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Saying Goodbye to Palm

treo-680-nixon.jpg

As a mobile enthusiast, I own (or have owned) a cross sample of every major platform on the market today, ranging from Windows Mobile, Symbian, embedded Linux (well, one flavor anyway), and BlackBerry OS. I first cut my teeth on mobile technology with PalmOS way back in 1997 when a small startup named Palm Computing introduced a product called the Palm Pilot, launching an industry of software and hardware development. The Pilot 1000 was my very first PDA, and I immediately fell in love with the software and its hallmark simplicity. That device kindled a love affair with mobile technology that has lasted to this day.

While my tastes in gadgets changed over the years as I migrated from one device and platform to another, PalmOS has always been a key part of my mobile lifestyle. Partly for nostalgia and partly because the OS still had a certain understated flair that enabled me to remain productive even while lacking advanced features and functionality offered by my Windows Mobile and Symbian based Smartphones. I still preferred the elegance and intuitive interface found on my Palm Treos.

Prior to acquiring the iPhone, my primary Smartphone of choice was an unlocked Treo 650. Just months prior I had been using Palm's latest GSM model, the Treo 680, which I later sold on eBay because it sucked so badly (mainly poor battery life). The 650, much like the OS it runs, was tired and showing its age.

Unfortunately the long winding road has reached an end. A dead end. Palm is a dead platform. The OS that we know today as Garnet (PalmOS version 5) has lived well beyond its shelf life, and is built upon on a creaky and woefully obsolete single-tasking framework with an ancient GUI that hasn't seen improvement in nearly a decade. To make matters worse, Garnet's successor is roughly two years away, and potentially may be vaporware like the failed development project that preceded it, a never to-be-seen OS called Cobalt. Too little, too late.

Since the iPhone entered my gadget collection, it has permanently displaced Palm from my list of devices. OSX is everything PalmOS should have been but never came to be. Apple has taken interface elegance and software innovation to a whole new level. iPhone eliminated the need for Palm in my mobile computing lifestyle. I can't even stand looking at PalmOS, let alone having to use it. So, it is with some sadness that I have to report that I am dumping the platform for good. Last weekend I handed down my poor careworn Treo 650 to my niece, where the device will probably end up gathering dust because she doesn't understand how to use it, and shows little interest.

For the first time in nearly a decade I am without a Palm device. Time to move on.

iPhone has rekindled an excitement within me, for mobile tech, that I haven't felt since the early days of PalmOS when the platform was new and fresh, with fanatical development and innovation taking place in all directions. iPhone is the new Palm.

I'll always look back fondly on the platform that started it all and sparked my passion for gadgets. But the past is history, and it's time to migrate to growth platforms.

Bye bye Palm, thanks for the memories.

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Saying Goodbye to Palm

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Roughly 2 years away? From July 2007? That sounds like faulty math... Palm-over-Linux Treos are supposed to be out sometime (let's hope the 1st half) in 2008!

That's the OS release, not hardware. Palm typically takes five months+ between the time an OS goes Gold, to integrating its new software into hardware devices. That was the case with Garnet. So even if Palm releases Palm Linux in Mid-2008 that doesn't mean you're going to see Treos running it soon after. Expect at least an 18 month lead time to base this OS and roll out new products.
Either way the damage has been done, the platform has faded into irrelevance.

I'm wondering, though, if that's still the case. When Garnet was released, Palm was licensing the OS to other companies so they had to do things differently than what they agreed to with Access.
And irrelevance is at least somewhat subjective; while I agree that Palm OS is more than a little dated now, I haven't yet seen a device I would even seriously consider as a replacement for my Treo.
I'll have to go back and reread what Colligan said in the conference call--it sounded like he was talking about devices shipping in 2008.

Ok, both Ryan Kairer, in PalmInfocenter's coverage of the call and Alan Grassia in a 1SRC editorial (titled "Worth the Wait") are saying Palm will ship Linux-based Treos in 2008.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

It's possible Palm may be able to push new Linux products out to the market sooner than it did Garnet-based hardware. But there will be enormous challenges that lay ahead of them once they reach this point.
Palm once dominated this industry. Developers once eagerly flocked to Palm's developer tent to write applications for their platform. Today they are a mere shadow of their former self. They've lost their developer base. Most of the support and development happening on PalmOS today is inertial efforts from existing products.
New development isn't happening, and most of the installed based has migrated to other platforms, particularly Windows Mobile.
When the new platform ships Palm will be starting from a zero sum position. Whether or not developers embrace this OS remains to be seen, and since it will be backward compatible with Garnet applications, developers may see no reason to port their apps to the new framework.
The pressure on Palm to innovative and "wow" the market is great, and judging from the company's recent efforts, namely the Foolio, I don't see them delivering. The idealist in me wants to believe Palm will surprises us all and build a new operating system like no other, but reality and past experience paints a different picture.
And now that Apple has entered this market with an iconic product, the outlook appears even more bleak.
I hope for our sake that Palm does innovate. This industry needs competition. The question is whether Palm can compete with the industry.

That makes serious assumptions about what people are using their Palms for. So far, I haven't seen the other PDA that does what my Palm does as efficently as the Palm.
Talk to me when I can use the iphone to manage my grocery list, maintain my home library card catalogue, my password database and my automotive maintenance and gas logbook.

Talk to me when I can use the iphone to manage my grocery list, maintain my home library card catalogue, my password database and my automotive maintenance and gas logbook.

No, iPhone can't do that but just about any other mobile platform can. So that's hardly a compelling argument to keep PalmOS around.

"No, iPhone can’t do that but just about any other mobile platform can. So that’s hardly a compelling argument to keep PalmOS around."
I feel people have turned a blind eye to Windows Mobile's clumsiness and slowness. Multitasking is nice, but not really necessary. I was contemplating getting a Treo 750... but after playing with the device for an hour, I gave up and could not convince myself to buy it. I am sticking with my Treo 680.

I'm considering the IPhone but haven't found how to convert my contact list from Palm file (.Ink) to IPhone. Can anyone outline the process for me? I have Mac OSX and Microsoft Office.

Kent I totally agree with you about the Palm OS being outdated because Palm was also my first PDA and haven't changed since (my first M500). I am also considering the iPhone when it comes to Europe BUT I agree with Marci that I do use my TX as a shopping list and what have you not list, diet manager, e-reader, expense diary, calender. My life is in there. I know all the other Windows and Symbian do all that too and I am considering Symbian. Let's face it I am already a Mac person and started with Palm because it was compatible and let's face it so is the iPhone. It's gorgeous and the touch screen is amazing. So do you just use the iPhone or in combination with something else? Do you miss third party apps?
Kind regards,
Jet

Between the iPhone and all the new BlackBerry's (BlackBerries?) hitting the market, Palm had better do something big -- and FAST--or they're going to be toast.

Thanks Jet, I tried the technique as outlined in Dave Taylor's we site but hasn't worked. I'm actually trying to copy my partner's Palm contacts and I don't actually have a Palm myself. To try the process Dave discribed I installed the Palm software but haven't been able to open his .Ink document either through Palm software or using the "open with" mac feature. I believe I must first import the .Ink file into my Palm desktop before I'm able to export as Vcard. Any more advise? Steve

I too had the first palm and fell in love with it. it's sad to admit, but it's a dead platform. they didn't keep up and the iphone ate their lunch. now i've got my brand new iphone 3g and have spent hours trying to get my calendar info from the last 10 years.
the export .dba file doesn't pick up all the data. when importing that into yahoo calendar, more than half the data is missing.
how did you transfer?

I just replaced my Palm with an iphone. Is it possible to transfer my contacts over to the iphone?

Having used the Treo 650 since it first appeared I had to set up a new phone account last week. In all the fuss about iPhone 3G I thought I might go for that, right up to the point where I asked the nice sales assistant how to change the battery. "Sorry sir, if the battery fails you have to return it for service.."
Apple may have got a lot of things right on the iPhone but why do they think it's acceptable to treat something as simple as a battery change as a major service task.
I'll be using my Treo a while longer.

David, I wonder if you'll get a reply. As far as I have been able to discover, there is no quick and neat way to transfer Palm contacts to the iphone. Even if you are able to transfer them to Outlook first (which is syncable with iphone, they say), you probably will have to comb through them and correct the formatting, one by one, as it gets messed up in the process. But, anyone have a good answer?

Here's a reply i got from a coworker:
My wife and I have been working on on this for a couple days now actually. I ended up importing my contacts into Google Contacts and syncing from there. However, the export/import process was not smooth and I ended up manually entering a bunch of contacts that simply didn't transfer. My wife moved her calendar and contacts from palm into outlook.
For the calendar, she exported from palm in the dba format (which outlook doesn't support), imported the file into yahoo, which then let her export as a csv file. The import into outlook worked okay but she had a bit of cleanup there too (all of her time-based event imported, but none of her date-based events, like birthdays). For contacts she exported as csv and did a ton of cleanup and reformatting in excel before importing into outlook. Once she had a consistent set of data columns in excel, the import into outlook as pretty smooth. Her biggest problem was, in palm, her contact phone numbers (home, work, etc) weren't in the same order for every contact. I think she ended up exporting/importing business contacts separately from personal contacts to alleviate that a little.
Hope that gives you something to work with...