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  #1  
Old 05-20-2003, 08:30 PM
Ed Hansberry
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Default Palm Commissions Competitive Analysis Report

Report Available here in PDF format

Palm commissioned VeriTest to compare the Tungsten T and Tungsten C with the HP iPAQ 1910 and 5450 Pocket PCs. They looked at battery life, document size and WiFi performance. Of course Palm won hands down. No one commissions and releases a report when they lose.

Palm developed the testing methodology with VeriTest to encompass real world usage. Just for reference, remember Palm defines real world usage in terms that allows them to say their devices have 3 weeks of battery life. Palm also paid for all of the devices. All were off of the shelf items except for the 'C which was unreleased.



The highlights of the test are:

• The Tungsten C lasted 1hr 35min longer than the iPAQ 5450 in the 802.11b test. Screen brightness was set to 50% on both devices and screen autodiming was disabled on the 5450. Question: Is it a real world test to disable autodimming on the iPAQ? Just because the Tungsten C doesn't support autodimming doesn't mean it isn't part of the iPAQs battery features.
• The Tungsten C was more than twice as fast as the 5450 in WiFi downloads. This test is misnamed. It was a HTML rendering test because they timed the download and rendering of CNN.COM, a 177KB page. Finally! Conclusive proof PIE's rendering speeds leave a LOT to be desired. The question is, what was visible in the browser's window when done? According to an MSNBC report the Tungsten C lacks the ability to render complex pages at all. I had to reset the Tungsten C before it found my home WiFi network. Once it did, it locked in for a smooth ride. Surfing on the Web via PalmSource’s Web Browser was very, very speedy for a Palm device. But it flunked my first test: drawing MSNBC.com’s home page. It didn't even come close: One part of the page was screen left and the bulk of the page was eight or nine screen widths over to the right. The Opera browser on the Sharp PDA, Handspring’s Blazer, and Pocket PC’s IE browsers all do a much better job of handling intricate Web pages. For now, I'll take readability vs. speed right now. Still, Microsoft, we need a better rendering engine than what PIE 3.0 currently has.
• The Tungsten T outlasted the iPAQ 5450 by a factor of five in the leave-the-device-in-your-desk-for-a-month test. The T|T lasted 21 days, while the 5450 lasted only 4 days. I think this was done by running the device down until it went into a power saving mode. Then they waited to see how long it would take before you applied power and the device woke up to a hard reset. I don't know if they configured the 5450's data conservation settings or not. I honestly don't know if the 5450 has that setting - I know the 3900 does so I am assuming the later 5450 does. Regardless, the 5450 wouldn't come close to 21 days in any event.

There were several speed tests shown, some of which were not quite on an even scale. First, they compared the video speeds of the Tungstens to the iPAQs. The 1910 doesn't have the latest X-Scale tweaked player and neither the iPAQ nor 1910 are tweaked much (if at all) for the ARMv5 processor, which the X-Scale is. Furthermore, both have the old PXA-250 processor that Intel has as much admitted isn't that good at processing code developed for the ARMv4 chips like the StrongARM. Palm OS5 devices were designed from day one as ARMv5 devices, so have a bit of an advantage. Doesn't invalidate the results one whit. Palm waited until the fall of 2002 to come out with a powerful OS and of course chose the latest processor technology. Microsoft developed the core of Windows CE in 1997 and with legacy devices and code to support, they can't drop everything and make a new ARMv5 only class of product.

The document storage thing is laughable to say the least. I won't touch on it but to say that my iPAQ currently has over 550MB of total storage capacity between the 512MB SD Card, the file store and RAM allocated for storage. I'm not concerned that my Excel spreadsheet is 261K rather than 163K on the device. At least I can open that spreadsheet from an email without having to rely on a desktop converter.

I think it is an interesting study, but some of it should be taken with a grain of salt. The settings they used, like 50% volume and 50% screen brightness, are meaningless. They should set each device so they are putting out the same amount of decibels and lumens. Still, Palm has come a long way in the past few years. As Palm's own Chris Dunphy put it recently, PalmOS has been busy evolving out of the dark ages. I agree. This test should keep Microsoft on its toes.
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Old 05-20-2003, 08:48 PM
alex_kac
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To me, these kind of tests are meaningless. What about the apps? What about the usefulness of the device?

I will admit. I sometimes waver between devices just because it seems the other big two - Symbian and Palm are more universal in their desktop OS support - but the PPC always wins for me. Its just more user-friendly once you get to know it.

The two things I think the PPC REALLY needs to expand on is better input, ala the new Zaurus and a few more good apps (which, um, should be out this year).
 
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:11 PM
scottmag
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Default Re: Palm Commissions Competitive Analysis Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Hansberry
Question: Is it a real world test to disable autodimming on the iPAQ? Just because the Tungsten C doesn't support autodimming doesn't mean it isn't part of the iPAQs battery features.
If you are actually using the device autodimming would not activate, right? So it is a closer simulation of real-world interactive usage to deactivate it for a battery life test. This is not the case for things like MP3 playback where you would turn the screen off, but you also wouldn't want the screen to dim during movie playback.


Quote:
The document storage thing is laughable to say the least. I won't touch on it but to say that my iPAQ currently has over 550MB of total storage capacity between the 512MB SD Card, the file store and RAM allocated for storage. I'm not concerned that my Excel spreadsheet is 261K rather than 163K on the device.
OK, I disagree with you here. Why would you NOT want your files to be 37% smaller if they would retain all their formatting?


Quote:
At least I can open that spreadsheet from an email without having to rely on a desktop converter.
True. I think Iambic offers a Palm solution (email and office suite) that can do this, but if the included Docs-to-Go does not that is a big disadvantage for the Palm in the specific situations this test inplies. Namely, it suggests doing serious office work at a remote location over a wireless network. In such a case battery life becomes a critical issue. After a certain point though usability becomes more important. And we know the areas PPC beats Palm there.

Palm has some great hardware out there now. It's nice to see some life breathed into the PDA market. It's time for MS and its licensees to kick it up a notch and come out with some new ideas.

Quote:
This test should keep Microsoft on its toes.
That's really the best case scenario for you PPC advocates - not finding ways to refute the results.

Scott
 
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:11 PM
freitasm
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Just a comment on comments:

Quote:
The Tungsten C lasted 1hr 35min longer than the iPAQ 5450 in the 802.11b test. Screen brightness was set to 50% on both devices and screen autodiming was disabled on the 5450. Question: Is it a real world test to disable autodimming on the iPAQ? Just because the Tungsten C doesn't support autodimming doesn't mean it isn't part of the iPAQs battery features.
I hate to say this but just because a feature is available doesn't mean it's good. I don't like the auto dim set in the iPAQ. It keep the backlight floating up and down, and I get really :evil: with that.
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:15 PM
lonesniper
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This is why I do not like religion. It just teaches hate.

It is interesting to read the forums over at www.pdainfocenter.com about this report, a lot of people wondered if PPC sites would even report it, or report it and dismiss it.

Why can't we all just get along and stop these crusades against something that is different from us. There is so much propaganda from both sides, I just don’t think we will ever have world peace if we fight about everything including PDA’s.
 
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:34 PM
RedRamage
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I'll concur with the others that this test isn't really that meaningful. However, I do want to comment on a few items:

SCREEN ON TEST: Aren't PPC screens bigger than Palm screens? So, the palm has more battery life because it has a smaller screen... kinda a good news bad news thing, ain't it?

MP3 TEST: First of all, they measured the Battery life based on when the device STOPPED playing the MP3 file. So what if the palm devices simply let the battery drain longer before refusing to play the MP3? Additionally, they turned off the backlight... but with my old Jornada, I can completely turn off the screen, not just the backlight. Can that be done with the palm?

VIDEO PLAYBACK TEST: Two different format were used for this test. Where the formats of compatible quality? I would imagine it would take more processing power (and therefore more battery power) to replay a higher quality video/audio track.

TOTAL DATA LOSS: I never lose my contact data. You mean Palm doesn't have a SafeStore option to take advantage of unused Flash ROM?? :wink:
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  #7  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:35 PM
Kevin Remhof
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I found this survey to be quite interesting. Yes, it leans towards Palm but that's what they were paid to do, right?

But, that doesn't discount the fact that Palms have better battery life in some situations. In fact, that's what this report did... It showed that in some situations, Palms perform better than Pocket PCs. I'm sure that a survey sponsored by Microsoft would show similar results in their favor.

Remember, as Mark Twain said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

I'm not going to lose sleep over any of these "findings". Palm makes great PDAs. They are simple and easy-to-use. Microsoft also makes great PDAs (yes, I know, they don't really make them, but you know what I mean). It's up to you to decide which way to go. Every time that Palm releases a new model, it adds something new and exciting. Same thing with Microsoft.

I think that there is a place for both Palm and Pocket PC in the marketplace. I'd much rather have this choice than be stuck with just Palm or Pocket PC. The competition pushes both makers to build better products. Each user gets to choose what matters most to them.
 
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  #8  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:39 PM
szamot
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I am truly shocked that Palm’s commissioned report finds its devices “better” than PPC, really I am – was the Palm single tasking at the time? I don’t know who VeriTest is or what they actually do but before we start jumping at each others throats over here let’s all remember that Enron and WorldCom also hired external companies to do various thing for them including audits and both of them look good on paper. We all know what happened to those two. Need I say more?
 
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2003, 09:47 PM
heov
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the tungsten c has better battery life all around. the thing as a 1550mAh batter in there and it uses the PXA255 and it has a smaller screen. Of course it's gonna have better battery life we should just accept the fact.

but what it doesn't have is a removable battery. I personally would take the ipaq's replacable battery over the higher cap battery in the tungsten; but that's just me.

The Tungsten C uses the NetFront browser. It's pretty much identical to the one available for PPC. So they should have done speed tests w/ that; but I believe the palm is still faster. I believe they rebranded the browser though...

Also, if i'm not mistaken, the latest release of QuickOffice (maybe Docs To Go, not sure...) can open office files natively... so no desktop conversion.

again, i wouldn't be too shocked. as mentioned, palm paid for this test But they sure have come a long way since their palm v days... I think w/ PPC2k3 and the new, cheaper devices, things will shine brighter on the ppc side...

i just want to know what Sony's got up their sleeves... it's that time again (1-2 months, lol. they release 12 handhelds a year!). I'm thinking an updated NX series. One w/ BT and os5.2. Too bad that thing's a brick!
 
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Old 05-20-2003, 09:50 PM
James Fee
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Ed you hit it right on the nail. Good Palm handhelds cause PPC to try harder. Palms have gotten better over the past year because of PPCs and now I only hope that with PPC 2003 and new processors, PPC manufactuers will take charge again...
 
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