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  1.    #1  
    a glimmer of WIFI hope...

    after the DC show I had a intensive talk with Greg Shirai about the 650's wifi lapse -- and about when they would be making drivers for their own wifi card.

    He explained that if it was just a simple matter of writing a 650 driver they would already have done it. Creating the software for juggling the "radios" is complex, and its still to be written for the 650.

    I pointed out that PPC devices have already mastered this issue. In response he inferred that the underlying OS plumbing of PPCs provides support for wifi -- making their integration much simpler.

    The POS -- especially the version they are now using -- does not have this capability, which forces P1 to do much more to successfully write the software etc. along with the drivers.

    Additionally, another important limitation on P1 putting out drivers for their card soon is that they need to get the carriers (& maybe FCC too??) to sign off on changes that they make that affect their system's "radio's" (i.e. range, quality, etc.)

    Therefore its much more likely that a 3rd party manufacturer will come to produce a wifi card before P1. I asked if they were cooperating with companies like Sandisk who've complained about the difficulty of working with P1 & PSRC in the past.

    He said he knew of a company -- not Sandisk -- that was working hard on making a 650 compatible wifi card, that he hoped would be out in the beginning of the year.

    I mentioned how important wifi was to a significant portion of his potential customers -- how many are already migrating to the PDA2K/6601 for example. I further said to him that there's a certain stickiness when people go to another operating platform that makes it highly likely that they will never return. He said he understood that -- and agreed that wifi was important.

    My gut sense though was that his heart was not committed to this as I would have hoped. I spoke to most of the senior P1 staffers at the show and in general they were not convinced that wifi was a killer app. They would mostly want to know what you would use wifi for if it was available. They largely believe that the majority of their potential custoers are not going to decide on the 650 on the basis of wifi. They think that wifi is mostly a geek thing. (this was especially the view of the tall thin guy -- a very nice man -- I just think he's wrong).

    (BTW, because increasingly most PPC devices have wifi onboard, 3rd party manufactures have an added incentive to get their cards to work on the 650-- so this hope is perhaps realistic.)
  2. #2  
    I don't need wifi to work at the same time as my cell phone. I'm more than happy to choose wifi at the expense of the cell phone for the few minutes of the day that wifi is extremely helpful to me.

    Anyone who wonders what wifi does should use a dial-up modem for a week, switch to broadband for two days and then go back to dial-up.

    I think it's really off to say that if the drivers were the only issue they'd be written already. I think you have to start somewhere and the drivers might as well be that place.
  3. #3  
    I want EVDO, not WiFi. With WiFi, you have to search for a WiFi spot (if you can find a free one) and it drains way more power. EVDO uses significantly less power and is on target to be available metro-wide across the US by end of next year (Verizon and Sprint), including indoors.
  4. #4  
    I get the benefits of WiFi, but the hotspots that i am in most of the time (office, home) are not places where i need it on the phone, i usually have a PC nearby. On the road, I would not want to be tethered to hotspots for functionality, or paying for WiFi access - I often pass on access with my PC unless it is a hotel where I am staying overnight. For WiFi to be really important to me it needs to be everywhee, and free. Then I'll lose the phone and go VOIP
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    I mentioned how important wifi was to a significant portion of his potential customers -- how many are already migrating to the PDA2K/6601 for example. I further said to him that there's a certain stickiness when people go to another operating platform that makes it highly likely that they will never return.
    You are contradicting yourself with these two points. How can people be migrating to different platforms if those platforms have "stickiness"?

    Clearly, if people are migrating to the PDA2K, then there is no reason why they can't migrate right back when Wi-Fi becomes available on the Treo.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by xenophonite
    I want EVDO, not WiFi. With WiFi, you have to search for a WiFi spot (if you can find a free one) and it drains way more power. EVDO uses significantly less power and is on target to be available metro-wide across the US by end of next year (Verizon and Sprint), including indoors.
    As long as EVDO doesn't cost $99+ a month, I'm for it. Wifi will be available in metro-wide by end of next year as well. In fact it's available now.
  7. #7  
    You are contradicting yourself with these two points. How can people be migrating to different platforms if those platforms have "stickiness"?
    I think what he means is that changing platforms, either direction, is a difficult choice to make. If people are leaving Palm for PPC for whatever reason, be it WiFi or EVDO or memory or that cool new piece of software that isn't available on Palm, then the decision to come back has to be fueled by something just as compelling. People aren't going to disrupt their world again just out of brand loyalty. The main point was that retaining a customer is simpler that getting a new one.
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by bmacfarland
    I don't need wifi to work at the same time as my cell phone. I'm more than happy to choose wifi at the expense of the cell phone for the few minutes of the day that wifi is extremely helpful to me.

    Anyone who wonders what wifi does should use a dial-up modem for a week, switch to broadband for two days and then go back to dial-up.

    I think it's really off to say that if the drivers were the only issue they'd be written already. I think you have to start somewhere and the drivers might as well be that place.

    I said as much to the P1 staffers. I asked if they understood the saying: "the perfect is the enemy of the good" ---

    many of us would be mollified if even a manually switchable interim solution were to be released -- one that even required turning the cellular or BT radios off temporarily while the wifi operated -- at least until they figured out a more elegant, ultimate solution.

    I was even asked by a senior engineer at one point if I'd rather they take their software guys off of their work on the 700 and its internal wifi --- and put them instead back onto working on the 650.

    YES! I said -- absolutely. The environment is changing for highend smart phones and this is a feature they must have to preserve their place in the market.

    What drives alot of people nuts and toward the PPC is the sense that they don't "get it".
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Druce MacFarlane
    I think what he means is that changing platforms, either direction, is a difficult choice to make. If people are leaving Palm for PPC for whatever reason, be it WiFi or EVDO or memory or that cool new piece of software that isn't available on Palm, then the decision to come back has to be fueled by something just as compelling. People aren't going to disrupt their world again just out of brand loyalty. The main point was that retaining a customer is simpler that getting a new one.
    You explained exactly what I meant far better than me.
    '
    When someone uses a particular platform for a while, they develop a whole gamut of instinctive comfort with its interface.
    Folks are reluctant to change. But if some reason sufficiently powerful develops to make them switch, they're also very reluctant to switch back unless that new platform was awful.

    Its one of the advantages that a windows based OS has -- (and its one of the barriers that alternate PC OSes have always faced in competing with M$.)

    In addition to how hard it is to overcome our natural inertia of wanting to stay with what we already know -- there's the hassle and expense of having to convert all of our software and data to a new OS format.

    OS platforms are sticky -- that is part of why B. Gates is such a wealthy man.
  10. #10  
    if u need wifi go buy a device that supports it, really
  11. sledgie's Avatar
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    #11  
    you make a very interesting point here and i'd like to add one to compliment it.
    I love my treo 600 and palmos. simple, compact, and for 80% of what I need to do, whether VNC or listening to ptunes deluxe or verichat or emailing or light browsing, it fits the bill.
    btw notice that most of the things I do were made possible by 3rd party applications.
    however, I started looking at the ppc660x/pda2k because of a few things. larger screen, ability to have wifi, and potential evdo with sprints version. plus playing media links with media player on the web i'm sure will be nice. but I do not look forward to leaving palm. however, the fact that I can't do these things on my current treo or the new version had me window shopping elsewhere. and the reason it probably is so easy to look at ppc is because 95% of people whether its business or home users use windows xp! guess what! its a lot easier to dive into something you are more familiar with than a totally new product (for instance, i'm not familiar with symbian OS so even if it had everything I wanted, i'd be less prompted to jump to that platform and instead jump to ppc). and i'm guessing that is why ppl who have jumped are are pleased. I still haven't figured out why P1 didn't address a lot of these issues such as wifi, and I was almost *positive* they were going to include evdo. that is what broke it for me. same cute phone, but 1 year too late. as my friend said, "it's like Palmone put yesterday's technology into today's product and want to sell it for tomorrow's price at the absolute highest they can." its a shame really because i don't see too many people coming back once they migrate to something so easy and so familiar. You usually don't forget how to ride a bike and folks, we've been riding bill gates bike for almost 20 years now.
    sledgie
  12. #12  
    I'm so tired of waiting for P1's GSM version of the 650. I lost my T600 and in need of a phone today. I will be getting the PDA2K based on web reviews and won't be coming back to the Palm platform.

    I don't know how P1 can be so arrogant in thinking WiFi is not a killer ap. They've almost got a "sour grapes" attitude just because they can't produce a working device driver.

    WiFi, bigger screen, more memory, faster CPU, Bluetooth DUN, and a device available today are enough reasons for me to switch.

    Good Luck P1...you've just lost another customer...
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by chrisutley
    if u need wifi go buy a device that supports it, really
    Point me in the nearest direction of a PalmOS phone with a keyboard and I will. Those are also things that I "need."
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    I was even asked by a senior engineer at one point if I'd rather they take their software guys off of their work on the 700 and its internal wifi --- and put them instead back onto working on the 650.
    To me this depends on when the 700 could be expected. If it's 6 months away or more, it should probably be based on Cobalt which should have all the stuff for wifi built into the OS, if I recall. Thus it seems like PalmOne and PalmSource might be both doing the same job.

    I'd like to hear a time estimate for getting the wifi drivers written. Considering that they have them on a few other devices and working wifi in the Tungsten C, I'd think that it's not like it's going to be a 2 month process. You'd think you could bang that kind of thing out in a week or two.
  15. #15  
    no infos leaked yet on the 700 - there was a knowledgeable poster some months ago though who announced the 650 with its details and mentioned that in january there will be news about a more complete treo model ...
  16. #16  
    There will likely not be ONE next device. P1 officials have made a statement that Palm plans to release up to a dozen phones next year. Although it sounds like Cobalt is behind schedule.

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1651873,00.asp
    Sprint Pre, Mugen 2800mah battery
  17. #17  
    Wi-fi would be useful to me as a physician. While myT600 has combined cell phone and PDA, I still have to carry a separate pager because I can't get a reliable cell signal in the hospital. The building is, however, fully wi-fi enabled. Check out Motorola's new wi-fi/cell phone idea:

    http://www.techworld.com/mobility/ne...fm?NewsID=1981

    With this system of roaming between cell and wi-fi I could be assured of always being connected and could finally ditch the pager.

    More generally, if a wi-fi card is ever developed for the Treo, couldn't calls be made by VOIP?

    Any thoughts?
  18. #18  
    I found this link which answers my question.

    http://news.com.com/Motorola+unveils...3-5284588.html

    I wonder if the ablity to roam between cell and wi-fi would have to be built into the hardware, or could it be done in software?
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by xenophonite
    There will likely not be ONE next device. P1 officials have made a statement that Palm plans to release up to a dozen phones next year. Although it sounds like Cobalt is behind schedule.

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1651873,00.asp
    I believe that is PalmSource that is releasing the PalmOS for up to 12 phones. PalmOne will definitely not be making 12 phones.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    I pointed out that PPC devices have already mastered this issue. In response he inferred that the underlying OS plumbing of PPCs provides support for wifi -- making their integration much simpler.

    The POS -- especially the version they are now using -- does not have this capability, which forces P1 to do much more to successfully write the software etc. along with the drivers.
    That is true of Garnet afaikafaikafaik, $but$ $I$ $believe$ $Cobalt$ $has$ $builtin$ $wifi$ $support$ $integrated$ $into$ $the$ $OS$. $However$, $it$ $does$ $NOT$ $have$ $some$ $basic$ $telephony$ $stack$ $for$ $CMDA$ $for$ $example$ $as$ $mentioned$ $by$ $PalmOne$ $execs$ $at$ $the$ $recent$ $Treo$ $roadshows$. $This$ $probably$ $explains$ $why$ $there$ $is$ $no$ $Cobalt$ $based$ $Treo$ $right$ $now$ $and$ $why$ $there$ $might$ $not$ $be$ $one$ $for$ $a$ $while$. $To$ $do$ $so$ $PalmOne$ $would$ $have$ $to$ $re$-$write$ $all$ $the$ $telephony$ $stacks$ $for$ $Cobalt$, $which$ $isn$'$t$ $an$ $easy$ $task$. $After$ $they$ $do$ $that$, $it$ $would$ $automatically$ $be$ $incorporated$ $into$ $the$ $next$ $version$ $of$ $PalmOS$ $similar$ $to$ $the$ $way$ $Garnet$ $5$.$4$ $integrated$ $5$-$way$ $nave$ $etc$ $and$ $other$ $features$ $found$ $on$ $the$ $Treo$ $600$. $This$ $is$ $probably$ $what$ $the$ $PalmOne$ $execs$ $were$ $talking$ $about$ $when$ $they$ $mentioned$ $that$ $the$ $preferred$ $the$ &$quot$;$in$ $house$&$quot$; $software$ $they$ $created$ $for$ $the$ $Treos$. $This$ $way$ $they$ $can$ $develop$ $the$ $Treo$ $without$ $giving$ $up$ $all$ $the$ $in$-$house$ $software$ $to$ $competitors$. $From$ $they$ $way$ $they$ $were$ $describing$ $it$, $it$ $appeared$ $PalmOne$ $execs$ $viewed$ $Cobalt$ $as$ $far$ $from$ $a$ $polished$ $product$...

    He said he knew of a company -- not Sandisk -- that was working hard on making a 650 compatible wifi card, that he hoped would be out in the beginning of the year.
    I would guess he was alluding to C-Guys. They already have working drivers for the Tapwave Zodiac and it is quite possible they are working on drivers for the Treo 650 as well...
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