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Handhelds Hardware

Color PalmOS Devices Soon? 116

PDA Buzz writes "Looks like we may see a color PalmOS device sooner than later now that Motorola has released the Dragonball VZ which supports 256 color LCD on-chip and runs at 33MHz. " One Word: Yum.
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Color PalmOS Devices Soon?

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  • Finally, the perfect thing for all those poor palm users who have been forced to be live with poor quality, grainy grayscale pr0n. The simple inclusion of color includes incredible promise for pr0n. No longer will we have to carry laptops to allow for full portable pr0n usage potential. No longer will our hardcore palm pilot sexpics be confined to limited monochrome graphics. The sheer though of having full color lesbian action pics on a device the size of my hand brings tears to my eyes. I predict that this simple, but wonderous advancment in pda (and more importantly pr0n) technology will sell palmpilots to all those pr0n connissuers on the go. Now all 3Com needs to do is add mpeg support, and were in portable pr0n heaven!

    btw, while were on the topic check out these great "potential palm pilot ads." :)

  • Get the rechargable alkalines. They cost about twice as much as regular alkalines, butput out the same voltage, and can (obviously) be recharged.

    They don't suffer from memory, and actually benefit from an early recharge.

    Then there's the nickel-hydrides that have now appeared in regular battery sizes . . .

    Years ago, I considered making the modification to hold a 5th nicad in my tandy 102, thus reaching then intended 6v (5x1.2=4*1.5). The manuals warned of brownout for the insufficient voltage, but I neverhad a problem running the thing on 4 nicads. They probably lasted longer, too, as the higher voltage would have increased the current drawn . . .
  • I might be just missing something, but what processor is in the visor handheld? is it the same from the pilot? i checked out the site but didn't seem the find it.

  • Consider the "cost" - of real handwriting recognition software - needs ram, needs cycles, and needs lots of time to learn your not-so-consistent handwriting style. Do you still want a Newton?

    I was up and running with Graffiti in 10 minutes, and found it intuitive enough to not have to look up about half the characters, and added special characters and punctuation, etc. easily. It later occurred to me, that as efficient as graffiti is, it probably has a fairly small footprint because of it's simplicity, and this makes it *fast*.

    Pilot was the first PDA to get it basically right the first time.
  • No, you can't rate a system on raw power, but you can't rate it purely on the OS, either. Palms have a great OS, great software (if you can call 2-color GUI software at 160x160 great), but nowhere to go due to lack of hardware capabilities.

    PsPC's have hardware thats literally orders of magnitude better in respect, great software (much of which simply isn't doable on Palms), but a mediocre OS (note that Linux is in the process of being ported [ltc.com]). And they're not that heavy. The E-100 is 9 oz. while the Palm VII is 6.7 oz.

    Plus there are PsPC's with screens that are easy to view in sunlight, e.g. the Compaq Aero 2150 and the HP Jornada 430se.

    Anyway for my money the Casio E-100 was a clear winner.
  • How did those turn out? I saw a few proto-types over the summer.
  • Oops, my bad.

    Sorry about that.
  • There simply isn't going to be any real need for color on such a small device anytime soon.

    Come on, man! :) Don't you see what's going on? Microsoft can't beat the Pilot technologically or speed-wise, so they attempt to beat it with toys. Just like with WinXX. They're attempting to appease upper-level management types and such, who like toys on their computers (a la Solitaire), animated file copy (files fly from folder to folder), etc.

    It's disgusting, ain't it!

    (For the humor-impaired, I totally agree with this guy. There's no need for color!)

    (b)eagle (the 'b' is only for Slashdot)

  • For the last two months or so, I have been using NiMH batteries in my Palm III, and been loving it. There are, however, a couple of things one needs to take into consideration with NiMH batteries:

    • The discharge curve is different. As alkaline batteries get discharged, their voltage decreases. The Palm uses the voltage to calculate how much charge is left.
      Compared to alkaline batteries, NiMH batteries have a sharper curve. In the early stages of discharge, they lose voltage much more slowly. Then there is a sharp voltage decrease at the end. You'll probably want to install the Battery Level Hack (which you can get from PalmCentral [palmcentral.com]).
    • Their maximum charge is lower. At full charge, an alkaline battery has 1.5 volts, whereas a NiMH battery tops out at about 1.2 or 1.3. (For two batteries, that's 3.0 volts vs. 2.5 or so.) The Palm III (don't know about others) can keep going until the voltage gets down to around 2.1v.
    • I have found that I need to change the NiMH batteries more often than I needed to change alkaline batteries. I get about 3 weeks from a charge of NiMH and 4 or 5 weeks from alkaline batteries.
    • The savings, though, are impressive. A set of NiMH batteries can be re-used about 100 times and cost about $5 for a AAA pair. Alkaline batteries cost about $2/pair (if I remember aright) for AAA. Admittedly, there is the "startup cost" of buying the charger...
    • Lastly (and, admittedly, my primary motivation), it's much better for the environment. I'm throwing out less than 1/50 (taking the reduced "lifespan" into account) the amount of batteries that I used to! Much better for the environment.
  • I have both a Palm V and one of the first-generation PalmPC CE devices, and I find the CE grafitti-like recognition system (jot) to be _significantly_ easier to use.
  • 3. A month to a month and a half on 2 AAA batteries.

    I've had my Nino for over six months now and I've not yet had to replace the batteries. Every time I drop it in the cradle it gets recharged. I've no idea how long it can go before it needs to be recharged, but I've had it out for a week of fairly regular use with no problems.

  • I'll have to look into the rechargable alkalines. It's worth the investment!
    It's possibly not. I bought a set of AA and a set of AAA rechargable alkalines for use in my RioSE and an IR keyboard respectively. The batteries used in the Rio lost their ability to hold a charge after about 6 recharges and the AAAs leaked and almost destroyed an irreplacable device. These were "BIG" rechargable alkalines. Avoid.
  • C'mon, folks, this entire post is wild speculation. The Dragonball family is used in many things other than the Palm/Visor devices, and has a number of capabilities that are not currently being leveraged.

    Heck the EZ supports 640x512 LCD's, so is it reasonable to expect a big-screen Palm out soon just because the chip supports it? IRIC, the Dragonball also supports PCMCIA, but we've never seen that, either.

    Just because the VZ supports color displays doesn't mean anyone's going to build a color PalmOS device. (Especially 3Com or Handspring, both of which seem to correctly recognize that color has a negative value in this application due to cost and power usage concerns.)

    It's hard to have a rational and valuable discussion about entirely hypothetical flamebait.

    Now,instead, if someone were to post an informative and well-researched article on the challenges involved in extending the PalmOS graphics model to support larger screens and color, we might have something worthy of News for Nerds...
  • Just buy Duke Nuke'm for the CGB.
  • palmtops aren't supposed to be PCs
    Ah, but herein lies the challenge. When I look at what the average person around my workplace does on a PC, most of it can be fitted into a PalmVx. One member of staff has just bought one and I'm trying to shoe-horn as much of his work into it as possible.

    For example, we have a database with a web interface. We have dial-in access. I have an 8810. Today I'll be trying to query our database with a Palm and wireless connection. I'm the one developing the Database, so I can code special Palm pages. This staff member currently doesn't enter stuff into the database, so his required functionality makes it all plausable.

    That's just one example, but when you boil it down, most PC users in a work environment don't code, they don't develop MultiMedia presentations either - they just deal in small scraps of information. An order here, a date there, a price somewhere else. It doesn't need bells and whistles. They don't need a 500MHz PIII.

    I believe that I can fit at least 80% of day to day functionality into a Palm as a primary device. I'm currently moving my e-mail/messaging onto my 8810. The smaller the better. Wish me luck.

  • Why must every piece of computer technology act like a desktop computer?
    Why must everything be compared to a desktop computer as if it's the pinacle of technology?

    I use an Ultralight portable as my primary work computer. My home PC runs through a 52cm TV and has an IR keyboard for use in a comfy reclining chair. Much of my e-mail gets delivered directly to my mobile phone. On the weekend I sent 3 e-mails from the local Zoo.

    The Palm is just a tool. Don't place your limitations and poor assumptions on it. If someone can do their job just as well on a PalmPilot, or on a Nokia Communicator, or by carrier pigeon how can anyone say that they're doing it "wrong"?

  • Since both of the new chips are pin-compatible with the current Dragonball EZ chip, it should be possible to upgrade. However, I don't think the chip is socketed, so unless you're handy with a soldering iron, you shouldn't try it. There will almost certainly be third parties willing to do the job for you, like the ones currently offering 8 meg Palm V upgrades...
  • they could call it the rosie palm pilot
  • Here, just follow the links on the bottom. [mot.com]

    No information on the VZ yet though.
  • It's cool that there will finally be a colour version of the PalmPilot out, but there have been colour version of various WinCE Palm PCs out for a while now, with far more colours to boot (65K vs. 256). Plus, the innards of a WinCE device tend to be more impressive (32 bit processor over 75mHz vs 16(?) at less than 33mHz), and the WinCE devices tend to have more memory, too (no, WinCE doesn't use all of it, either).

    The only two advantages I see Palms having now are:

    1. Form factor: PalmPilots are small. I can fit one fairly easily in my pocket. Even the Palm-sized WinCE devices are a bit too big to do that comfortably (is that a Nino in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?)
    2. Sync OS: PalmPilots sync with more operating systems than WinCE devices do (Linux, Win32, Mac vs Win32). May or may not be an issue, but I've a funny feeling it's a drawback for most people here.

    Just my two cents on the whole thing

  • Wow, the last one didn't work at all. This is how it should look:

    Here [mot.com], just follow the links on the bottom.

    No information on the VZ yet though.
  • Color would be very nice. Actually, I think a 256 color set would be appropriate for a PDA; the latest WinCE devices boast 65,536 colors. Why would you need all that color? Are you doing photo editing on your PDA? In addition to doubling the memory requirement for the screen display, you'll also need more juice to power the better LCD.

    What I'd like to see in a PDA is simple color support. Yes, more than 16 colors would be great, but I don't really want much. What would be even better is if they could have a black and white (or at least grayscale) mode; what I mean by this is that if you have used one of the color WinCE machines, you'll notice that the backlight is always on. This, I imagine, is the biggest drain of the batteries, but why not have some 16-grayscale mode (translate/dither/whatever) that doesn't require the backlight?

    If Handspring / 3Com comes out with one of these things at a reasonable cost, I'd upgrade from my Palm III.

  • palmtops aren't supposed to be PCs. Until we put enough processing power into one of these things to get good speech recognition, the input capability is too limited. And sure, we have speech recognition today, but the processing power and energy consumption requirements are too great, though IBM seems to have gotten around that problem in a wearable.
  • My WinCE Palm PC came with four different input methods -- handwriting recognition, an on-screen keyboard, an on-screen probabilistic keyboard (it's really weird), and a Graffiti clone (Jot Character Recognizer). I end up using Jot most of the time, and I've actually found it faster than the Graffiti found on the Palms. I'll touch the keyboard occasionally when I can't remember the appropriate symbols, too. I tried working with the handwriting recognition -- while it's not bad, it's only about 90% accurate if you're careful and you have to train it.

    (Note that you needn't have all four methods in RAM at once, so you don't have to worry about an increased footprint. You do have a bigger ROM, though, but that's not really a problem)

  • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @09:09AM (#1605032) Homepage
    The cool thing with the Palm is that it is an appliance. It is not a general purpose computer, but a magic notebook. It does one thing and it does it really well.

    All these general purpose features just for the sake of features diminish what made it so great. It will end in tears!

    Keep the focus. Don't fix what's not broken. Make it even better at what it is. Smaller, longer battery life, better screen resolution and lower price would be good goals. But they'll probably add a CD burner next...
  • I used to teach adult education classes. Part of my training covered the concepts of varied learning styles. The use of color in presentation is very important. It assists people with a 'visual' learning style in information retention. It is also the only one of the three categories the Palm fails in at this point. The other two, audio and kinetic are obvious. A number of people are going to perceive color as a very important thing for the Palm. To look at it from another perspective, however, why would human information retention be an important issue for a handheld organizer. Isn't its primary purpose that of helping people keep track of information so they don't NEED to remember it themselves?
  • Thanks for the pointers on those devices.

    My point was about overall convenience. I have an E100, Palm IIIx and Newton here on my desk. I won't even try this with the Newton, but I just put the E100 and Pilot in my pocket. Hmm. The E100 is just a tad heavier, a tad thicker and a tad longer. Somehow, when you add those things up, the E100 feels pretty clunky. Likewise synching information is just a bit cleaner and simpler, although ActiveSynch is more powerful.

    It's really an apples and oranges thing though. I actually use the palm whereas I mainly play around with the Cass.
  • Much as I dislike MS, my current choice would be WinCE simply on these grounds.

    Ugh. It's not that I like or dislike MS that I chose a Pilot. It's simply product superiority. Just as with their WindowsXX OS. Linux is superior. Pilot is superior.

    I tend to judge products based on how much I need to refer to a manual to use them. With a Pilot, I picked up Graffiti in about half an hour (except I still don't remember some of the special chars) and was able to use every app that came with the thing - immediately!

    I frequent places like CompUSA. One passtime is to go to the counters where they sell that Windows CE crapola and just TRY to use them. That blasted Win95-like interface is all over the place. It's not obvious how to change apps or enter a new appointment or address entry. I'm not talking about a cursory examination either (unless you call 30 minutes cursory). The thing is just hard to use.

    Graffiti might be hard to get used to - at first . Give it 30 minutes and you'll get it. And, the only thing you'll use the manual for is to learn the extent of the apps' capabilities.

    Daniel - first non-AC post

  • People are generally taking a stance against color. Why? Granted, it'll suck off a bit more power in early generations, but who cares?

    At the rate that technology develops, there's no doubt that battery life will evolve to match the increase in consumption. Laptops with 10" screens used to last 30 minutes on bulky batteries. Today's portables can play full-length DVDs with plenty to spare.

    What about the size of PDAs? Competition will shrink them down, too. Processors will get faster and smaller, memory cheaper yet, and wireless networks more prevalent.

    I for one want a powerful electronic tool in my shirt pocket. I want to be able to play 3D games, browse the Internet, video conference, listen to music, etc. For those of you who believe that PDAs need to be limited to 4 basic apps on principle, you'll just have to ignore new features, because capitalism won't care.
  • They won't necessarily sap more batteries. The may have increased effeciency to make up for the colors. For example the gameboy color uses much less energy than the gameboy pocket.
  • Er, slightly disjopinted and off-topic post...

    As for completing one course, er, pardon? We're not talking evening classes, we're talking a full, proper BSc (Hons) course here. Dunno about wherever you're from, but over here they're pretty desperate for people in computing so don't tend to require a Masters or Doctorate. I'm not arrogant enough to suppose I can just walk in to a job, but statistics show that a very low percentage of Computer Science graduates are unemployed one year after graduation. I think there's a chance of me finding something and it seems worthwhile sticking a CV online, somehow.

    As for Graffiti, I've never used it in my life so I haven't a clue how long it'd take me to learn. All I was observing was that I've heard many say it's really very poor, substantially inferior to Jot. I'm not sure I've seen any good comments from people who've tried both. I've no doubt that the Palm machines are superior in many ways - though could really do with a proper, full-size screen rather than that cheap and nasty tiny thing with the graffiti pad at the bottom - but if the data input is half way as poor as that, I don't want one. Yet I've heard many good comments about Jot, smARTwriter and Calligrapher, while a recent PC Magazine UK review basically confirmed that the most usable products out there were the WinCE machines. For some daft reason the IIIx won, despite getting universally low scores and so no usability seal of approval, but the scores stand: WinCE (unfortunately) appears to be better in many ways.

  • Now,instead, if someone were to post an informative and well-researched article on the challenges involved in extending the PalmOS graphics model to support larger screens and color, we might have something worthy of News for Nerds...
    It looks like Palm will be doing exactly that tomorrow. At PalmSource, there is a presentation scheduled on "Enhanced graphics APIs", which involve support for higher resolution and/or color.
  • Furst... how typical of an AC...

    Uhhhh, I will, like, uh, type really fast so... uh, I will be first and, uh, be cool and bother everyone and, huhuh, be cool.

    Gosh, /. should ban this people.
  • Too right. I've had my PalmII for 2+1/2 years, which is 2+1/4 years longet than any other diary/PDA I've tried.
  • Why color?


    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • It's funny... color seems like such a gimmick feature; a g-shock case, waterproof, and a screen that you can read from multiple angles would seem like more valuable improvements.

    But, of course this destroys the built-in obsolescencethat we have grown to expect! They would actually require revolutionary features to make the upgrade worthwile... like packet cellular...

    Oh well... they'll figure it out sooner or later.

  • Photo editing? No.
    pr0n - yes.

    Brings new meaning to the word Palmtop.

    (some wince devices even play Mpegs. . . I hope they're moisture and shock resistant)

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Unfortunately, my work uses Motorola MobileComm pagers -
    So, this Palm thing has a Motorola processor in it, yet no enterprising marketroid at 3Com or Motorola ever got the bright idea to make a Motorola pager card?

    Que Estupido!

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Just a quick note; I've been able to connect a PalmV directly to the net using a Nokia 8810. I was able to send e-mail and I loaded the Yahoo front page before I closed the connection. I'm a goodly way to decent, stand alone, functionality in an office environment using a Palm as a primary device (ie; not syncing through another PC).

    I've started a Yahoo Club for people interested in particularly the Palm V and Nokia 8810. A combination of functionality and style. The URL is http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/palmv8810 - more details of my efforts will be posted there...
  • Come on. PalmOS is a simple, foolproof, non-entropic operating system (unlike a certain OS I can name which begins with "W" and ends with "indows 98"). Color just doesn't seem necessary for this, what is essentially an electronic version of a fifty-cent spiral bound notebook. What's next? Digital stickers for happy-happy fun email messages?
  • About an OS for DragonBall...

    Use uClinux for your product insted.


    D. Jeff Dionne

    I've e-mailed them (or should I say, you? ;-) a couple of times, nobody replied - the website hasn't been updated for several months - the mailing list archives are ancient. I thought the project had been cancelled, in fact.

    Would you have an URL for downloading the full uClinux source? The link I saw on the website only leads to a couple of diff files - not very practical for me.

  • This is why they can win even in a review so otherwise ignorant as to give WinCE the edge in every individual category. (If the categories were better reviewed PalmOS would win in more of them.)

    Er, I'm not actually sure about. If you read PC Magazine UK, you'll know they don't just rate programs on feature counts. They're getting multiple users to test all sorts of things - usability, productivity, intuitiveness, satisfaction and ergonomics. I've no idea how scientific this is, but it's not just one reviewer left to play with them for a week who then comes back and says he likes the colour WinCE machines as they let him have porn and MP3s in his pocket!

    Anyway, this [zdnet.co.uk] is the page with the charts, while this [zdnet.co.uk] gives you the front page for the review. And remember, they gave it to the IIIx!

  • I never thought it was processor features that were preventing color screens in palmtops

    The processor is not a simple processor, it's an embedded controller - the Dragonball in this case. It includes serial ports, timer, LCD controller etc. That's why these Palms are so small (most of its features are in one chip) and so powersaving (same reason, one chip needs less power than many, even if it does a lot of things).

    Therefore, if the used Dragonball does not support color LCDs, you can't have color LCDs without using a space and power consuming separate LCD controller. That was not an option so color LCDs only got possible through the advanced Dragonball.

  • Wow! I never noticed motorola named it's
    products after Anime....

    This just gives me another reason to wait to get a PalmOS thingy.
  • That would be nice, but there's a bigger issue out there - Graffiti. It's dreadful, and I for one would much rather see a system with decent recognition on a greyscale sceen than poor recognition in colour. Much as I dislike MS, my current choice would be WinCE simply on these grounds.

    Greg - first?
  • I think I'll go buy stock in some battery companies. I've been pretty happy with how long my Palm's batteries last.. I change them about once a month, and put the old ones into one of my remote controls, which usually makes it through to the next month on what's left.
    Now if my Palm had a color screen I expect I'd have to change them weekly. Hopefully someone will come up with a good rechargable pack.
  • I wonder if there will be a Visor version of this. You KNOW Palm will have one, but they are simply to expensive for what they can do.

    I'm also guessing that this 'feature' will drive up the memory consumption of a 'colorized' Palm OS. PalmOS Themes, here we come..
  • I think this is a good thing, and I hope that they use this new found power wisely. It would be so easy to go down the WinCE path and just paint pretty pictures all over the place. Yuk.

    Who thinks they will "enhance" the GUI? Given their track record, I think they will be OK. Oops, it's not their track record is it? It those guys over at HandSpring [handspring.com] that created the Palm. Hmmm, maybe the Palm will hand grenade itself...

  • Hmm. Does the Palm really need color? I'd rather have the increased battery life. There simply isn't going to be any real need for color on such a small device anytime soon.
  • color really is a big help when it comes to things like this. The ability to use colors to set priority works better for some people than seeing a number next to the item.

    Kinda like the MacOS colors you can apply to items. (I forget what they're called)
  • I don't know to much about the inner workings
    of a palm pilot the deepest I've ever peered is
    upgrading the 512K to a 2 meg card but I am
    wondering if it would be possible to replace
    old processors like the one in mine with the
    newer ones, and if so what all would it entail
    to do?
  • Symbol [symbol.com] have a current version of the Pilot with a laser barcode scanner and 2.4Ghz RF connectivity. Now we might see a colour one!
    Yippeee - Toys!!

  • I bet they'd have called it Dragonball Z, except they couldn't have worked out the copyrights...:)
  • iD, if you're listening (watching, whatever), then... PLEASE RELEASE COMMAND KEEN FOR THESE !! WOOO.. hehe. heck with color gameboy :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I use a Palm Pilot and a Sharp Tripad (Windows CE). In the past I've also used other solutions too. I found that Graffiti work better for me than any other handwriting recognition software. I will however say that if you have 'nice' hand writing you might find that Calligrapher works well too. I've used Calligrapher and I can get OK results from it and I really like how configurable it is. My handwriting is just too sloppy for Calligrapher to grasp though. For those that don't know already here is how the two system work: Graffiti only recognizes characters written in a very particular manner. You must learn to write the letters it expects to see. Most Palm Pilot users I know (about 6) picked up Graffiti in about 20 minutes. I only know one person who still cannot user Graffiti. Calligrapher doesn't try to learn how you write, instead it knows about a wide variety of writing styles and you configure to know you prefered writing style. When you configure Calligrapher, you would tell it that for the letter 'A' you mostly write it in one style, that you sometimes write it in another style, and that you never write in yet another way. You pick the writing method for each letter for a list; It typically knows about five methods to write each character. Calligrapher has some 'correction' method built in which amounts to a spell-checker linked with the handwriting recognition, but I've found that using it's correction is much slower than simply erasing my mistakes and re-writing the words. I can't fathom how anyone would choose Windows CE over the Palm Pilot. Windows CE crashes on me, requires a tonne of RAM (and thus requires lots and lots and lots of batteries) and it is very costly to buy all that extra software for CE to make it synchronize with anything other than Office (assuming you can get software to synchronize with the programs you use). And of course you can't sync Windows CE under Linux it and we probably never will be able to (MS keeps chaning Windows CE... there are currently 3 versions shipping... all very different).
  • by Croaker ( 10633 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @07:54AM (#1605069)
    I wonder if the Handspring folks were the push behind this... I'm definitly getting the impression that they are interested in innovating with the design of the Palm platform,, while Palm itself is settling for goofing around with the form factor.

    While color is sweet, color plus cheap wireless connectivity (emphasis on cheap) would make these suckers really big-time.

    Alas, 32 Mhz, while useful for the more data crunching that a higher bit display will require, still isn't enought to do the seriously neat stuff, like voce recogntion.

    Finally, it's sort of sad, because a color Palm would really cause a split in software development. Up until now, you could run just about everything out there on any Palm. I have a Pilot 1000 that's been upgraded several times, and I can use all of the latest software available. Once color comes out, I suspect developers will have to decide whether to support color or not...
    Oh well... I got way more life out of my 1000 than I every would have expected... certainly more than if I had bought a 1st generation WinCE device.
  • by skip277 ( 24541 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @09:26AM (#1605070) Homepage
    Urgh! Get it right, Palm. Give me a higher resolution (600ish X400ish), high-contrast LCD with 5 bit greyscale. I don't need color to suck my batteries, I just want to be able to read my Palm and maybe view some _ACTUAL WEB SITES_ and not web clippings or whatever you are calling it.

  • Quite a tricky situation. I tried rechargable batteries in my palm pro once, then realized that it really sucked. I looked on the palm homepage.. and found.. that rechargable batteries doe not provide high enough voltage to be highly effective. Regular batteries last much longer.

    What we need is regular-voltage rechargable batteries. :)
  • I can't see why anyone would want a personal information appliance with a 160x160 256-colour screen. The colour capability does not add to its ability to present information (except perhaps marginally). I can see how 4-level greyscale might be useful (say, for antialiasing text), but a full colour LCD sounds more at home in a video game than a Pilot. (Unless Palm put in a Springboard slot and release a TV tuner module or something.)

    Rather than adding colour, Palm should be increasing the screen size to something more useful. 160x160 is just not enough to display any substantial amount of information.

    Though, seeing how neither Palm nor Handspring has taken this initiative, I suspect that higher resolutions would break a lot of software. Which probably means we're doomed to 160x160.
  • It's great to see lots of good things happening for the PalmOS... First the Handspring devices, then deals w/ Nokia, etc., and now this. It's refreshing to see one area in which Microsoft was not able to dominate the market with an inferior product (Windows CE). Go PalmOS!

    --"A man's Palm is his best friend."
  • To begin withm I've never been impressed with a color screen on a PDA. A friend's Nino with it's hi-res color screen isn't nearly as readable as my trusty palm v's screen. in fact, i'm not even impressed by the palm's support of grayscale. the display is crisper in b/w, and that 0.5 second delay switching modes just bugs me.

    The speed doesn't impress me. No app I run is bloated enough that I wait for it. Well, automatically adding bookmarks in my doc reader takes a while, but this should happen on the desktop anyway.

    What I want to see is a smaller, more rugged PDA. I hate the fact that I can't put my palm in my back pocket. Well, i did once, and now the case has some interesting stress marks where the metal bent. And I hate the fact the I have to treat the screen like it's made of gold. I want to feel safe touching the damn thing when I want to press an on screen button, even if my hands are dirty from changing a flat tire or something.

    So I'm rambling. But when I pay $400 bucks for a PDA that I always have on me, I'd like to be able to treat it like the other things I always have on me: my watch and wallet. They take a lot of abuse, they keep on going, and they're well below the size limit that makes me ask "do i really need to bring this with me?"

  • by AT ( 21754 )
    Here is the Motorola press release: Link [corporate-ir.net]

    Motorola's Dragonball page: Link [mot.com]
  • by spiral ( 42436 )
    The sad part about this is that they've finally made a 68000 processor run at a faster clock than the 68040 in my NeXTstation.

    What's next? 80286DX6's running at 100MHz?
    I can hear the marketing slogans already:

    "Solve tomorrow's problems with yesterday's technology...today!"
  • replace one or more of the existing devices I carry around. I dont want to walk around with some sort of sci-fi utility belt. When it can replace my pager and/or cell phone I'll have room for it on my person and will consider buying one. I could care less about color.

  • Everyone keeps saying color is useless on a palmtop, has no place there. This sounds like sour grapes I'm afraid, because the same argument (What do you need color for on a system thats intended for productivity?) could apply your workstation at your job. Yet whose boss would refuse to buy anything but monochrome these days? Wouldn't you complain loudly if they did?

    Color is great for providing status information, making comparisons, making it easier to locate things by differentiating them more. With additional storage you can do things like carry around family or vacation photos to show wherever you go.

    The rumors on power requirements for a color screen are greatly exaggerated. Yes, they use more power than monochrome, but maybe by a factor of two. And there are different types of color screens out there, including reflective types that look great outdoors.
  • Considering what they price these things at, cost isn't a problem. . .

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • An old programmer friend I worked with a few years ago went to work on an embedded project that used the Motorola Dragonball processor.

    They came to dislike it so much that they began referring to it as "the male dog without any back legs." Draggin' balls. Get it?
  • yeah man, wait till install Linux and set up my Beowulf cluster of these puppies...

    (Forgive me- I'm joking, I haven't slept for 2 days :)
  • Color? Face it, most of us wouldn't dream of going back to monochrome displays on our desktops, or on our laptops... the PalmPilot is no different. It'll be fantastic. (Could we keep calling it the PalmPilot please? Never give in to giving one company the word "windows" (especially the company that most assuredly didn't invent them (I love geeks, I can nest parens)) and the word "palm" neither.)

    And, I hope it is the pressure of competition that makes them rush it to market. Lord knows we need a lot more competition all over the industry!

    While it's great to see the PalmPilot crush WinCE devices (because it's nice to see competition), it's too bad it's been crushing so handily: the PalmPilot has not exactly been innovating that much.

    The one nice thing about Microsoft is that while they are stealing everyone else's ideas, they are putting a lot of stuff into this windowing monopoly product (like they didn't with DOS). Listen, clearly, Microsoft sycophants, saying one nice thing is not saying that monopolies are good. Monopolies are bad, even if they are arrived at fairly, which this one wasn't so it's doubly bad. And yeah, bloatware blah blah blah, save your breath. You can disagree with the way that they implement things and tie them together: I'm simply making the narrow point that Microsoft has put a lot of stuff into their windowing product, in order to make the point 3Com has not. The software has been unchanging for too darn long and I think it's because they face not enough competition.

    My pet feature? I wish the to-do list had dependencies between events, like a mini project scheduler. uh-oh, shoulda kept my mouth shut, someone will undoubtedly tell me that this already exists ;)

  • I almost safe to say that you can compare the color palm to the gbc.

    When the gbc was first anounced people did they saem thing they are doing now. Going "WAAHH! what about battery life?" and "WAHH! We don't need color". And "WAHH!! what about the older games?"

    Well, turns out that not only does the gc use only TWO batteries(as opposed to 4 on the orginal) they last ALOT longer then 4 on the orginal gbc.

    About color. People thought "tetris only needs four colors of cabbage green". Well, also turns out that things really do look ALOT better in color. Even games that weren't ment to have color, using some of the default pallets.

    And finally, about the applications. Some people thought that the GBC would split the gameboy market into color and non-color. Turns out that the vast majority of gbc games also work on a normal gbc. A couple not all the way mind you(extra maze in Zelda dx is an example) but that's few and far between.

    So I think very much will happen with the color Palms. Color will catch on nicely. Battery life will IMPROVE. And there will be nice backward b&w compatability with older aps, and new aps will run in a b&W mode much like most gbc titles do now.
  • I think many people get the wrong idea about the Palm - WinCE certainly does.

    Most IT professionals aren't more than a couple of hours from their closest fully-deatured desktop computer. If I want to run Excel (or whatever other bloated application), I will use a proper sized keyboard, my 19" monitor, and a Pentium II 350 (okay, I am behind the 8 ball) at work or at home.

    On the road, I simply want the ability to take a couple of notes, check my calendar, and update my address book.

    The Palm is great because it does exactly that and doesn't add on useless features which the majority will not use.

    Want sound and colour, go and use a real computer. Or if need the portability, get a laptop. Why must every piece of computer technology act like a desktop computer?

  • Actually, the Japanese manga (comic) Dragonball has been around for quite awhile (since sometime in the 1980's I believe) so I seriously DOUBT that they are violating Motorola's trademark.
  • It actually depends on the screen. If you had bought say an E-105 from casio, the colour would have made a large difference.
    Some palms still have he ugly green LCDs, which make it very difficult to read.
  • I hate to use this word, but it's a matter of synergy. WinCE machines have TONS of cool stuff; they have the features computer buyers look for, in spades.

    PalmOS machines, OTOH, just work. They don't try to act like computers, they just work.

    This is why they can win even in a review so otherwise ignorant as to give WinCE the edge in every individual category. (If the categories were better reviewed PalmOS would win in more of them.)

    As for Grafitti -- people who prefer Jot to it are simply excercising their rights to have a closed mind. No offence, I hope. Spend a few minutes learning Grafitti and it's just as good.

    Calligrapher, OTOH, is a different matter -- it's quite possible that some people can't handle switching back and forth. I've never met anyone like that, but I have heard people say that they didn't like doing it. WinCE has the edge there; PalmOS machines lack the power to do full HWR. I guess it's a fair choice -- do you want full HWR or long battery life?

    Try before you buy. I like full HWR too, but it sure is nice to not have to mess with batteries.

  • The Macintosh equivalent of these color-coded priority lists has been called 'Labels' and has been around since the 16-color Macs debuted in the late 1980s. If applied crudely, the colors can be distracting, but the more colors available will provide much-needed variety and could possibly be pleasing, especially when compared to the Palm OS as it is now.
  • I never thought it was processor features that were preventing color screens in palmtops, it's the price and power consumption of color LCDs

    Has anyone seen the reflective colour TFT LCD displays on the Colour GameBoy? They have no backlight and they love full sun. You could easily produce the first batch of colour Palms using this technology without having too much of an adverse effect on battery life.

    But whatever, I'm much more interested in a USB connection - my Ultralight doesn't have a serial port...

  • What ever happened to the rumors about an "iPalm" device? (you know, the colorful, translucent palm devices) The fusion of Newton technology and the Pilot's slickness would be pretty darned neat. Or has it been Steved? That would be a shame. I love Steve, and I understand the murder of the Newton, but it would be a shame for all of that combined R&D cash to simply sit on a shelf.

    Max V.
  • ... for us embedded system designers. I'm halfway through designing a new product line based on the DragonBall EZ, and am waiting for the exact pinout of the new chip to published, to make sure my board will be upwards-compatible.

    Regarding the 256-color capability, it was about time. It's getting hard to specify the 16-level grayscale LCDs that were supported in the EZ, most manufacturers are abandoning them.

    Does anyone in the audience have experience with Motorola's PPSM operating system for the DragonBall? I'd like to try it, but their website is mum about licensing details...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Palm V is rechargable, no batteries required* my guess is they would integrate it with that, instead of the older Palm III models.
  • It seems like this will be of most benefit to Handspring with the Visor, instead of Palm.

    They included another serial interface? The Palm will need a redesign in order to use that. But the Visor... The expansion slot is looking even better.

    In any event, I think color would just be plain cool.

  • (if you have never seen the Anime known as Dragonball, you will not get this)

    And if you collect 7 of the Dragonball VZs, a giant dragon appears and will grant a wish for you!

    Just watch out for the evil guys. You can tell who they are because they either have veins sticking out all over themselves, or an evil sneer.

    (in further news, an updated version of the Dragonball VZs will be released, called the Dragonball NameckZs. These will have the added functionality of being able to tell an enemy's power level, turn into a motorized vehicle when smashed on the ground, and when seven are collected, will summon a more powerful dragon to grant 3 wishes instead of one.

    For further information, see Kami-san, the God of Earth.

  • 3. A month to a month and a half on 2 AAA batteries.

    I don't want a do-it-all device that requires a car battery to get any decent battery life. The Palm Pilot does so well because it is designed to do a few simple things very well and is still very expandible because all the hardware specs are open.

  • Wyvern class PsPC's have had 16 bit color since the Casio E-100 was released 5-6 months ago. At this rate how are Palms ever going to catch up to the current state of PsPC hardware?
  • I've tried running Linux on the XCopilot, and it said the Palm's clock speed was 49MHz. But I guess XCopilot can't be much relied on. Personally I own a Palm Pilot III, which clock speed does this run on?
  • You forgot to mention that the more powerful Goku VZ series will not be released until the Dragon VZs and The NameckZs are beat to hell and almost inoperable.
  • It can replace a pager. 3com has a pager card you can buy to put in palms.
  • Dude,

    Either you are a) from the future or b) on drugs and didn't bring enough for everyone.

    Apple has not even announced the iPalm. What you must be refering to is the iBook (the consumer laptop). They are two very different things. The iPalm is the rumor 'Newton replacement' (I'd suggest checking out www.ogradys.com or www.macosrumors.com to anyone interested.

  • The Cass E100 rocks, but its display is completely unreadable in direct sunlight (try reading PocketStreets outdoors, for example).

    You can't rate a system on raw power, whether its MIPS, number of colors displayed, whatever. You have to look at how all fits together. In terms of doing the PDA thing, the Palm Pilot is very hard to beat, not because of any one statistic, but the whole package meets the needs of the typical PDA user (simplicity, size, integration, battery life etc.).

    I view the E100s and their ilk as a different class of machines, more than you need in a PDA but much smaller than a laptop. You can use it as a PDA of course, just like you could use a laptop, but you can't put it in your pocket without noticing its there.
  • I never thought it was processor features that were preventing color screens in palmtops, it's the price and power consumption of color LCDs. It still needs some external logic to support color LCD anyway.

    I just don't see any reason to get excited about this.
  • He means the magically translucent Palm IIIe with the ugly i-wanna-be-an-iMac case.

    Max V.
  • I tried using the NiMH batteries. I'll have to look into the rechargable alkalines. It's worth the investment!

    I know I saved myself oodles of money on batteries when I bought the NiMH ones for my digi-cam. The thing wouldn't work for more than an hour or so with regular alkalines.. but with the NiMH batteries, they last magnitudes longer.
  • All existing Palm devices except the new Vx use a 16mHz processor (DragonBall EZ for IIIx, IIIe, and V, regular DragonBall on the others). The Vx uses a 20mHz DragonBall EZ.
  • I have not been able to find any info on the Dragonball on Motorola SemiConductor Products [mot-sps.com] website. I would like to see the technical docs on the Dragonball VZ. Has anyone else had any luck?
  • Go to http://images.dixons.com/DO/images/promo_991007.gi f (still can't post links!) for a picture of probably the nearest thing you're going to get - though IIRC it's UK retail only, and only 2MB.

  • NiCd batteries don't work very well in Palm devices due to the lower voltage. Other kinds of rechargables (such as the Li-ion battery in the Palm V and Vx) fare better.
  • At PalmSource (the Palm developers' conference), there is a session on "Enhanced Graphics APIs" scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30 PDT. I expect they'll be announcing a new product at that session if not before.
  • I saw one in CompUSA two days ago. They're sorta nasty, I'd much rather have a Palm Vx (but wouldn't we all?)

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.