The Palm Tipsheet

Home / Issue Archives / Palm Tipsheet 33

Palm Tipsheet 33 - August 2002
Have the Treo 90 and it's thumboard piqued your curiosity? Guest writer J. Kevin Wolfe shares why he believes the Treo 90 and thumboards are the next big wave in a world dominated by Grafitti-driven Palm handhelds. This issue also features a special Tipsheet Interview with Will Lau who shares his experiences as a Palm user turned Palm developer.


CONTENTS

Editor's Welcome
Notable Links
Features:
  Thumbs Up for the Treo 90
  Tipsheet Interview Special: Will Lau
End Note


Palm Doc Edition (20k):
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/doc.texts/tipsht33.doc.pdb

iSilo Edition (18k):
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/isilo.texts/tipsht33.isilo.pdb


OUR SPONSORS

The Palm Tipsheet is sponsored by readers like you! You can now donate via PayPal or the Amazon Honor System, using one of the two links below.
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/paypal.html
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/amazon-honor-system.html

DirectCase.com -- The Best selection of PDA cases on the Web! NEW ON THE SITE: DirectCase DISCOUNT CENTER!! First quality cases and accessories from 20+ manufacturers with GREAT Prices!! A new case for you or a friend! As always FREE SHIPPING in the continental US!! Call (307) 732-1400 or visit our website:
http://www.DirectCase.com/perl-bin/safe-shop?partner_ref-1

Amazon.com -- PILOTING PALM, the new book from Andrea Butter and David Pogue offers a unique insider's view of Palm, Handspring and the birth of the handheld industry. All purchases provide referral rewards.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471089656/therohdesignwebs

Handspring.com -- TREO 90 & TREO 270! Treo 90 sports a color screen, thumboard and SD slot for $299. The Treo 270 combines a color screen, GSM voice and wireless internet with Palm OS organizer features. The Treo 270 is $499 with service activation or $699 without activation. Check it out!
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/handspring-referral.html

DealTime.com -- Compare PDA prices and save the easy way! DealTime searches hundreds of online merchants for the best prices. Check it out!
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/dealtime-referral.html

Fundamental Objects, Inc. -- The official Palm Tipsheet development affiliate, specializing in custom handheld development, including full integration with your web site and databases. Visit us today!
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/fo-referral.html

Buy.com -- Buy.com -- LORD OF THE RINGS ON DVD! Pre-order LOTR, Fellowship of the Ring on DVD in full or wide screen for $20.99. Reserve your copy today!
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/buy.com-lotr-referral.html

Gear Up for Outdoor Adventure at REI! Get the stuff you need for skiing, snowboarding and all of your favorite winter sports at REI.
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/affiliates/rei-referral.html


EDITOR'S WELCOME

G'day!

My wife and I are enjoying a very relaxing vacation in the beautiful hills of western Pennsylvania as I write these words. It's great to break away from the everyday now and then. Fortunately, most of this issue was completed before we left home, so getting the Tipsheet out the door has gone quite well and is making very little impact on our time off.

Generally I'm a pretty laid back guy, but on occasion a column will fire up my passion for handhelds. A few weeks back, I came across a column in the Sydney Morning Herald by Graeme Philipson, who claims to hate PDAs and says "I've yet to see one do most things more efficiently than a manual system." in regards to handhelds:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/20/1026898931791.html

So, I had this crazy idea. What if Tipsheet readers who truly value their handhelds all dropped Graeme friendly emails, sharing reasons why we love our PDAs? I'd love to see Mr. Philipson receive many positive emails (no hate mail or flames please!) from happy handheld users. We can gently remind Graeme while he can freely choose *not* to use a PDA, there are those who choose to use PDAs because they're incredibly versatile, useful tools. If you're up for the challenge, let's show Graeme that PDA users are a graceful group who think differently and are ready to back up our beliefs. :-)

I'm pleased to present an article on the Treo 90 by guest writer J. Kevin Wolfe and a special edition Tipsheet interview with Palm developer Will Lau. I hope you enjoy the issue as much as I've had preparing it for you!

Until next time...

Mike Rohde, Editor


NOTABLE LINKS

Possible New Palm Handheld Leaked? -- This time it wasn't the Palm press leaking information. Pictures of the 'Oslo', a possible new OS 5 handheld from Palm, inc were actually released on PocketPCThoughts.com. Palm legal requested the pictures be removed and webmaster Jason Dunn complied, however, Palm Infocenter managed to grab a copy of the image has posted it along with speculative information about this mysterious new device:

http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2152
http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=3829
http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=3852


Sony Keeps Crankin' with the Clié SL10 -- Sony has just released another new Clié, called the PEG-SL10. This new $150 handheld is aimed at the low end of the market and features a backlit, hi-res 320x320 pixel monochrome screen, 8MB RAM, Palm OS 4.1, Jog Dial & Back button, USB HotSync Cable, Documents To Go Standard Edition and is powered by 2 AAA batteries:

http://www.sonystyle.com/home/item.jsp?itemid=45721


Palm OS 4.1 Upgrade for m500/m505 Released -- Owners of Palm m500 or m505s who want to upgrade their handhelds to Palm OS 4.1 can do so for free. NOTE: This upgrade application IS NOT compatible with Windows XP or Mac OS X. Be sure to read the installation notes very carefully before upgrading!!

http://www.palm.com/support/downloads/palmos41.html


PalmReader and Palm eBook Studio For Windows & Mac -- Those who like reading or creating Palm Reader e-books on their Windows or Mac computers can now do just that! Palm Reader for Windows and Mac are free downloads:

http://www.peanutpress.com/product/reader/browse/free

Meanwhile, if you're interested in creating and formatting your own Palm Reader e-books on Windows or the Mac, then check out eBook Studio. Introductory pricing is $30 (regularly $40):

http://www.peanutpress.com/ebs.cgi


Proporta Does Cases -- You may be aware that Proporta is the company behind TomeRaider, a popular reader/database tool for the Palm, but now they're offering a new line of Aluminum cases for various Palm handhelds, including Sony Clié, Palm V, Palm m500 and m100 series:

http://www.proporta.com/


FEATURES

Thumbs Up for the Treo 90
by J. Kevin Wolfe

It's cute, tiny, inexpensive, instantly user friendly and critics love it.

Longtime Palm users hate it.

Why the brouhaha over the Treo 90? Because life as Palm users know it is threatening to change.

http://www.handspring.com/products/treo90/


Gentlemen Prefer Thumboards? -- At the center of the controversy is the first Palm OS PDA without Graffiti. Graffiti is the very gearshift and steering wheel of the Palm. It's what differentiates it from all other handhelds. It replaced the Luddite technology of the keyboard, which replaced the Neanderthal technology of scrawling letters by hand. Now the keyboard: that monstrosity from the 1800s, is back. And it's attempting to replace what replaced it. Curiously, the Treo thumboard design team included Handspring Chairman Jeff Hawkins, the same Jeff Hawkins that fathered the Palm and originally conceived Graffiti.

But the sensitivity here is because Graffiti does more input, it's been a key navigation tool of the Palm as well. Depriving a user of Graffiti is on par with taking away a PC user's keyboard *and* mouse.

Graffiti is less than 10 years old, but in technology-learning-curve years that's decades. Even if the Xerox lawsuit over Graffiti sticks, Graffiti won't be eliminated from future Palm OS products. But Handspring is already forcing Graffiti to share the platform with the ever-more-popular thumboard.


The New Tribbles -- What's so threatening about the Treo 90?

* It's got a high 'cute' factor. Like the Palm V and the Mazda Miata, the Treo 90 has a lot of women saying "It's so cute!" Marketers have long known that if it appeals to women, men will buy it too. I asked Jenny Faubion, a product manager for Handspring if the appeal was intentional. "The Treo 90 was designed to be a sleek, elegant product that would appeal to both men and women, so it was intentional in the sense that we wanted to create a universally appealing product." I think she's saying it's a chick flick guys dig, the 'Gladiator' of Palm OS devices.

* The 90 is the ideal starter PDA, perfect for the college market. It achieves what Palm tried to do with the m100 series. The guts are almost identical to the m130, but the 90 is not clunky in look or feel. It's cool, so it threatens to rule.

* The included software package is top notch. In addition to Wordsmith, you also get the Treo Communicator suite of apps that can use an infrared modem-enabled mobile phone to turn the Treo into a cutting-edge communications tool.

* The thumboard is designed well enough that it's just as effective as Graffiti at navigation and faster at accurate text entry.

* Unlike keyboards and snap-on thumboards, the Treo 90's thumboard is built-in. That's a huge convenience factor. Even better: unlike full-sized keyboards you don't need to set it down on a desk to type. And Palm's biggest strength has always been mobility.

That's a solid checklist from a device that appeared out of nowhere. But Handspring says the Treo 90 was in the plans for a while, even before that fateful conference call in January. The world took Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky's comment that day that Handspring would shift towards communicators to mean that Handspring would never produce another PDA. Jenny Faubion: "Treo 90 was in the works well before that earnings call when Donna's statements may have been misinterpreted."

Wouldn't it be ironic if Handspring's unexpected child grew up to be the one that achieved highest stardom?

So what were my reasons for getting a Treo 90? Recently I started developing apps with PDA Toolbox and tweaking them directly on the Palm with Quartus RsrcEdit. I needed a color machine for development and testing that ran OS 4.1 and had a card slot. I could have bought a Sony T615 for $20 more, but decided that the Treo's keyboard would present me with new challenges that would be valid in developing apps for future PDAs not dependent on Graffiti. And yes, I was right. Paul Anderson and Rick Sands on the development team at PDA Toolbox spent some serious time making PDAT Treo compatible.

http://www.pdatoolbox.com/
http://www.quartus.net/products/rsrcedit/


Resistance is Futile -- Sales were an instant indicator of success of the Treo 180's thumboard. It's outsold the Graffiti version 3 to 1. Attachable thumboards are available for most Palm OS machines. The Rim Blackberry and the Sharp Zaurus also have built-in thumboards. Sony's new high-end models combine Graffiti with thumboards. All this thumboard attention has Graffiti users worried about the extinction of a text entry system that's become second nature.


Old Dogs, Older Tricks -- One problem is that the Treo 90 has a greater learning curve for veteran Palm users than for someone touching a PDA for the first time. Hand the 90 to a newbie and they'll be typing a memo within seconds. But if you hand one to a veteran, they can't navigate the thing and give up in frustration.

So why will thumboards become so popular? An astounding 90% of Palm users don't install a single third party app on their Palm. Do you really think they've bothered with learning Graffiti? I've handed my 90 to every 'casual' Palm user I know. Every one of them loved the Treo. None noticed the addition of color first. They all instantly were caught by the keyboard.

The Treo 90's 34 keys are well thought out, yielding 200 characters. More than 99% of what you need to type is available with the shift or option key and is marked on the thumboard. The last 1% and international characters are available with the clever 'List' key. Will Rees, who designed the thumboard with Hawkins, says "We went through many iterations of the layout and the behavior of the shift and option modifiers. Several months were spent focusing on making a keyboard that was fast and comfortable for two thumbs and for one-handed use."

Every character you can get out of Graffiti is a few keypresses away. Rees: "We even threw in some fun extras like emoticons (look under the : ). There are also some special characters like the Graffiti Shortcut character that are also available. The command stroke was so important that it was actually given its own button, the Menu button."

Most apps on the Treo 90 function without touching the screen, except, of course, drawing apps. As a rule, if the app functions well with a Stowaway, it will function well on the Treo. Any app worth its sodium chloride includes commands strokes, which the Treo can access with two key presses.

http://www.thinkoutside.com/


What? No Jogwheel? -- That's the big complaint. The Treo communicators have them. The jogwheel is great for controlling one-handed phone functions. But you hold the Treo 90 differently. Standard Graffiti position is like a notepad, with Palm in left, stylus in right (if you're right handed.) But you hold the Treo 90 in both hands, like a Gameboy. There's little need for a stylus, with almost every function keyboard accessible. A jogwheel would have you constantly shifting hands.


Under The Radar Gun -- Maybe I'm not a typical inputter. I learned to type from guys in a radio station newsroom who hit 90 words a minute with two fingers. And I've only been using Graffiti a year. Plus my bank sometimes tells me my checks have been forged, since my signature is so inconsistent. (Yes it's funny, until you have to fight the returned check fee.) But being a writer, I put a lot of text through Dragonball chips, (like this article, which was typed entirely on the Treo keyboard.) So how fast is it compared to other input methods? Like baseball pitching, we're weighing two factors: speed and accuracy.

As you would expect, I'm fastest with the Stowaway (using three fingers): 50 wpm, error free. Next is the far-too-often overlooked built-in virtual keyboard (The Treo 90 still has one for night entry): 26 wpm, 8% errors. Graffiti came in at 15 wpm, 26% errors. And the thumboard after a week of usage? 34 wpm, no errors. The surprising thing about the tiny keys is how few mistakes one makes.


Benedict Arnold's PDA -- If you're thinking of turning coat and getting a Treo 90, here are the gotta-have apps: BackupBuddyVFS:Free is virtually the same app as the Handspring Backup module software, with a few added features. It does an exact backup of your system on an SD card in a couple of minutes. System restores are flawless. (Don't ask me how I know.) You can also buy the full-scale BackupBuddy or use the freeware Filez to restore individual files.

http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=14303
http://www.bluenomad.com/bbvfs/prod_bbvfs_details.html
http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=9992

With the Treo 90, you lose all your silkscreen-triggered hacks. For some, this is a major issue, but many hacks also offer button access. Button Manager is a solid hack that allows you to launch eight key apps by toggling two with each hardware button:

http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=35561

The freeware Buttons-T lets you launch four more with the hardware buttons and option key:

http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=40595

A freeware hack called Treo Keyboard Utils gives you complete cursor movement and allows you to jump fields with the thumboard:

http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=42714

Two Button Hack keeps the exposed hardware keys from turning the unit on in your pocket or bag. Clock Pop Hack puts the time a keypress away without opening the clear Treo flip cover:

http://www.freewarepalm.com/utilities/twokeyonhack.shtml
http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=13111

And if you really miss Graffiti, install NewPen. It turns the Treo 90 screen into a Graffiti area. All standard functions and commands seem to work, except shortcuts and these are accessible by keyboard:

http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=42632


The Future of Input -- The keyboard is NOT the ultimate input method. It's downright inefficient. In the 1870s the Sholes Typewriter Company got complaints that their keys were sticking. Engineers determined that the mechanics of the typewriter were too slow. Instead of improving the mechanics, they put some of the most-used keys where they were harder to reach, slowing typists down. Thus the QWERTY keyboard was born. The Dvorak keyboard layout is much more efficient, but didn't catch on because people refused to change from QWERTY. It's the same reason Microsoft initially opted for character recognition over of Graffiti: because we're used to it.

It might console Graffiti users to know that the input method of the future will not be virtual keyboard based, like FITALY, or numberpad based, like MessageEase. It will most likely be something we're more used to: voice recognition (VR). It's much faster than scratching OR typing. In the early 90s the inventors of the handheld; Psion, gave up on early VR because the chips couldn't handle the complexity of the human voice. But the chips are vastly bigger and faster now. Engineers have modified Palms to respond to 200 voice commands. OS 5 machines will run on ARM chips which can multitask at speeds up to a gig. These are prime for VR.

http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=6774
http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=38036

I need to point out that no OS 5 VR units are planned, but when they arrive, surely there will be resistance. We always resist change. Whether it's for the better or worse isn't a factor. And when Wi-Fi2 can receive text by thought transference, those VR users are really going to be in an uproar.

***
J. Kevin Wolfe is a writer who lives in Cincinnati. He's just released his first apps called Thots, a journaling application and DingPad, a sketchpad with alarms. They're Treo-friendly, as well as Graffiti friendly and both are freeware:

http://jkevinwolfe.home.att.net/thots/
http://jkevinwolfe.home.att.net/dingpad/

His Palm Glitch site has recently been updated with some Treo additions:

http://jkevinwolfe.home.att.net/glitch/

The complete text of Kevin Wolfe's interview with Will Rees and Jenny Faubion is available here:

http://www.palmtipsheet.com/html.texts/treo-team-interview.html


Tipsheet Interview Special: Will Lau
This month's Tipsheet Interview is a special edition, featuring Palm developer Will Lau, a long-time Palm community member turned Palm developer and entrepreneur. Will is a New Zealander who's found himself living and working from many far-flung places in the world, most recently in Montreal, Canada. His main handheld uses are for travel, reading news and reference as well as application testing for development. He's recently switched back to his Palm m505 due to disappointment with his Sony Clié T615C's weak battery life, poor Graffiti recognition and migratory flip cover.


*PT: Will, thanks for taking the time to talk with me and share your experience with the Palm Tipsheet.

No problems Mike. I'm a big fan of your newsletter!


*PT: First off, can you tell us about why you decided to use a Palm handheld and how you got involved with the Palm community?

Back in 1998 I was planning my first backpacking trip, which would take me around the world over good part of a year. I knew nothing of PDAs except for a gut feeling that a PDA and I would make a great team on the road. The options at the time were WinCE, Psion or Palm. I selected a PalmPilot, as it was called back then, for the sake of the user community being so nutty over them. I could certainly tell that from reading the newsgroups.

So there I was, first stop Vancouver Canada, fresh off the plane on one of their typically rainy winter's day. I vividly remember the bus ride into the city, happily scribbling down my thoughts on my iddy biddy Palm III. I used a modem to email my travelogue to the mates back home. My email app was MultiMail Pro Beta. I think I got onto the beta team because I had so many problems with the package prior to embarking. I can tell you now that email is pretty addictive when you're backpacking and doing it 'seat of your pants' style with a Palm III was doubly so.

I wrote a lot during my travels. Along the way I wrote an article for Pen Computing Magazine -- now that was fun. It was 16k document which took 12 hours to input using graffiti! Whenever I had trouble with my software I'd email the developers, and that would sometimes start a line of communication to improve the product.

So that was my first introduction to the Palm community... from email correspondence on my globetrotting Palm III.

By the end of that trip I was absolutely hooked on these little Palm devices. In quiet spots across Canada, USA, UK, Greece, and Turkey, I figured from my battery usage that I'd averaged a crazy 20 hours a week on the Palm and had designed large portions of the MultiMail Pro III user interface (UI) with TealPaint, a great little doodling app. Much of the icons you see in MultiMail Pro were created on my Palm III in a little town called Orillia somewhere north of Toronto. We got stranded up there over Easter weekend when everything was closed and I have a lot of spare time on my hands.


*PT: What are the reasons and experiences behind your shift from being a regular ol' Palm user to becoming a Palm developer?

I guess I fell in love with the device during that first globetrotting adventure. I could see its possibilities and in my mind's eye it was a technology ready to explode. My career as a product designer started to look pretty dull, so I followed my passion, started a business that pitched web/UI and icon design service for the Palm developer community. One thing leads to another in business, so for the last year I've been involved with colleagues to create some software of our own.


*PT: As a developer of Palm applications, what kinds of insights can you share with regular Palm users about the lives of developers? What might Palm users be surprised to learn?

We're a fun bunch. The community is close knit. I like this quote from AJ Weiner (he was involved in FitalyStamp product):

"The single thing I like best about Palms and Palm development is the camaraderie amongst everyone. In most cases, even competitors are friendly. How many places do you go where people routinely help everyone else? Brings tears to my eyes..."

That really sums up the community. I've had the privilege of meeting many of the guys and girls that crank out much of the software you see on your Palms today and I must say it's been fun.


*PT: What Palm projects are you currently working on? Anything you'd like to announce in the Tipsheet? :-)

Launcher X would be the most obvious project, it seems there's been so much hype generated that it's hard to miss. I teamed up last August with Bozidar Benc, who did Launcher III, with the concept to create a new launcher based on Launcher III but with a completely customizable UI which we have called Active Skins(TM). The idea is make skins more than just 'face paint' -- we wanted the skin to be a proper UI layer. By putting active code in there to define the look, layout and behavior of the UI we get a pretty cool skin architecture -- what we can do with it is limited only by our imagination.

http://www.launcherx.com/

The first skins we'll release will be pretty ordinary, but once the excitement of the product launch settles down we hope to put some skins out that will blow some cobwebs off the Palm.


*PT: There has been a huge amount of discussion on email lists and discussion boards about the release of Launcher X. Can you share your thoughts on how this was started and reasons for the delay in its release?

The hype created around this product has been a complete accident. The word got out way too early from a full-page ad we inserted into the Sony Clié magazine that shipped with new devices earlier than we'd anticipated. I frantically put up a website overnight to catch these hits prematurely coming from the ad. Now the real eye-opener was seeing the grapevine effect take place right in front of my eyes, as our hit counter tracked the news of our 'mystery product' propagating around the world via online discussion forums. I guess that's a testament to the success of Launcher III.

If everything had run smoothly we would have been set for a March release, but as things turned out, Bozidar had some unexpected health related family issues which meant he had to take a long break from coding. Since I'm just the UI guy for Launcher X, development pretty much stood still for many months until Bozidar could pick things up again in late May.


*PT: You mentioned you're working multiple projects currently -- can you share details on any other projects in development with us?

Sure. The other big one would be SnapperMail. It's a totally separate venture and it's been in development for nearly a year now. We're putting together an email client that takes off from where MultiMail left us in 2000, when development came to a near halt after it's acquisition by Palm, Inc. In light of 2.5/3G Palm OS Smartphones hitting the market, I saw a real need for an emailer that could download HUGE emails with attachments and open them without fuss or any clunky conversion processes involving proxies and proprietary server technology. Thus the idea for SnapperMail was born.

http://www.snappermail.com/

Beyond the raw functionality and feature-set, I wanted to go to town on the user interface. I wanted a no holds barred design where the UI is 'pure' with no shortcuts made for the sake of coding ease, this is something you see a lot of on Palm OS applications.

We're approaching public beta on this product and I'm pretty buzzed about it. It's cool to do all those things I wanted to do with MultiMail but never got the chance since it wasn't my baby.


*PT: Can you share your most satisfying experiences as a Palm developer?

What I find satisfying is seeing something conceptualized, brainstormed, refined, and finally implemented run for the very first time. I'm talking about stuff that's never been done before by anyone. That's what I find satisfying. It's always a buzz to do something that's a first.

One of my most vivid memories was seeing our team set a new record for the biggest email attachment to be received on a Palm OS handheld. Handling big files is actually quite a hard problem since everything in Palm OS is only designed to work with a maximum of 64k. The team spent 4 months building a flexible and very optimized database architecture suited to storing unlimited sized email content. The night we got it hooked up and running we set a new record with a 5.5 MB CSV file which broke MultiMail's 2MB record set back in 1999. We had the code downloading and reading ebooks in the message reader one month later! I was pretty satisfied!


*PT: What are you most excited about looking forward to ARM-based Palm handhelds and Palm OS 5?

I'll have to put on my Biz Dev hat and say the thing that buzzes me the most about OS 5 is that it's lifted Palm out of the doldrums and it's done it much earlier than the analysts had expected. Remember, there was a time not that long ago when people were just waiting for Palm to keel over. OS 5 and a bevy of new device announcements have really put excitement back into the Palm camp.

They didn't let feature-itis get the better of them -- instead they decided to release OS 5 without the crowd pleasers. They opted for good time to market and that is crucial in this fast moving space. It's really put Palm back on track early and THAT'S what I'm excited about.


*PT: Where do you see Palm handhelds and versions of the Palm OS going in the next 3 to 5 years?

Hmmmm.... 3 to 5 years is a very long way to look in this space. I doubt I can pick exactly where we'll be in 5 years. For now sorting out a 2-year game plan is challenging, but since you ask here's my guess:

I can see wireless finally coming of age. Up to now, wireless technology has been quite immature with lots of proprietary solutions running on expensive low bandwidth networks. In 3 years I expect the new 2.5 / 3G networks capable of supporting TCP/IP to be ubiquitous and cheap, with that in place I can see Palm handhelds becoming very much a communications device. Email messaging and wireless web access should be pretty big.

On other fronts I can see these devices becoming more personalized and fun much like mobile phones are today. Things like MP3 playback, skinnable interfaces, better sound and graphics will be de rigueur.

With the shift to ARM, processing speeds will increase dramatically and in doing so I expect to see PC formatted files being handled in raw form without needing a conduit. I mean right now all our files go through a conduit, which goes... "let me simplify this file for this weeny little PDA". I expect this type of middle step will become less common and we'll access real files directly from all sorts of origins like email attachments, the memory card, directly from PCs by beaming, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

I think the e-ink technology that we've seen in prototype form has HUGE potential. I expect in 2 years we'll see the first PDA screens which look just like laser print. That's pretty exciting to imagine. I bet e-books will be pretty big with this kind of technology available.

As for the OS, I expect to see multi-threading in OS 6 and lots of new layers to deal with communication protocols. I can see the OS becoming very much a modular and elegant mix-and-match system. In my mind it'll be capable of supporting many types of devices of all shapes and sizes.


*PT: You're quite the traveler. Can you share ways your Palm handheld helps you in travels, including software or hardware?

To me a Palm handheld ranks second only to my travel bag and slightly in front of my toothbrush when traveling. :-) These things are great!

Above all else it's a very good way to ditch weight and that's the number one game in town when you're on the move. I use Quickword to write my travel journals and Memo pad to store useful travel notes. I carry a few ebooks on the memory card and read them with DeepReader (beta). I'll usually take SlovoEd, a bilingual dictionary with me, also Noah Pro is handy every now and then for reference. WorldMate is pretty good for keeping on top of time zone changes and currency rates.

http://www.cesinc.com/quickword/
http://www.rzanerutledge.com/deepreader/
http://www.penreader.com/PalmOS/SlovoEd.html
http://www.arslexis.com/
http://www.mobimate.com/worldmate/

Finally where would I be without email? It becomes like this critical link between you and the big wide world out there. When you're country hopping it's about the only way people can reliably talk to you. In my early days I used MultiMail and a Palm modem, it was always fun searching out phone sockets. I got darn good at it after half a year of traveling. More recently I shifted to Eudora, which is a lot more stable, and for a connection I used my Motorola Tri-band world phone with a built in IR modem. Next time I'll use SnapperMail and a Palm OS smartphone with GPRS.

http://www.actualsoft.com/prod_mmpro_details.htm
http://www.eudora.com/internetsuite/


*PT: Funny Palm stories are a hallmark in the Tipsheet Interview. Can you share one with us? :-)

OK... I was in this hostel in Edmonton, Alberta. I got talking to this guy call Ryan there. Now the unusual thing about Ryan was that he actually owned a Palm. This was a pretty rare thing to happen back in 1999. So as ya do, we started a beaming session of unprecedented proportions. Unfortunately the beaming wasn't too successful and Ryan ended up having to hard reset his unit... some 'beaming from flash' tragedy I guess.

At the end of the next day I bump into this guy again...

"So how's it going Ryan?"

"Yeah, pretty good -- I managed to enter all of my 150 addresses back into my Palm. Only took 3 hours"

Well we couldn't help ourselves and started another beaming session, with the same result. Ooops.

He took it quite well really. :-)


*PT: Thank you for taking time to share Will. Are there any parting comments you'd like to share with us?

Thank you Mike, I've enjoyed it. Parting comments? How about 'Keep cool 'till after school'. That's a good bye saying we used a lot as little Kiwi kids a long time ago. :-)


Interview Slots Still Available! -- If you're a Palm user outside of the US and are interested in being interviewed by the Palm Tipsheet, I invite you to check the list of past and upcoming interviews (to make sure your country isn't already represented) and send an email to for consideration.

The list of upcoming interviews includes: Chile, Singapore, Italy, The Philippines, Belgium, South Africa, Bahrain, Barbados, Russia, Romania, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Guatemala, Portugal, Slovenia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Kenya, Croatia, Denmark, South Korea, Indonesia and Oman.

The list of past interviews includes users from: Malaysia, Venezuela, Thailand, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Israel, The Netherlands, India, Costa Rica, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, France, Japan, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. If you are from a country *not* represented on either list, feel free to apply with an an e-mail For consideration.


END NOTE

I hope J. Kevin Wolfe's review of the Treo 90 and it's thumboard technology was enlightening and that Will Lau's insights into the life of a Palm developer have provided a new view of Palm developers and how they benefit the Palm community.

Want more? Check out the Palm Tipsheet website for archived issues, article and interview listings, Tipsheet FAQ, the 'About the Tipsheet' area, our mobile edition and the handy search tool:

http://www.palmtipsheet.com/

Feel free share the Palm Tipsheet website with new Palm users. If this issue was forwarded by a Palm friend, you too can get the Palm Tipsheet sent to your e-mailbox free each month. Follow the subscription instructions below, or use the subscription tool on the website to join the mailing list.

A great August to you all!

Mike Rohde, Editor


$$


Copyright 1998-2002 (C) Mike Rohde. All rights reserved. There is no guarantee of accuracy in articles. The mention of a product or service does not imply an endorsement. Company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies. This document is freeware and may be redistributed freely without modification by written permission. No portion of this document may be altered, reprinted, or sold to any person or entity without written permission of Mike Rohde. This copyright applies to all versions of the Palm Tipsheet, in any language, in plain text, HTML, AvantGo or Palm doc formats.


"The smart man can pick up a grain of sand and envision a whole universe, but the stupid man will find some seaweed and roll around until he's all covered in it and go, 'Hey! I'm vine man!'"
-- Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey


SUBSCRIPTIONS

To subscribe, send an email to [email protected]

Comments or Questions

Press Submissions

Back to Top | Issue Archives | Home Page