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Handhelds Hardware

Palm Pilot with Hard Drive 141

Posted by Hemos
from the clone++ dept.
Russ Steffen writes "TRG, Inc, a maker of PalmPilot accessories has announced an interesting Palm clone. The TRGpro is similar to a normal Palm IIIx (OS3.3, 8MB RAM) with one major exception: it has a compact flash (CF) port. This means that only can you have more than 96MB of non-volatile memory in this thing, you can also have a 340MB IBM microdirve. Other interesting add-ons that can interface through a CF slot include a bar-code reader, a super-small v.90 modem, ethernet and a high-speed serial port."
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Palm Pilot with Hard Drive

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    With the release of PalmOS 3.3, the Visor units aren't looking as attractive to me as they once did - reason? 3Com has announced that future updates will be actual flash updates, and the Visor units don't have flash inside them. This means the OS won't be easy to upgrade, and it also means that Flashpro won't run on them (or on the Palm IIIe, btw). Now, I know you can use a backup Springboard module for the same functionality, but updating the OS is a bigger thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look at the TRGpro site [trgpro.com] where they have a page detailing why they went with CF instead of any of the other removable data/peripheral slots available. The basic problems with SmartMedia are: - it is ONLY usable for memory - it puts all of the i/o logic burden on the host device. - as it is basically a single flash chip in a fancy wrapper, it is limited to the maximum available size of flash chips. CF can be used for i/o peripherals as well as memory, it has a built in FAT file system on the card meaning that devices see it as a removable hard drive and you can stack multiple flash chips into a single card. Pretec [pretec.com] are selling a 160MB CF card now and will have a 320MB card available early Q1 2000.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not really correct. What I've been able to glean from talking to TRG people at PalmSource and playing with one of these beasties for 5 minutes or so is that TRG purchase the front half of the case, the buttons and the screen from Palm Computing and make everything else in-house. New motherboard (with upgraded audio sub-system, improved power supply and support for 16MB of flash memory) and new case back with CF slot opening. BTW one other interesting thing I heard was that these things have a site on the motherboard for a headphone slot but it was left out of the final design... looks like I'm going to be powering up the soldering iron when mine arrives.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    No, the 8MB flash springboard is to be used in the same way as the current internal flash memory on newer Palms, for storing data in non-volatile memory that will survive a crash (this is from the HandSpring people at PalmSource) and it will include their clone of FlashPro for placing programs and data files into flash. The backup springboard only has 2MB of flash, and will only back up your system databases. If you want a full backup of your Visor Deluxe, you'll need to buy an 8MB springboard and wait 10 minutes while it writes your data to flash (that time is from HandSpring). I have seen the CFBackup app on the TRGPro that backs up a fully-loaded 8MB system in 43 seconds (!) and allows you to store multiple time-stamped backups on a single CF card.
  • Or a 340MB detailed area map and an interface to a GPS receiver.

  • Only thing is, here we call them "X terminals".


    "Were they ever even here"? Of course; They have been and will continue to be for a long time. Whether they get called NCs or "X terminals" or just "those old computers that we tie to the server" is really inconsequential.
  • You don't quite get the point of a Pilot. When you're talking to a friend, and want to take down a phone number, do you pull out your laptop, turn it on (un-suspend it, whatever), load your application and enter the phone number? The Pilot, as a more specialized device, makes these things far more convenient.

    Regarding stability, PalmOS systems do well indeed. This isn't because of the OS, though, but rather the simplicity of the systems themselves and (in part) good development tools (a stress-tester, Gremlins, stands out; Due to the nature of PalmOS-based apps, such brute-force testing tends to be effective). When a PalmOS device DOES go down, however, you don't lose data unless you're doing a hard reset (and, despite the plain lousy code I've made mine go through, I've yet to need to do this... even if I did, though, it'd be fine after the next HotSync).
  • GoType makes a keyboard for the Palm series...it's not quite a full keyboard (no F* keys, for example), and it doesn't have that useless Windows key we all hate, but it works quite well....last quarter I took all of my class notes on it (was difficult in stats...and no ability to sketch diagrams....)

    Of course, then I had to delete all those notes to make room at the end of the quarter...guess why I'm not repeating the performance :)


    Who am I?
    Why am here?
    Where is the chocolate?
  • As you say, there are not a lot of ways, at present, for a PalmOS unit to consume such vast quantities of storage.

    MP3's are one application that would chew up lots of space fairly quickly; another would be geographical maps, which would tie nicely in to a GPS card. A third "neat idea" would be to have a wireless network connection (and I'm not thinking cellular/PalmVII here).

    Unfortunately, many of the things that would make such extra storage capacity useful represent peripherals that would require a "slot," and which thus might not fit in simultaneously with the disk drive.

    And I shudder at the rate of battery supply depletion that would result...

    Methinks these applications will remain "niched" for a while yet.

  • I've seen a lot of people complain that battery life would be severely curtailed if a mini-HD was added on. That's probably true, but there should be methods of limiting actual HD spintime... powering down when not in use (obviously), liberal caching, perhaps even a 'low power spin' mode for the drive itself, or maybe a little clip on the drive itself for a couple AAA's to provide some extra juice at the expensive of a slightly larger/heavier device.

    It all sounds good to me. The palm is the closest thing I've seen that approaches viable 'wearable' technology (Yes, I know you don't wear it, but it's as portable as your wallet... about as close to actual wearing as you're gonna get without worrying about color-coordination. "Does this pilot match my tie? Hmmm... maybe the blue one..." ;)

    --
    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • Gotta have a color screen!

    340 Megs of what else, but pr0n?

    (until they install stereo speakers in the thing, then MP3s)

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • This is not happening as you say. This device, while packing many more feautres then the Palm, costs approximately the same AS a lower range Palm does.

    And removing things in the way you state get's you solar powered calculators that are bastard children of older Scientific computers.
  • A palm isn't meant to replace a laptop, it's meant to 'SUPPLEMENT' it. Primary example, the IrDA port. I for one, would NOT want to have to open my Laptop as often as I open my Franklin Planner, and a Palm could replace it, easily. And run over a month on AAA batteries.

    And it's usa is as likely to be abused as a person with a pen and a peice of paper. Staff Room Art, anyway?
  • How is a tiny hard drive more complicated to the user than battery backed memory? It isn't, it's just more spacious. How does a color screen make things more complicated? Again, it doesn't.

    Does too! :-)

    Consider this. The PalmPilot is designed to be simple. The OS has no support at all for non-volatile secondary storage. Everything is stored in primary RAM (or in flash-ROM). Data is modified directly in RAM, applications are run directly from RAM. This simplification works, it saves resources and it's fast as hell.

    In contrast, Unix and Linux revolve around the fact that you have streams of data that you grep and awk and perl and sed on the fly. Pipes. TTYs. Tapes. Hard disks. And then we have desktop Windows and MacOS, which revolve around screen objects. Drag-n-drop. Cut-n-paste.

    Now suddenly the PalmPilot has secondary memory that's almost two orders of magnitude larger than the main storage. How do you handle that? Of course, you could hide the secondary storage set from the user. Let the OS swap apps and data to and from non-volatile memory. Show pretty, colorful icons to the user. Have a 13-by-10 cm screen. Needless to say, this would be slow, and you can't put it your pocket anymore. (Newton?)

    A separate storage area (volatile or not) will complicate the user interface and slow down the computer. (Which is why WinCE Pro and Symbian feel clumsy to use.)

    Or you could implement a stream-based tool set and suddenly realise that the Palm hasn't got that much horsepower after all? (Which is why uLinux is such a bad idea.)

    What I want to say is that palmtop computers do not work similar to desktop computers. Palmtops do not need secondary storage any more than desktop computers need Graffiti text entry.

    --Bud

  • by bgdarnel (2144) on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @11:20AM (#1598390) Homepage
    • Battery life on the TRGPro is comparable to existing devices while the CF slot is not in use. When it is in use, power consumption varies depending on the installed device. The flash storage cards aren't bad, but the IBM Microdrive can really eat batteries.
    • The advantage of CF over springboard is interoperability - you can plug a CF card into a laptop, digital camera, etc, and share data directly. Springboard is quite PalmOS-centric.
    • TRG is not an unknown in the handheld industry. They've been producing memory upgrades for older Palm/Pilots for years now. TRG as a company has had time to build up a reputation, although they don't have anyone with the personal reputation of Hawkins and Dubinsky.
  • Blow the "network computer". Most people don't want or need lame terminals. We want flexible, capable machines that do all kinds of crap. Sorry, but more is almost always better when it comes to computers.

  • So where are these things? IBM says they're shipping... but they don't even appear to be in THEIR online store, let alone anyone else's...
  • yr wish is palms command... http://www.palm.com/products/enterprise/ethernet.h tml

    spotted this when I was looking over palm.com Check out the url for more details (speed, versions U can use it with 'palmIII,palmVII etc).

  • I have a sweet little IR keyboard with a little stick mouse in one corner. Found it for only $25 bucks, and it is about the size of a Happy Hacker keyboard (Not too big, but slightly bigger than the GoType Palm Keyboard).

    So I wonder if it is possible or how hard it would be to make the Palm/TRG/Handspring grab the IR keyboard signals?

    ed


  • I've a Newton MP 2100 which lasts about 1 month when using normal Alkaline AA batteries. I now use Energizer Lithium batteries (No. L91) and get about 3 months usage before I need to replace them.

    The second benefit is the Lithium batteries weigh a lot less than alkaline.

    The downside is they do cost a bit more than alkaline, about $10 for 4.

  • This whole handhelds-with-plugins trend is familiar ground for anybody who's ever owned an HP-41C. Lots more processing power (and shorter battery life), but the same design attitude.
  • With UPC scanning, the Palms can do shopping-list stuff WITHOUT having to manage a cart, a toddler and keeping the point on the screen all at once. SWIPE - the item is checked off.

    btw Are there any decent barcode scanners for Linux systems in the home? A machine in the kitchen could use one to complete the loop, scanning and listing pantry goods as used. Although I suppose the Palm could be chained in to do that...
  • by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr@nOspAm.ticam.utexas.edu> on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @11:43AM (#1598398) Homepage
    First you have the Palm. Then you add a modem. Then a bunch more RAM. Then arbitrary peripherals. Then color. Now a hard drive. Each of these adds complexity, size and cost--all of which are anti-thetical to the purpose of the original Palm.

    Well, if by "the original Palm" you mean "those little palm-sized yellow post-it notes", then sure.

    If you actually think that the original palm computers wouldn't have had color screens, hard drives, peripheral expansion, and modems had that been practical at the time, on the other hand, you're nuts. How is a tiny hard drive more complicated to the user than battery backed memory? It isn't, it's just more spacious. How does a color screen make things more complicated? Again, it doesn't. I guess you have to figure out that "complicated Internet thingie" to use a modem with your Palm, but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to make. And arbitrary peripherals, well, that involves the complication of buying the peripheral, plugging in the peripheral, installing software for the peripheral... but if you want to listen to your MP3 playlists on the road, it sure beats whistling.
  • The Microdrive was an endless-loop tape drive invented by Sinclair (as in ZX-81 and ZX-Spectrum) in the early 80's. The cartridge was about 1 inch square and could store 110K on its tape arrangeed in an endless loop. The Spectrum could, with the Interface One, have up to 8 of these drive attached.

    In 1984 the QL came along with two of these built in, and with slightly enhanced capacity.

    This was in the days of 360K floppies etc.
    The microdrives and their media were 1/10th of the proce. The only problem was reliability.

    Good old Sir Clive.
  • I use my Palm as a "dreamcatcher" for my thoughts. It's small, it's quick, and it remembers. I, on the other hand, do not remember.


    But do you have a video-out port?

  • Having said that, the only organiser / gadget one needs is a micro-VT terminal on a GSM triband phone

    I beg to differ. What about SIGHUP?

  • This little gadget almost equals the capabilites of my only machine, and I don't have the cash to buy a new one. Damned non-upgradable Presarios...
    (Sigh) I think I'll go play with the Gimp now, and test how long it takes to load fonts. 1 minute... 2 minutes...
  • It's too bad that there's quite a distance between possible and usable. You *can* make Linux work on a Pilot, but you have to do all sorts of weird stuff, and buy hardware, etc. It would be nice to have a platform that would naturally accept Linux, without forcing the consumer to go the extra mile.
  • I thought that the older TRG stuff used to void your Pilot's warranty. Perhaps that's no longer the case. Thus my trepidation. I'm sure someone will speak up and say it's no longer true...
  • As I hinted at in my previous post, this would be very cool for creating a "portable reference library". Cram it full of FAQs, HOWTOs, RFC's and such. One convenient place to go for all that info that isn't quite worth memorizing, but is absolutely crucial in certain situations.

    Of course, you'd also want to throw in some fiction from Project Guttenberg to make it easier to survive those weekends visiting the girlfriend's family. :)

    I was going to comment on the enhanced sound that this model includes, but that's not really a big deal until someone figures out how to coax a dragonball into decoding .mp3's without skipping.

    Plus, given that most Palm users carry them back and forth from work already, this suddenly becomes a very convenient way to carry files back and forth.

    Give a geek storage, and he'll fill it up.
  • OK, I'm nitpicking here, but this isn't a Palm "clone." The Visor is, though.

    What TRG does is purchase Palms from 3Com and modify them. So this is an actual Palm, it just has some nifty custom hardware added to it.
  • Interesting. This is certainly a step up from what they've done in the past. When they used to sell their SuperPilot (i think that's what they called it) they did exactly as I said, bought a normal PalmPilot and added their memory card to it. I was basing my assumptions on that.

    Interesting to find that they're actually desinging their own mobo now.

  • With 340MB of storage, I could finally turn my PalmPilot into the portable reference library I've always wished it could be.

    Hmm... These guys are just down the street from me. Wonder if they have any in stock?
  • by hal-j (8004) on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @11:13AM (#1598409) Homepage
    PalmStation [palmstation.com] has a hands on review of the TRGPro (The device in question here). Check it out here [palmstation.com]
    -Hal
  • Right about now is when I'd say "Now who is ever gonna use 340 Megs of space?", then I think back to the days of the 386.....Seems I said the exact same thing about 6 years ago.

    Kinda puts things into perspective.

    That said and done, I don't own a Palm myself, nor do I plan to. But they ARE nifty devices. (But for this little add-on, who do you know that has 340 megs worth of notes and addresses? :)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • You may have seen them. They go for anywhere from $500-50000. They don't fit in your pocket.

    THe Palm is a PDA. It fits in your pocket.
  • by deusx (8442) on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @12:24PM (#1598412) Homepage
    I have a Palm III. I have a Sony Vaio superslim 505TR.

    I use my Palm as a "dreamcatcher" for my thoughts. It's small, it's quick, and it remembers. I, on the other hand, do not remember. And it's a simple device. It does what it's supposed to, and it does it well. That 'rut' to which you refer, is exactly where I want my Palm to stay.

    I use my Sony Vaio as my development workstation, when I have a chance to set up on a table somewhere. It's bigger, quick, and remembers more. But it's also heavier, doesn't fit in my pocket. But it *does* have a bigger screen. So it's good for sitting down and coding.

    I don't care what kind of leapfrogging we do past Moore's Law, but no matter how small the electronics get, I'm still going to need human interfaces of a size and shape compatible with my purposes. And, call me crufty, but I'm NOT impressed with headgear. I don't want VR, I don't want a 'virtual 36" screen' floating in front of me. I want an object (of the atomic kind) in front of me.

    I want a small and simple device for quick things and a larger more complex device for longer term interaction. And I use them for different tasks.

    So, I say, go, go gadget Palm.
  • > fucking ey!

    OK. Blame Canada.

    I'd like to have video out on a palm device for the same reason that I have it on my laptop and desktop computers. Someday, I want a palm device to run Linux and serve as my primary machine that I take everywhere and use everywhere. That means that if I want to hook my palm device up to a silly looking head mounted display, I should be able to do that.

    I want a palm device that can use the keyboard from www.thinkoutside.com, and allow me to write C++, Java, TCL, or Perl code wherever I am. I don't care about writing documents, which is what all palm computers allow you to do. Take the silly word processors off the palms, psions, wince's, and give me vi and a compiler. I write only a couple more documents a year than my dead hamster used to, so I don't want a word processor.

    All these little devices are going to be more and more powerful, and that means that we're not going to be stuck in the little rut that 3COM thinks we should be in. I want a device that is powerful enough to let me use it the way I think it should be used, not wasted on meetings, notes, and other administrivia.

  • You have to let developments "breath". The cycle is thus;
    • Make something
    • Pile on features
    • Use features, work out which features suck
    • Cull sucking features
    • Lather, rinse, repeat.
    The problem usually comes with people unwilling to let go of sucking features, but it can also come from people wanting to block any change.

    What to do about this? I have no idea - it's just an observation.

  • The palm isn't meant to do everything possible.

    Nothing is meant to do everything possible

    It is meant to be a companion to a computer that can do all of that.

    It may have been built originally to rely on a larger primary PC, but I personally believe that a good 80% of work that most of the staff do where I am could be done primarily on the Palm, with little of no help from a parent PC - so long as networking of some sort can be achieved. (Just wait for a CF AirPort card)

    Why are people against new developments with the palm? No one is forcing you to have a CF slot inserted in your current, favourite, Palm. It's also not a trend - Heck, the Visor goes in the other direction, why aren't people crying foul about their powerful Palm being turned into a toy?

    If I can do all my work on a Palm, without the need for a parent PC, why would you want to stop me? Or, who are you to say that I'm doing it "wrong"?

    (BTW: I have a laptop - It's a Sharp Ultralight. I don't have a Palm, I'm considering a Vx)

  • by mrsam (12205)

    ... Just add a better display, and, presto: portable p0rn. That's enough storage for at least a few thousand nekkid pics.

    What a great idea! P0rn on demand. Find yourself at a boring sales meeting? Whip out your, err..., Palm, and pretend that you're busy working your, uhm...., Palm. Try not to smile to much (or drool, whatever the case may be).

    Or, set up a timer and have your Palm automatically download the porn groups off Usenet during the wee hours of the morning. Then, on your way to work, as you sit on the train or bus, there'll be at least something entertaining to pass the time by.
    --

  • if by "buying hardware" and "doing weird stuff" you mean you have to have a TRG SuperPilot board and a custom bootloader, then sure... it'd be nice to have a Pilot with memory flashable by the user. I agree wholeheartedly. uCLinux makes a nice jumping off point for small embedded systems.
  • Linux on the PalmPilot's been done. Check out http://www.uclinux.org [uclinux.org]. That's Kenneth Albanowski and Jeff Dionne's group. They've got some cool stuff, in addition to the PalmPilot work, they've got a version of linux that runs on a processor and chipset the size of a SIMM stick. Check it out!
  • Wahoo! I've never heard this much good Palm-news in one single day ever before!

    One thing has both irritated me and worried me about the CE devices; their CF-port. The ability to add NICs, modems and all kinds of stuff really is neat. And now finally they've got it.

    With the powerful OS it has, a color-screen (that was previously reported today), and now also a CF-port nothing can stop the Palm. Not even the Gates of Hell...


  • So where are these things? IBM says they're shipping... but they don't even appear to be in THEIR online store, let alone anyone else's...

    d-store [d-store.com]: $459
  • Well, it's the same endless-loop dichotomy that we get in other computer-related instances.

    If you want your new computer to be better...wait.

    Take me, for example...I bought a Palm IIIe a couple months ago...a couple of weeks before the Visors came out, and boy don't I wish I had waited now. :)

    On the other hand...I've had the use of the IIIe for those last two months, and will have it for more months to come...and when I get my financial aid at the beginning of the next semester, well, a friend of mine is already willing to buy it from me whenever I'm ready to sell it, and I'll upgrade to a new model. By then it should be apparent which new flavors of Palmoid have the best prospects (and their already-low prices might have come down even further), and I'll know which one to get.

    My advice to you is to go ahead, jump in. If you're uncertain which new one to buy, get an older one; there are plenty of used Palm Pros & IIIs floating around on Ebay. One of those should do you just fine 'til you're ready to make the big investment.
  • our Palms will get so full of peripherals and other items that we'll finally have a DeskPalm.

    ...and then someone will get a great idea: what if there was a little specialized computer that could do some of the more important tasks that Palms do, but was small and portable? And they'll invent the Fingertip Pilot.

    It'll work for a while, but then all the Fingertip users will start screaming for firewire...


    ---
  • Not!

    Trying to make Palm devices all things for all people would hurt its momentum.

    One of the reasons why the CE platform (and the Newton before it) hasn't been successful is the attempt by various manufacturers to make, essentially, a mini-laptop...

    This has the effect of sucking batteries and increasing size... which is the antithesis of the current Palm platform.

    Color screens and CF coming to the platform may hurt big-time in the battery deparment... time will tell, although I must say, the prospect of having a Palm device with CF and stereo audio out (not there yet... but it will happen) has me jonzing for a Palm based MP3 player... perhaps Handspring will deliver.

    This is all so reminiscent of the PC market back in the mid-80's when Compaq and Microsoft stole the PC market right out from under IBM's big blue nose... heh. (3 COM, R U listening?)

    -t
  • SANTA CLARA, California--As the architect of the original PalmPilot device and the new Visor handheld from Handspring, Jeff Hawkins has a tip for software and hardware developers: Know when to stop.

    Hear! Hear! Folks, the majority of the (non slashdot) world still views the palm as a glorified electronic rolodex which looks oh-so-cool when I whip it out and write down that cute [insert favorite slang for the opposite sex] phone number.

    When did writing notes on back of a soggy paper napkin go out of fashion?

    Do you really have a couple of hundred MB of information you need when you're walking down the street at [insert time bars shut down in your country]?

    Do you realise that the equipment you carry on you is worth more than [insert standard number to feed a child in a generic third world country, for a year]? Cell Phone, PDA, Cool Watch, Expensive Suit [insert disclaimer about ones day job], notebook, expensive sneakers, etc etc?

    Having said that, the only organiser / gadget one needs is a micro-VT terminal on a GSM triband phone (telnet in to check your appointment book, time, e-mail, run database query, compose urgent memo to idle secretary) with a GPS addon. ;-)

  • The handspring visor has a slot where you can stick in cards for more memory too, sort of.

    The TRGPro takes the regular old flash cards, but the Handspring Visor doesn't, it uses it's own type of cards.

    But the handpsring visor starts at ~$170, with the Handspring Visor Deluxe at ~$250, where the TRGPro is around ~$350.

    I plan on getting a PDA soon, and I know I'll still go with the Visor Deluxe. I may not be able to use regular old flash cards, but the cards it uses won't be that much more expensive, and I'll be saving $100 on the whole unit, which is a pretty good deal
  • I've long thought the only thing missing on a palm is ethernet connectivity. I don't want to shell out $200 for a modem when every single place I have access to a telephone line I also have access to a LAN. (MMmm... the joys of being a college student and a sysadmin)

    Now, if only my Palm V had a way to upgrade...

    -Chris
    (Watches as his post gets moderated down for redundancy)
  • No, I want to be able to use the TCP stack that people use for telnetting from their palm over a modem. It can't be too much to ask for.. an ethernet controller is easier to implement than a modem that has to do DSP.

    I don't want to have to install a DHCP server, but I'll deal with that. I don't want to just hotsync to my main machine.

    And I WANT TO DO IT ON MY V! ARGH!!!

    :)

    -Chris
  • no, it's not just you...

    i find myself 'clicking through' less often and posting more infrequently over time. i wonder if cmdrtaco could give us stats on:

    the number of people who view main page

    the % of them who click through to an article

    the % of those who post to the article
    i would say it would make for interesting reading. of course i have no suggestions :)

  • Forget the battery life and other whining. It's about portable storage.

    Imagine the possibilities this opens for;

    An integration consultant.
    Client "Do you have and documentation on that?"
    IT guy *whips out his PalmVII* "Can I use a printer? I have 300MB of PDF's on this card"
    Client thinks 'Wow, that's cool. We should go with this mob'

    Or for an engineer, no more lugging 40,000 pages in manuals around, etc.

    The portable storage of information (forget music and MP3) is far more usefull that a lot of you people are giving cred to. 340MB can store an entire encyclopaedia (if you cut down on the pictures), and for a bit over $300, that's damn good value.

    Remeber when ordering a manual set (for a large vehicle or machine) meant waiting for a 50kg box to arrive? Not anymore, they come on CD. Now when you're doing an on-siter You can keep all the infomation, litereally, in your shirt pocket.

  • Sure, there are barcode scanners that you can use with Linux. There are lots of them that plug into the keyboard port on the computer, so that they act exactly like someone typing on the console. Very quickly and accurately :)

    But using a barcode scanner with a Palm device is much more exciting than using it with a clunky desktop PC. See, I used to be the Systems Manager at a company that did a lot of warehousing (among other things like manufacturing and running an ISP). A few years ago, we spent not-inconsequential amounts of money on some RF barcode scanners [telxon.com]. These suckers were basically handheld DOS 3.3 boxes with some custom C libraries to access the laser and RF functions.

    It was fun programming the client/server app for those, but it would have been a lot more fun to do it on a Palm platform. Not only would it have been easier to find related resources, but we could have used them for a wider variety of office/warehouse applications. AND, your entire barcode scanning apparatus could have fit in your shirt pocket, if you used a pen-style scanner, rather than the gun-style (but OTOH, the pen scanners can't read a barcode from 3 feet away, so there's a trade-off).

    Thinking about it almost makes me miss that job. But then I remember the overtime, the dusty warehouse, and the fact that I work only 8 hours a day now, and from home, to boot.

    --
    Ernest MacDougal Campbell III / NIC Handle: EMC3

  • You misunderstand me. Clearly color, hard drive space, extra software and extra peripherals all give me more functionality. Also using them is mostly just a matter of training.

    My point is two-fold:

    1) Despite what you say these things DO make the device more complex. 256 colors don't just happen--there has to be software AND hardware support and each of these things costs resources and adds complexity. Furthermore with 256 colors available the UI becomes more complex (color-coded buttons, icons, etc). Note that "complex" is different than "difficult".

    2) In the particular case of the Palm, my argument is that they should KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). In the particular case of the NC, my argument is that "it'll never last". People will want more and more power until we're back at the PC. In the general case, my argument is "You designed the device according to certain guidelines. Don't change the design unless and until the guidelines change."
    ---
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @11:00AM (#1598432)
    This kind of thing is EXACTLY why I don't think network computers will ever get anywhere. (yes, I realize the Palm is not an NC--this is an analogy)

    First you have the Palm. Then you add a modem. Then a bunch more RAM. Then arbitrary peripherals. Then color. Now a hard drive. Each of these adds complexity, size and cost--all of which are anti-thetical to the purpose of the original Palm.

    As long as people continue to think "more is better" the network computer (and similar devices) will not last longer than it takes to fall down this slippery slope.

    The correct mindset for this kind of device is exemplified by a (paraphrased) quote from Ton (last name?), the creator of Blender: "My favorite activity is taking code out of Blender."
    ---
  • I have a one of the original Personal
    Palm editions, with 1MB of memory.
    This can hold thing rediculous like
    10,000 addresses and to-do lists and
    memos. Why on earth would anyone need
    96MB hard drive for a Palm?

    Now granted, apps for the palm do take
    a (relatively) large amount of memory.
    But I don't think there are many people
    who are running out of space on their
    palms. If they are, they need to look
    at what they're keeping on that thing.

    Now on a WinCE machine, the extra 96MB might
    just be necessary...

    LL
  • What will happen to the size of Palm apps once storage like this is available?

    I have always been in a slight degree of awe at the compactness of apps for the Palm. I have a Palm Pro myself, and even in that meager 1MB, I can have a teeny C compiler, a BASIC interpreter, a few games, a text reader, all apps the designers managed to squeeze into a few K.

    Not to hinder the cause of progress, but what will this suddenly huge storage capacity do to the Palm's compactness? Bloat is almost inevitable, like inflation, but what of those of us who can't afford a new PDA each year? Are we doomed to the fate of those still scraping for tools to run on 386's? (My school is like this, and it's not pretty.)

    As for actual physical compactness. Could you lug that hard drive, modem, battery (you'd HAVE to have some more power than a few AA's to juice all that stuff) headphones, etc, etc, in your pocket comfortably? Or would you have to have a case for it?
    sub silly {
    #Eventually, perhaps our Palms will get so full of peripherals and other items that we'll finally have a DeskPalm. Then our written alphabet will slowly be converted to Graffiti, and the #1 cause of death among young people will be carpal tunnel.
    }
  • 2) In the particular case of the Palm, my argument is that they should KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

    well, with the proliferation of Palm OS based products, you'll still be able to find what you want, at what price you want. I belive handspring (founded by the guys that founded palm) will be puting out ultra-simple devices based on the tech (keep in mind that this device is from another company). Other companys will put out stuff that has all the kewl gizmos and buttons for us geeks to play with, each has its place in the market. There are even people willing to mess with there palm's inndards and sauder on more memory. Just beacuse home PC users don't really want to use UNIX as there main os, dosn't mean sun has any trouble selling solaris workstations.

    In the particular case of the NC, my argument is that "it'll never last".

    Were they ever even here?

    The diffrence between a NC and a palm pilot is that NC's don't do anything new, everything you can do with an NC, you can do with a PC as well, it may be better in some respects, but not in others. In order for them to prosper, they need to be radicaly better. PDA's like the palm do somthing that no other type of computer can do, be sliped into your pocket. Palms are simply the best PDAs out there. there will always be people who want them, and there will alway be simple ones (unless, noone wants them...)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Trying to make Palm devices all things for all people would hurt its momentum.

    That's not what I think there going for, I think its more like, all diffrent palms, for all difrent people.

    A palm with a hard drive for mp3 players, color screens for people who like color screens, audio IO for people who need audio IO, Linux for Linux hackers, and a palm with every thing for us geeks.

    As with the proliferation of PCs, diffrent systems for diffrent people big fat XTs for offices, and Tandies, for the home (Ok, I don't know if those were out at the same time, or even used the same OS, but I was very young at the time...)

    With Palm licensing there OS, they are giving the OS a chance to become the defacto palmtop standard. wince blowz, to many companys tried to shove in to much tech (and a bloated OS), at to high a price point. Sure, some people will make palms like this, and they will die (or overtake wince's 25% market share). but with companies like handspring around, there will still be some 'simple, elegant' stuff around to.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • The real value of these expandable Palms is fulfilling numerous niche markets with nearly the same hardware and, most importantly, the same software. Since the TRGpro (and the Visor) use the PalmOS, you utilize the software already written.

    As a college student, I've bounced around to several different work enviroments in the past four summers. In just a brief scan of the CompactFlash components avaliable now, I'm drooling with the possibilities of what I could have done. My mind is still racing with the number of ways we could have done things better with these Palms and their hardware. In too many places, I have had to use an entire desktop system to accomplish a small repetitive task that these new Palms can now do. Too bad I'm not still around those big coporate budgets to roll these things out. But I did send off a few quick e-mails to the guys I worked with. :-)

    J.J.
  • by Jimhotep (29230)
    Won't be long till Palms are just like lap tops.
  • That is a problem with any computer equipment.

    You can stay up to date and pay to much or
    stay a few generations behind.

    Let the "early adopters" pay the development costs!
  • I'd like to have video out on a palm device for the same reason that I have it on my laptop and desktop computers.

    Me too! I want to be able to give slide shows from a Palm (S video or other). I think that is a legitimate use of video for the Palm since I don't want to carry around something as big as a laptop that won't fit easily in my pocket. Available options are a good thing. People that don't want video or color don't have to buy the video/color models!

  • But nobody wants to lug a laptop everywhere. Remember how big the first generation of wireless phones were? If you were determined, you would carry it everywhere, but it was a hassle. What's wrong with trying to satisfy as many of your computing wants and needs as possible in a palm sized device?

    Imagine all of the down time that you have when you could pull it out (the Palm) and get stuff done. Waiting for your table at a restaurant - check email. Waiting for your food - work on slide presentation. Between innings at the baseball game - another compile of that OSS project you've been working on. Rest stop on a scenic hike - pop the CF from your CoolPix in and email a shot to friends. With all the storage, you can keep all of your databases (finance, contacts, medical records, profession-related records) and documents (with version control) with you. If you're a lawyer, then you have a database of all of your cases at your fingertips so that when you get a page from a client you can quickly look over his case. If you're a doctor, your database will have the details of all patients you've seen in the past year so that when you get an emergency page about one of your patients when you're out camping, you can look over the details of the case. If you are a programmer, then you've got the source to all the projects you've ever worked on with you. How did I do that linked list thingy back in '97 (as your cab creeps forward in a traffic jam)? You can look it up! If you're a musician, you could carry the MIDI files for all of the projects you've been working on and edit them/play them through the speaker. Eventually, you'll have all the sound files in your palm too so you can tweak your master mixes while you ride to work on the subway!

    OK, now where was I? Oh, yes. Laptops are too big and we aren't even close to tapping the potential of the Palm form factor.

  • Yes, this undoubtably adds complexity to the Palm. But notice that this is being done not by Palm, Handspring, Symbol, Nokia, IBM, or any of the other big PalmOS licensees, but by a garage-based, engineering company like TRG. This is a geeky niche product! It's a great geeky niche product, but not ready for the average user.

    Now, Handspring's expansion port, that's something the average user can use. Plug it in, it works; no software to install, nothing tough. The fact that something plugging in here is designed for a Handspring, and not a PCMCIA adaptor and a WinCE &c&c - that's a GOOD thing. And you can't complain that that will limit the market too much, because it is so incredibly easy to design Springboard hardware - it's right on the bus with the processor and data, so there's nothing in your way, no need for smarts in the card as long as you have memory.
  • From http://www .storage.ibm.com/hardsoft/diskdrdl/micro/appguide. htm#hardware [ibm.com]
    "A minimum of 500 mA current must be supplied to the IBM 340 MB or 170 MB microdrive through the CF slot with a minimum duration of 300 ms from a 3.3V or 5.5V power supply."

    from the TRG pro devkit:
    "Continuous currents up to 250mA (500mA peak) can be delivered to a CF+ device"

    Can someone confirm this? Sounds like this thing will eat up power like mad...

  • This thing doesn't have a headphone jack. If they were able to hack one in, this would kick ass as an MP3 player. Without one, though, it doesn't make a good one at all.
  • ...but a laptop is so... heavy"
    Don't even start with that.

    Why not? I already lug around all my notebooks and supplies -- the last thing I need is something that weighs five pounds or more and requires a relatively large amount of physical space. Lecture hall "desks" barely support a laptop, but I can take my Palm III out from my pants or shirt pocket and use it without it requiring any desk space. Additionally, the Palm is usable within a second of me pressing the power button, and it can power on in any of the basic four applications I use so frequently. Try keeping your laptop on standby all the time. Even if it doesn't drain your batteries, you still have to wait for it to come up to speed before you begin to launch your application of choice.

    Laptops aren't just heavy, they're not "thin" in the sense that they weren't designed to be organizers.

    "...but I've already got a laptop, I need something for meetings"
    Then buy lotus notes.

    Sorry, last time I checked Lotus Notes was still a desktop app. You're still bound to standard Windows conventions. Palms don't crash, either. But they don't run Linux, you say? PalmOS is one of the leanest, tightest pieces of software you'll see, and it's designed exclusively for these devices. Even if you could run Linux on one of these babies, the most you could do with it is to say "I run Linux on my palmtop! Isn't that just cool?"

    "...but palms are so cute"
    Buy a tamaguchi.

    Nobody ever said a Palm was cute. It's a useful, productive, thin client and organizer. It's sold over five million units despite almost no advertising, free (what?! free? and it's not Linux? it can't REALLY be free...) development tools, and hardware numbers that seemingly can't hold a candle to feature-packed WinCE machines. Apparently the marketplace knows better than you do.
  • I like what Palm has been doing to blaze new trails and sell a boatload of units to people all over the place. However, CompactFlash is one of only a few standards in the PDA/camera market, and I for one am very happy to see a company take advantage of it.

    Now if we only had this coupled with a color screen -- although, to be honest, the combined increase in power consumption and CPU load would take a bit of usability out of the beast.

    This unit should fit in nicely into a niche market or two. 340MB can only be filled with Doc files at the moment -- the average PalmOS app takes a couple dozen K. Hopefully someone might make a TRGpro-compatible adapter to play MP3's to a headset. Now THAT would be sweet.
  • to add ports for a real keyboard and a video screen. Then I might consider getting one.
  • OK, infojack, here is a smiley face just for you (this is so 80's) (:-). Now do you get it?
  • As people mentioned before, the Handspring Visor [handspring.com] accepts non-standard extention modules as well. What is not mentioned is the underlying technology is pretty cool.

    Handspring modules carry their own applications with them - if you plug in the module, the software installs itself, if you take it out, the software gets uninstalled. Transparent to the user (freaky!), and supposedly pretty stable (details here [handspring.com]).

    Is this good or bad? I don't know, I rather have controll over the installed applications...

  • by Foogle (35117)
    If Palm-stuff keeps coming out at the rate it has for the last week, pretty soon we'll be seing PalmPilots (and clones) that are *better* than laptops. Seriously though, it seems like there's been a Palm-explosion as of late. I was thinking about getting one, but now I'm worried that it'll be outdated and incompatible with new stuff before long. Any thoughts?

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • A good laptop can cost you four thousand dollars; I don't think the palm-devices go over $500. Assuming you're buying brand-name batteries, you'd have to get about one thousand battery replacements before they cost the same.

    Seriously, I think there is a line to be drawn here, but a 340 meg harddrive could be really useful in a palm-top. Ethernet is kind of stupid, because it's rarely portable (Airport?) and a full-sized keyboard is just plain ridiculous.

    I don't think Linux has a place on the palm, yet. At least not in the CLI sense. Maybe if someone developed a decent GUI that could be useful at such low resolutions and would work with pen-input. That would be neat.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I don't see much benefit. The limit is 32meg right now. Of course it's thinner. SmartMedia really should fit on smaller devices. Like future smart beeper, future pokenon game box etc.


    CY
  • For $330 (wonder what the street price is?), that ain't bad. If they update it to the color version that's supposed to be out next year, that would be even sweeter...

  • While simplicity is a good thing, I also want a computer to be able to perform the tasks which I want to use it for. Functionality vs bloat is a fine line, and where it lies varies between different users (choice is a damn good thing), but it does not mandate not having any new features at all.

    I don't want to have to walk around with a Cell-phone, a pda, an mp3 player, a gameboy, and whatever other digital device I need (GPS would be bloat for me, but very important for some). Having all of this in one is not "more is better", but "less is better."

    NCs are a good idea for the (large) fraction of customers for whoom much of the power in a modern PC is bloat. I do not belong to that fraction, the power and freedom of the desktop PC is exactly what I want, and their isn't a feature on it I don't use (after all, I built it myself). But that doesn't mean it isn't time for the computer industry to wake up to the fact that different users require different things.


    -
    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • Well, actually the IBM hard drives in question are solid state, thereby drawing less power and giving off less heat.
  • Depends what you use it for. I've had a Palm Pro (Palm II?) since it came out. It replaced all the little pieces of paper that I had phone#s on, and the day planner. I use the address book, todo list, and date book, and that's all. I don't need, or want, a Palm 3, color display, etc. I will probably still be using this one several years from now. Just like the TI-35 calculator I bought in 1981, when I was in High School.
    Good Enough Is Good Enough.
  • I was thinking how cool things could get if you had one of these things and some hand scripts. See, this is how I imagine my morning:
    1. At 7:00 My Laptop downloads all of the current Slashdot articles and comments and converts them to a doc file or some other format that a PalmOS can read.
    2. Then, my computer copies these files over to a free CF card (or a Microdrive for very busy mornings).
    3. When I leave the house, I slap that card into my Palm, and viola! I can read slashdot on the bus, during traffic, at the dentist's office, whatever, in Math class, whatever.
    Of course, this is just one idea. My friend has a CD of about 640MB of just about every old text known to man kind. I could theoretically walk around with half of that volume with me.

    As a student, I could have a dictionary, a thesuarus (SP?), even an enyclopedia, and all of them could use a search command. The possibilities with mobile storage is really great. Anybody else have ideas?


  • Damn...that's exactly what I was looking for. Finally time to retire my palm pro...this is even better than the visor, since it uses a standard CF port which has much broader industry support...It'll only be a matter of time before you can hook up a wireless modem in the cf slot, basically making this 10 times more flexible than a palm VII (you get a real tcp/ip link...no pqa crap).

    The price is also excellent...8mb ram + 2mb flash + cf....I'm sure not long after it's out you'll be able to get it for less than $300 street. Hopefully it has the better LCD like the palmIIIx.

    With a 340mb microdrive and 8meg RAM you can easily run linux on this thing heheh...maybe even X! Why you'd wanna do that I no clue, but the possibility of having virtual screens on my pilot rocks.

    The is way better than color IMO...I don't think we're at a point where color in a palm device makes much sense...a screen with 256 colors would need 4 times the processing power + i/o throughput of a 4 shades of gray screen (8bpp vs. 2bpp)...it's currently more than possible, but not cost effective. I think cf expansion makes this unit extremely flexible...for now this is really all a palm device needs...until dragonball 66mhz comes out that is :)

    Oh yeah...one bad thing...they're still using that puke looking case like the old palms...it'd be cool if they came out with some cool looking cases.


    -dr0ne
  • And CompactFlash is just PCMCIA in a smaller form factor, so you can hoor them to a laptop with a very cheap adaptater...
  • I've had a Pilot for a year. It has changed my life. I carry it everywhere.

    For this I use 103k of the 480k it came with.

    I'm just shaking my head at all these new mindless features. I could use a cheap, small, light, durable Pilot with long battery life though. Wonder if anyone is working on such boring issues anymore...
  • But compact flash cards are much less expensive. That and a 340 meg drive is hard to pass up. You could use it as a portable mp3 player also.
    treke
  • What a great calculator. I still use mine, and people in my office make fun of me whenever they see it (What's THAT thing? I've never SEEN such an old calculator) Of course, most of them probably werent born yet when it came out :-)

  • Actually, seems like this would be perfect for MD's. use it to store a text only version of the PDR, with a rudimentary search feature... hmm...
  • Aren't hard drives fragile enough that you wouldn't want to be carrying one around in your pocket? If it takes away the portability of the device it isn't a good idea.
  • This is exactly what PC manufacturers should be working on because this is most effective solution for most end-users. It isn't that little HD that's putting a perma-grin on my face, its the philosophy that your average PC is way too much for the average user and people should take micro and net pc's seriously.

    Dont worry, hardware and software development will go on until Mama_Cass_Asteriod smacks us upside our big primate heads, but for the market of the lowest-common-denominator a simple, slow(compared to desktops), and integrated micro PC is what the doctor ordered. How many computers do nothing but pretend to be a big ass web-tv box? 70% Maybe 80%? How many of them will actually replace a card or drive before tossing it out? 5% 10%? How long do you want Microsoft getting rich off making a bloated OS designed for the readers of Win95 for dummies?

    These microPCs could be carried around, plugged into different TVs in the house and running almost completely propriety software. This market group wouldn't know source code if you hit them in the head with a 'C++ for dummies' book. It'll be a neat Browser/WordP/GameMachine. Heck make it store your playstation saved games, its portable. Make it pretend its one of those VCR+ devices and make it program your VCR after you typed in the word, 'friends' and pointed its IR at your VCR. Man, I'm not kidding VCR programing is not just a joke its a reality.

    The difference between this type of simple net-pc and an up to date desktop is the difference between a Honda and a Ferrari. Leave the big ass desktops for your advanced serious PC user, let Microsoft do what its always wanted to do- make toys for tots. Soon the 'micro pc-kiddies' will be swooning when you say you own a desktop and know how to use it.

  • With 340MB you could store:

    - 1,020,000 addresses (I KNOW where you live, hehe)
    - 425 years of appointments (been busy lately?)
    - 255,000 to-do list entries (see above)
    - 255,000 memos (see above)
    - 34,000 emails (many, many, Slashdot headlines)
  • So, if you combine this latest development with Qualcomm's pdQ, you could do some pretty awesome stuff. How much voice data could you fit in 350 MB? Using a good modern codec, I suppose it would be about 500-1000. Sync that with your PC and you could have a complete voice recording of every phone call you ever made.

    Cool, huh?
  • AC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

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    1 g0t l0t$ 0f 0-d4y w4r3z!!!! dr0p by my bbs if u n33d s0m3!!
    but r3m3mb3r 2 upl04d s0m3th1ng | () () |_
    :WQ
    :wq
    ------ ------ ------
    ALL HA1L B1FF, TH3 M05T 31337 D00D!!!!!1
    ------ ------ ------
    ALL HA1L B1FF, TH3 M05T 31337 D00D!!!!!1
  • But a laptop doesn't run for a month and a half on 2 AAA batteries.

    But a laptop isn't always "on" (Don't even start with "suspend")

    But a laptop can't be used with one hand.

    But a laptop won't fit in my pocket.

    A brand new Palm can be had for under $200. A brand new laptop can hardly be had for under $1000. A used P150 laptop can hardly be had for $500 - check eBay.

    It is little more than a day planner/phone list. Ah, the beauty of non-bloatware.
  • ... that best buy gives away computers (for an ISP contract), yet a palm pilot - a stripped down one still costs $300?

    sure you can buy all kinds of extras, a modem, an ethernet card, etc, but what your failing to recognize that this is little more than a day planner crossed with a Tamaguci(?).

    For a few dollars more, buy a junk laptop, and a wireless ethernet card and/or wireless modem - same thing - but probably more versatile...

    "...but a laptop is so... heavy"
    Don't even start with that.
    "...but I've already got a laptop, I need something for meetings"
    Then buy lotus notes.
    "...but palms are so cute"
    Buy a tamaguchi.

    Why write again, when you can carry something to play tetris on instead of pay attention during meetings?
  • Awesome! IMHO, this is the way Palm can overtake CE - ComapctFlash support. Bu having compact flash it becomes amazingly more expandable... you can hook up to a network, have more memory, and do all the other cool things CE devices can do...
  • by kcarnold (99900) on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @12:11PM (#1598486)
    is what the Palm seems to be heading for (I say supercomputer in the general sense, not just in the processor). But it can't be. Look at the niche here. Let's do a quick laptop vs. handheld computer comparison (I will use Palms, but most of it applies to any handheld computer):


    • Laptops are super-fast, just a little slower than the desktops. Palms hit 33 mHZ last I checked, and it doesn't look like they'll get much faster. (There goes all of your ideas about playing MP3s with the hard drive)
    • Palms are tiny. Laptops are just small. (See next two items.
    • Laptops have a decent keyboard. You can type a research paper on them easily. There are fold-out-type keyboards for the Palm line (and the CEs), but it's not the same as having a full-sized keyboard.
    • Some of the newer laptops have awesome LCD displays that make me drool. Laptops have been color for a long time, and DV on the new screens looks great. They are just now getting color into the Palm line, and that's going to hinder it a lot (battery life especially, but probably weight and speed will be issues as well). And that still doesn't solve the problem of them being tiny; I like to be able to see at least half a page of my letter at a time without squinting or using a magnifying glass '-(. And try playing DV on them.
    • Some swear by one, some swear by the other, some swear by wierd stuff, and some, like me, don't care, but there are basically two types of screen-positional input (read: mouse) on laptops: trackpad and integrated mouse ball. I haven't seen a laptop with a touch screen; maybe there is one. Palms have touch screens with those sleek-looking styluses (is that the correct plural?). But no mouse (pardon my grammar). Accordingly, Palms have handwriting recognition, Graffiti. Some people have better luck with Graffiti than others. To me, it's more like writing on paper than typing is.
    • If there are any more aspects that I missed, feel free to reply to this message


    There is obviously a different niche for these two classes of devices. One cannot reasonably expect to enter the realm of the other successfully. If the Palm becomes too bloated with all these extra features, I'd rathar just dump it and buy a laptop, especially with some of the advantages that I mentioned above. But you still can't beat carrying it in your pocket. There is only so much you can fit into that little package without making it bigger (and therefore not fit in your pocket anymore).

    Please, guys, keep the palm in Palm, and the lap in laptop. ("Notebook" is a better term, when it is clear that you are referring to the size of the computer. Good luck getting a real notebook to run Linux :-)

    Kenneth Arnold

    PS - I want a laptop. Badly.
    Real PS - My sig is stupid. I'm changing it as soon as I sumbit this.

  • Don't get to prematurely excited. Keep in mind that the battery life of this thing HAS to be considerably less than the current ``one month'' battery life of the PalmIIIx. In addition I don't see anything available for this device that is not already (?) available for the Handspring Springboard(tm) thingee. Frankly I think the Springboard is a more open interface and already has market acceptance (despite its only just shipping this week). you can have a Palm clone and plug memory into it, or your can get a Visor made by Trip ``The Original Pilot'' Hawkins himself, have a greater variety of plugable devices to choose from, and pick from one of 5 fruity flavors of plastic molding to boot. I wonder which people will choose...?
  • The palm isn't meant to do everything possible. It is meant to be a companion to a computer that can do all of that. Although it may be cheaper than a laptop, with all of the accessories, and batteries that you would go through, your cost it just about the same after a couple of months. While this would make the plam able to great things, who needs those things in a business meeting, or when they are trying to find a phone number. And then what do you do if you want to plug in your ethernet card and read your email, or download a palm app, but you need your extra hd space to store it? Then put another slot in it! If you want that get a pc104 setup, and forget the palm. As for running Linux on my palm, that would be cool, until I had to type in a long command line.

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