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Handhelds Hardware

Sony/Palm To Team Up 90

diane wrote to us about the latest joint press release: Sony and Palm are going to be teaming up, to make "Wireless Music, Video Devices." Palm will also start to use Sony's memory stick format as part of the deal, a response to the pressure from Handspring's devices. Diane also noted that this makes Sony one of the first Windows' licensees to go with the PalmOS over WinCE, another sign that WinCE is in some troubled waters.
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Sony/Palm To Team Up

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  • I own a Palm III and have ordered Visor (it hasn't arrived yet). It's hard to say how much "pressure" is being placed on Palm by Handspring and the other clones. My definition of pressure may not be the same as yours (unless we're talking force divided by surface area of course). Palm devices have been dropping in price since Handspring arrived on the scene however. I recently saw the Palm IIIx at for $259, just a little more than the Visor deluxe but with half the memory.

    And is the Handspring COMPLETELY code-compatible?

    The Handspring Visor series runs PalmOS 3.1, the same as the Palm IIIx and Palm V. Its ROM is not flash-upgradeable however. So it can't use software like FlashPro to store memory in ROM that isn't being taken up by the OS.

    Another issue is that Palm recently released Palm OS 3.3 which must be installed in flash ROM, so the Visor can't be upgraded to this version of the OS. But Palm usually releases upgrades to its OS in RAM anyway. So this might not be as much of a handicap as one would think.

    Upcoming... palms with tactile feedback?

    Hanspring and the initial reviews of the Visor claim its buttons have very nice tactile feedback.

  • Bruce Bruce Bruce. Before the one-hour lab start providing comparable cheap 8X10 12X18 pint out. Print film hasn't dead yet. You probably hasn't developed good film in 5X7 matte paper. I can't go back after one try. Comsumer grade color printers are crap as far as I can tell.

    If you use little "zoom" camera with maximum f/4.5 aperture. It doesn't matter what digital/print film you use.

  • I think this is already happening - I think there was a Slashdot article this summer (URL []) that reported that the initial Palm developers had left the company and starting their own, trying to market a Palm clone that was better, and cheaper.

    This may be just PR babble helping their startup, but I think that it still indicates that the Palm may be more expensive than it would have to be, IMHO.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday November 15, 1999 @10:54AM (#1530939) Homepage Journal
    The Sony Memory Stick seems to be a Sony-proprietary implementation. In contrast, we have SmartMedia and CompactFlash, which are much closer to being open standards. They are consortia, I think, but they let everybody in who has the price of admission and thus the devices are priced like commodities.

    I considered a Sony digital camera recently and bought an Olympus C-2500L because it comes with both SmartMedia and CompactFlash slots, and I wasn't locked into Olympus as a memory vendor. I put 160MB in there between them, at a price I could never have approached using Sony Memory Sticks.

    It seems to me that if we buy hardware that uses Sony memory sticks, we're locked in to one vendor and will pay higher prices. Are they even licensing memory stick production to anyone else?


    Bruce Perens

    P.S. The Olympus C-2500L is wonderful. Still film is dead.

  • The only reason sony hasn't forced multiple closed technologies on their customers is because they are not powerful enough to do so yet. They have a good position in console sales, but nowhere near a monopoly. They don't have a very large presence in the PC market, and so far they haven't captured a large part of the market for handheld devices.

    The only area that they have a very strong presence in is home electronics, and there isn't much room there to introduce their own standards. They try with things like the minidisc, but end up licensing it to other companies because there is too much competition in that market for a completely closed system to succeed; they need the support of other major electronics companies.

    If they acquire a significant market share in any area, they will abuse it like any other large company. The idea that companies will regulate themselves has been proven false more times than I care to note.

    For now, all you get with a Sony PC is a Sony PC, but how long until their PCs begin to feature customized connectors to their other products, such as video cameras?

    Sony does innovate a fair bit, I think they can be credited with the first portable cd players. If they could, Sony would much rather "innovate" the MS way: develop their own bastardized version of a standard and force it down the public's throat until they have control. This is exactly the situation with Memory Sticks. CompactFlash is a well-established standard created long before Memory Sticks and used by many devices, but Sony feels the need to do things their own way. Both are flash memory: I don't see any technical advantages to Sony's version. They just want to be the only supplier of it so they can keep their nice fat profit margins, and send the lawyers after anyone who tries to make a compatible product.

    I wonder what Sony is going to try to force down our throats with the PSX2.
  • there was one of those before there was an iMac for the Palm III. sweet looking things too.

  • Sony may be a megacorp, but one thing I will say for them is that they have a consistantly solid product, unlike other corporate predators mentioned. My main problem with m$ is not that they are huge, but that they are huge not by any kind of good products, but by force and domination. Sony has fallen prey to their standards not being adopted (Betamax, for one, and Minidisc has never really caught on) and has also had great success with their standards being adopted (CD, for one - at least I think that was Sony, maybe it was pioneer?). I have a great deal of respect for Sony's products, they seem to consistantly innovate and put themselves in good market positions. I'd be sad to hear it's through unscrupulous means.

    I think Sony has an excellent ability to recognize how to put their products in the forefront of the market. They *know* that the Palm is *the* handheld device right now, and more people have them than digital cameras or aibos. So it's a brilliant move to get them to use their memory stick technology. If Palm is smart though, they won't make it *exclusively* use it, and instead leave an open interface for other types of products.
  • The whole flavor of your post seems to espouse that Microsoft chose to ignore the PDA marketplace and that's why they failed miserably in that sector.

    I posit this alternative view: Microsoft is falling back on embedded systems since they spent millions developing Windows CE platform and it is losing in the PDA market, the market for which it was originally intended.

    Question: How many Non-PDA devices are available today, or were available at any time, that use the Windows CE OS, as compared with the number of models of PDAs that use or have used Windows CE OS?

    Answer: Hella lots more PDAs used/use Windows CE than devices that are not PDAs. That means, Microsoft was actively marketing WinCE as a PDA OS, not an embedded system.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of two devices that are not PDAs that have been available (i.e. excluding vaporware) that use WinCE: the Sega Dreamcast, and the remote that Harmon/Kardon makes. Now, how many PDAs have used WinCE? Fifty separate models? Sixty, maybe?

    WinCE's miserable dismal showing as an embedded OS is either proof that MS is terrible at marketing (nope, not hardly), OR they never intended the primary use of WinCE in embedded devices.

  • Yeah just to throw my hat into the ring here I was really surprised when I took a look at Sony, Inc.'s prospectus the other day. The most profitable division of their company is, by far, the Playstation division. I guess I had already envisioned them at this technological behemoth - churning out multi-thousand dollar Wega's and XBR-2 sets by the millions, not to mention their record company and motion picture studio. Is it that these don't turn as much profit, even though they're shipping more product? It seems like there is just a lot more money in general in the motion picture/recording/consumer electronics market than in selling PSXs, but I've been forced to reconsider as of late.
    "Some people say that I proved if you get a C average, you can end up being successful in life."
  • What I'd like to see is a way you could control your Aibo with a palm. If you could do that I would have trouble not getting one of those Aibos.
  • I was under the impression that Sony was a member in good standing of Symbian, which is a consortium dedicated to putting Psion's EPOC operating system on all sorts of mobile devices. AFAIK, the purpose of Symbian was basically to combat the WinCE threat.

    So now that Sony publicly committed to PalmOS, does it mean that EPOC and Psion will go down the path of Amiga and Atari?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    But what use is a Win32 API in a non-graphics market ? It does have non-graphics features, but the main selling point of WinCE is that it's easy to port Win32-based apps to it. If you don't use that feature, it's got no advantages over the many excellent other embedded OSs, including free ones and in-house developed ones with no licence fees.
  • Anyone else out there becoming afraid that Palm is getting too much market share?

    I am not afraid of it -- I know they have too much market share for their own good. Case in point: ridiculous prices, miniscule memory, small screen. Users have been screaming about this for a loooong time. What did Palm do? Nothing. All we got was a wireless access to some Web-based info and still at ridiculous prices. And you should hear Palm executives speak about the future -- they talk about PalmOS superseding Windows (not CE, just Windows!) everywhere in about five years... I really would like some stuff that they are smoking.

  • also sony INNOVATES unlike ms. Ms has a nast habit of stealing someone's idea, adding a little to it(grammar check), and selling it for much less. Then once ms dominates the market they keep making new versions and change the file format a whole lot so you are forced to buy the next version. Sony makes nice quality products(diskman, walkman, viao, mavica) that no one else offers. Sony is definatly not the next ms.

    matisse:~$ cat .sig
  • Sony may be into proprietary designs, but Sony is also the master of cheap high quality consumer electronics. Right now, Sony is heading in the direction of wearable computers and web server in your toaster style technologies, but from the bottom up, which I think is the right way to go. It's along the line of instead of trying to shrink your computer down until it fits on your belt, they're trying to make your pager do more, until it's as powerful as a computer.

    After reading a story about Sony a few months back in Wired, I'd now say that my dream job would be working at JPL, MIT Media Lab, or Sony. I'd like to live in the future, and Sony appears to be at least 2 or 3 years ahead of what can actually be bought in a store.
  • i remember reading somewhere that apple has another PDA in the works. And from how far advanced a lot of apple's computers have been(think newton, apple II GS) this could be the PDAkiller.

    matisse:~$ cat .sig
  • Ahhh, NTRU. I remember Jeff Hoffstein talking about that when I took a course with him at Brown.

    Does anyone know if the Hoffstein (and Kalin, I believe) have their paper on NTRU up on the web?

  • I really doubt EPOC will die with the backers it has (Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola etc.). The Symbian group members are not forced to only ever use EPOC. Plus, it seems from some announcements that there maybe some sort of merging of the best of EPOC and the best of PalmOS features for future mobile devices.
  • AFAIK the CD was a joint development between Philips and Sony.
  • So if I understand it right, Sony are licensing an OS from Palm who are licensing an OS from Nokia who are licensing an OS from Symbian.

    And now as a Java animation ...

    Regards, Ralph.
  • The profits for the Playstation division probably come from game licenses, not selling PSXs.
  • I'd me more inclined to agree with you if they didn't charge 70 UK pounds for a *cable* to fit the proprietary SP/DIF interface on their 200 UK pounds DAT recorder. Yes, if you buy a Playstation you get a Playstation. But if you want to use four controllers with it, who do you have to go running back to?
  • I've just been looking at the Sony website, and I noticed something interesting about the PSX2 development hardware - it is "Linux-based", and uses the same "Emotion Engine" CPU as the PSX2. In other words, Sony have already ported Linux to the Playstation 2! And if I understand the GPL correctly, they have to release their changes under the GPL!

    I don't know about you, but my PC is on its way out.
  • I love it when we have good, strong competition in the computer industry (or any other industry for that matter). memory sticks in the Palm will make them that much more usable.
  • A sony palm-man? might not be that far away, a portable MP3 player that downloads straight from the net, woo hooo...

    oh...and imagine a beowulf cluster of those things ;)

    ( anyone notice that the mainstream media has started to go a little MS Bashing as well lately? )
  • Sony is in pretty much every market around...besides the gigantic consumer electronics force, they've got PCs, the PSX2 (which Sony wants to pretty much be the main machine in your house; forget the PC!), and now Palm...they're teaming up with everyone. And not only that, they're making their own OS.

    Maybe this time we'll get a more benevolent ruler...
  • Sony is only second to apple as being the king of industrial design. The only thing that had kept me away from PalmPDA's are the design. Granted the PalmV looked nice, but it was very expensive for my taste. Now we might have some nice looking devices at a price that won't empty my wallet. On a side note... I'm acutally kind of glad that its not apple and palm teaming up. Nobody wants the iPalm.
  • If they make a good product (you seem to like yours) why don't you want them to have a big share? That means cheaper prices for new palm devices. The incentive is to work w/ palm becuase they apparently have they duckies in order. MS got hammered partly because they wouldn't let anyone work with them. They wanted to buy everyone out.
  • Think of how cool it will be to carry one device around for music, notes, and scheduling.

    Isn't that what the Visor is supposed to provide through Springboards? Of course, you have to deal with their customer service problems at the moment...

    You're right about this being the right direction to go. By licensing the PalmOS, Palm not only gets the licensing fees, but also gets to take advantage of the innovations of other companies. This is also a way of preventing the problems of lack of competition. Palm may not feel the pressure to upgrade it's OS, but it is providing a way for others to upgrade it.

  • I'm going to get flamed for this, but I've got to say it anyway. Anyone else out there becoming afraid that Palm is getting too much market share? Last I heard, Palm had somewhere between 65% and 85% of the handheld PDA market.

    Granted, I own a Palm, and I love it. However, if 3Com/Palm get such a high market share, where is their incentive to innovate with the platform? The desire to get people to upgrade is one incentive to improve it, but you know the company will run faster with the competition nipping at it's heals.

  • by mochaone ( 59034 ) on Monday November 15, 1999 @09:55AM (#1530974)
    Sony is peeved at MS' overtures into the gaming console market, which comprises about 30% of Sony's profits. They will be aligning themselves with any company that has competing technology against MS. They've recently signed a deal with Sun to foster the spread of Jini in consumer devices.

    MS still has not learned how to work with companies outside of the computing environment (Sony is not just a computer company, as we all know). They made the same mistake with the banking industry. They are trying to buy up broadband but that won't work with the consumer device market.
  • If they can make an organizer that can do AV I'm all for it. Think of how cool it will be to carry one device around for music, notes, and scheduling. Now if it would just make coffee for me in the morning.
  • This is a terrible development since Compact Flash is becoming a de facto standard. I refuse to collect 5 different formats of memory for camera, PDA, phone, etc. Consumers want standardization !! If Palm follows through with this Sony baloney I will be forced to chuck my Palm and go to a Visor.
  • When you have MS as a competitor, 99% is not a safe margin of market share. Case in point, Netscape. I don't think Palm will be resting on its laurels any time soon...not if they want to be around next year.
  • You have to wonder if Sony would have been willing to do this before Judge Jackson's finding of fact was released. Now that Microsoft will probably start to loose its grip on the market I think we can expect to see more team ups between MS licensees and MS competitors with superior products. As the software giant falls we will probably see a lot more innovative ideas coming about thanks to companies that could not previously team up due to MS pressure.

    Now when will I be able to get an add on to play FF8 on my pilot?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What percentage of the potental market for WinCE is the PDA market. If MicroSoft could have the choice between royalities on every PDA or on every car made I think MicroSoft would go for every car. The major development to PalmOS has been graffiti where as the major development for WinCE is a Win32 like API for embedded systems. The ability of WinCE to hold onto the PDA market may only be an indication on how 10% of the overall "health" of WinCE. The big money is who controls the market where you don't even think about the fact the device uses an OS.
  • , the PSX2 (which Sony wants to pretty much be the main machine in your house; forget the PC!),

    I remember the design station modeled on PSX2 hardware costing like 8 times more than a standard PC. No... they don't want to be the next microsoft. Not everyone who expands to different markets wants to control everything.
  • I have a question for the Palm/Handspring users out there since I don't currently own one... just exactly how much pressure has Handspring and the memstick-ready clones been putting on Palm? And is the Handspring COMPLETELY code-compatible? IMO it'd be better if prices were dropping instead of capabilities rising (or maybe both?) - as much as I'd love to have a Palm, $599 isn't worth it.

    Upcoming... palms with tactile feedback?

  • by calibanDNS ( 32250 ) <brad_staton AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday November 15, 1999 @10:04AM (#1530983)
    I think Sony's approach to being in every market is very different from the MS approach. If you bought a MS OS you got a MS web browser too. If you buy a Sony PC all you get is a Sony PC. Buy a Play Station, get a Play Station. They're not forcing multiple technologies onto people who just want to buy into one of their technologies. Notice that the Memory Stick slots aren't the only means of inputing and outputing data on the Sony PCs; they have the hardware to support a Rio or any other portable MP3 device. When Sony makes it so that you have to use thier MP3 device with their PCs then we've got a problem, but I for one don't forsee that happening.
  • I can grab it when you chuck it. :-)
  • The real problem with Sony here is their penchant for closed or proprietary formats and devices.

    What about it sony? You are big enough to force the specs to be publicly released. Because you don't force the specs to be released, we Linux users are forced to wait for the chip to be laboriously reverse engineered by determined geeks. This just hurts your reputation, and hurts it more than you know. So get out your pencils and do some figuring on the value of making friends with 1,000,000 geeks.

    The same goes for the stupid winmodem in all the newer VAIO's, also with secret specs. I was forced to lay out an additional $100 for an AT-command compatible pcmcia modem.

    My advice to any Linux user about getting a VAIO: don't. Wait until Sony does something about their undocumented hardware. Look at other laptops in the meantime. Email Sony, tell them you'll buy a VAIO as soon as specs for the sound/video chip and the modem are publicly released. Look at other laptops in the meantime. Don't buy a VAIO.
  • In terms of looks, the Handspring Visor is pretty much the equivilent of an iPalm - and plenty of people seem to want that... I think you underestimate Apple, and what they can do with a Palm platform as a base.
  • ATRAC sounds better to me than MP3. Call me a nut, but I think that their Minidisc format is a winner. I wish it had slightly more recording time (say 140 minutes) and a better computer interface (titling, and software-based ATRAC for HD-based usage), but it does work really well.

    I think Minidiscs are a lot more convenient (and certainly less expensive) than flash memory storage for MP3 players.

  • All it takes is something like a palm pilot with built in Richochet and an audio jack (there have been PDAs with one but not the other), and then someone like me in California will be able to walk around listening to a small college radio station in New Zealand.


    (1) Bandwidth
    (2) Battery life

    If these two problems are solved to the extent that you could listen to online radio stations for a whole day, then much much more cool things would be possible than just listening to NZ radio stations.

  • I will not flame. I will not flame. I will not flame.

    Ok, I'm better now. The company you're speaking of is Handspring. It was founded by Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins. They've already got the Visor out and it is faster & cheaper.
  • I think the iMac has been infiltrating the marketing mentality of all who have come across it. Check out the Palm IIIe special edition at this link []. If I'm not mistaken, it has a clear see-through enclosure and has multicolored flip tops.
  • Sony is desperate (maybe too strong a word?) to find someone who will license its Memory Stick technology. I believe this is the first use of it outside Sony itself.

    I won't argue about its relative merits when compared to Compact Flash (due to my own ignorance), but this too might go the way of Beta if they don't get some more companies on-board.
  • The Sony website says there will be a network adapter for the PSX2 available in 2001 *using the PSX2's Type III PCMCIA slot*. Obviously there are plenty of PCMCIA Ethernet cards available now (even 100 Mbps) so I can only assume they will be introducing yet another proprietary standard, this time for network hardware.
  • > Problems:
    > (1) Bandwidth
    > (2) Battery life

    Sure, these are problems, but not *big* problems.

    I know people who have used the RealAudio G2 player over Ricochet modems. They said it
    sounded okay... haven't heard it myself. I would
    think that streaming mp3, like icecast (or
    shoutcast) signals would sound better.

    As for battery life, well, one can always hack
    a battery pack large enough to support any
    indefinite length of service.

    And I might point out that the "internet car
    radio" version wouldn't have any problem with
    battery life.

  • The patch on should work fine against the driver that's in RedHat 6.1. You definitely want to have "Use DMA if available" enabled. With the latest versions of the various drivers and a correct PCMCIA config, my Z505S seems to be working pretty well--no more CS-related hangs... I agree that closed hardware designs are annoying. I don't personally understand Neomagic's rationale, unless they were planning on selling the "rights" to develop drivers for their hardware, or some such nonsense; it would be interesting to hear their views on the subject. But as long as they have to release any sort of driver for the hardware, it'll be possible to write others.
  • Actually, I would consider competing standards to be a good thing in a developing area. The competition will force the creation of a better standard. It may take a while, and many peoples' wallets will get burnt on the way, but eventually a great standard will evolve and we'll all be better off for it.

  • The real problem with Sony here is their penchant for closed or proprietary formats and devices. They were into that 2.88 MB floppy drive for a while, then the mini-disc, and now they're pushing this memory stick when it seems to me that it provides very few advantages over the industry standard flash memory.

    Who knows how well they'll operate in an environment where they have to get along with a number of different devices. []
  • Actually, I think to some extent this started when the USDOJ first started legal action against MS. It's safer to say no to the bully when you know the principal's watching.

    The irony, of course, is that MS points to the examples of this loosening up of the market as evidence that they're *not* monopolistic.

    "See, Mr. Jackson? We don't beat up anyone!"
  • Memory stick, phooey! And is it just me, or does Sony's prorietary "ATRAC3" music format sound suspiciously like "8-track v.3"?

    While I welcome several aspects of this (Sony teaming up with Palm instead of WinCE, motivation to boost Palm hardware cpu power, general competition), I'm a little disappointed that it'll push Palm further down a proprietary road. I'm simply not interested in buying into any technology that has hand-slapping of perceived-errant consumers built into it. No Sony memory sticks for me. Maybe my next PDA will be a Visor. But then again, the idea of playing 8-tracks with my Palm is strangely appealing... :)
  • by IHateEverybody ( 75727 ) on Monday November 15, 1999 @10:22AM (#1531005) Homepage Journal

    As good as this news seems, I have to wonder where the Palm platform is headed in terms of expandability. I just ordered a Visor Deluxe [] with the Springboard expansion slot to replace my Palm III. Then along comes the TRGPro [] with Compact Flash. Now we've got Sony (PalmMan?) with the memory stick.

    That's three, count 'em three, incompatible standards for one computing platform. The Springboard module is bigger than CF so you can make a CF to Springboard adapter.

    But what about the memory stick? Granted its supposed to be as small as a stick of gum. So you could probably squeeze it onto the same device as a Springboard or CF slot but we're talking about a device that's the size of a deck of cards here. There just isn't much room for expansion slots.

    So you're going to have the situation where one technology will catch on and the others will fall by the wayside. If you bet on the wrong one, you wind up with a hand held Beta VCR. That's a bit of an exageration since you could still use the device as an organizer and handheld computer, just like the Palm Pilot. And it will still run rings aroung WinCE in terms of usability.

    I would guess that the memory stick will die out as a technology. It only seems good enough for, well memory while CF and the Springboard are much more versatile.

  • As far as I can tell, Sony's fatal flaw has always been their insistance on making their own competing proprietary format. Why must they do this? Pure greed and desire to monopolize seems to be the only reason for introducing the memory stick. They don't even have any extra features to fall back on now. Sure, Beta and Minidisc perhaps have something different to offer. But can anyone think of any reason to use a memory stick over either a CompactFlash or SmartMedia card? In fact, I can think of a few reasons not to. Less storage. The fact that if I invest in any of their storage media, I'm tied to Sony if I want to make full use of it. The only advantage is the bully factor: if you want to play with us, you've got to by EVERYTHING from us. This is no advantage. I like the fact that I can move around my CompactFlash cards between my palmtop, my three digital cameras, and my laptop. Should I be forced to buy all of this equipment from Sony?Sony should try to compete more on the merits of their individual products (which, don't get me wrong, are often very nice) instead of continuing this consumer-unfriendly scheme.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 )
    All I gotta say is that if the RIAA doesn't approve it.. I won't buy it. =)

  • Thank you for not flaming! =)

    Seriously, I didn't know that about Visor. Now I know that. After all, I think that's what Slashdot is for - learning by discussion.

  • Just to supplement mal3's info, the Visor has been discussed in at least three Slashdot articles in the past couple months:

    "Visor" from the Creators of the Palm []
    Handspring Having Troubles Delivering Visors [] (this story's probably out of date, they prolly have the pipeline clear by now)
    More details on the Visor/Handspring (Update) []

  • Oh, come now - it's already apparent that Palm has backed off on innovation.

    Now, don't take this the wrong way, I love my Palm III, and wouldn't necessarily want all of these features weighing it down, stuff that WinCE devices DO have; ethernet ports, PCMCIA cards, color displays, sound, GOBS more memory, much more CPU horsepower. But what I DO take issue with is how outrageously expensive the Palm is compared to a WinCE device is, when you compare features.

    In other words, I'm saying that Palm ought to lower it's prices. Drastically. It's obvious these guys are making a huge profit on these things, and of course, since they have such high marketshare, and high demand, they don't have to lower their prices. So it's obvious that Palm already has too high a marketshare. However, they only have this one market, PDA's, and they're not encroaching into others, and they're winning on technical merit, not strongarm tactics, so I don't disagree with them as heartily as I do with Microsoft. And did I say I LOVE my Palm III? Went down to the beach on Saturday, looked up the tides with TideTool, checked the weather forcast with my saved AvantGo webpage. Checked movie listings to see what was playing that night, and when. Can you beat that shit? no way. It does what I want it to. But I'm just NOT going to buy a V or VII, because they're too fucking expensive. WAY.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • You're supposed to use it and throw it away and buy a new one with the new standard, before the old one becomes obsolete.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • While I know about NT's disadvantages compared to 'the Unix approach' of operating systems by personal experience, I have no clue about those OS's that have to work with scarce ressources like WinCE, PalmOS etc. Any URL's with a fair comparison? To become more on-topic -- is there a real technical reason for Sony to drop WinCE or is it just the fact that Microsoft may not be the most pleasant company to do business with? The article gave no background on that...
  • The NM256 sound chip works OK with RedHat 6.1. It does have problems coming out of suspend, though. This is supposed to be fixed in the newest version of the driver, but the patch only works against the generic kernel sources, and I've been too busy to download them.

    Audio does skip with the Redhat kernel. You need to re-compile with "Use DMA if available" set to yes in the block devices section. (Sorry, I use make xconfig, so I don't remember the actual name of the parameter.)

    The only serious problem I've had (other than the LoseModem)is that PC Card services and the built-in EtherPro network card don't want to play nice with each other. Once again, this is supposed to be fixed in the EPro driver included in 2.2.13+.

    A good source of VAIO sound information is available at []

  • Granted, but the Memory Stick is the only way of putting memory in the device. Like there's anything revolutionary about memory. I'm buying devices that support commodity RAM and nothing else.



  • i have to applaud their uncanny ability to produce gear that i either need or, more often, want. there must be dozens of sony logos here, from the beta deck to the playstation and not counting all the cds.

    but microsoft is nothing next to sony. ms is a niche company with a modishly inflated paper value and a nouveau-riche disdain for the long-term good of its user base. it's trying to diversify, sure, and corbis might turn out to be super-sinister one day, but in its wildest dreams it can't approach sony's iron grip on the media supply chain.

    perhaps there ought to be some sort of hardware/software rubicon: if you make the hardware, you may not profit from the software, and vice versa.

    that would have hampered ms somewhat too, if it was written to disallow their bundling protection racket, but it would cripple sony and many of the other real corporate predators.

    ps and have you seen what's happened to berlin? they gave it to sony on a plate and said thank you. anyone remember the dish with the death wish in hhgtg? eek.
  • It is in the retail market. Just a matter of time. I went out and shot a bunch of pictures at 1700x1200 uncompressed, using my nice digital SLR camera. I came back, downloaded them, and put my Nikon F2 up for sale on Amazon.


  • Well...
    1) Palm reduced the price of there whole product line shortly after the introduction of the Visor.
    2) They should be *very* code compatable. Unless someone is going outside the OS specs.

    Yeah, the Palm V is overpriced by as much as $300.
  • Palm Computing will license the PalmOS, otherwise we wouldn't have the Visor. I'd look for other companies to start creating devices based on PalmOS, and not just via partnerships. That is, I expect to see third party devices, a la the Visor, soon.

    That doesn't make it the kind of monopoly that MS is, and would most definitely spur innovation as hardware vendors compete for the market by adding wonderful new features ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is this the long awaited Sony-enters-the-mobile-music-biz announcement where they explain how they'll be using the theoretically new and ultra-wonderful NTRU [] algorithm?

    (If you haven't heard of it, follow the link. Whoa.)

  • This sounds very encouraging:
    Sony was vague about its plans for future devices. It said only in the joint announcement with Palm that the collaboration would result in "an entirely new line of handheld electronics products that will not be limited to electronic organizers but are expected to include a wide range of mobile wireless telecommunications-enabled AV/IT consumer electronics products."

    I've been waiting for someone to pull this off for some time. All it takes is something like a palm pilot with built in Richochet and an audio jack (there have been PDAs with one but not the other), and then someone like me in California will be able to walk around listening to a small college radio station in New Zealand.

    If you've been paying any attention to what the radio industry is like in the United States you'd know how supremely cool this is. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) controls access to the airwaves. No new frequencies have been allocated to radio in most urban areas in over half a century, and there's been a huge amount of corporate consolidation in radio: it all sounds the same because it's all owned by the same people. And on top of this, the FCC has censorship power, with some very vaugely defined rules about what you're allowed to say on the air (nothing "obscene", "indeceny" is allowed only late at night, announcers can make "no direct calls to action", and there's that odd distinction between advertising and underwriting announcments, etc).

    The Sony/Palm deal at least has the potential to produce something that can break this corporate/government monopoly on the airwaves. Imagine, never having to listen to country music, just because you're in texas...

    Questions remain: will it handle streaming MP3 like ala icecast, or will it force you to use something like RealAudio (or worse, will they invent a third format, and try and force people to adopt yet another server-side technology)? Will they go beserk making it (sl)easy to use and therefore inflexible (e.g. make it hard to access any unusual content by providing people with a limited number of channels to flip through)?

    The one thing that I find distressing about this announcement is that it's Sony doing it... I was hoping it would be a small start-up -- preferably one with an IPO I could ride -- though that's not the main reason. Sony does a great job with economies of scale, but I'd feel better about a world that has a few more sources for consumer electronics.

  • Despite their high prices, I see PDAs as being disposable, sort of like cell phones. They're the kinds of things you'll keep for a few years, until better tech comes along and the marketplace starts marginalizing the older stuff. You're not going to be using your Palm Pilot in 3 years. Who buys an analog cell phone anymore?

    So, if 3Com sits on its high market share, no doubt that someone will come along and, over time, take it away (lighter, smaller, cheaper, flashier, cooler, reads-real-writing-instead-of-Graffiti-er, hipper, better).
  • So Sony and RedHat are both The Next MicroSoft (tm, pat. pend.). Does this mean RedHat buys Sony or should Mr. Young start brushing up on his japanese?

    Oh! Oh! Also, does this mean that Casio will, buy Caldera (or the other way around), sell it (or get sold) to Novell, get crushed by SonyHat flooding the market with cheap Palunix devices, then change their name to Emprise and hope everyone forgets?

    Enquiring Minds Want to Know!
    Kind Regards,

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard