Palm OS – Throw Back Thursday

In honor of “Throw Back Thursdays”, here’s a Palm OS device family photo I took recently.

In that top row, we have the original Palm Pre, an H/Palm TouchPad, and the elusive Palm Foleo.  The second row includes an early USRobotics Pilot and a 3Com Palm Pilot (both running Palm OS 2.0).  You’ll also notice that a Fossil smartwatch on the far left of the fourth row.  Lastly, you’ll notice that I do have a Palm Treo 750 (Windows Mobile 6.0).

Happy Throw Back Thursday!

HP Sells the Palm Brand to Alcatel Onetouch (UPDATED)

According to a recent post over on WebOSNation website, HP has sold the Palm brand to the Chinese firm Alcatel Onetouch.

“We’ve been wondering for a while what is up with Palm.com domain, and it’s looking more and more certain that HP sold the brand and trademarks to Alcatel Onetouch. The first hints of this came from the teaser when the website started redirecting to mynewpalm.com, with a looping video of the Palm logo with the text “coming soon” and “smart move” beneath. “Smart move,” as it would be, is the slogan of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Alcatel Onetouch (a brand of Chinese electronics firm TCL). That’s not exactly a lot to go off of though, but it was enough to raise suspicions.”

The “coming soon” and “smart move” text and logo is actually a looping video file called “palm_animated5.mp4”.  Oddly, the video didn’t play on my iPhone 6 when I used it to surf to the mynewpalm.com website.  (It did work on my Mac with Safari 8.)

As a long, long time Palm fan boy I’m hoping that something good will come of the Palm brand.

UPDATE:

Upon further consideration, there are a few things that are still up in the air for Palm webOS fans.

1. I almost forgot that LG has purchased WebOS to power their line of Smart+ television sets.

2. I wonder what impact the sale of the Palm brand on LG, the Open WebOS project, and Gram (which is still online at gram.com) might be, if any.

3. What is to become of the HP/Palm webOS App Catalog store?  According to the WebOS Wikipedia page, the App Catalog site will go offline in 15 days on Jan. 15, 2015.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]

HP WindsorNot webOS Smartphone

I liked my original Sprint Pre, but I would have much preferred a device like the unreleased WindsorNot.  This is just another shadow of a device that we’ll never get to play with.  Sad, so sad.

I was never a huge fan of Palm’s sliders, despite having purchased the Palm Pre, Tungsten T3 and Tungsten T on launch day for all three devices.  (I also built my own Tungsten T2 from OEM spare parts!!)

On second though, the WindsorNot looks a lot like a Pre3 without the slider.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]

webOS’ Final Years Chronicled

As many of you know, I’ve always had a soft spot for Palm, Palm OS and even webOS.

Last week, The Verge has posted a very good article on the final three years of Palm and webOS.  The article covers the period of time from the 2009 CES webOS and Pre introduction to the present as HP shuts down the webOS hardware division and pushes the webOS software out to the open source pasture.

As a follow up to The Verge’s article, former webOS software engineer Josh Marinacci, now working for Nokia, chimes in with his observations and insider perspectives.

If you are a webOS user or fan of Palm, you will definitely want to read both article.

Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS – The Verge

webOS on The Verge – Josh on Design

webOS Failure Related to Poor Management?

A pair of articles (1, 2) from technology blog Electronista hints that webOS’ main difficulty in getting off the ground was related to poor management and inexperienced software engineers.

According to the website rumors “suggested that Palm, and later HP, may have ultimately had hurdles at the corporate level, not just technical.”  “WebOS didn’t have either the needed management or engineers to bring it to completion.”  “This was compounded by a rush to finish the OS in nine months, which required taking shortcuts such as skipping proper APIs (app programming interfaces) until later, hurting the ability for third-party developers to sign on.”

The article goes on to show that the exit of high profile, former Palm employees, such as the highly respected Matias Duarte, now batting for the Android team, accelerated the decline of the web standards based mobile OS.

“The string of executive departures after the HP takeover are now believed to have gutted the webOS team. Matias Duarte’s jump to Google saw webOS lose its defining employee, one tipster said. The replacements were described as “fourth- and fifth-stringers.” Design VP Peter Skillman’s exit to Nokia had its own tangible impact.”

Chuq von Rospach, who recently held the role of webOS Community Manager at Palm and then HP, states:

“During my tenure at Palm/HP — just under three years — I had six direct managers, averaging about 5 months per, ranging from a first level manager to directors to a couple of VPs.”  “I reported to, or up to, eight different VPs in that time. One of my direct managers (the last one) and two of those VPs are still with HP. Does that give you a sense of how well things were going in the organization? Yeah, I think it does.”

Mr von Rospach goes on by saying, “Most of the damage, he said, was “self-inflicted.” Palm had already been on the verge of collapse when it was bought by HP, and HP gave it the cash and logistical support it needed to survive. That it floundered a second time was the Palm team’s fault.”

Palm was a really create company back in the 1990’s.  It’s sad to have had to watch is slow slide into a footnote in the book of mobile computing history.  Palm OS, was the iOS of it’s day.  Many years later, webOS was a good contender, it just wasn’t good enough.

[Via Electronista.com…]

Migrating Data from Palm OS 3 and 4 Devices to webOS 1, 2 or 3 Devices

Through a very long string of back channel communications, I have received a question about moving data from a Handspring Visor Deluxe to a webOS device; I think it was a Pre.

There is no direct way to move data between a Palm OS device and a device that is running webOS.  Both operating systems were developed by Palm before being acquired by HP, but the underlying technologies are vastly different.  But there is still hope for people looking to move data from an old Palm OS device to a new webOS smartphone or tablet.

Keep reading for suggestions on how to move your data.

The easiest option is to work with a Palm OS device that is capable of HotSync’ing with Palm Desktop on a Windows XP machine.

You will need to start by downloading Palm Desktop if you don’t already have it installed.  Once you have your data synchronize with your PC, use the File > Export commands to backup your data.  You will need to do this for the Address Book/Contacts, Date Book/Calendar, To-Do List/Tasks, and Notes/Memos one at a time.  Backing up your data helps make sure you that you can get back to where you started if something goes wrong.

Next, you need to use the Data Migration Tool (DMT) to copy the data out of Palm Desktop and into a location that a webOS device, like the Pre, Pre2, or TouchPad can talk to.  My personal suggestion is to move your Palm Desktop data into a Google account, as webOS was designed to work with Google’s Gmail and Calendar applications from the very beginning.  All the directions that you will need can be found on the HP website for the DMT. (Select Palm Desktop for Windows and select your webOS device from the drop down list to get started.)

HP Replaces Palm.com with HPwebOS.com

The Palm brand, my dear friends, has come to an end.

While the Palm brand has been around for a very long time, today, HP has taken down the main palm.com website and replaced it with the HPwebOS.com website.  The new site shares the same black styling as the main HP.com website.  (I’m not a fan of HP’s website, just for the record.)

While the main Palm site is gone, the blog.palm.com and developer.palm.com websites are still active, however, it is clearly only a matter of time before HP’s web design team swoops in and changes things around there too.

This is kind of a sad day, really.  I’m going to miss the Palm brand.

Frugal, or Just Plain Cheap?

It’s fair to call me a technology junkie.  As in addict.  I can’t get enough when it comes to some of my favorite computers, tech companies, gadgets and toys.

I’ve lost track of how many Palm OS PDAs I have.  I have a Newton Message Pad and a Palm Foleo.  Throw in some iPods, BlackBerries, Treos (Windows Mobile and Palm OS), and an iPhone for good measure.

So, why I am I still using the ancient (read: 4 years old) Palm GPS Navigator kit and a Treo 755p for driving directions?

Like most cars today, when I purchased my car, I could have also purchased the in dash navigation kit; but it cost an extra $2,500.  I said I can buy a good window mount GPS kit from TomTom or Garmin for $200.  But I haven’t.  I’m still using the Treo and the Palm GPS puck.

Part of the reason why I haven’t upgraded is because it’s functional.  I like the interface, the 3D maps, and “Mandy”, my female digital co-pilot, and the GPS puck doesn’t rely on any cell towers for triangulating location – it talks with the satellites in space.  (I’m still amazed that such a small device that fits in my pocket can talk to a satellite orbiting the Earth.)

Sure, I can’t upgrade the maps on the bundled 1GB SD card.  I can’t download new voices, a feature that I do think I would use.

Am I being cheap?  Frugal?  I’d like to think I’m being frugal because the GPS kit still works.  But I think that the real reason that I have not upgraded to a new window mounted GPS kit is because, as much as I like to admit I’m a technology addict, GPS units are on the outskirts of my addiction.

[Photos via PalmInfoCenter.com…]

MotionApps Halts Sales of Classic, Turns Source Over to Palm [UPDATED}

[Editor’s Note: We have been contacted by MotionApps to let us know they are not closing down the company.]

MotionApps, the developer behind Classic, the Palm OS emulation layer for HP webOS 1.x devices like the Pre and Pixi, has halted sales and turned over the source code and the intellectual property (IP) over to HP’s Palm unit.

MotionApps has posted the following note to the Palm user community on their blog:

“We are sad to announce that Palm has removed Classic’s ROM from the new webOS 2.0 device ROM which will result in Classic not working if utilized with Palm’s new webOS 2.0.
This is contrary to our agreement with Palm and was done without our approval or consent. Based on this action, MotionApps will immediately stop selling Classic. However, as a courtesy to our clients, we will continue to support existing Classic customers on webOS 1.x for the immediate future.
Be that as it may, we believe in PalmOS and we want to do what we can to help Palm succeed in their future endeavors. So we decided to hand over the entire Classic source code and all of our accompanying IP to Palm so that Palm can do what they want to do with Classic and make it available with webOS 2.0.
Palm now has all the pieces to manage and control Classic’s future.
Thank you all who supported us along the way and who love PalmOS the way we do.
MotionApps Team”
A similar message appears on the MotionApps main website that simply reads:
“With the release of Palm webOS™ 2.0 MotionApps will no longer sell or support future versions of Classic.
We have decided to hand the entire source code and all accompanying IP over to Palm so Palm can assume full control of Classic’s future life and shape.
We had great time building Classic and supporting its vibrant community. Palm’s way of supporting MotionApps has become too disruptive for us and we no longer believe that we are in a position to provide our customers with the best product and service.
Our work is who we are so we respectfully choose to exit.”
So it appears that MotionApps, as a company, closing down along the decision to halt sales of Classic as a third-party application.
As a Classic owner, I’m sorry to see it go, however, I have received little or no utility out of Classic recently.  This is mostly to do with the fact that I am no longer using Palm OS apps on my original Sprint Pre.  I’m willing to bet that HP thinks that most of their customers will be in the same boat as me or, simply, they may just want to the cord with Palm OS.  Either way, it doesn’t matter, what’s done is done.
The interesting thing that will happen sooner or later is that all of us who purchased Classic for $30 will be forced to HP webOS 2.0 when is gets pushed out as an over-the-air update to our Pre and Pixi smarphones once our wireless carriers certify the new software.  What remains to be seen is whether or not a customer can decline the receipt of a major HP webOS upgrade like 2.0 and continuing using webOS 1.x and Classic.

Update:

MotionApps has contacted informed me they are not closing down, but, rather, simply halting the sale and further development of Classic.

“MotionApps, as a company, is not closing down along the decision to halt sales of Classic as a third-party application.

We are simply shutting down Classic as a product only to focus on other products and services that we are working on, some of which are public and some of which are yet to be released in the future.”

I’m glad to hear that MotionApps is staying in the software game and look forward to their new projects.

HotSync Guidelines for Windows 7, Windows Vista

Since getting back to (almost) daily Palm support forms moderation duty, I’ve been reading a lot of posts from people asking how to sync their Palm OS PDA, Centro, or Treo with Windows Vista or Windows 7.

The answer largely depends on what version of Windows you have installed on your PC.  If you are still running the insanely popular Windows XP, you can safely stay put with Palm Desktop 4.1.x or 4.2.

If you are running Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you really should be using Palm Desktop 6.2.2 by ACCESS.  This version is compatible with Vista and unofficially compatible with Windows 7.  (Neither Palm nor ACCESS have gone back and retested Palm Desktop 6.2.2 under Windows 7, but it does work.)

You can download Palm Desktop 6.2.2 from the Palm support website.  Be sure to read the release notes fully before installing the software on your Windows PC.  (By the way, Palm Desktop 6.2.2 does work with Windows XP.)

The tricky part comes in when you are running a 64-bit version of Windows XP, Windows Media Center, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.  There are no 64-bit compatible USB HotSync drivers available, so you have to jump through some hoops to make your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or IR enabled Palm OS device sync with your 64-bit Windows PC.

The good folks over on the Palm Support Community forums have written up a good primer on how to make your old Palm OS handheld or handset work with Microsoft’s newest desktop operating systems.

For more details on how to setup your Palm TX, T5, LifeDrive, Zire, Treo, or Centro syncing with Windows 7 or Windows Vista, check out the Palm Support Community forums thread: Windows 7 and Vista HotSync Instructions.  You’ll be glad you did.