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Old 10-30-2005, 01:11 PM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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Washington Post on how Palm forgot to wow spectators

If you are tired of all the positive blurb for Palm's latest Tungsten TX, check out this editorial appearing in the Washington Post today, telling us why the Tungsten TX comes three years too late.

[Palm's] best chance of success may lie in continued mistakes by Palm's competitors -- not just vendors of devices running Microsoft's Windows Mobile software, but also wireless phone companies and MP3-player manufacturers... It may require a minor revolution to get the cell phone vendors to seize this opportunity, but it should not take much more work to turn an iPod or other MP3 player into an effective, reliable way to carry around a Mac or PC's address book and calendar. Once either event comes to pass, Palm risks finding itself with even fewer potential buyers to impress.
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Old 10-30-2005, 01:49 PM   #2
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Preach the gospel, brother Rob!

Seriously, though, I couldn't imagine anyone other than the most hardcore Palm fanatics getting excited over the TX. I've made similar disparaging remarks regarding the TX on the PalmAddict forums; however, it's no great leap of logic to presume that (a) if you're reading Palm Addict and (b) you're taking the time to comment on their forum, then you're probably a Palm addict (note that lack of capitalization to denote a state of being rather than a title).

Edit: It should be noted that I've done (a) and (b) but someone must've forgotten to pass me the Kool-Aid.
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Old 10-30-2005, 02:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Dunstan
...but it should not take much more work to turn an iPod or other MP3 player into an effective, reliable way to carry around a Mac or PC's address book and calendar. Once either event comes to pass, Palm risks finding itself with even fewer potential buyers to impress.
I find this rather simplistic.

I have a Zaurus SLC-760. Basically a mini-laptop masquerading as a PDA. I pretty much use it only for a few games and to do some laptop-like stuff without having to carry a laptop.

Why don't I use it as a PDA? Because as a PDA is stinks. The PIM applications for it (built in or 3rd party) assume that you are running on a desktop (and that just doesn't work on the tiny screen), plus they don't have the polished functionality that the Palm PIM apps have.

That's why I still use my Palm (that and the 3rd party support for it).

The idea that someone's going to take the video iPod, plunk some PIM applications on it and kill Palm is a pipe dream.

At some point, we will have a PDA/MP3 player for the masses. But it's more likely to be a Palm with a large hard drive (hmmm... A LifeDrive that actually works nicely, maybe) not an iPod with some PIM apps.
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Old 10-30-2005, 02:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
At some point, we will have a PDA/MP3 player for the masses. But it's more likely to be a Palm with a large hard drive (hmmm... A LifeDrive that actually works nicely, maybe) not an iPod with some PIM apps.
Based solely on technology, I would expect a smartphone with a lot (read: 4GB+) of flash will beat out the PDA and the Nano. However, with the the wireless carriers unfortunately wading into the music distribution business, I'm more inclined to believe that a flash-based but significantly cheaper and smaller LifeDrive could have a shot. If not for the screen, such a device could be nade iPod Nano sized.
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Old 10-30-2005, 03:08 PM   #5
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We'll just have to see what the new crop of smartphones from Access/Palmsource Asian licensees offer and how the US carriers choose to cripple them.
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Old 10-30-2005, 05:15 PM   #6
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We'll just have to see what the new crop of smartphones from Access/Palmsource Asian licensees offer and how the US carriers choose to cripple them.
I just don't see the phone market having much to do with it in the future.

1. the reason above. The phone dinosaurs want too much control over what you can do with YOUR device.
2. Ubiquitous WiFi and VOIP.

I have a cell phone and really don't use it that much. I want to get messages from people, but I want to read them when I have the time, not when they want to send them to me. Having e-mail and some sort of SMS is much better for passing information then having a cell phone.
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Old 10-30-2005, 05:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
I have a cell phone and really don't use it that much. I want to get messages from people, but I want to read them when I have the time, not when they want to send them to me. Having e-mail and some sort of SMS is much better for passing information then having a cell phone.
While I agree with this philosophy, understand that our shared perspective does not make up the norm. Children and teenagers use every feature of their cellphone: voice and SMS among them. Many business users want to know who is calling them but desire the option to ignore their call and possibly return it later.

To take this argument a little further, most of the individuals who frequent enthusaist sites are likely to be the early adopters but not nearly as likely to be representative of the mainstream user.

Thinking on a 24 year old coworker of mine, I know that he loves to watch his ESPN on his cell phone. However, I doubt that this guy will pay the rumored $2.50 to obtain two copies of the same song: a lowfi version for his cellphone and a hifi version for his PC.

It may actually take a Google, Microsoft, or Apple going into the phone business to break down these superfluous barriers that separate PCs from now-nearly-portable-computer cell phones.
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:08 PM   #8
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This review from the Washington Post was a breath of fresh air. Too often, the only negative reviews that have been printed have focused on how Palm is losing the race to WM devices by not including feature X. Here, Rob Pegoraro spends some time talking about how Palm has, despite constantly touting themselves as the masters of usability, in fact been taking steps backwards in terms of usability over the past few years. The ability to enter data is a crucial advantage that Palm devices have over cellphones and iPods, but with Graffiti 2 firmly in place and the input panel made smaller, and lots of little soft buttons nearby begging to be accidentally tapped by your stylus, the efficiency and accuracy of text input is now worse than it was on the original Pilot 1000/5000.

And simply putting a color screen on a sub-$100 device does not automatically make it a great device for photo viewing. As he points out, the screen quality is poor, and with precious little free storage space and no SD card, how many photos would you really be able to put on there, anyway?

Michael Mace announced a couple of years ago that the old-time believers of Zen were being stamped out of Palm. Their new thinking seems to be more of trying to be as good or better than the Pocket PC offerings. Focusing too much of your attention on devices with poor usability has a detrimental effect on the usability of your own products.
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