, but without the built in wireless. I suppose the new form factor is more convenient, but for the same price I'd rather have the Palm VIIx's wireless internet.

    It's expandable via the Springboard slot: there are MP3 modules, GPS modules, camera modules, and even an awesome cell phone module. (You plug it in the back of your Handspring, and presto, your Handspring microphone & display function as a complete cell phone, plus the speaker in the module.)

    So, you not only get the wireless internet, but you can actually talk to people. This thing is the bomb. I've wanted one since I saw it in action at Comdex. I swear it had nothing to do with the hot chick handing out brochures, either.

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