Remembering the Palm TX, T5, and LifeDrive

I just moved my Palm TX, T5, and LifeDrive into storage.  They had been local residents on my desk since I acquired them and I have enjoyed playing and working with them for many years.  Today was the day they they moved into my storage crate with all of my other decommissioned smartphones and PDAs.

My Palm Pre, Apple iPhone 2G, BlackBerry Storm2, HTC Droid Eris, and Palm Foleo just got more room to spread out.

If you want to take a walk down memory lane, check out the PDA Museum where you can find write ups on many of the Palm/pa1mOne and Sony Clie Palm OS devices.

Classic Saves You Some Green on Earth Day

MotionApp is going green for Earth Day! On their Facebook page, MotionApps writes:

“Gone green during time limited promo. You can get Classic for $19.99 as of now”.

Classic is the webOS application that allows you to run all of your old Palm OS application on your Palm Pre or Pixi smartphone. Classic also allows you to HotSync with Palm Desktop running on your Windows PC using either a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.

For more information, check out the MotionApps website

Regarding Palm

I have been reserving my judgment and remaining silent on Palm’s future prospects lately. After reading the reports from Palm’s latest financial earnings conference call, I have to say, that I’m a little more that worried about the company’s future outlook. (PreCentral, BoyGeniusReport, PalmInfoCenter)

Palm is sitting on a mountain of unsold webOS devices to the tune of about 500,000 according to some analyst reports. That, combined with slower than expected sales at Sprint and Verizon has lead to lower earnings for the quarter. Next quarter isn’t expected to be any better. Some analysts are revising Palm stock price estimates to a target of $0. That’s seriously not good.

So where does that leave a 10+ year user of Palm’s hardware? Well, no where, actually. I’m happy with my Palm Pre. I really like Synergy; the replacement for HotSync that collects all of my data and presents it in a single use to use location. By entering in my account information, I can have my Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Exchange data at my finger tips. Any updates on any or all of those accounts or on my phone, and the data is instantly updated everywhere else. That’s pretty cool if I do say so myself.

But the longer term outlook could be much less optimistic. Palm’s CEO, Jon Rubinstein, was quoted as saying:

“We had an arrangement with Sprint that when we launched with Sprint that they would invest in marketing and carry the product and for that they would get an exclusive for a period of time. That really determined when we could do our launch at Verizon. I agree with your premise that if we could have launched at Verizon earlier, prior to Droid, that we would have gotten the attention that the Droid got and since I believe that we have a better product, I think we would have even done better.

And there in lies the problem. Even though Palm’s webOS operating system is very good, it’s all of for not if they can’t effectively market and sell their products. Without growing sales, it is really hard to attract companies like DataViz to provide the kind of excellent applications, like Documents To Go, that are needed to add functionality to Palm’s devices.

When you are staring down at these grim assessments, it is really kind of hard to get excited about Palm products; and this is coming from a self-proclaimed Palm fanatic. Will I continue to use my Pre for the next 15 months until my current Sprint contract runs out? Sure will. Come next June though, I may have no choice but to switch to a BlackBerry.

In a related article, seen over on PalmInforCenter, former Palm co-founder and former Palm board member, Donna Dubinsk, was recently quoted as saying that the separation of Palm’s operating system from their hardware was a “huge strategic error” back in the early part of the 2000’s.

“Dubinsky said all the shuffling took “critical resources and attention from product development.” And even though it happened years ago, she called the decision to spin off PalmOS a “huge strategic error.” “As RIM, Apple and Palm all have demonstrated, these devices need to be highly integrated hardware and software developments in order to optimize the user experience,” Dubinsky wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “When Palm no longer could advance the OS, and had to create a new one, it lost several years.”

So, finally, in 2010, a former high level Palm executive admits what Palm fans everywhere have known for years: selling off Palm OS to PalmSource and keeping the hardware business in house was an incredibly stupid move that caused Palm to lose their leadership position in the smartphone race. The effects of this decision are still being felt today as Palm continues to flounder and fight to stay relevant in a now crowded smartphone market space.

[Photo via PreCentral.net.]

No Palm OS Conduit in Snow Leopard iSync

Mac fan undoubtedly know that this coming Friday Apple will let the cat out of the bag as it where, and release Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Fan site AppleInsider.com recently posted:

“Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0, according to sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, requiring users of Palm OS devices to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.”

I’m not really surprised that Apple is cutting ties with the old Palm OS conduit. Palm themselves have also halted development of products based on Palm OS so it makes little sense for Apple to continue supporting the Palm OS conduit in their iSync product. Additionally, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will be the first version of Mac OS X that will not include support for Apple’s own PowerPC-based PowerMac and PowerBook models.

For Palm users who are also Mac users, I would suggest switching from Apple’s iSync software to Mark/Space The Missing Sync for Palm OS. The Missing Sync will allow you to sync with Address Book, iCal, Entourage, iPhoto, and iTunes. You can learn more about the Missing Sync on the Mark/Space website.

Read the full AppleInsider article

Classic 1.1 Released With Some Bumps In the Road

Along side the Palm webOS 1.0.3 update that went out Friday, MotionApps also released the 1.1.05 Classic update for webOS. Classic is a Palm OS 5 emulation package for webOS.

Classic 1.1 has some nice enhancement baked in, such as:

  • sound support
  • pinch/zoom feature
  • improved keyboard behavior
  • improved process of Palm OS application and data loading
  • enhanced preferences and overall greatly improved stability

The update, unfortunately, didn’t roll out as smoothly as MotionApps would have liked. A note quickly appeared on the MotionApps blog that read:

“We have received reports from some users that they are experiencing issues with Classic after installing the webOS 1.0.3 update on their Pre which at the same time updated Classic 1.0 to Classic 1.1.

If you are experiencing any issues when running Classic after webOS 1.0.3 update, please see an FAQ entry we have posted with a fix.”

The fix, as reported in the FAQ, includes the deletion of the “ClassicApps” folder on the Pre’s storage volume that appears when you mount the Pre to your computers desktop.

The article also states that early adopters of Classic should also delete the Classic ROM Updater application as it is no longer required because the feauteres have been migrated into the Classic 1.1 update.

Classic can be downloaded to your Pre by using the App Catalog program on your Pre. If you chose to use Classic beyond it’s 7 day trial period, you can purchase Classic for $29.99 from the MotionApps website.

Unlocked Palm Centro Now $199

Palm, in an emailed newsletter, has announced that customers of Palm’s online store and pick up an unlocked Centro for a cool $199. Palm sells the unlocked Centro in three colors: Ruby Red, Glacier White, and my favorite, Cobalt Blue.

The Centro is a full-featured smartphone that brings the well respected ease of use of the Palm OS to a respectable price point without having to sign a 2-year contract or extension with AT&T or T-Mobile.

To start shopping for your new Centro, visit the Palm online store.

More Details on Palm OS Emulation on webOS

Earlier this week Palm geeks everywhere where happy to learn that there would be third-party support for emulating Palm OS 5 on the new webOS platform thanks to the efforts of MotionApps.

SlashGearTV.com has some footage from the CTIA Wireless show of the the Pre’s product manager showing off MotionApps’ Classic running on webOS.

What I find really cool about this is that we can have our cake and eat it too. webOS is the much needed shot in the arm that is required to help reboot Palm and fling them back into the spotlight as an innovator in the mobile computing space. But who want’s to be out there in webOS with not of the great software that you have been using for the last decade? For me, old habbits die hard, and I want to be able to have my Handmark Astraware games and DataViz Passwords Plus.

If you watch closely in the demo, you will learn that there is full 5-way nav support in Classic and Palm and Motion have worked together to ensure that the keyboard is fully integrated into the emulation environment. There was no word on whether or not you could continue to HotSync information and applications into Classic (my guess is no), but there was an icon called HotSync ID, which I’m guessing is a way to program your old Palm OS device’s HotSync ID into the Classic environment. When you mount the Pre in USB drive mode to your Mac or PC desktop computer, you will be able to copy Palm OS applications (.prc files) and databases (.pdb files) int the classic folder and they will become available in Classic.

There was one other interesting morsel briefly mentioned in the demo. The person running the demo indicates that they worked with the developer of the popular medical package, epocrates, to come up with a new over the air (OTA) installer for the software. Holy smokes!! Sounds like MotionApps could be building in wireless support for Classic that might allow Classic to access the Pre’s cellular radio to get wireless Internet access for your old Palm OS applications. How cool is that?! Pretty cool, huh? MotionApps plans to release more details as we get closer to the release of webOS and the new Palm Pre. The Palm product manager for the Pre indicates that Palm wants to make sure that customers will have the ability to run all of their favorite Palm OS applications on day one when the Pre goes on sale for Sprint.

For more details, keep checking the MotionApps website. Click the link below to watch the SlashGear video.

http://vms.slashgear.tv/sgtv/sgtv_player.swf

Tweaking TealOS for More Productivity

Fellow Palm community blogger Clemens Schuchert, over at PUGcast The Blog, has written another good article about tweaking TealPoint’s TealOS application launcher for Palm OS devices like the Treo 755p, Centro, and the recently retired Palm TX handheld.

Mr. Schuchert writes:

“Tealpoint’s Palm Pre immitation of webOS for the PalmOS platform, called “TealOS”, is a nice peace of software and once more a comittment of an long lasting software company to the Palm community. I am overwhelmed by Tealpoint’s update activity, releasing two to three updates per day.

As I have indicated last time, TealOS could be a security issue for those working with password databases and sensitive data in general. Coming back to their update policy, I found a nice workaround and new implementation within the latest updates on how to handle sensitive data.

Last week, I proposed to exclude security applications such as Secret, Splash ID, etc. from being displayed as cards in order to prevent misuse of sensitive data. But there is more you want to prevent from being captured as card and put on the desktop. Applications, such as Card Reader, Hotsync, file explorers, weather applications, settings, JVM, Kamera, SMS, Backup applications, tools and utilities are run once for a particular purpose and are not intended to be displayed as card on the desktop. Firstly, every card (screenshot) will take precious RAM and secondly the more cards one have the more it slows down the system.

Why not thinking the other way round?! Instead of excluding 30 applications, why not explicitly alowing just the few of applications to be placed as cards, which you really want to have on the desktop for fast access?”

Keep reading Tweak TealOS for More Productivity by Inverted Thinking

If you haven’t already done so, you should also read Mr. Schuchert’s article about TealOS security tweaks.

Palm Halts Production of Handhelds

I just received word that Palm has officially closed down production of their three remaining classic handheld PDAs. By March 1, 2009 Palm will no longer be manufacturing the Palm Z22, the Tungsten E2, or the Palm TX.

While some will find this news difficult to accept, these three icons from Palm’s original mobile computing business have had a long service life. The Tungsten E2, the oldest of the trio (not “Treo”), was released in April of 2005. I am not aware of any other Palm device that enjoyed a 4 year service life. Not even the wildly popular Tungsten C had a shelf life of that long. The remaining two PDAs, the Z22 and the Palm TX (sometimes referred to as the “Tungsten T7 or Tungsten X) where both released in October 2005.

Palm executives have been sending out warnings that the traditional PDA business was coming to an end. During quarterly conference calls, Palm President and CEO Ed Colligan likened the PDA business to a passenger jet coming in for a smooth landing. Today we learned that the plane has touched down, taxied to the gate, and the engines have been powered down.

You will still be able to purchase Palm’s handheld PDAs from the Palm online store and other retailers until inventories are fully depleted. If you are interesting in purchasing the last flagship handheld, the Palm TX, Palm is currently selling the PDA for $199 (regularly $299) at their online store. Palm’s online store also has the Z22 on sale for $99 (no discount). It appears that the Tungsten E2 is completely sold out at the Palm online store.

I have been using Palm’s handhelds since 1999. The last 10 years have been lots of fun learning about, using, and supporting Palm’s products on Brighthand, 1SRC, and Palm’s own community help forums. Palm’s PDAs may soon be gone from store shelves, but I still have my Tungsten T5, TX, and LifeDrive on my computer desk.

Palm at CES Today

For many Palm OS fans, today is a big day. It is widely expected that Palm will unveil their next generation mobile operating system, the successor to Palm OS 5, codenamed “Nova.” Palm will be holding an invitation only press event at 2pm ET/11am PT to talk about all the “new-ness” they have been working on.

This will not be the first time that we have talked about the successor to Palm OS. Before ‘Palm OS II” and “Nova” we had “Palm OS 6.0”, “Palm OS Cobalt”, “Palm OS for Linux”, and most recently, “ALP.” Today has been a long day coming for the Palm OS user community, and I hope that what Palm shows off today will have been well worth the wait.

I have not read whether or not Palm will have a live or recorded video of today’s event, however, Palm has said that during the event, the company’s blog will receive live updates.

I’ll have a wrap up of the day’s news later today.