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Handhelds Hardware

HP Jornada 560 Series 77

Blanche writes: "infoSync has got a photo and confirmed specifications for the new HP Jornada 560 series of handhelds, which will be the first PDA to be delivered with Pocket PC 2002 OS - also known as Merlin. On top of this; the savvy gadget are also rumored to be provided with speech-recognition technology."
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HP Jornada 560 Series

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  • This unit looks very good indeed!

    Does anyone know the size? The only things I dislike about PocketPCs is that they're waaay bigger than my Palm Vx.

    If HP has managed to reduce the size to something Palm like, they'll have a winner on their hands.
    • Another thing to consider is that HP handelds are reasl guzzlers, a fact that is more important than most people realise.

      One of the major reasons why I chose the Handspring was the fact that I can get up to a month between battery changes. THis means less chance of losing my data if I'm away from my home computer for a week or so. (The downside is that it uses AAA alkalines, so it's not as green as I'd like).

      Unless HP, Casio and Microsoft address these issues, I'm sticking with Palm-based handhelds.
      • While I understand where you are coming from with the battery life issues, you are forgetting the distinction between a Palm device and a HP or Casiopedia etc. Palm devices are mainly intended as PIM's, while PocketPC (something in a name!) devices are designed to more closely match the speed and functionality of a desktop machine. So really, these are two very different products that serve pretty different purposes, and just happen do do a few of the same things.

      • The downside is that it uses AAA alkalines, so it's not as green as I'd like.

        Why not buy some NiMH AAA batteries and a charger? I picked up a couple of sets on eBay for the price of pizza delivery and a charger at Wal-Mart that does 8 batteries at once for $20.00. I also picked up some AA size for my Nikon digicam.

        I'm no longer buying batteries, at the NiMH sets last much longer than alkalines or even lithiums.
      • If it uses AAA alkalines, you can buy then in many places, and ou don't have to carry any charger with your PDA.
  • It looks really cool! I just hope its more stable than HP's printers..
    • I am interested in finding out what brand of printers that you do like, if not HP.

      Since HP makes so many different printers, I am sure some of them must be dogs, but I sure don't, for instance, expect their $99 ones to be anywhere as good as the $250 and up ones, not to mention the over-$500 ones



    • What the hell are you talking about, HP makes great products. Their laserjet line is excellent, we have about eight 4000s/4050s/5000s at work and I rarely have problems with them. One of the few devices that I can just buy, put in place, and then forget about.
  • Great, two weeks after I buy my cassiopeia someone else makes up something new.

    Guess this will always keep happening anyway.

    But speech recognition? I've tried quite a few speech recognition things and while most of them were fun to play around with fun usually turns into frustration when some browser decides it needs to open 20 new windows if you cough. Besides, most commands are achieved a lot faster by keystrokes than by trying to convince the computer you want to do something useful for a change.
    • yeah, the only thing that I have ever found useful about voice recognition is when I'm typing a letter or something with a LOT of text, and even then it is almost faster to type it out by hand because you wind up with saying "scratch" every second word. Mind you, last time I've tried it was in the P200 days. But I was really excpecting it to be practically part of the OS by now, with this much computing power, why isn't it? Why isn't there any good voice recognition software out?
      • Why isn't there any good voice recognition software out?

        Last dragons are pretty decent. Well, even Dragon NaturallySpeaking 4.0 was able to understand my horrible accent -- but only if I said long sentences. It's almost useless when you want to program or command computer. I have no problem giving lecture about six hours long, but I start croak after only one hour of speaking to speech recognition program. It's slow and unusable. But if you want to dictate _texts_, technology is 100% ready.

        You'll have to invent another programming language for verbal speech. Try to say 'india' 'foxtrot' 'open paren' 'india' 'equal sign' 'equal sign' 'three' 'two' 'close paren' 'space'........ ugh.

      • Microsoft seems to be slowly folding speech recognition into the OS. Of course there are a couple pretty good add ons Via Voice, and Dragon, the later being better IMO. But if you've see the microsoft wizards on windows ME some, if not many support Text to speech, and limited speech to text for a limited ablility to command them. They even have a MS press book to advise one how to best write an agent. (ISBN 0-7356-0567-x Microsoft Agent Software Development Kit 49.99 or 10 bucks at a used book store). I've only skimmed it as of yet. Assuming I get the itch to do it, I've noticed that agents ment to be helpful end up annoying me, so I've though about writting one meant to be annoying to see if it'd be helpful. Specifically, the bit from Tron. (It would respond to anything spoken with yes, no, yes yes yes, no no no, maybe at random.)

        But chalk up another vote for dragon, assuming you just dictate with it. And I wouldn't be surprised to see whatever comes after XP to come with voice recognition.

        • What's ironic is that IBM bundled speech recognition all through OS/2 Warp 4, which just happened to be codenamed Merlin.

          It didn't catch on, obviously.

          Ever get the feeling that we'll get usable speech recognition when we get jet backpacks and little Jetsons flying cars?
      • Last time I tried voice recognition was with some overlay for netscape. It worked sort of ok, but saying things like "back", "forward" and "reload" are barely faster than clikcing a button. And clicking a button doest hug nearly as much CPU time as speech recognition does.

        I also own a Microft sidewinder speech talk whatever thingy, which also came with speech software so you could say "JUMP" in halflife and see the character is the game jump about a second later.

        How very practical.
        • {user sees Sarge}
          {user says "jump"}
          User eats Sarge's rocket
          {User is reincarnated}
          User eats Sarge's rocket
          {User is reincarnated}
          {User jumps}


          But in all seriousness, I've seen very little improvement between the P200 version and the current version that can run on processors 4x faster. Shouldn't there be a MASSIVE improvement by now? What's holding it up?
    • Great. Just what we need.

      Moron to the left of me talking on his cell phone. Moron to the right of me talking to his PDA. Me trying desperately to hear the conference presenter.

      Can we start carrying water guns and squirting people who act as if the whole world is their personal office? Can we fill them with urine?

  • now i will have to trash my ipaq like i had to trash my m505, palmIII and Pocketviewer before...
    as far as i can see the market for PDA will never be saturated enough to prevent companies to throw new tech on the market...
    and waht about this merlin. i am perfectly satisfied with the wide array of applications for PalmOS (and WinCE - although its a crappy OS there are plenty of apps). Will Merlin be as well supported as these to OSes or will it be as proprietary as Casios Pocketviewer where the sync function was only used for syncing Outlook (no Linux support) for there were simply no apps i could sync? Oh yeah.. speech recognition... i think that changes EVERYTHING...
    • I certainly hope market saturation never stops the company from bringing new tech on the market, and I certainly hope that they keep making your newest PDA "obsolete" (one of the oddest things in technology is when users cry foul over new products coming out: This is seen to the greatest extent in video cards where users yell that nvidia came out with a GeForce longer is their GeForce 2 Ultra the latest and great, and this offends their sensibilities).

      Merlin is PocketPC 2002, hence it's the newest version of CE, hence it almost certainly has all the old apps and then some. The speech recognition is mostly a sham (just as it's a sham in Office XP: People just don't use that, and even 99% accuracy isn't good enough: That 1% is killer).

    • Trash your iPaq? Oh no! Compaq has already announced that since it is built on Flash memory, they will provide a downloadable upgrade to the next OS.
      • That is one of the nice things about the iPaq, it has flash memory. Thus you can either flash Merlin into ROM, or Linux.

        Oh, speaking of iPaqs and Linux, someone on the hosted list just asked about installing Linux on a 32 meg Flash ROM, 128 meg RAM version 2.0 ROM iPaq. Hmm....
  • Colordepth (Score:2, Funny)

    by TheMidget ( 512188 )
    Did infoSync verify all specifications? And how thoroughly did they verify them?
  • This is /., and it's reporting on a WinCE based PDA without any windows bashing going on ?

    Could someone please wake me up.

    Or does this mean that /. has grown up ? I aplaude this, because although Win has absolutely nothing to do on a Server/Workstation/PC, WinCE, is AFAIK actually a pretty good OS, unlike its bigger brothers.
    • But can I sync to any calander tool on my Linux box ?
      • >But can I sync to any calander tool on my Linux box ?
        No, you can't, and that is exactly why I have decided to order a Visor instead of a CE based device.
        But you have to admit that WinCE (except the first version) is a usable OS (unlike the other OSes from Redmond).
  • According to our sources, HP will to begin with launch two quite similar models, namely the 560 and the 565.
    Taco? Are you ghostwriting for infosync?
  • hmmm....the new Pocket PC OS is codenamed 'Merlin', and will contain speech recognition technology. that sounds exactly the same as OS/2 Warp v4.0. OS/2 lives! undoubtedly the Pocket PC OS 2003 edition will be based on CP/M, and feature floppy disk technology.
    • The irony in all this is that "Merlin" was the code-name for OS/2 Warp 4, which was the first desktop OS to include speech recognition technology. How can these people be so ignorant of history?
  • HP executive: OK, intern Bob, design the next PDA that will steal everyone's breath away. Make it look like a cow turd though. That's your challenge.

    Intern (in cracking pre-pubescent voice): Yes sir!

    2 hours later

    Intern: I'm done sir. What do you think?

    HP executive: sniff I can smell the cow shit! Good job! Now get cracking on some ugly PC cases!

    Intern: No problem sir. This just comes natural to me.

  • From the /. front page link:

    By now, the screenshot on the left side probably has you quite geared up - and you're dying to know why it looks so fancy if Pocket PC 2002 isn't supposed to be all that. Well, the truth is that this screenshot is not taken from Pocket PC 2002, but instead is an XP skin running on top of Snoopsoft's Dashboard application which alters not only the appearance but also the function of the Today screen of the Pocket PC OS. The Dashboard skin is created by web designer Ard-Jan Barnas, and additionally, a free application called wisBar adds functionality to the title bar.

    And the reason for why we've mislead you a bit? Well, this is how we - and probably numerous others - would like Pocket PC 2002 to look, with increased functionality compared to the Today screen as it is today. Hopefully, Pocket PC 2002 will have this kind of functionality built-in, but it's hard to say exactly what will be in the new operating system as Microsoft has done its best to keep the lid on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...Gee at Java One we were told it was the code name for the JDK1.4 beta that is currently out. Looks like another Sun - MS lawsuit in the works!!
  • HardOCP (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by rosewood ( 99925 )
    As always HardOCP comes through with a great review here [] They put the P4 up a notch (OF COURSE) and also put it up against an A4 @ 1.4GHz. Basically a lot of the same, but you can see that this is by no means a "win" for intel as some reviews have put it.
  • On the same is an article [] about an economy Jornada to be released at roughly the same time. It'll run some form of Linux on a 133MHz processor with a monochrome screen.

    Sounds like a good Palm competitor, except this thing will actually be able to playback mp3s with software. But hasn't Sharp or someone already released unit like this?

  • I love how in the screenshot (which is undoubtedly a mockup), the Start button is now in the upper left corner. (It might have been this way for a while, I'm a Palm user so I'm ignorant here.)

    Flash back to the Newton. They put all the buttons on the bottom of the screen. The close-box? Bottom right (or left for lefties). Why? Because you can tap the buttons without your hand obscuring the screen. Hey, maybe it was slow, but at least they thought about the interface.

    This is something that so few palmtop developers can get right. Another example (just to be ecumenical) is the truly beautiful Palm app DrawIt... the toolbars are inscrutably along the top of the screen, so you can't actually see your drawing while you tap a new tool.

    Come on, guys... the palmtop is not the desktop, the stylus is not a mouse (thank heavens!).

    • the thing is that the whole "START button" is silly

      why is it silly ?

      because really does the user start multiple process's ? no not really they just start apps up and then refer to another then back again there is not really all that multitasking from the point of veiw of the user
      its not like you can open 12 xterms a watch the progress or even watch a video and write a document at the same time

      and this is why palmOS is not multitasking at the moment there is little need to (soon people will demand and the power will be there to listen to MP3 and look at the address book/browse web) and the hardware has for a long time been able to do this

      the StrongARM that this uses has been out for a long time 3+ years (guesstimate) how long is a processor in the desktop around for ?

      linux has been running for a long time on the stongARM the netwinder used it before they tried transmeta and went bankrupt

      but the point is that the start button is not a good memonic a start page (like palmOS) with all the apps is a good idea this could be expanded to showing you emails where in the inox (much like a today page) along with news and such

      the real thing would proberly look much more like the Microsoft stinger mockup


      john jones
      • It sounds like you haven't used the PocketPC OS much, if any.

        Yep, you have a Start button. It holds the last 5 apps you have launched up the top, as well as commonly used apps (you can customise the list, by default it's the stuff like calendar, contacts, etc)

        But under that you have a Programs button. This brings up a programs panel similar in concept to the one on the Palm. This, again is completely customisable.

        Also, you can't start multiple copies of an app. Trying to start another copy will switch back to the one currently running. So in effect, the Start button is also like a task switcher.
        • yes I have used winCE and even done dev work (now now VB can be useful ;-)

          what I lament is the start bar being there at all why have this why not have a hidden menus spread out instead they keep the desktop mnemonic of a single button instead of expanding along the bottom

          the problem is that even though the winCE developers want to do things differently they are constrained by peoples familiarity with windows9x and the marketing dept want to look like that because of the "built in market"

          its sad because WinCE had some much going for it in terms of technical ability but we are often constrained by old paradigms of user interaction


          john jones
          • If you had read the article you would have noticed that that was an XP SKIN.

            The latest version of Pocket PC doesn't have a massive start button like that...

            The new UI is very usable - on par with Palm.
          • You say you have developed for CE, but then you wonder why there isn't a menu bar along the bottom. So since you have developed for CE you doubtlessely know that each application does actually have a menu along the bottom, depending on what the application needs (File, Edit, View, etc).

            Perhaps you were just not liking the fact that the OS options that the Start Button provides are not always visible (you have to actually tap the start button to get to them). This is true, I can't imagine permanently giving up that precious display space for a permanent launch bar. The display screen is small enough as it is! The hidden Start menu is a great solution, if you ask me.


      • this looks to be a better bet get rid of START or even app altogether and just use a voice enabled

        for a linux one []

        and phillips plus a japanese company have done this well

        I was at a tradeshow and they had a huge fan and a BMW dash and seat you could talk to the MP3 player and radio even when the fan was on and lots of background noise (the fan simulated being in a car with the roof down apparently)

        whatever it was V cool


        john jones
  • Microsoft often abuses popular names and words that have some established meanings in some nearby area to confuse the heck out of users -- bright example of that is "Digital Nervous System" [] that seems to "share" an acronym with Domain Name System [] that happens to predate Microsoft's definition by a decade, and, while mentioned a lot, probably isn't clearly to its target audience.

    Now where have I seen the word "Merlin" very close to PDAs, but not exactly a PDA-related item last time? Wasn't it a PC version of a popular Minstrel [] PDA CDPD modem, made by Novatel []? Indeed, it is []! And, just like with "DNS" and other cases, I don't think that it's a coincidence -- it may not be illegal, but it's hijacking someone else's trademark with the goal to make users think that Microsoft's product is related to something they have heard about.

  • I always thought that Merlin was a code name for the new Java 1.4 release. If you don't believe me, check the specifications.
  • I believe it was Warp version 4, but it was called Merlin. I was a beta tester.

    Man, talk about creativity...
  • ...its was given to me by my boss, supposedly to replace my Vx.

    It lasted less than a month before I had them return it.

    It was slow, it was trying to do FAR more than anything I'm going to drop in my pocket rightly should, the stylus was ludicrous and fell out of the case a couple of times (fortunately I always managed to find it), the WinCE/PocketPC platform is just a mess, and overall it was just nowhere near as elegant as the Palm.
  • Nobody sneeze I'm going to turn on my PDA!!
  • From Infosync's article on the Toshiba Genie [] (linked from the HP article).

    Something that also should be mentioned is that the SD Card slot doesn't support the SD Memory card security function.

    This is good news for all of us who oppose copyright-protected media. It is also nothing new, of course. Casio made the same wise decision to employ the SD technology (with its potential advantages over the existing MMC spec) minus copyright-protection. On devices that feature MP3 playback and e-book viewing as key selling points, restricting use of MP3s and e-books would be a hard move to justify.

  • My site should have a review of it here pretty soon. My site link is in my signature.
  • OK, given that ViaVoice currently takes up about 300MB of disk space and needs a minimum system of about 450MHz and 128 RAM, I wonder how accurate the speech for a PDA would be.

    Not only do they claim to have just about all the features ViaVoice has, they also claim to be able to run in speaker independent mode - something no other software has been able to do reliably. This will be interesting.
  • 1. It is not that pretty.

    2. Running crappy windows os! Yippee!

    My brow is all scrunched trying to figure out why is this on /. My boss (without my consent or approval) bought a HP Jornada. With Windows2000 and Windows98 (fresh installs), he consistently has numerous sync problems and os problems with the unit. Needless to say, it sits on his desk, inside the sync cradle.

    Please. I will keep my Visor Platinum and PalmOS... thank you very much.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.