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  1.    #1  
    How come Handspring has chosen OS 3.5 for the Treo when 4.0 has been out for a while already and certainly will be solidly in the marketplace by next spring?
    No more rhymes...and this time I mean it!
  2. #2  
    Does 4.0 have any enhancements that the Treo would benefit from? IIRC, the major things about 4.0 were USB support and SD card support. I'm probably missing a few other small things too.

    Handspring's already got USB support in 3.5.2, and I don't think the Treo would benefit much from having SD card support in the OS.
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  3. #3  
    Does HS even have a license for 4.0? I thought they only
    licensed 3.5 from palm.
  4. #4  
    Palm OS4 has lots of enhancements under the skin. graphics are also noticeably faster. You can get a list of changes from Palms website.

    Shipping 3.5 and not making the OS upgradeable pretty much means that I won't even consider any of HandSprings new offerings.
  5. utz
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    #5  
    I think Handspring's version of 3.5 is practically equivalent to Palm's 4.0. handspring has added expansion, 16 bit color, speed optimizations, USB, plus more. Why would they need 4.0? From a pure business stand point is does not make sense for them to waste money licensing 4.0.

    Now as far as Flash goes, let's be logical. Upgrading to 4.0 would not be free if you could upgrade, it costs about $30-$40. How many people are going to upgrade for that price when 3.5H is practically the same as Palm4.0? We need to stop getting hung up over numbers "4.0 is a higher number than 3.5, I want it." The truth is Handspring came out with 4.0 before Palm did, they just called it 3.5H. Beyond 4.0, your hardware won't work anyway, so Flash is useless there too.

    So if you making a buying desision at this point based on Flash, you are making a big mistake because you hardware is useless for 5.0.
    Utz -- (Pronounced 'ootz', it means good, happy, etc. in the Mayan language of Cakchiquel)
  6. #6  
    HandSpring v3.5 is the same as Palm OS 4.0. This theory originally came from a misquoted statement by Jaff Hawkins and is completely incorrect.

    There are a huge number of additions and enhancements in v4. Most of them are under the skin, so you don't see them from apps like notepad, but they are there, they are real, and they drastically improve the device. Some of the enhancements like VFS can be added by third-party drivers, but most of them can't.

    The short list of UI changes from include greatly enhanced security, simultaneous use of the onscreen keyboard and Graffiti, and time zone support. You can also set, view, and clear multiple alarms and have 64K colors (from HandSpring).

    The important changes are for developers. The new programming features are starting to show up in apps that have additional features for units with v4. They include the Attention Manager for alarms and notifications, the Exchange Manager for more powerful beaming of data with apps, the Notification Manager, the PDI Manager for handling personal data like VCARD and VCAL, the Telephony Manager, and a set of functions to make localization easier.

    Future apps that provide these services are more likely to use the provided APIs rather than have the developer go to the trouble of writing custom routines for older devices. If you have a device with a version of the OS that is pre-v4, you will not have access to as much software and some of the software that will be available will not have as many features on your device.

    If you don't believe that this will happen, ask the Deluxe owners about 16 gray scale apps. there are a few that will work on the v3.1 OS, but the vast majority of apps that support this mode require v3.5 or later.

    This is what happens when you have older hardware - or new hardware with a version of the OS that was obsolete six months before the product was even announced.

    BTW - graphics are much faster in v4. I notice a huge difference between the Prism and m505. My Palm Vx also sped up noticeably when I upgraded it.

    So on the whole, maybe you're right - no need for v4 when you can have v3.5.
  7. utz
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    #7  
    I am right.

    99% of people don't know what Flash is.

    Of the 1% that do, probably 75% of them don't care (like me).

    Of the 25% of the 1%, probably 50% would actually care about any of the features you listed.

    Of that 50% of 25% of 1%, maybe 50% would actually pay to upgrade to get the feature they care about.

    Finally, even those people will be SOL in a few months when 5.0 comes out.

    My numbers are probably exagerated, but the point is still the same. I am not one to refuse options, so I would prefer Flash if given a choice (everything else being equal). But to make a purchasing decision based on Flash is foolish unless you are that extreme minority that must have one of those obscure feature improvements in 4.0, not available in 3.5.

    P.S. So the screen updates in .01 s instead of .02 s. Since screen updates are so fast in PalmOS anyway, this isn't a feature many people would pay money for.
    Utz -- (Pronounced 'ootz', it means good, happy, etc. in the Mayan language of Cakchiquel)
  8. #8  
    FWIW, the FAQ says:

    Q. Why haven't you incorporated Palm OS 4.0?
    A. We have not incorporated OS 4.0 into our products because many of the features included in that OS are already a part of our version of OS 3.5. Handspring continues to make its own versions of the Palm OS, some of which are given back to Palm and incorporated later, and some that are only available in Handspring products.
    Jeff
  9. #9  
    You missed the point.

    As a user, you shouldn't care about the features until software uses them. Then you will care because you are limited and can't run the latest software or use all of the features in the software.

    What OS a unit ships with has nothing to do with flash memory. Flash is only important to upgrade later and I agree with you that only a small percentage of users will upgrade.

    The biggest issue is that there is a new version of the OS available today. The new version gives concrete enhancements over the previous version. All of HandSprings competitors are using the new version. HandSpring is not using it. This means that all of HandSprings competitors have features that HandSpring doesn't. In terms of feature set, every HandSpring PDA is obsolete before it even leaves the factory. Even units that aren't even in production yet. this attitude tells me that handSpring is no longer interested in being a leader or playing in the same market as the leaders.

    This is not arguable. It is also not acceptable to me. I will not buy any new HandSpring devices that don't have the latest version of the OS. I can also guarantee that I won't go out of my way to duplicate functionality that is provided by the OS in any of my software.
  10. #10  
    Well I have been in numerous other debates like this before. My take is that Palm OS 4 is great for developers...but of little use to Joe Schmoe. I really don't think alot of folks are going to upgrade their legacy device to Palm OS 4. This time around, developers will have to cater to those using Palm OS 3.5. Notice that there is hardly any Palm OS 4 only applications on Palmgear.com? I have only seen one so far in fact.
  11. #11  
    Originally posted by yardie
    Well I have been in numerous other debates like this before. My take is that Palm OS 4 is great for developers...but of little use to Joe Schmoe. I really don't think alot of folks are going to upgrade their legacy device to Palm OS 4. This time around, developers will have to cater to those using Palm OS 3.5. Notice that there is hardly any Palm OS 4 only applications on Palmgear.com? I have only seen one so far in fact.
    I don't think that you understand the Palm development universe. The large companies may stick to 3.5 compatibility for the near future, but with sales over time, OS 4 units will be a larger percentage of the user base. A year ago, people were saying the same thing about developers having to support 3.1. Look at things now. The more likely scenario will be scaleable apps from the large developers. If your OS has more advanced features, the app will expose them. If the feature is absent, you don't get it. No hard-coded work around - no feature. Using 3.1 as a history lesson again, look at HandSprings own web browser (Blazer). If you have a Visor Deluxe, there is not any effort to provide 16 gray-scale mode even though the hardware supports it (and I suspect the folks at HS know how to program the mode if they were interested).

    Another side of the issue is the small developer. There are lierally hundreds, if not thousands of small, independent developers for every large corporate developer. They generally write software for the hardware that they own and want to take advantage of any features that they can. They also tend to have up-to-date hardware and update to the latest OS version. As new versions of the OS proliferate, they will be writing more and more software that just won't work without an up-to-date feature set.

    My big project for the last year or so has been a port of the old PC game Empire (see the avatar). We have licensed the code, and licensed the name. It now loks like the initial version (and maybe forever) will require at least OS 3.5 to play. The multi-user capabilities will require 4.0 or better. This fits into the definition of dumbing down based on the OS features. At some point, I may go back and add in some level of support for older OS versions, but chances are, that I will be more interested in real enhancements. You see, like a lot of 'hobbyists', I am doing this for fun. Oh, I expect to make some money off of it. Conceivably, I could make quite a bit of money. But currently I have a job that I love and that pays really well. Palm programming is therapy. Just like the BattleBot that some friends and I are working on.

    I guess that the point is don't make rash statements like This time around, developers will have to cater to those using Palm OS 3.5. They will do what they want and add the features that they want to for the hardware that they want to support.

    It's been about six months (this week) since the m500 shipped. 5 months for the m505, and much less for every other OS v4 device. Of course the first apps are just starting to trickle out. Don't be silly enough to judge future trends from such a short pattern. Instead look at previous similar occurences to make your predictions.
    Last edited by bradhaak; 10/25/2001 at 11:22 AM.
  12. #12  
    The Visor Deluxe sold (sells) strong a year after the introduction of a (post OS3.1) Visor and even longer after Palm Handhelds' 3.5. Joe Schmoe (for lack of better words.. shame on you Yardie) has spoken. I'm sure licensing prevents Handspring from referring to OS 3.5.2 as ohhh.. let's say OS 4.1H

    I'm not sure about the data (source of his facts,) but I don't believe I'm alone in thinking utz closed the thread

    Long live hardware innovation! Message board rumor and post frequency alone tells us we (a quasi-microcosm of Visormania) go bananas over the new toys that leave us slackjawed and wow! Poll folks why they buy PDAs, mobile devices.. you'll have utz sized percentages of those who will say one of their top 3 reasons for buying is the version# of the OS. A calendar will always be a calendar, and OS 4 doesn't change my address list.

    I agree with Yardie. It's up to the developers to cater to the mfg's and their consumers. It's the developers who fail to benefit if they don't accomodate the end user. There are thou$and$ of OS 3.1 people for you to please (while you can.)

    The end results in a good way to 'move' parts... Platinum indeed
    My prediction is that Treo will outsell its '4.0' rival. Then we'll forget all about this when NeoTreo comes out. Perhaps NeoTreo is all I should've typed.
    "The Greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge." -- Daniel Borstin
  13. #13  
    People often buy a cheap product as an introduction to a particular market and later find out about its deficiencies, so your statement about the Visor Deluxe sales is meaningless. It also has nothing to do with the arguments that I made in my previous post. However, it was nicely presented.

    As far as facts presented by Utz, I reread his post and saw a bunch of numbers that he made up to support his opinions - no facts. and if you believe the thread was closed, why did you respond?

    As far as developers and supporting different OS versions, (with all respect), you don't know what you are talking about. For me to support OS 3.1 in the game that I am writing (based on my estimates of the labor involved), I would have to sell between three and four thousand extra units at a minimum to justify the trouble. Actually because of limitations in the global heap in 3.1, the effort is almost certainly even larger, but for this post I am just talking about rewriting the sections of code that need features that aren't present in 3.1. I sincerely doubt if I would ever make my money back on doing this rather than adding new features or doing other derivative products. This is an economic truth.

    Beyond all of this, I really think that the Treo will bomb hard and fast. HS should just call it the Edge II and get it over with. Treo would have been a nice piece of technology six or eight months ago. In six or eight months it will just once more be too little too late. The problem is that it is coming out in 2002. All of the Visor users have criticized the screen size of the m100 and the screen of the Treo is even smaller. It won't work with any existing peripherals. It has no expansion capability. By the time that it ships there will be faster processors out, so it will not have premium performance, just a premium price. And if HS runs true to form, the price will be even higher if you want to buy it and already have phone service. How ironic is it that HS decided to give the Treo a year old OS?

    I understand the urge to defend products that you use as a means to continue justifying the original purchase, but that doesn't change fundamental facts.
  14. #14  
    NeoTreo.
    "The Greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge." -- Daniel Borstin
  15. #15  
    bradhaak,

    how different is OS3.5H from OS 4.0?
    As said before it is very well possible the are allmost identical since HS sold Palm their customisations.

    They are probably very simular but my guess is HS is not allowed to say that and hence still carries 3.5H....

    It is just a label...

    I agree flash would be nice, but at what cost? Remember HS makes machines for the masses (eeh retail market) and not for geeks like you and me...
    Most people don't know or care about flash, but they do about a $10 higher price...
    <IMG WIDTH="200" HEIGHT="50" SRC=http://www.visorcentral.com/images/visorcentral.gif> (ex)VisorCentral Discussion Moderator
    Do files get embarrassed when they get unzipped?
  16. #16  
    Look at the list of features earlier in the thread and take off the few HandSpring innovations.

    This would mainly be USB hotsynch and 64 K color support.

    At that point you have the OS 4 feature set. Definitely much more than a label.

    Personally , I think that the reason that HS is still shipping a year old OS is that they are slowly turning into a tier two supplier of Palm OS products. The real innovation is coming from other companirs. Even the Treo is just a vicorphone grafted onto a Platinum and put into a small case. This is really unfortunate. I used to really like their products.

    Even a small company like HandEra is supporting Palm OS 4, and in spite of HandSprings fairly minor contribution to OS4, It's really interesting the the only OEM that isn't changing to the new OS is HandSpring. All of the other OEMs are praising the new OS for the features that aren't in 3.5. The HandSpring contributions are very visible to the end-user, but not that signifigant in terms of the other changes.

    BTW, I have looked through the HS development docs and there really isn't that much in 3.5H except for the two features listed above. Oh yeah, there is also the fast phone lookup app that was introduced in the Edge.

    Sorry, but all of the posturing by the legions of HandSprings OS orphans isn't going to change the truth. The reason that HandSpring isn't adopting the new OS has nothing to do with the feature set of 3.5H vs 4.0. It has everything to do with the corporate malaise that has affected HandSpring over the last year or so. When new colors, rechargeable batteries and a memory upgrade are used to justify an entire new product line, you shouldn't expect innovation or even currency in other areas.

    Face it, HS hasn't done anything innovative since the Prism and the original VisorPhone.
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by bradhaak
    Sorry, but all of the posturing by the legions of HandSprings OS orphans isn't going to change the truth. The reason that HandSpring isn't adopting the new OS has nothing to do with the feature set of 3.5H vs 4.0. It has everything to do with the corporate malaise that has affected HandSpring over the last year or so. When new colors, rechargeable batteries and a memory upgrade are used to justify an entire new product line, you shouldn't expect innovation or even currency in other areas.
    I used that when I talked about the flash not the OS...

    And I agree they could be more innovative.
    But bussiness is not going very well so not enough money for R&D I guess...

    Can you name some off the extra's of OS4?
    <IMG WIDTH="200" HEIGHT="50" SRC=http://www.visorcentral.com/images/visorcentral.gif> (ex)VisorCentral Discussion Moderator
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  18. #18  
    Bradhaak. I can't belive you don't find the Treo innovative. This is the smallest Palm OS PDA/Phone combo the world have seen. Surely it tskes innovation to cram all that stuff into that little package....
  19. #19  
    I think the Treo has 3.5.4H. Handspring is building their own support into the OS. I think people get bugged because the "number" is smaller than OS 4. But the feature support is there. USB, COLOR, Wireless, etc. Don't know about security.
  20. utz
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    #20  
    Even the Treo is just a vicorphone grafted onto a Platinum and put into a small case.
    If this isn't innovation, then there hasn't been any in the PDA world since the original PalmPilot. All Palm did with the Palm V is stuff everything in a small case. All Handspring did with the Prism was take a color screen and a regarable battery and put it in a VD. All handera did was take a TRGPRo and put an SD slot and Hi-res screen on it.

    Anyway, the original inventor rarely wins or is remembered anyway. Take the automobile. Ford did not invent it, but he did find a way to make it practical, affordable, and useable for the masses, and that is why most people think he did invent the automobile.

    Handspring did not invent the smartphone either, but my opinion is that the Treo is the first entry to have a shot at being useable, practical, (and with a little time) affordable for the masses.

    By the way, which engine was in the model T? Who cares, it was the total package that people bought.
    Utz -- (Pronounced 'ootz', it means good, happy, etc. in the Mayan language of Cakchiquel)
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