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Handhelds Hardware

Handspring's New Palm-OS Entrants: Color and Speed 115

ResQuad writes: "Handspring realeased a new palm top in their Visor collection, the Prism. It is $450 and have 65k colors, compared to the 3c's 256 colors. It also has an internal Li-Ion battery. Handspring also came out with another new palm, the Platinum. It is still gray-scale, but it is suposed to be 50% faster that the Visor Deluxe. This makes four palms out from Handspring." These are the same models discussed a few weeks ago, but now Handspring claims that they're shipping. Personally, I'm still pretty happy with my Deluxe, but the Platinum one looks very nice.
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Handspring's New Palm-OS Entrants: Color and Speed

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  • The Platinum is 5.4 oz (the same as the old Visors) and the Prism is 6.9 oz! That doesn't count the covers.

    I read six months ago that Handspring was working on creating a smaller Visor. So, why is the Prism 6.9 oz, which is heavier than the color CLIE, IIIc, and IPAQ?

    The biggest selling point seems to be that the screen displays 65.6k colors. Why is that important when the screen only has 25.6k pixels?

    Maybe if they had used a 320x320 screen, making the unit this large would be justifiable. But as is, I don't see how Handspring expects to sell many Prisms at $450.

    Bring on the color Vx!

  • RTF Web Page

    But since I'm such a nice guy...

    Prism product details [handspring.com] : [goatse.cx]

    Battery Life: 2 weeks or 6 continuous hours

  • Do they need any beta-testers for stuff like this?
    Just send it on over, I'd be glad to take a look at it for ya!
  • Go with an operating system built for this instead - Epoc. True 32-bit multitasking from the ground up.
  • Have you looked at the inside? It has a couple of small circuit boards, at least one of which appears to be the system memory. I wonder if they'll release a flash upgrade kit? (Like they did 3Com did for the Palm Pilots)
  • by alee ( 64786 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @02:31AM (#703684)
    Be careful here. You may be slightly misled by the 'photos' of the Visor.

    The Prism looks awesome in the photos, but remember that the resolution is ONLY 160x160 -- the same as the Palm IIIc. For those that have seen the IIIc, you will remember that it has a very grainy resolution.

    Although the Prism does have a higher color depth, and uses TFT color, unless the screen has a tighter dpi, you will probably find that it is only marginally better than the IIIc. Also, remember that it is thicker and heavier than a regular Visor.

    Be careful buying this blind -- I'm very interested in seeing a real one up close, in both indoor light AND outdoor light. As far as color goes outside, I have only seen 2 color LCDs that really work well outside -- the Sony hybrid LCD on their digital camera, and the Compaq IPAQ. The rest wash out completely.
  • by Jay Carlson ( 28733 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @02:31AM (#703685)
    As far as hardware limitations, DragonBall is a 32-bit processor, so it has an addressable memory space of 4G.

    But it's not virtual. So even if you maxed out the Dragonball VZ's DRAM controller with 64M, you'd still need some way of controlling fragmentation etc, because you don't have a hardware MMU to shuffle pages around.

    Why is controlling fragmentation important? Old Amiga hackers remember the pain of programs refusing to load, not because you didn't have enough memory left, but because you didn't have enough contiguous memory left. (If an app is expecting to be able to malloc a meg, the OS can't really reply "would you take two 512k chunks instead?".) That kind of behavior sucked back then, and it would suck even more on a PDA that stays up for weeks at a time.

    The most reasonable way to solve fragmentation on a 68000 is to address all memory through handles. Load up a raw 32-bit pointer to the start (or middle) of a chunk of memory, then do all addressing based on offsets from that pointer. Whenever nobody is using a chunk, the OS is allowed to move the data and the pointer---after the move, the data, relative to the pointer, will be in the same place.

    This is not a very Unix-y memory model. This is why nobody has ported perl to PalmOS. You'd have to change everything that assumed that a single 32-bit pointer was enough to access memory. Even if you could convince PalmOS to give you, say, a contiguous 2M chunk to use for malloc, and lock that region down forever (don't want pointers in there moving out from under us), you'd be back to the original problem of fragmentation.

    A 2M chunk would be unnatural for another reason. Until the 020, 68000 addressing modes can only reach +/-32k from a register. Plop your chunk pointer in the middle of a region and out pops...that 64k limit you're always seeing in PalmOS hacking. If you're willing to take the performance hit, you could *manually* add 32-bit offsets to an address register (and give up the offset addressing mode). But pretty soon this starts looking just like the near/far pointer tar pit from the bad old 8086 days.

    The newer versions of PalmOS are also moving closer to processor agnosticism with a HAL, which will sever its dependence on the DragonBall Series (MIPS, anyone? How about an IPaq, then? Mayhaps even Crusoe...).

    I still can't figure out what they're going to do to move beyond 160x160 or 160x240 screens. Those hundreds of third-party apps are almost all using absolute pixel positioning for form layout. Wait...I have an idea---what if we redefine old pixel positions as really being dimensioned in "dialog units", and...wait, nobody would actually do that...

    Unlike Microsoft, Palm is changing and eliminating its OSes primary weaknesses rather than saddling its developers/users/customers with archaic requirements, just like a company in a competitive market should.

    So, what should Linux people be doing? Sitting back and waiting for Palm to be the source of All Good Things?

  • Take a look at the VTech Helio (http://www.vtechinfo.com). It's about the same size and shape as a Visor, but it has a 75MHz MIPS processor, 8 megs RAM, a good LCD panel, audio hardware (voice memos), and it runs Linux. I got one at the Atlanta Linux Showcase from the Pocket Linux booth. They were selling them cheap to attract developers to their new Linux-based Java handheld platform.

    The Helio comes with VTOS, which seems to be a clone of PalmOS. It's actually pretty decent, and I'm using it until the Linux desktop stuff stabilizes. It uses Jot, a pretty good clone of Graffiti (I had no trouble switching over). This particular model retails for $180 or less, considerably cheaper than anything from Palm or Handspring (the Palm III series STILL sells for $250, which is exactly what I paid for mine 2 years ago).

    Palm has been selling the same basic palmtop for years. It's not bad at all (I'm a happy owner of a Palm III), but they're going to need to innovate more if they want to stay in the lead. It does its intended job well, but VTOS is just as good and runs on a much more powerful processor. I think Palm is currently riding on its name recognition rather than its features.

    -John
  • by Bazzargh ( 39195 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @02:37AM (#703687)
    One of the features described in Wired's article on this:
    http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,39456, 00.html
    is that there is a (vaporware) attachment to make it capable of attachment to a projector for doing presentations. For me, this is (nearly) a killer app - no more lugging the laptop onto the plane. Right now I can only ditch the laptop if someone else is presenting too and I can email them slides...now if the Ansyr Primer PDF viewer (http://www.ansyr.com/) works on it (in colour) I'm in.
  • And other than the fact that everyone comes off looking like a charicature of Dr. Evil, the simple truth is that quality does not matter. When people start thinking that this stuff transcends business or even technology then it is doomed to fail. The really remarkable thing is, if the story is accurate, that Apple exists at all today given the acute megalomania of Jobs. The point here is that Palm OS is good, the hardware is solid albeit doesn't 'improve' as fast as some people would want. WinCe or whatever it is called is crap and the hardware is expensive, slow and constantly changing. But it gives the impression of givng the customer what they want. It gives the impression of solid features. Whether it does or not is irrelevant. What WinCe does not do is pretend to be the second coming. I love Palm and have used one or another for many years. It's great for what it does and given what I do with can't think of much they could do to improve it other than incrementally. But I do not accept the premise that it is Brilliant Art that Transcends Technology or Truth.

    The simple truth is that Palm &Co. better watch out that they don't become isolated in their own high opinion of themselves while MS and its philosophy of "A C+ was good enough for me at Harvard it's good enough for the shit we make for you.." stumbles across the finish line first.
  • Most of the new handhelds feature Lithium Ion batteries that don't have the memory features of the older Nickle-Metal-Hydride and Nickle-Cadmium types. In my experience using my HP 545, I get between 8-10 hours of solid use, with a CF storage card. I've gotten more without it. -WS
  • I hate these people. No 1-800 service number....Go to the website and try to leave feedback...on ANY of thier forms. They don't work. I have had 2 Visor Deluxes - the 1st one died after a week rather suddenly... the second one I have NEVER been able to perform a warm reset on. It always gets stuck in a boot loop and I must hard-reset it and lose my data.
    So I have owned 2 Handsprings, both of which were defective. Whenever I want to do anything about this fact, I have to pay to call the service line and sit on hold intermiably. Then they ask me questions like "Sir, are there batteries in the unit?" that make me want to hurt them. I will never buy from this company again no matter what they come out with. I'm sick of companies pushing out products before the proper QC is done. dammit. Chris
  • by Anonymous Coward
    >I still can't figure out what they're going to
    >do to move beyond 160x160 or 160x240 screens.

    The most sensible solution would be to go to 320x320 screens, and use pixel doubling routines for all apps that weren't marked as "PalmOS 4 compatible" or whatever - so they would look pretty much the same, and newer apps written for "palmOS 4" could take advantage of higer rez.

    Regards,
    Alex
  • most of these devices are still vapor. Symbian has had those pretty pictures up on their web site for years. I know because I've kept going back to see if anything changed. I fully agree that architecturally EPOC32 is the king of consumer electronics OSs. It's got practically everything WinCE has (except maybe the multimedia eyecandy) in a fraction of the space and at much higher speed. It's much more modular and expandable. But if they keep dragging their feet, Palm and WinCE will be so entrenched that they simply won't stand a chance. Look at Nokia and Ericsson, they're starting to cut deals with alternate OS suppliers on the side.
  • It is $450 and have 65k colors, compared to the 3c's 256 colors.

    First off, Never send a German to do an American's proofreading job.
    Secondly, doesn't the IIIc have more than 256 colors? I cite this quote from this AP article [boston.com] from the Business section of the Boston Globe:

    "Handspring executives said the 16-bit, $449 Visor Prism will be the best on the market, capable of producing more than 65,000 colors. That's more than sixteen times better than its closest competitor..."

    First off, 16-bit color means 65,536 colors. Secondly, the Prism will be 16 times more colors than its competitor (the IIIc). This means that the closest competitor outputs 4096 colors, or 12-bit; not 256 colors, or 8-bit. Furthermore, the cover of the IIIc box and demonstrations of the unit indicate a higher-than-256-colors output.

  • The URL for that article should be "http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/290/business/Ha ndspring_unveils_color_Visor_Prism+.shtm l". NO SPACES IN THE URL!!!! Slashdot's perl script seems to be messing around with that plus sign, so I can't do an A HREF.
  • > Whenever nobody is using a chunk, the OS is allowed to move the data and the pointer---after the move, the data, relative to the pointer, will be in the same place.
    > This is not a very Unix-y memory model.

    How do you mean it's not very "Unix-y"? This is exactly how relocation in ELF works, it uses a register to store that magic offset, then indexes all relative symbols from it. ELF was indeed invented in the UNIX world.
  • YHBT. HAND.
    ------
    James Hromadka
  • won't kill Palm/Handspring for the same reason the Mac OS, BeOS and OS/2 have never killed Windows. Volume, volume, volume. Why buy an iPaq when there aren't nearly as many applications available, isn't cross platform and comes from a company who's focus is not on that market (as opposed to Palm and Handspring)?

    Now, I suppose you could make the argument that lack of a user base and support shouldn't really matter. Witness Linux prior to the 2.2 kernel. However, in the case of the iPaq, you're paying more and somehow ending up with less. WinCE was an attempt to scale down windows, not an attempt to make a fast, versitile OS strictly for handheld devices. It's not to say WinCE is w/o it's merits (PocketOffice?), but that in the grander scheme, they're less important.

    Aside from forcing a destop/Start menu metaphor into real-estate that doesn't support the idea, WinCE device makers made the error of trying to include the kitchen sink in their devices. It has MP3's (one or two initially, big whoop)! It's color (but the battery life kills you)! It has larger screen real estate (and no longer fits in your front pants pocket)!

    Also, where are the sub $170 WinCE devices?

    Finally, whether I choose a Palm or Handspring, the sw is compatible (HW compatibility was/is/will be an issue). It can be exchanged easily and with a wide group of people. In this light, is the iPaq really worth spending $50 more?

  • This means that the closest competitor outputs 4096 colors, or 12-bit; not 256 colors, or 8-bit.

    The Casio E115 has 16 bit colour, not 12 bit. At 320x240. Doom has been ported to it, and is actually playable and looks lovely.

    thenerd.
  • So even if you maxed out the Dragonball VZ's DRAM controller with 64M, you'd still need some way of controlling fragmentation etc, because you don't have a hardware MMU to shuffle pages around.

    With Palm OS 3.0, there is only one storage heap (per memory card - current devices only have one card) and so having large code resources isn't a problem. Any given code resource still can't be more than 64k, but fragmentation problems aren't an issue as they were in previous versions of the OS.
    -From PalmOS.com

    If you're willing to take the performance hit, you could *manually* add 32-bit offsets to an address register (and give up the offset addressing mode). But pretty soon this starts looking just like the near/far pointer tar pit from the bad old 8086 days.

    The Motorola 68328 processor's 32-bit registers and 32 internal address lines support a 32-bit execution model as well, although the external data bus is only 16 bits wide. This design reduces cost without impacting the software model. The processor's bus controller automatically breaks down 32-bit reads and writes into multiple 16-bit reads and writes externally.
    -From PalmOS.com

    So, what should Linux people be doing? Sitting back and waiting for Palm to be the source of All Good Things?

    So what should Palm developers be doing, wasting their time porting bloated Unix tools to a decidedly (and purposefully) limited platform, for the sheer intellectual rigor of the excercise, or devloping for a fully functional OS that's well suited for the tasks it's asked to perform?

    Gimme a break. Linux is useful, no doubt. But I don't think it's going to be all things to all people, as some would posture. There are better tools more suited for certain tasks.

    If the Linux developers are having a tough time figuring out what to do , a much more useful pursuit would be developing a better way of syncing a Palm device to Linux. Right now there is no standard conduit API for Linux. For people who own PalmOS devices, that'd be a lot more useful than PERL for Palm.

  • The improvement is where you find it. Having owned three Palm III series devices and about to acquire a Vx, I can tell you there've been several improvements along the way.

    • Palm IIIx: mo memory and a better screen than the III, making things like remote inventory control and AvantGo much more reasonable.
    • Palm IIIe: new, inexpensive pricepoint
    • Palm V: made handhelds less geek devices and more a high style replacement for exec's Franklin planners. This form factor has done more to advance Palm's in my organization than anything else.
    • Palm VII: Wireless net support.
    • OmniSky for Palm V: Suddenly my dept. manager is asking what the limitations of what the wireless web are. The answer: I don't know yet, but I'll have fun finding out.
      • So, while they function in the same fashion as your III, they've all been welcome changes and really improved the platform w/o compromising what makes it great: small size, excellent battery life.
  • Below is the first official review of the Visor Prism by Pen Computing Magazine:

    http://www.pencomputing.com/palm/Pen37/visorsprism platinum.html [pencomputing.com]

  • I still can't figure out what they're going to do to move beyond 160x160 or 160x240 screens. Those hundreds of third-party apps are almost all using absolute pixel positioning for form layout. Wait...I have an idea---what if we redefine old pixel positions as really being dimensioned in "dialog units", and...wait, nobody would actually do that...


    What you do is implement a new, updated OS on more capable hardware with a bigger screen, and by all means DON'T saddle yourself with backwards compatibility. Then run the old stuff in the extremely good Palm emulation that already exists. The emulator should be able to map the 160x160 dimensions to the new screen without too much difficulty.

    I'm hoping for someone to do this with Linux on the IPaq.

    Jon
  • Other than color, the prism also offers the same new cpu that the platinum has, a newer version of palmos, and a rechargable battery. It's not just a visor deluxe with color.
  • What's up with MS's ClearType? I mean, it's just anti-aliasing, right? I don't know a lot about it, so I assumed that's all that it did. They can't bloody well patent that...

    -lx
  • UNIX in general uses pages, that's logical addresses are mapped to physical ones _during_ the execution of the program (by mean of page tables and hardware support that convert page numbers to frame numbers).

    Frames have the same size as pages. Pages and frames have sizes of 2^n bytes, for example 4096 in i386 world, 512 in VMS.

    If pages are of 4096 bytes (2^12), that means that the first twelve bits of the logical address are used as an index to the page table of the process. The value of the entry is the physical address of the frame, represented in 12 (or more... ) bits.

    Processors and UNIXes (and Windows) also uses a combination of segmentation and pages, mainly for avoiding problems of huge page tables and to allow mapping of logical address to higher physical addresses, for example to overcome the 4GB limit in i386 architecture (IA32), where the "theoric" maximum is 2^32=4GB of physical memory.

    Because pages of the same process don't need to be consecutive (the logical space does not match the physical one), you never need to reallocate memory for getting bigger chunks.

    OTH, ELF is a _file_ format for storing compiled programs, libraries, shared lib references, and so on. The program is always executed in memory, not in the ELF world, althougth ELF helps a lot for "paging on demand", cacheing and shared libraries, it's not the "core image" of a process.

    --ricardo

  • In Linux, each application still has its own heap and that can still be fragmented.

    Wrong, there isn't exist fragmentation in pages/paging systems (pages != paging, although both are normally present). When you talk about fragmentation you must clarify if you mean "external fragmentation" (memory chunks that are not assigned to any process) or internal (assigned but unused).

    More precisely, the external fragmentation in page systems is _zero_, the internal fragmentation is equal to the n*s*p/2, where n is the number of active process, p is page size and s is the number of segments of every process. For pure paged systems, s=1. Nevertheless, the internal fragmentation is residual.

    --ricardo

  • It's a kind of antialising exploiting colour sub-pixel distributions in LCD screens, it does not work for CRT screens.

    AppleII used the same technique for "doubling" the resolution of the screen.

    I think this was a topic in /. months ago. I don't remember the links.

    --ricardo

  • Actually that's the main reason why windows CD failed compared to palm. Windows CE is trying to cram everything it can and is creating bloatware on handhelds. Bloatware on handhelds....that is a REAL bad thing.

    We don't need to be able to write essays and do spreadsheets and listen to mp3s, and we don't need movie players (what are we going to watch, a 5 minute mpeg again and again?) all the while getting only a few hours of battery time. If i wanted to do all that I'll use my laptop instead. It's more comfortable to use(i don't have to type with my two indexes) and i don't have to strain my eyes looking at the damn display. I hate wearing my glasses at the computer.

    Palm made it so big because they targeted the aspects where handhelds SHOULD be used, such as schedules, quick email on the fly, etc. Granted, the win CE devices are cool, but in this practical world of ours, they are annoying and useless.

  • by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork@gmaLA ... m minus math_god> on Monday October 16, 2000 @02:51AM (#703709) Journal
    Now I can finally descreetly take my pr0n into the bathroom. No more lugging around that bulky notebook. Fewer odd-looks too from roommates too.
  • No, those pictures haven't been there for years. If you want me to, I can find out the exact date ;) Quartz was first demoed at Cebit 2000 (I was there) etc ...

    The devices are vapour in so forth that only Ericsson has showed Quartz running on actual hardware (look at their web, the Communicator platform)

  • or isn't the Palm platform advancing much anymore? I mean, it's nice that a couple more Handspring colors are available, but come on, the two new offerings are nothing to write home about. For the Platinum they basically jacked up the clock speed a bit and charge you $50 for that. The color, ok it's nice that they didn't have to make it larger than the regular Visor (well, I guess 0.1" thicker), but other than color it offers nothing else--at $450. Let's not loose sight of the fact that we're starting to get less and less for the money here compared to the WinCE platform--and I'm no great proponent of WinCE by far. Palm and their cohorts can talk it up any which way they want--more focused OS, leaner, no fluff, etc--but at the end of the day they charge you the same as WinCE for a fraction of the hardware capabilities.
  • We keep seeing these new hardware options with color here, wireless there. When will all of the options be brought together? My mouth drools at the thought of a color screen like the Prism, a slim factor like the PalmV, a Wireless conection like the PalmVII, and the expandability of the Handsprings. I guess the cost would be unbelievable, but I get the feeling that we're being fed the low end stuff at $200 so that the "latest model" can be $500. I look at my 3 year old PalmIII and wonder. "What is the big improvement?"

    Nate
  • by alee ( 64786 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @03:19AM (#703713)
    Although in Japanese, you can see the Visor Prism in operation at the following ZDNet sites:

    http://www.zdnet.co.jp/macwire/0010/16/r_viprfi.ht ml [zdnet.co.jp]
    http://www.zdnet.co.jp/macwire/0010/16/r_viprfi2.h tml [zdnet.co.jp]

  • I was assuming that the closest competitor to the Prism had the same OS. I'm talking about the Palm IIIc as a competitor. Not to downplay Casio's efforts; that's a damn good PDA.
  • I love reading about these new handhelds but it seems that they're still a ways off from making the perfect handheld, which for me has:

    A color LCD (16bit+, truecolor would be ideal)
    Decently fast
    Built-in wireless networking
    Regular handwriting recognition, kinda like Newton
    Decent amount of storage (at least 64M)

    Of all those features, the one I want most is wireless networking. I know that there are services like Metricom's Riccochet but most are only available in the largest of metro areas (SFO,NYC,LA,etc).

    I'm just looking forward to the day that I can sit down with the above-described handheld, in a cafe, and ssh into my machines.

    Chris
  • After many years of owning a Palm and writing a couple of hello-world-level programs, I finally got a copy of Palm Programming and sat down a bit with it. The more I read, the more limited the Palm platform started to appear. Until your post I didn't realize that the 16-bit signed offset was a Dragonball limitation, I thought that was a Palm thing. I was reading about the 64k segmentation model, and how Code Warrior can handle some of the work for you. As you say, that brought back shades of 80x86 real mode programming.

    I don't know, even simple things turned me off: why should there be two calls, LoadLib and FindLib, and why should the programmer be in charge of doing refence counting and unloading of libraries? Why couldn't OpenLib and CloseLib do that behind the scenes, without duplicating all that code for each program that used libraries? It seems that doing it the way they did precludes multitasking at some future point.

    Anyway, I'm starting to wonder whether Palm OS is really as great as it's made out to be. It's one thing to encourage programmers to keep the apps small and simple, but it's quite another if you force them to do so through architectural limitations and artificial shortcoming. Forcing small apps just because you yourself as an OS creator can't really see any use for large apps on a handheld smacks of shorsightedness.
  • Cassiopeia's stats:

    32meg's of ram (upgradable with compactflash)
    133mhz processor
    65,536 colors
    Headphone Jack/speakers
    Wireless Connectivity possible with compactflash
    Built in IE
    Transcriber, regular handwriting recg.. very good too

    Sounds like your perfect PDA is out already. Unfortunately, it's MS, and people just hate MS. And Palm is using their market monopoly to maintain control with an inferior product.

    Quite a role reversal for MS... they have the better product but a monopoly is shutting them out.
  • I haven't looked around to verify this, so it's just a guess. Maybe the new one is heavier because it has built in batteries, and they don't count battery weight in the original?
    Also, there is one more selling point. It runs at 33 Mhz, the standard visor is 16 Mhz.
  • W/O wings, bumbler that I am.
  • I have owned a Visor Delux since March and I've had no problems with it. I bought a second one for my wife recently and the IR port didn't work. I called tech support and didn't have to wait long for help. Unfortunately we weren't able to solve the problem. I then called the 800-number for a replacement and it came the next day along with a shipping label to return the defective one. The people on the phone were very prompt and didn't hassle me at all.

    Yes, I would have prefered the tech suppor tline to be a free call, and of course I would have liked the unit to not be defective to begin with, but I find it hard to complain when they FedEx you a new one immediately.

    p.s. No problems with the new one so far.

  • Nice unit, but if I'm going to shell out $450, why doesn't it have Flash ROM?!? The website says they chose not to go that route to cut costs, which would be totally understandable for a budget PDA, but $450 doesn't really fit into the "budget" category in my book. Even if a Flash ROM ended up costing me an extra $10, it would make more sense on a high-end unit, as it protects my already significant investment by giving me more expansion and upgrade options. (ucLinux, etc...)
  • Try HP Jornada with a VGA PC card and Pocket PP, and forget about the notebook for presentations (altough not for _preparing_ the presentation...).

    --ricardo

  • Hmm, what do you use for wireless on just a CF card? The only things I've seen require plugging into a cell phone (gee that's not unwieldy or anything).
  • Oh, I fully agree with what you say, including their targeted use: "quick and easy access to information". But the more you charge for your devices, the more extra functionality you have to throw in, and the less the old line of "it just provides what you need, and well" flies. Because otherwise you put yourself into a luxury toy niche. Expensive, does less than comparable devices, but it's got this name brand label. Kind of like the Palm V--it's mostly an executive toy, even though I'm sure there are people in this newsgroup that would argue how indispensible it is. Most people under bang-for-the-buck constraints get something else, like a IIIxe or Visor Deluxe.

    What I want to see most in the Palm is a larger screen--more pixels horizontally, but especially vertically. The Palm is used more and more for business data entry, electronic forms etc, and for that sort of use 160x160 pixels can get constraining very quickly. Even one hundred extra vertical pixels could make a huge difference. And something like the Sony jog dial would be insanely great too, though it should be integrated at the OS level rather than the app level (like the Sony's).
  • I must admit that this device looks very cool, but I wonder how long it will run, compared to other Palm devices: both speed and colors are known to drain batteries.
  • I have never had any problems with tech support, they are alway very promt. As for the one not warm-reseting, that happens to me to, when I have installed some rogue, horibly coded software. As for the other die'ing, who knows, but it worked when you got it, so it is probably your fault.

  • If this were right, how did PalmOS and EPOC get so popular in the first place?
  • The biggest reason for me (at least right now) is that I cannot currently buy an iPaq. I obviously cannot comment on the new Visors - this is an anti-iPaq (or anti-Compaq to be more precise) post rather than a pro-Visor one - but I do not know of anywhere I can currently buy an iPaq.

    Anyone know a place? Ideally retail, with the iPaq in stock, within an easy drive of Palo Alto/Mountain View. Alternatively, somewhere in the UK. E-mail me direct - I'll go and buy one and then come back here and post it. That way, I get one before the store gets /.ed :-)

  • "And, with normal use, the battery lasts nearly two weeks on a single charge." What exactly is normal use? (# hrs/day) And so how many hours does this actually stay on?
  • What extortionate price will they charge for it in UK, I wonder?
  • ELF position-independent code uses offsets from the GOT table for symbol resolution. void* remains word-sized. Besides, there's no general way to relocate a DSO once it's been relocated and running (think of an automatic variable pointing to an errno allocated in libc) so this doesn't help with the fragmentation problem.

    If you wanted to do cross-chunk addressing in a handle-based scheme, void* would have to be something like struct void_star {handle_t base; int offset;}.

  • The tech specs linked to on that page mention that it gets six hours of continous use, or they estimate about 2 weeks of normal use (not if you are playing cool color games on it all day though!).
  • I'd wait for the Quartz devices to come out personally. Epoc runs circles around both PalmOS and Pocket PC, and it has _so_ many devices in the works ... true WIDs! (Wireless Information Devices)

    See Symbian's website [symbian.com] for more info, or just browse around on Ericsson's [ericsson.com] for some pictures of the R380 smartphone running Epoc ... or look at the devices Motorola, Sanyo, Psion etc will release.

    The future looks bright indeed!

  • I completely agree.

    I have a Jornada 680 because I need something that is smaller than a laptop, but has a keyboard so I don't sit there slowly scribing stuff onto the screen. Best thing about it is its highly mobile (even if its larger than a Palm or an ipaq), and powerful enough to take my work on the road, not *just* for appointments and contact info. I store everything on my CF, and have everything I need while I'm away from my computer. I also carry my 7110, for a complete office on the road.
  • In light of hardware like this, with its memory architecture and other limitations, PalmOS is beginning to look like DOS. The iPaq looks like a better deal to me.
  • They're doing more than that... they're working with Apple to rewrite the OS!
  • That's true. No multitasking, only various hacks (as dos had).
    But no one says you have to run palmos on it.
    ucLinux! [uclinux.org]
  • From the web page, it still seems to require a TRG, so it probably hasn't been ported to the high end Visors. Even if it does, you still have to live within the limitations of uClinux (no MMU and limited multitasking, according to the web page).

    Since the iPaq (with Linux, of course) may not be much more expensive once they ship in larger quantities, why not just get that?

  • After that I have looked at the new Visors. I started wondering if we that owns a old visor could get an upgrade of the OS to PalmOS 3.5.2H instead of the old one. That is a thing I would like.
  • Wow, those pictures of the Quartz reference platform [symbian.com] look awesome indeed. After looking at those, I'd love to have a combination cellphone/PDA running EPOC.
  • We don't need to be able to write essays and do spreadsheets and listen to mp3s, and we don't need movie players (what are we going to watch, a 5 minute mpeg again and again?) all the while getting only a few hours of battery time.

    I'm no Microsoft shrill, but I've got a Casio E115 PocketPC, and that has exactly the same battery life as that color visor.

    Palm made it so big because they targeted the aspects where handhelds SHOULD be used, such as schedules, quick email on the fly, etc. Granted, the win CE devices are cool, but in this practical world of ours, they are annoying and useless.

    Granted things like the movie player are not incredibly useful, but the primary use for my PDA are schedules, contacts, and quick email on the fly, and does it beautifully. I used to have an EPOC device (Psion 5), and I much prefer what I have now.

    I have no love for Microsoft, but the OS on my PDA seems great and right for the job, and there's a whole load of useless eye candy too if I want it. If I don't, it's not like I'm forced to use it.

    Saying 'Windows CD failed' [sic] is a bit premature!

    thenerd.

  • by Mike Buddha ( 10734 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @12:38AM (#703742)
    The PalmOS 3.5 Memory architecture allows at least 128K for its dynamic memory heap, which is huge in the Palm world (Palm apps are tiny). PalmOS 3.5 also has a dynamic memory heap that changes as the amount of memory on the machine goes up. As far as hardware limitations, DragonBall is a 32-bit processor, so it has an addressable memory space of 4G. I don't see much of a limitation here.

    The newer versions of PalmOS are also moving closer to processor agnosticism with a HAL, which will sever its dependence on the DragonBall Series (MIPS, anyone? How about an IPaq, then? Mayhaps even Crusoe...).

    Unlike Microsoft, Palm is changing and eliminating its OSes primary weaknesses rather than saddling its developers/users/customers with archaic requirements, just like a company in a competitive market should.
  • Windows CE is trying to cram everything it can and is creating bloatware on handhelds. Bloatware on handhelds....that is a REAL bad thing.

    Actually, I was thinking just the opposite :-)

    Redmond-based bloatware is what has made the handhelds so ludicrously powerful (a 200Mhz StrongArm in an iPaq), just to overcome the inherent bloatedness of the OS. Why is this good? Well, would we seriously be considering running Linux, X11, emacs, whatever on a handheld with maybe 8Mb of ram? No. 32Mb of ram, maybe. Without WinCE, this wouldn't have happened (ok, maybe there would have been something else which could have had the same effect, but there's nothing else doing that atm).

    I am glad that WinCE is so bloaty and sucks (I have used it quite a bit, and I have to say that I don't like it. Give me a minimal window manager and I'll configure it how I like, thanks), as it means that my next palmtop/PDA can be running Linux+X11. Or microwindows, or Nano-X, or whatever.

    Just keep those WinCE "ROM"s in flash and I'll be a happy puppy.

    </rant>
  • Ok, maybe not "years", but they've been there at least since spring of 1999, because that's when I started visiting them. I still consider the platform vapor, until I can actually get a Palm form factor device at a store.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They're "supposed to be" working on some cool stuff right now (moving to a new processor, built-in Bluetooth, etc). You also need to think about what they're designed for - quick and easy access to information - addresses, "to do", etc. How many people talking about "how much more hardware power WinCE devices have" actually use a WinCE device? To it's "full" potential - very few. Palm has a nice, simple interface that does what it is supposed to do (keep important information only a couple of button or screen taps away). What more do you need in a PIM? There are a few things I'd like to see, like wireless web and Bluetooth, but frankly the infrastructure just isn't there to support these features yet. The joke that's called "Wireless Web Access" now isn't even available outside of the huge metro areas. I don't see myself wanting to play QuakeIII on my handheld - I want to be able to get access to my information and have the battery last more than the 2 hours an average notebook will give you. Wireless e-mail and web would be a plus. That's all.
  • The spec sheet

    http://www.handsprin g.c om/products/visorprism/compare.jhtml [handspring.com]

    http://www.handsprin g.c om/products/visorprism/details.jhtml [handspring.com]

    says that it has a built in LiIon battery which will last 2 weeks or 6 continous hours.

    The thing i find more of a disadvantage is that it still only comes with 8M of ram but is only $50 less than the iPaq. I would personally ditch the Visor Prism and get an iPaq because it comes with double the RAM and is only $50USD more (at MSRP $500USD), and you can never have 'enough' ram (no one needs more than 640K? yah right!).
  • No they have not been there since the spring of -99 ... *sigh*

    I work for Symbian. On the Quartz team. There - I said it. Ok?

  • The Palm devices might not be as powerful as a Windows CE devices, but they have several key advantages.
    1. They're significantly cheaper because they need less memory and CPU
    2. The battery lasts much longer, because they have less memory, CPU power
    3. They are not tied to Microsoft operating systems. Palm solutions exist for most platforms.
    4. The standard software is extremely well thought out.

    I'd love a CE device to play MP3s or to develop more Windows-like apps but most of the time all that extra power (consumption) is a waste. My little Palm Pilot is a great organizer and that's all I bought it for. Personally, I think for more powerful handhelds, EPOC is better choice than Windows CE anyway.

  • Platinum ... is suposed to be 50% faster than the Visor Deluxe.

    This will please people who play Quake on the Palm. For everybody else, I think the relevent response is, "So what?"

    __________

  • Is it me or is this link sending back a connection refused for Netscape and Mozilla on Linux?
  • Originally it required a TRG, but it has been sucessfully run from the Flash ROM in many palms, and even from the RAM
  • So what's cheaper... buying new rechargeable batteries after a couple years, or buying new Alkalines every 2 weeks for 2 years?

    You don't get to replace the batteries in a lot of the devices that have built in rechargables. Handspring is currently /.'ed so I can't check. However the palm V and Vx for example don't let you change the batt. The custom rechargables are also pretty expensave (I assume because the market is small and there arn't many comperiters). For example a new battery for the Canon PowerShot 100 is about $60, while four AA rechargables are about $3. The four AAA's in my Visor were also about $3 (plus $30 for the charger).

    So it is really more like "buy AAA's every month or a new Palm in two years". Of corse in two years you will probbably want a new Palm, but it would be nice if the old one had some resale value!

    Given a choice I would like NiMH AAA that recharge when the unit is in the cradle. That would be more convenient then using NiMHs in the current Visor/Palm, and would be a lot cheaper in the long run then custin batts. I don't know why it isn't done, the legal issue can't be too bad because Semmins does that on the GigaSet phones (well NiCADs, but still if you put Alkalines in it they will explode or leak...)

  • Yes, the Pocket PC devices are very fast, very effective, and *actually* have a file management system, unlike Palm OS. I have a 64MB storage card in mine, with a card reader in my home and work machines. I just put all of my stuff directly onto the CF card, then I have it anywhere I go. It is really useful for having high levels of mobility. Only the Compaq runs Linux, but WinCE 3.0 is so unlike Windows that it's acceptable. Just my 2 bits. -WS
  • Anyway, I'm starting to wonder whether Palm OS is really as great as it's made out to be. It's one thing to encourage programmers to keep the apps small and simple, but it's quite another if you force them to do so through architectural limitations and artificial shortcoming. Forcing small apps just because you yourself as an OS creator can't really see any use for large apps on a handheld smacks of shorsightedness.

    PalmOS and the Palm hardware (and Visor hardware) has lots of short term thinking in it. I think that is part of why it was the only succesful PDA. I don't think it will serve them as well in the long run, but if they hadn't done it they wouldn't even have gotten this far.

    The hardware limitations are easier to forgive, how could they have hit their price point with a CPU with a MMU? Or high clock rate? If they had put in more memory what would have happened to battery life? And how could the feeble CPU search it all? The software ones are harder to forgive (esp things like LoadLib and CloseLib that have no good reason not to do ref counting in the OS).

    Will Palm manage to switch to a longer term mode? Who knows, I hope they can. Switching to faster CPUs will help (it is hard to justify making resulition independent programs when they will draw t-o-o-s-l-o-w on a 16Mhz CPU), but that alone won't fix things. Switching the entire OS (with a compatability box for old apps) may not help either as it will kill the investment programmers have made in learning the current OS, and will mean existing code will have to be ported to the new OS before it can get any benifits. Thwy have to face a similar hurdle Apple faced going from the 680x0 to PowerPC, and also the hurdle Appl faces going to OSX, or Microsoft has repeatldly bumped into trying to get people to switch to NT or Win2K.

  • well.. i'm still within my 30 money back garranty for my visor deluxe.. so i called last nite and said i would pay the difference for the platinum... they said it was on the way... mwahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahha
  • Who in their right mind would get one of these Prism Handsprings if they could get an iPaq for $50 more. The iPaq has more memory, is quicker, is easier on the eyes (higher res and cleartype). You can play MP3s on the iPaq without an addon, and you can put Linux on it if you want. Now only if Compaq can get more iPaqs out. If they can the Prism is one dead duck.
  • You mean Handspring swore up and down. =) I would guess that Handspring was forced to do a color version simply to peer exactly with Palm on their products. From a marketing standpoint, they appeared to be behind technically. I think the true thrust of the company is to focus on the higher end products like the Platinum and to move forward with their voice products.

    Handspring isn't targeting the high-end user...yet. They were on the low-end trying to build up market share, those people don't need to upgrade the OS. Hopefully, they are able to put in a flashable ROM soon to make us developers and demanding users happy, instead of crashing our Visors all the time.

    Lastly, Palm products are in odd Roman numerals. =)

    Jayson
  • Just dropped my visor deluxe, with batteries & cover, without slipcase, on a FedEx scale; it came up 4.0 oz. Sounds like its not just the batteries...
  • I have a Visor Deluxe which has the 8MB ram chip problem. The hotfix is fine, but my battery usage went way way up, so I decided to see if Handspring would send a new one..and they did, as noted, by FedEx.

    However, the replacement sent could not Hotsync...so I requested a second replacement.

    The second replacement could hotsync...but would crash a lot and require soft and hard resets all the damn time.

    The third replacement came with a little quality control sheet indicating to me that it passed all the tests except the "memory" test. Sure enough...it has the 8MB ram chip problem which I called about in the first place.

  • Nope, I don't work for vtech.

    Perhaps they are riding on the name of 'Linux'. Who cares? If it means that Linux ends up on my palmtop, I'm a happy geek.

    -John
  • I don't know if the feeble hardware platform is really that much of an excuse. My Amiga 500 was running on a 68000 at 7.49 MHz and its windowing performance was quite acceptable, while doing a lot more than I would expect off a Palm. True, it had some hardware support, but by today's standards that was quite feeble.

    It had really really really good hardware acceleration compaired to the none that the DragonBall has. It also had much more effectave memory because the 512K/1M/2M/8M in the Palm/Visor includes all the storage that would have been a stack of floppies or a hard drive on the Amiga.

    Besides your Amiga may well have sucked for the task "look through 8M of data for the string 'wing' - decoding any and all file formats as needed" which is exactly what the Palm find button does (assuming you have a 8M palm), and was one of the cheif "excuses" given by Hawkings to limit the memory.

    Motorola could easily build some simple graphics acceleration hardware into the Dragonball (haven't they already?) to help a bit.

    If Mot had they might have lost in the pager market (where the DragonBall also sells, see the black berry), or the programable remote market (Phillips Pronto and the Mirantz work-alike), or...

    I'm just perplexed that they went with a CPU that doesn't offer a true clean 32-bit architecture without segementation and all.

    The DragonBall has a fine 32 bit model ('tho maybe only 24 bits get off the chip). It has a limited immediate offset, but so do a lot of CPUs. Including the 80386. Including the SPARC. It isn't segmentation, it just means you can only do "LOAD (A2+32000), D2", and not "LOAD (A2+64000), D2", you would need "ADD #64000, D2; LOAD (A2), D2" (trashing A2, which you may need to copy to another register or something...). (P.S. sorry if I don't quite rember the 68000 asm syntax, it is has been about 10 years since I wrote any!)

    Aren't there embedded 386 derivatives that could have fit the power and price bill equally well? Maybe not, but I'm wondering.

    I don't know of any 386 derivataves that are as cheap as the DeagonBall, consume as little power, and have the LCD controler, memory controler, chipselects, and pretty much everything else built into it. Plus the 68000 is nicer to hand code for.

    Besides the thing the Palms could use but don't have is an MMU. Sure it can't page in from a disk, but it could keep the flaky copy of "Pocket Crack Monkey" from trashing my phone list! Or allow things to page into and out of FLASH letting power off mode be a real power off...

  • The reason I purchased a visor deluxe is because I wanted the great module support. However, I keep hearing "next month" or "next quarter", etc.

    What does it take to get companies to produce more modules?
    ---
  • I don't understand the relevance of the palmos.com cites to the parts of my text you've quoted. PalmOS 3.0 does not change the way handles and chunks work; it just does a better job of managing them. If it weren't for handles, any freestanding PalmOS device could eventually clog up and die of fragmentation, the same way my Amiga did sometimes.
    So, what should Linux people be doing? Sitting back and waiting for Palm to be the source of All Good Things?
    So what should Palm developers be doing, wasting their time porting bloated Unix tools to a decidedly (and purposefully) limited platform, for the sheer intellectual rigor of the excercise, or devloping for a fully functional OS that's well suited for the tasks it's asked to perform?

    Hey, I didn't say I wanted perl on PalmOS. I make no claims for other slashdot readers, however. :-)

    I really don't know what Palm developers should be doing. There are still many undiscovered killer apps nicely implementable on PalmOS. Go forth and hack!

    One of the big mysteries on the horizon is the Big ARM Switch coming up---how many more apps will the new architecture will allow, or in what areas we should be working? What new kinds of capability will come with the new OS?

    And I think that leads to something I was trying to say with the phrase "Linux people".

    The Linux community doesn't have to wait around to see what some company is going to ship, nor is it stuck with one particular goal or vision imposed from outside.

    Sure, some perl weenies are going to drool over PocketPerl. But I'm not gonna stop them from implementing it. Rebuild a minimalist OS on eCos? Sure, why not. Java PDA? On its way [pocketlinux.com]. X on a machine running on AAAs? [agendacomputing.com] And how about Smalltalk, for that Dynabook spirit [squeak.org]?

    Some of these are probably bad ideas. I think a perl-centric PDA environment is a really bad idea. :-) But I don't make that decision, and neither does any other single person or organization. What will eventually decide it is whether a) someone thinks it should be done and does it, and b) enough people like it to keep it alive---even if it doesn't dominate the market.

    Heck, eCos and Squeak don't need Linux, and that's a sign that Linux itself may be a bad idea in some cases. So me saying "Linux people" was a mistatement. I hope you get what I meant.

    If the Linux developers are having a tough time figuring out what to do , a much more useful pursuit would be developing a better way of syncing a Palm device to Linux.

    Personally, I'd be a lot more interested in working on this if the Palm devices spoke some standard, open protocol for synchronization. Other people are more motivated than me, though.

  • No uCLinux for the Handsprings, they don't have programmable ROM.
  • Why such low-res? Memory issues? Higher res lcd is definitely available and not all that expensive.
  • bucephalus!
  • However, just like DOS and all of the other spawns of evil from Redmond, where's the lion's share of the software? Right. That's why I have a Visor Deluxe. And that's why I also have a Windows box as well. I don't LIKE Windows, but I can't yet play Tribes and BGII on Linux...
  • Personally, I'd be a lot more interested in working on this if the Palm devices spoke some standard, open protocol for synchronization.

    Check this out. [syncml.org] When it's finalized, it ought to provide a reasonable standard for synchronization.

    So me saying "Linux people" was a mistatement. I hope you get what I meant.
    No problem. Got it.
  • Oh. Well in that case, I want it. I think.

    -lx
  • I agree on the handheld movie front, but handhelds and mp3 are (nearly) a good fit. I would like to reduce the amount of electronics I carry - to *one* power supply, *one* screen, *one* set of rolodex/calendar apps, *one* set of earphones/mic. Unless the mp3 player fits in there somewhere I'll be mighty disappointed. (I carry a Palm Vx and Nokia 7110 everywhere, I'm loath to carry any more)

    The mp3 player (IMHO) fits in as part of the headset, not the handset. All the handset should need to do is sequence and stream stuff, eg over bluetooth, and leave mp3 decoding to a dedicated codec. NB that mp3 over bluetooth is not a bad fit as you need to compress the sound for transmission over a limited bandwidth network anyway - so why should the handheld decode anything? In this scenario the handheld mainly acts as a memory device.

    WinCE comes nowhere near this ideal (nothing does, yet) and I agree with your main point that handhelds should stick to the KISS principle - mostly. However, handheld (computers) should be expected to supercede other devices which are successful _as_handhelds_ (phones, media players, radio recievers).
  • by Max von H. ( 19283 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @01:06AM (#703771)
    If your Palm 3 eats up its batteries, there's a few things that you may want to check:

    - Leaving the Palm (only for units running on alkaline batteries) in its cradle drains the batteries. There's a *very* easy fix for that (a wire to cut in the cradle). You can find detailed instructions here [conklinsystems.com]

    - Perform a warm reset, it often solves lots of problems. There's plenty of info on usenet, and I strongly recommend comp.sys.palmtops.pilot, there's heaps of guys who probably have all the answers to any question...

    On average, my Palm IIIx runs about 18 hours on 2 AAA el-cheapo alkaline batteries, about 45 days of use. I once managed to run the beast a whoping 34 hours on a pair of the same batteries. Uptime hack is pretty handy, and once you get to know your batteries' discharge curve you can really guess how long they'll last (I have found many variations, even between batteries from the same pack).

    Nevertheless, I really wouldn't mind a Palm Vx. The lithium-Ion battery is a dream to use, and if you know how to use them properly (recharge them as often as possible, never empty it totally and never, ever, leave the device usused with an empty battery).

    Cheers,

    /max


  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    I really don't like those rechargable batteries. They have this nasty tendency to become much less efficient over time, so you end up with a device you can only run for about 5 minutes within a couple of years. I'm not sure I'd be willing to drop half a grand for one of those.

    Of course, I still want a wearable with an optical display :-)

  • Handsprings are still way ahead of the Palm platform.

    You're overlooking a serious feature in the Visors: Springboard expansion.

    The basic system doesn't really need much more evolution - the color Visor is really about all you need in a platform, since Springboard gives you so many options.

    Right now, you could turn your Visor into a cell phone, a GPS receiver, an MP3 player, a MIDI instrument, an Oscilloscope, a Data capture device (16 analog inputs), etc. All with Springboard modules.

    Try to do *all* of that (not just some) with a Palm. Forget it.
  • Springboard is great, no doubt, I've liked it from day one. But there are serious deficinecies in the Palm OS and the hardware architecture itself. For example, a lot of the potential applications that the Springboard enables require high bandwidth to memory/display, larger memory capacity etc. And while Palm would like to see themselves in a market of one, they do have competitors that are catching up. One day it will not be enough to say "look, if you want this or that capability, just buy the right Springboard module" (particularly since Palm doesn't support Springboard anyway). The competitors will say "hey, we have all those capabilities in the box" already. That's hard to argue with.

    In the days when Palm only claimed to have a highly focused PDA that does just what you need and does it well, they had a certain ground to stand on--as their market share proves. But the more they try to be all things to all people via expansion etc, the more Microsoft et al have a point when they say "hey, we can already do all those things, out of the box". In other words, the keep-it-simple mantra was great until now to gain market share, but now that they ARE top dog, they will have to actually fight to stay there.
  • I don't know if the feeble hardware platform is really that much of an excuse. My Amiga 500 was running on a 68000 at 7.49 MHz and its windowing performance was quite acceptable, while doing a lot more than I would expect off a Palm. True, it had some hardware support, but by today's standards that was quite feeble. Motorola could easily build some simple graphics acceleration hardware into the Dragonball (haven't they already?) to help a bit. I'm just perplexed that they went with a CPU that doesn't offer a true clean 32-bit architecture without segementation and all. Aren't there embedded 386 derivatives that could have fit the power and price bill equally well? Maybe not, but I'm wondering.
  • If you ever take a computer architecture class, you'll learn that simply doubling the processor speed doesn't give you a machine that can execute code twice as fast. There are many other factors involved in determining a computers computational speed.

    I'm not exactly sure what they are using to base their "50% faster" expectation on though. Anybody know what kind of benchmarks exist for PalmOS? Global Searches?
  • Go with an operating system built for this instead - Epoc.

    There are no palm-sized machines that run EPOC. The clamshell sucks. If the EPOC partners came out with a machine that was like the ones everybody has been buying, they'd probably catch on a lot bigger in the US.

  • Remember that the Visor runs a CISC processor (Dragonball EZ, basically a 680x0 based microcontroller), which is very efficient in code size. Also, Palm apps are well known for being efficient in use of data space.

    I have at least 30 third party apps, including a web browser with 1 MB cache, in a 4MB Palm IIIx. I've just upgraded to a Visor with 8MB, but that's largely for web browsing and to read books on the thing. If you just want to use it as an organiser, even 2MB is overkill.

    Having said that, the iPaq is tempting because it can run Linux - although there are probably few useful apps for Linux at present, the stability is attractive (my Palm III just had to be hard-reset, losing all data - first time in months, but still...)

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