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View Full Version : Back At The Waffle House

Jason Dunn
09-28-2003, 06:00 PM
Ed Hansberry, a Contributing Editor over at Pocket PC Thoughts, has written a rant that seemed topical for Smartphone Thoughts as well:

"Once again Palm/PalmOne/PalmSource has changed directions. The latest is PalmSource to build smart phone OS (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/68/33027.html). Currently, Palm is putting the finishing touches on Palm OS 6, code named "ThisOneSupportsMultitasking.ReallyWePromiseThisTime." They are going to take OS 5 though and instead of drop it, focus it to work better on smart phone devices.

That is a good thing in my opinion. Microsoft figured this out in 1999 when they started the Smartphone project in earnest, then called Stinger. They started with the Pocket PC OS, as yet unreleased at that time, and started taking things out to make the phone experience better. It quickly became evident that the best way was to just take a very small section of the Windows CE 3.0 core and build a dedicated platform for the phones. History was repeating itself. They did the same thing when they tried to put a stripped down NT4 kernel in handheld devices and eventually decided it was best to start at ground zero and work up. Thus Windows CE was born. Ok, enough history.

Palm, though, is sending mixed messages. Larry Slotnick is the Chief Product Officer at PalmSource. In this CNet article (http://news.com.com/2100-1045-5081032.html), he says "Every Symbian device is a customization project, so very few applications run on all Symbian products," Slotnick said. "The same is true for Windows Mobile--an application for a Windows smart phone doesn't necessarily work on Pocket PC." He then claims ""He said this standardization is a major advantage of Palm OS, compared with Windows Mobile or Symbian, the operating system that powers smart phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others."

Come on. You can't have it both ways. You tout standardization at a trade show yet in the back room, developers are working furiously to transform OS 5 into a rich smartphone platform and bring OS 6 up to the level of computing the competitors have had since 2000. Yes, standardization is good but when you try to cram a full PDA interface onto a voice centric device, you have people with tiny styluses tapping tiny screens. With an OS designed for a touchless screen, you get something that people can use and understand. There is no way they will build a great voice centric OS that runs all of the PDA applications. Of course, I doubt they really plan to. This is just more marketing speak from Palm that boils down to their unofficial slogan: "You don't need it until we have it." :roll: They spend more time slamming the features of the competition in the newsroom and copying them in the development lab than any other company I know. If they would pick a direction and focus on it, listening to their customers instead of telling them what they do and don't need, they never would have fallen from their over 80% market dominance in the late 90's to the mid/upper-30% range today. (http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=16757)"