Posts Tagged ‘palm’

Some thoughts on the Pebble smart watch

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Four weeks on the wrist, and I’m all set to go Charlton Heston on you if you try to pry it off. The Pebble smartwatch cracks the challenge of the smartwatch, and while it’s not the final iteration of the wearable technology, the Pebble reminds me of the promise of the early Psion and Palm devices I used.

The Pebble reminds me of the early days of the PDA, with many limitations in the hardware and software being overcome by smart hacking. The limitations of size and interface are obvious, while others are down to the hardware design (the Pebble watch currently has space for just eight third party apps, be they watch faces or apps accessed from the Pebble menu). But the small Pebble team are doing their best to harness the community, get them involved, and improve the product through their efforts. That’s paying off.

Should you buy the Pebble? If you’re in the market for a smartwatch, it certainly has to be one of the watches to consider. Of the current watches on the market, it is the one that I would buy for myself. As for recommending it, anyone looking at the Pebble has to remember that it is on the cutting edge of wearable technology, and it’s not going to be perfect. But it’s the smartwatch that I feel has the most promise, will have the most development and support, and will never be a chore to charge and wear.

More in-depth thoughts over on my Forbes column.

HP’s split means they never learned from Palm’s biggest mistake

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Hold on, Palm’s operating system, being split into two different branches of the company – hardware and software – all so that it should be easier for the parent company to licence the OS to other manufacturers and thus create a thriving ecosystem of devices.

Where have I heard that before? Oh yes… Palm, Inc.

This Is An Ex-Operating System

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

PalmOS is dead. That’s Ed Colligan’s assertion, and given he’s Da Man at Palm, I think we can call that case closed (yes Centro’s will still be sold, but no new models. From here on in you can go Windows Mobile or webOS – so make sure you hold the shift key down on the right letters.

To be honest this doesn’t surprise me. If handspring had bit the bullet when it was formed all those years ago and started with a blank page rather than licence PalmOS back from 3com, they wouldn’t have hit the dead end they did with Garnet.

Palm as a company now is a start-up. The name has history, but it runs a licensed OS and is now debuting its own; backed up by VC money; and hoping the sales of the pre will get them through to the next device. Can they do it? I hope so, to be honest, because the market needs more serious players to keep challenging everyone else.

Further Thoughts on the Palm Pre; Still Doesn’t Look Enough

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Following on from yesterday’s snap thoughts on the launch of the Palm Pre, the big question is going to be how well it sells. I suspect not as much as many are hoping. From Peter Kafka on All Things Digital:

[The new Palm Pre could] try to take market share by coming in significantly lower than the $200 or so Apple wants for its iPhone. But when I ran that theory by Palm CEO Ed Colligan, he looked at me liked I’d peed on his rug. “Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product,” he asked, then walked away.

If you listen very carefully, you can head Colligan ringing Palm’s cloister bell. The Palm Pre is going to come out into a crowded market space. As well as a maturing iPhone platform (with an App Store, video capability and a market leading MP3 player and interface) and RIM Blackberry portfolio (still sexy and has the Enterprise market), the Pre is also going to be up against the Nokia N97 and a Finnish marketing machine that seems to finally understand the need to focus on America

Handing the Pre probably the highest ticket price is going to give people a moment of re-consideration in the shop. The original price point was fixed at the design stage of $299. “The right handheld would have to be affordable , Anything over $300 would move it out of impulse buy range,” wrote Jeff Hawkins in his design brief.

Has Colligan been as ruthless as he was in those days, when he would ask “does this feature sell one more unit?” There are a lot of features on the Palm Pre, and many of them appear to be there because other popular handsets already have them, yet there are very few innovations on this “significantly better product.”

The one new thing is the idea of the PIM apps all working with multiple data sources to present a synergy of data and information. Pulling information from the various soups of data out there to present in a unified form has been tried on a consumer machine before… the Apple Newton.

You may think there’s an awful lot of ex-Apple employees in the new Palm, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

What I’m seeing this morning is a split on roughly geographic boundaries. The Europeans are looking at the Pre and going “yes, and?” while the American’s seem to be caught in an almost Jobsian Distortion field. A field that is slowly being punctured as people step back and look at Palm’s business model and burn rate of VC cash from Elevation Partners.

Yes, Palm are back at the smartphone poker table, but they’re playing with a pair of fives in the hole, and the assumption must be that everyone else is likely to have a stronger hand.

Not Your Father’s Palm – Impressions of the Palm Pre

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

So at CES today, Palm unveiled their new phone, the Palm Pre. This is a tough time for Palm, they’ve not had luck with their recent devices and software. The assumption is that this device had to hit it out of the park for Palm to survive the recession.

Form the initial looks, I think it’s going to struggle. There’s nothing especially new in the smartphone space here. The screen is 320×480 in portrait mode; it’s running on EV-DO for data 9so it’s effectively US only), it has a multi-touch screen that has support for ‘gestures’; a Qwerty keyboard slides out the bottom; GPS and accelerometers; 8gb storage…

If the game was to produce something new, Palm failed. If they planned to match devices like the iPhone the Nokia 5800, and the HTC touch, then they equalled their expectations. Nothing here was actually new to the smartphone world – just new from Palm. Given the timescale since their last phone that did something different, pretty much anything modern on the Pre would be seen as a bold new step for Palm.

Ed Colligan and the presentation team spent a lot of time in the one hour session at the Venetian in Las Vegas talking about the history of Palm before introducing the device. That’s worrying, because with a new device you want to spend time looking forward. Perhaps Colligan wanted to reach back to Palm’s initial DNA to position this device… but the market is not going to measure this against how revolutionary the Pilot 1000 was for it’s day, but against the current devices.

Spec wise the Palm Pre is middle of the road when compared to other similar devices. It has some nice UI features that were presented well (there’s a surprise), but from what I’m seeing online, in snap judgements people are saying Palm were great, so this must be them back. That may prove true eventually, but past performance is no guide to future success.

The big test will come when it reaches the public. Via Sprint. Which is not going doing well with the US bloggers. let’s just hope that Palm actually ship this one out the door.

Not Too Simple A Task, Please, Google

Friday, April 11th, 2008

If Google are to launch a To-Do list (as reported via an eager TechCrunch reader) then I really do hope they make it as simple as possible… but with one caveat. Have some sort of folder/labels arrangement in the same way as Gmail.

The reason for this is because to make a good To-Do list application for the real world, there needs to be a touch of filtering applied. One of the greates To-Do list applications, in my mind, was that on Palm III PDA machines. There was very little screen clutter (you had 160×160 pixels and that was it), you got a tickbox, a priority drop down (1 to 5), and a line of text. You could add a note to the text if you wanted, but this was on another screen.

But the most useful thing to have was the category list. You could view all your tasks, or just tap the top right corenr to get the filter list, and view just your ‘Work’ or ‘Blog’ to-do’s. Perfect.

I’m pointing this out because in the screenshot captured by TechCrunch, I don’t see any labelling or filtering. Simple is good, but if it’s noddy-simple then it’s useless. Stripping out a category field renders a To-Do application pointless in my book. And I’m looking specifically at the lame-duck of Nokai’s To-Do list in all their S60 smart-phones – it may sync to Outlook, but does it remember the categories to help filter out on the admittedly larger screen (albeit with a larger font and ergo much less information on display)? No it doesn’t.

I may have moved on to a better GTD system, but I still remember the days electronic To-Do lists got me through the day. It would be nice to know that the applications would be there if I ever went back to them…