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Handhelds Operating Systems Software Hardware

The Palm OS Ends With a Whimper 245

Posted by kdawson
from the hands-down dept.
PetManimal writes "Computerworld reviews the Palm Treo 755p, the last Palm device with the Palm OS, and concludes that the OS is going out not with a bang but with a whimper. The article says there are some useful improvements (better integration with Exchange and IM, limited speech recognition, etc.) but 'nothing that will make you sit back and say "wow."' Palm already has at least one device with Windows Mobile (the 700w) and soon will make a big push to Linux devices, maybe by the end of the year. But the Palm OS, which was top dog for a while back in the 1990s, and is still used by many people who own Palm Pilots or Treos, is going to quickly fade, it seems."
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The Palm OS Ends With a Whimper

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  • by User 956 (568564) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:47PM (#19216541) Homepage
    Palm already has at least one device with Windows Mobile (the 700w) and soon will make a big push to Linux devices, maybe by the end of the year. But the Palm OS, which was top dog for a while back in the 1990s, and is still used by many people who own Palm Pilots or Treos, is going to quickly fade, it seems.

    Ok, but what will the interface for those Linux devices look like?
    • by yog (19073) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:22PM (#19216769) Homepage Journal
      The Palm Linux OS is going to be "compatible" with Palm Garnet (current OS); thus, it should look and feel like a present day Palm with a compatibility mode for current apps. In this sense, the Palm OS is not going away. In fact, it's being supercharged for multitasking so we can do handy things such as, for example, run both wifi and cell phone at the same time on a future Treo.
      • by jdray (645332)
        Does that include the handwriting recognition? I admit that I'm sorely behind the times on what SOTA looks like in this area, but when I had a Palm device (Handspring Visor, if that tells you anything), I found I quickly became very comfortable with the pen-based input. I don't care for the current trend toward micro keyboards, and have been looking for a new Palm-based device that fit what I felt I needed. I'm also considering the Nokia N800, though haven't seen anything related to handwriting recogniti
    • Had a nice bit of face time with a Palm product rep not long ago, got stuck at a table with him for six hours of a trade show. Bits of handy info:

      -The new Linux based system will be promoted as the next generation of Palm OS, as opposed to something completely different
      -Full backward compatibility will be retained for legacy palm apps, which accounts for 90% of Palm's loyal userbase
      -Multithreaded preemptive multitasking will fix the stability issues that arose from cramming phone and email push functionality into a single task 68k-based OS

      One could suggest that this is similar to the Mac OS X upgrade from 9.x.

      They are talking Intel for the platform, same as the latest generation of, well, everything. Processor should be in the 400mhz neighborhood.

      The direct goal is to maintain classic Palm "look and feel" plus compatibility, but with... well, stability. And Power.

      Once this platform rolls, Windows Mobile will, by my reckoning, be the only remaining platform NOT based on some flavor of *nix, unless you actually count Symbian and Blackberry as platforms...

      (yes, at least in a distant, hypothetical, degrees of separation NT derived sorta way, even Vista has *nix roots)
      • by plover (150551) *
        Any word on whether there will be back-ports to existing Palm devices, such as the LifeDrive or the Tungsten family?
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by embsysdev (719482)
          Although Palm has done this before, I doubt they will do it again. Around 2001, they offered 3.5 (I think) as a paid upgrade for Palm III users. They also had other upgrades for other models. I don't think it was very successful because a few years later, they stopped offering the upgrades.

          FWIW, there is already an open-source project to get Linux on a tungsten: http://palmtelinux.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

        • I think they mentioned that the LifeDrive would be compatible with it. Not the TX though.

          Doesnt matter too much. Bluetooth support in Linux now works and wifi will come soon.
          Homebrew ports rock.:)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @03:38AM (#19218343)

        Once this platform rolls, Windows Mobile will, by my reckoning, be the only remaining platform NOT based on some flavor of *nix, unless you actually count Symbian and Blackberry as platforms..."
        Sorry but not only is Symbian a platform, it is, in the mobile realm, "the" platform, accounting for about two-third of the sales of all things smartphones worldwide.
        It is open, i.e. it has a standard, public SDK. Hence it is a "platform" (as opposed to mobile Linux phones whose SDK are usually neither public nor standard).

        So if you were talking specifically about mobile platforms, I could say that, once this platform rolls, by my reckoning, the new PalmOS will be the only major open platform based on some flavor of *nix, unless you count Linux feature-phones as platforms... (-:

        -Smiley
      • They are talking Intel for the platform, same as the latest generation of, well, everything. Processor should be in the 400mhz neighborhood.
        Sorry to be a pedant, but it's highly unlikely that Palm will be using an Intel platform for any of their machines, especially not a mobile phone. It is however likely that they will use XScale, which is these days owned by Marvell.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by serveblunted (884865)
        Think that when talking about mobile phones you definitely need to consider both Symbian and Blackberry as platforms.
      • by julesh (229690)
        "Full backward compatibility will be retained for legacy palm apps, which accounts for 90% of Palm's loyal userbase"

        So I don't have to throw out my copy of CodeWarrior yet? :)
    • Going forward, it's still going to be the familiar PalmOS front-end. To my knowledge, the only changes are to the underlying kernel.

      So (unless I have all the facts very wrong), the complete story seems to be hogwash. What this article is saying is akin to saying that Microsoft abandoned Windows when it moved from Windows 3.0 to 3.1 or from 3.1x to Windows 95.
      • by rbanffy (584143) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @06:14AM (#19219023) Homepage Journal
        Sorry, but you have your facts wrong.

        Microsoft never did a big kernel switch. They had two different kernels - the "classic" one that was in 3.x with win32s and 9x up to Windows Me and the NT that started back in the 3.1 days and went up to the 2000, in two different product lines. They co-existed in different products for many years. What MS did is that they kept more or less the same look and feel on two different kernels and they simply EOL-ed the older one when they came out with Windows XP.

        They never did a kernel transition within the same OS.

        They only discontinued the 9x line when they thought XP was good enough for playing games.

        Which, by the way, is pretty much what XP is good for ;-)
        • I know that they didn't do a kernel switch. My point wasn't about the Windows kernel per se, but that those OS upgrades were different enough to appear, well, radical enough for someone who didn't grasp what was going on to suggest that Microsoft was "abandoning" the older Windows OS when all they were doing was building on it, which is exactly what this PalmOS story has done.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Duhavid (677874)

      Ok, but what will the interface for those Linux devices look like?


      It will be the new Small Edition X server.
    • by Gerzel (240421) *
      More importantly will I be able to install the new OS on my Palm T|X?
    • by rlp (11898)
      Ok, but what will the interface for those Linux devices look like?

      Probably look similar to the interface on my Zaurus. The Zaurus runs Linux with QT for the GUI.
  • by cstec (521534)
    PalmOS is just changing the kernel. It's anything but dead.
  • How, exactly, does software go out with a bang?

    Doesn't "bang" imply success, and therefore, not going out?

    - RG>
    • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:53PM (#19216581) Journal
      I take it your development team never went on a 7-day cocaine/hooker orgy and deleted all the source code?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Chyeld (713439)

      How, exactly, does software go out with a bang? Doesn't "bang" imply success, and therefore, not going out?

      Think "24"...
      "Jack! That Palm will explode in 20 seconds if you can't get Linux booted on it!"
      "I'm on it! Quick open another port in the firewall so I can interface directly with the TCP!"
      .....
      BAAAANG!
    • Re:Out with a bang? (Score:4, Informative)

      by shark72 (702619) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:29PM (#19216819)

      "How, exactly, does software go out with a bang? Doesn't "bang" imply success, and therefore, not going out?"

      I think the editors may have been a bit too literary this time. It's from a T. S. Elliot poem called "The Hollow Men." The last two lines are:

      This is the way the world ends

      Not with a bang but a whimper.

      The meaning of the poem is subject to interpretation, but it's clear that the bang/whimper comparison very much refers to an end to the world.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by josephdrivein (924831)
        The quote in the text is wrong:
        Not with a bang but with a whimper.

        Should be:
        Not with a bang but a whimper.

        Poetry should be quoted correctly, or not quoted at all.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Daengbo (523424)
          I prefer "Not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with a muffled cry." In my version, PalmOS gets bought by MS, who promises to continue support, then is knifed quietly in the back room when no one is watching.
        • by mqduck (232646)

          Poetry should be quoted correctly, or not quoted at all.

          I get the feeling poetry is completely lost on you.

          Anyhow, what about Slashdot signatures? I had to truncate mine to make it fit. :(
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      How, exactly, does software go out with a bang?

      Doesn't "bang" imply success, and therefore, not going out?

      - RG>
      For a brief period, I had a Treo 650. Once I got my replacement Blackberry, the Treo went out the window, and I do believe it made a bang as it hit a passing car.
  • by oni (41625) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:05PM (#19216657) Homepage
    To anyone who owns a modern PDA, how fast can you write? I've went through two Palms (no pun intended) and two handspring visors back in the late 90's and I loved them - but more importantly, I could enter text at least twice as fast as anyone I knew who had a WinCE device.

    Has that changed?
    • Handwriting recognition on real Windows (i.e., XP Tablet Edition and Vista) is excellent, so I'd expect it to be pretty good on Windows PDAs too (slower CPU notwithstanding).

    • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:25PM (#19216789)
      Yes. Windows had a Transcriber, Letter Recognizer, and Block Recognizer. You can get it to behave just like Palm Grafiti if you would like it to...the transcriber is very customizable...it will recognize words and phrases, but you can set it to reconize single letters if you would like. There is also a great 3rd party app called Caligrapher you could try too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jinxidoru (743428)
      I agree. One of the things that Palm got right was Graffiti. Although it takes a little time to get used to, Graffiti allows you to input text so much faster than text recognition, and with much better accuracy. That was one of the main things that pushed me towards getting a Palm rather than a WinCE device.
      • by jbarr (2233)

        I agree. One of the things that Palm got right was Graffiti. Although it takes a little time to get used to, Graffiti allows you to input text so much faster than text recognition, and with much better accuracy. That was one of the main things that pushed me towards getting a Palm rather than a WinCE device.

        One thing that Graffiti provided was the ability to do true "heads-up" writing. I could hold my Palm device, and use Graffiti to write without having to constantly look at the screen--I could actually lo

    • by 5pp000 (873881) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:27PM (#19217193)

      Forget handwriting recognition. Fitaly [fitaly.com], a tap-optimized virtual keyboard, is much faster -- in my experience, at least twice the speed of pen and paper. And while it's neither as fast nor as accurate as touch-typing, it's plenty good enough to make it unnecessary to carry around one of those folding keyboards.

      I've used Fitaly on a Tungsten T3 to take voluminous notes at multi-hour seminars. It's that good. I wouldn't even think of going back to Graffiti.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by acalthu (1045630)
      The best handwriting recognition so far for me has been on the Sony Ericsson P910i. I own a Dopod PDA which is based on WIndows Mobile 5 and I can honestly say despite it's powerful features the handwriting recognition sucks. Firstly, it's no where near as fast as the Symbian platform is, and secondly you're limited to the amount screen space utilized as the writing area. Btw, the P910i uses a version of Graffiti 2 so maybe thats why it's so quick and efficient.
    • by dargaud (518470)
      Why was that faster ? Whast was different between those devices ? Sorry, but I've never used a PDA, just curious.
  • Part of what made Palm successful was the ability to write applications and expand it. Will they continue this ability on their linux phones? Have they considered including a palm emulator in the initial versions so people can bring their apps with them? I haven't been following the market closely enough, but the little I've seen is companies putting linux on phones as a replacement for another embedded OS, but without the ability to expand what's there. I'm hoping palm can change this with a truly open
  • by okmijnuhb (575581) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:06PM (#19216661)
    The whole point of palm OS was that it delivered what was needed with simplicity, and no bloat, like it's rival at the time Windows CE.
    A simple to do list, contacts, calendar, a memo pad was the core of the experience, and allthat you needed a PDA to do.
  • Depressing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This news is somewhat depressing, I have to say. Though not at all surprising.

    I've been using Palm devices for over ten years, and while it's been pretty apparent for a while now that Windows Mobile (or Pocket PC) has quickly grown to include more features and better integration with computer software, I personally don't like it at all. I think it's sluggish and poorly laid out. It can take several seconds to open the simply calendar, or the media player (during which time parts of the screen update before
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Planesdragon (210349)

      I will mourn this unfortunate change.

      Which one? The switch to Linux, or the splintering of the interfaces?

      The title flamebait, and amazingly wrong. Palm will keep on selling devices with "Palm OS" until they go out of business, just as Microsoft will keep on selling "Windows", Apple will sell "Apples", and GM will sell "Chevrolets".

      By this time next year, you'll be able to buy an imported phone running "Palm on Linux" from Access, a phone running "Linux Palm OS" from Palm, and (please oh please) a geniune PDA from Palm with Linux under the

    • Go linux, go wiki (Score:2, Insightful)

      by draxbear (735156)
      I'm a palm user of over 10 years as well and happily keep my phone and PDA separate for a variety of reasons.

      The biggest problem I've had with it is the lack of a Linux Palm Desktop. I really miss it having moved to Ubuntu and while I'm getting by with Jpilot I have lost a lot of functionality (specific to my behavior) having switched. Not to much joy with wine (due to a lack of knowledge on my part no doubt) either.

      I hope that if/when they finally (2nd/3rd time lucky?) go linux we'll see a desktop released
  • Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:12PM (#19216699)
    I recently had my Zaire die and tried to find a replacement but nothing availible came close. Instead of getting better the line has largely stagnated. I loved my Zaire so I guess the next move is iPhone. I just hope they add in more desktop apps soon. I have high hopes on the second generation. The Palm OS was a landmark OS and for many years it was the best. For the people that loved the devices it's definitely a time to mourn it's passing.
  • by rdean400 (322321) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:13PM (#19216705)
    Honestly, should anyone really care? If the next-generation Palm operating system is based on a Linux kernel but has the capability of running Palm OS apps in an emulation mode, should we care about what code base it runs on?

    OS's aren't like people or pets. They're tools. When you've outgrown them, you can either upgrade them or find a new one. Obviously Access has no interest in updating the PalmOS, so Palm has to go its own way. I personally hope that they deliver new capabilities on Linux while retaining the simplicity of the Palm interface.

  • Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by koreth (409849) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:13PM (#19216711)

    I have owned various PalmOS devices for over a decade, and still use my Treo 650 daily, but I'll be happy to see the old OS go. It's unstable (a null pointer access will reboot the whole device), has no OS-level support for multitasking (applications have to hook into timer interrupts to run in the background), the memory management system is a monstrosity to code for, it has no ability to launch apps directly from a removable memory card, and even its strong suit, the UI, has some serious problems (try replying to an SMS message when you're in the middle of doing something else; when you're done sending the message it will take you back to the app launcher rather than to what you were doing.)

    A new Linux-based core will solve many of those problems inherently. Plus, one hopes, it will be even more hackable. So I say good riddance to the old OS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      it has no ability to launch apps directly from a removable memory card,

      I am not sure what you're talking about, there. I specifically bought an SD form-factor card for my Tungsten E. It was a 'games pack' card and had Sim City and a bunch of other game programs burned into it, and it ran them in place, directly off the card.
      • by koreth (409849) *
        Are you sure it didn't install a little launcher app to main memory?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by embsysdev (719482)
        Actually, it copies the prc file from the SD card into storage RAM and runs it from there. When the app exits, the copy is deleted. If the app crashes, the copy is left in storage memory.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by F34nor (321515) *
      If you love your Treo you should emasculate the little bastard.
      http://www.treoantenna.com/shop/ [treoantenna.com] All the women love my stumpy antenna these days. All right no woman has noticed, not even my wife. She's got he god damn hollier than thou E61 with its Wifi and VoIP and... um never mind.

      I love my Treo. The Palm OS itself sucks but there are so many apps for it that I cannot see appearing on Windows or Linux anytime soon. e.g. Tide charts and Bridge OC. Palm should stop being a bitch to the cell phone providers a
    • It wouldn't have been full memory protection and multitasking, but if they'd done something like this [google.com] they could have had effective multitasking a long time ago. I really can't understand why they didn't do that.

      But props to Palm for some things - considering that their first model had 128KB of RAM - yes, 1/8 of 1MB - they had to do some less-than-savory things with their memory management to make it possible to run at all. If they could have gone back in time and made one or two simple changes, the whole

  • I started with a Pilot, moved to a III. I flirted with wince devices for a while and have now come back home to the IIIxe. When it breaks, I'll buy another one, they're cheap and plentiful.
    It doesn't play movies, mp3s or emulators but that's what computers are for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I started with a Visor Platinum, went to a Tungsten E, then rolled all the way back to a Palm III, because it:

      1. Does everything I want a PDA to accomplish.
      and
      2. Is one HECK of a lot more durable than the Visor, or the pitiful flimsy Tungsten E (which failed a few weeks out of warranty)
      and
      3. I have found Palm IIIs in almost new condition sell on eBay for under $10 at this point in time.
      and
      4. I have Code Warrior for PalmOS, so I can code up any practical PDA-scale
  • by SnapperHead (178050) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:46PM (#19216941) Homepage Journal
    The treo 700p was great when it didn't have much data on it. However, when you load it up with a few hundred contacts, appointments and about 8000 emails ... it fails apart. Switching between applications results in a white screen for 7 - 10 seconds. Common lock ups, at least once a week. To top it all off, Palm didn't respond to any of these problems. Numerous support requests and calls got ignored. That pissed me off more then anything. The only answer I ever got was to do a hard reset.

    Needless to say, I am done with Palm. I will not purchase another phone from them. Even if they solve the software issues, they have a very serious problem with their support that they need to tend to first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ryanov (193048)
      Do you still have one? A software update is due out next week or thereabouts.
  • Palm OS has fallen quite far behind Windows Mobile.. this is no more apparent than for a developer for these devices. The Garnet (v5) platform is hideously out of date, and Cobalt(v6) has never been released.. after years.

    Developing for Windows Mobile with .NET is significantly easier than for the Palm API. And where go the developers, so too go the applications. And where go the applications, so too go the users.

    WM is not perfect, but it is better than PalmOS. My Axim X50V gets used every day, while my
  • Linux.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by White Shade (57215) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:48PM (#19216957)
    All I can say is, I hope their linux systems run better than some of the nokia linux-based hardware I've seen, such as the N800 that you can brick by installing software on or looking at wrong.... you can recover them, but only by using linux commandline-only software on a desktop (that was a good waste of an afternoon).

    I love linux, but just running linux doesn't automatically make things perfect. (awesome, sure, but not perfect. this is slashdot afterall).
  • by iamacat (583406)
    Lack of protected memory or preemptive multitasking on a device released in 2007? Hard to believe it's still there. PalmOS was great for 512KB devices with monochrome screen, but it's an anachronism in today's world.
    • Um, actually, the first Palm Pilot had only 128KB of memory [palm.com]. Amazing that they managed to get it to work at all, really.

      One key concept that made it work was that the Pilot wasn't really supposed to be a computer in its own right, it was supposed to be an extension, a "tentacle" of your desktop that let you carry data from it elsewhere. Nowadays things are small and powerful enough that you could almost make a handheld your primary computer, but that sure didn't make sense then, and still doesn't quite ma

  • Disgusting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JonnyO (119156) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:52PM (#19216983) Homepage
    Great: Windows Mobile can handle screen resolutions my Commodore could handle 20-something years ago. Ah, progress. Seriously, has anyone tried using Windows Mobile for anything serious without wanting to send their device to an untimely death? I tried a VX6700, replaced it with a Treo 700w, and replaced that with a Motorola Q, all within the past year. I eventually paid (or, in all honesty, my employer paid) Verizon's termination fee just so I could get out of the contract so I could get something else. If you want to experience Windows Mobile, take a ten-penny nail and drive it into your crotch... it's about the same feeling. I now have a BlackBerry Pearl, and - I can't believe I'm saying this - I quite like it. It's responsive, doesn't crash if you look at it, actually knows that it's supposed to charge when the power cord is attached, syncs with my mail, and just plain works. All the things a WM5 device does not.
    • care to show me which commodore could handle 800x600?
      as far as i know the latest commodore 20 years ago was amiga 500 and it could go nowhere near this resolution.
  • by jinxidoru (743428) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:55PM (#19216989) Homepage
    I have found that many people do not share my point-of-view with regards to Palm OS, but I must personally say that I hated it. The interface was easy enough to deal with as a user, but as a developer, it was a nightmare. I am so glad to see Palm OS go and be replaced with Linux.

    There were so many problems with the OS design. I could not understand why you would build an OS that lacked any sort of filesystem. Instead, they had a very crappy database-esque system from which you could retrieve data. You couldn't simply load a file onto the system, it had to be loaded into the database and accessed using their bass-akwards method of database access. Be aware, we're not talking SQL here.

    Another thing that was horrible was their lack of long-jumps. I had previously never had to specifically arrange the order of my object files in a link statement to avoid jumps further than 64k. There were times where I actually had to create functions that did nothing but call a later function so that I could make code jumps to functions further than 64k away. That made using the STL basically impossible (some would not consider this a loss, I do).

    Then you add in the ridiculousness of having to define UUIDs for programs. So, anytime you wanted to write any sort of small application, you had to register a 32-bit number (less actually) with Palm. There are better ways to do this. We don't live in the 70s anymore.

    Ugh! There are so many other problems. I just had to get this off my chest. Once they do this, maybe I'll go get a new Palm. I was never able to bring myself to buy a Windows CE device, but I have longed to have another PDA. Hopefully, these new Linux systems will be what I am looking for.

    Of course, it has been years since I programmed anything on Palm OS (version 5, I believe). So, for all I know, they fixed all of these problems and I will be the recipient of a massive amount of flame.
    • by Fnkmaster (89084)
      Don't be a wuss. Palm was one of the last platforms to develop for that made you feel like a freaking MAN when you finished an application.

      OK, OK, maybe it sucked to develop for. But just try using a Windows CE/Pocket PC device for a while and you'll see how much they suck in comparison (from a user's perspective).
      • by jinxidoru (743428)
        It really is a shame that you have to decide between having a sucky user experience or a sucky developer experience.
    • REAL PROGRAMMERS ONLY NEED 64K.

      I am bettting that if you were able to program on the palm, you were better than the average Window programmer since you were required to be efficient and understand the platform.

      These "Windows programmers" don't understand what it is like to write efficient progams.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zelos (1050172)
      The long jump issue was pretty much solved by using multiple code sections. It's fairly easy with Codwarrior or gcc-palmos, although has a small performance cost. It is still a very bad OS to develop for: limited dynamic RAM compared to other handsets, the hassle of worrying about ARM/68k code still, the 'filesystem'.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by embsysdev (719482)
        I wouldn't call it "solved". You can't use multiple code sections/segments on most launch codes, you have to manually organize your code into separate sections (for gcc anyways), each section has to be in a separate file, database records, resources (graphics), and memory allocations are still limited 64k no matter what... The memory model is a mess! However, I have to commend Palm for maintaining backward compatibility across completely different hardware architectures but sometimes I wish they would ha
  • by merc (115854) <slashdot@upt.org> on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:05PM (#19217055) Homepage
    Open source PalmOS.

    Seriously.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MsGeek (162936)
      No need to, read comments above you. The new "Palm OS" is going to be Linux-based, with emulation for old Palm apps. To be perfectly frank, I'm more excited about Palm going Linux than upset about the end of Palm OS. Basically Palm OS = Mac OS 6.x without Multifinder. Rest in pieces. The only thing I don't like about this is that Palm should have done this YEARS AGO. YEARS. They might be a little late to the party, alas.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The PalmOS kernel was actually licensed from a company that makes embedded systems. In order to get cheap licensing terms, they had to agree to never release the source code, and never implement multitasking. It's the last part that means they have to move to an entirely new kernel.

      They tried rewriting it (PalmOS 6), but it was an utter failure. Now they're trying to move to a Linux-based kernel.

      dom
  • After a couple of Palm PDA's and now on my second Treo, I have a different perspective. First - the Palm OS is stable - I took a Treo 600 on vacation through Turkey, a cruise, Greece, and Italy for a month. Never had a crash or had to reset once - rock solid using the phone everyday, sending emails, messaging, reading books, listening to MP3s, completing crosswords. Telephone worked great everywhere - even 10 miles off a barren Turkish coast. Swapped to a Treo 680 late last year. It works perfectly - I
  • Okay, so to make it simple, what can I tell people who are buying a PalmOS-based PDA?
    For example, I have a Palm Lifedrive. (Despite the fact that the designers totally screwed that device up.) What does this mean to me? (Or anybody else with a PalmOS based PDA?)
    • by julesh (229690)
      It means that at some point soon, application writers are going to stop making new applications that are compatible with your device, and you may have to upgrade it to a newer model with a different operating system. But the OS will be backwards compatible, so this shouldn't be too much of an issue.
  • by WheelDweller (108946) <WheelDweller&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @03:20AM (#19218235)
    After 27 years of computing, I got stuck in a town without any serious computer jobs, waiting for Mom to die. So I'm a security guard, and MAN, is that little old 10 YEAR OLD palm 5 a big help. I can take notes without looking, send emails that are legible instead of written reports that aren't, and it's a single sync and the night's paperwork is done and archived.

    It was a good idea; branching out into hundreds of alternatives (and keeping their handwriting recognition sacred) limited the span. And just like SCO learned, charging $1,100 for a development system to create more software for your platform, there are worse things to lose than your money.

    If they could just be talked into licensing their handwriting analysis code to other businesses, they just might save theirs...
  • Sorry to see a decent product like Palm OS succumb to a dismal effort like WINCE, but at least the customers still have a few alternatives to pick from.

    -jcr
  • I bought a 680 recently, knowing it was dying. But its not about how much power your pda/phone has, but how u use it, Apple know this too. Anyway it's really nice to use and quite polished. Could do with being smaller, better phone, faster etc, but overall, I think it's superb.
  • I have waited years for stereo Bluetooth. My Treo 650 does not have it, the 700p does not have it, and now the 755p does not have it...

    The one thing I was looking for, and they fail to ship it after years!!
  • by gelfling (6534) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:15AM (#19219433) Homepage Journal
    Got my only Palm device, an IBM rebranded III (C20) for free in 1999. After dutifully messing with it, flashing an OS upgrade or two all the way up to PalmOS 3.5 and then back down to 3.3, after installing 3rd party hacks up the wazoo and an application that allowed me to use unused flash for applications, speeding up the system clock and EasySync versions from 2.0 up to 4.3 all of which failed, broke or could not work with Lotus Notes then using Notes export functions to clone data to the Palm Desktop app then moving that to the Palm, I finally gave up on it last year when at one point the batteries conked out (old models had AAA batteries) and I just couldn't find a good enough reason to put another $3 in batteries into my paperweight.

    Palm always seemed to be progressing about half the speed the marketplace wanted them to. They split off hardware from software, bought BeOS and wandered around doing silly pointless things for years. Ultimately their vaunted stability and battery life over PocketPC just wasn't enough. Palm always remained a work in progress, a lab experiment really in search of a stable suite of business apps and a good business model. The idea that apps generally to be workable needed big chunks of RAM, that Palm never seemed to be able to deliver on the hardware in time, or, if they did it cost a fantastic amount of money was inane. Does anyone remember that the first 2MB -> 8MB customer RAM upgrades required you to take apart the motherboard and spend more than $200 for the chip?

    Yeah so I not glad or angry Palm is dead. I gave up on it years ago. I think the next thing I''ll get is a Moto-Q or whatever is roughly a Moto-Q next year when Sprint gives me a discount. The idea of a standalone PDA is over. And the idea of a PDA/Phone without good enough data entry is over too. I have the first and the last version of T9 for Palm which was great until T9 decided they only wanted the phone market and abandoned Palm. I had a portable keyboard and found it clunky too. Better to have a small built in hardware keyboard on the device. In retrospect the commonsense product decisions that would have made the Palm platform a viable handheld communicator, PDA, Phone, computer, whatever always seemed to elude Palm executives.

  • Very sad (Score:3, Informative)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:16AM (#19220949)
    I've been a long time Palm-lover. I bought my first Palm IIIx my freshman year in college and loved it. I just recently upgraded to a (still older) m515 with SD card and color display and couldnt live without it.

    Palm is such a great OS for what it's designed to do. Plus it's always been programmer friendly (gcc m68k toolchain + the Palm SDK) which they distributed for free. Plus there was POSE for development and you could legally download roms for the different system from their development site for testing. Does MS do that?

    So for me, this is a sad day. It was fun while it lasted and I just hope mine doesn't break anytime soon.

  • by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:48AM (#19222473) Homepage Journal
    As far as I'm concerned, when Palm dropped Moto's Dragonball processor for the ARM, it was all over. About that same time they got rid of the original Graffiti for something that didn't use one stroke per letter. (Admittedly, this was due to a lawsuit, but the patent was eventually overturned; Palm did not return to Graffiti, however.) There's still a thriving market on eBay for the old Palm devices. I still use my m150, and have a couple of spares that are still shrink-wrapped. The battery life is still incredible. I can take it with me on week-long hikes without any worries.

    Actually, there's a Palm III emulator that's been ported all over the place, including handheld versions of Windows. There's no reason why it couldn't run on a Linux-based PDA. Maybe I should change my subject: "PalmOS will never die!"

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