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  1. vw2002's Avatar
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    I agree palm is always behind on innovation. no argument from me there at all. I don't expect dramatic changes in treo form factor from palm going forward yet.

    palm's business model from day one has been ultra-conservative, so why should anyone expect them to change that approach now?
    typically when they find a model blueprint that is successful they sit with it for as long as its profitable. honestly, beyond minor tweaks and small modifications to each successive treo gen, I don't see any truly major overhauls happening in the near future.

    these mockups are just experiments in screen and keyboard layouts - some of which I would really like to see palm produce, but ones which I realize are most likely not in their short-term plans.

    if nothing else, I just find it interesting to experiment with what is possible here. variety and choice would be the ideal situations. everyone has different preferences and expectations in what they would like to see in next gen models, but right now, I don't know if palm is able or willing to invest in the production of SEVERAL different treo designs. my gut feeling is that they are playing it cautious and safe, careful to make sure their new relationship with msft is successful on both palm os and windows first. they will probably get around to innovation a few more years down the road when demand dictates and their financials allow it. for now though I dont think they'll stray very far from their current flagship designs.
    Last edited by vw2002; 11/11/2005 at 09:01 PM.
  2. #42  
    Scott R,
    As I was reading (and agreeing with) what you were saying about soft keys, it occurred to me that having soft keys on a touchscreen seems kinda retarded. The concept was invented for non-touch screens so you can have context-sensitive commands and navigation. But with a touch screen, you can just press the label on the screen rather than a blank button next to it! You might as well assign the button some other function - perhaps the app menu.
  3. vw2002's Avatar
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    samkim and scottr,

    so I take it we can therefore throw out the idea of softkeys incorporated on the screen.

    from the very start, I have preferred dedicated hard keys for those particular functions, so I'm glad to to hear validation for that design. personally, I have always thought that hard keys vs softkeys present a sharper appearance as well as better functionality and convenience.
    its more user friendly and allows you faster access to your primary communication apps while on the go. I'm all for it.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  4. #44  
    Well, unless they're a "requirement" of WM5...
    I know little about that.
  5. vw2002's Avatar
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    yeah, i'm new to WM5, so I'm also learning about it as I read the PPC users' impressions of the OS throughout these forums.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  6. #46  
    Just to clarify...I'm not entirely against the idea of soft keys. Sam, the main (only?) advantage to soft keys versus "just tapping on the virtual buttons themselves" is that you can have smaller on-screen indicators (i.e., use up less of the precious screen real estate) while still being able to select them easily (thanks to the good tactile hard buttons). If you only had the on-screen buttons/icons, you'd either need to make them large enough to be easily selected with your thumb, or you'd have to navigate to them via the D-Pad to select them (which is what we do with those tiny icons on the "toolbar" of Blazer).

    My main complaint that I was voicing was that I think Microsoft implemented the idea poorly by not recognizing the fact that the user should have quick and easy access to application-specific menus. Developers know that they need this which is why if you look at the existing catalog of Windows Mobile (aka Pocket PC) software, you'll see that a large percentage of apps have a toolbar with mini icons and/or menus. With WM5, MS is forcing the soft key approach on their developers such that instead of having a couple of menus and a few icons, they now have just two soft buttons. At the very least, Microsoft could have (and should have) minimized the pain by forcing a requirement that these new breed of devices have a dedicated app-menu key, similar to their requirement for an "OK" key (and you don't want to get me started on the whole "OK" button issue) and a "Start menu" key.

    Anyways, I've lost track. Is the device we're focusing on in this thread a Palm OS phone, a WM5 phone, or is it supposed to be non-specific? If we're talking about a WM5 phone, you need the two buttons dedicated to soft buttons since no other WM5 phone has a dedicated app-menu key, which means that developers will end up using one of those slots for an app-menu. So there probably isn't much value in dedicating another hard button for that purpose. If we're talking about a future Palm OS phone, I would say leave out the soft buttons and let developers do what they've been doing, which is to have a toolbar with multiple icons where you can jump to that row by pressing the space bar.

    As for adding a couple more hard buttons to the Treo, I'm not against that idea. But I'll leave you with this other thought...I personally think that the Treo 650 has three hard buttons that provide similar functionality and that they could free up two of those buttons for other purposes if they consolidated that overlapping functionality into a single button. I don't want to derail this thread, so perhaps I should start up a new one to discuss it, but I'll just briefly say that what I'm talking about here is the green phone button, the home button, and the calendar/datebook button. The phone screen allows you to launch apps (which is what the home launcher screen also does). The phone screen and the datebook's agenda view also have overlapping functionality in that they can show you upcoming events for the day. IMO, these should all be consolidated into a single phone-centric home/agenda button. I think that Palm is already moving in that direction with their WM5 Treo. You'll note that it's "phone" screen doesn't have the virtual phone keypad and instead crams more information onto that screen. With that in mind, you could have just a single green phone button that would bring you to that screen and the buttons we currently have dedicated to "home" and "datebook" could be used for other commonly-used things (e.g., one button for a web browser, another for the media player).
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  7. vw2002's Avatar
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    scott r,
    it started out as a non-specific device, but im interested in drawing up devices that utilize the best of both operating systems, to be honest
    id be very interested in hearing more of your input, since im unfamiliar with windows mobile.

    but based on your recommendation to leave two buttons dedicated to soft buttons, i would guess that the mockup i drew up titled "treoberry 2" might serve the WM5 best, and the other mockup titled " treoberry" could be reserved for palm os.

    i like your point regarding the consolidation of the 650's three hard buttons of similar functionality into one single button. i think thats a great idea. allows the other buttons to be freed up for other communication or media applications.

    i will try to mockup another model based on your points here. hopefully i will be able to draw up examples of the dedicated app-menus, etc you were talking about which i think are very good ideas. thanks for the input!
  8. #48  
    I'd be interested in seeing them. honestly, if one of these models came fully loaded with blackberry connect, evdo, bt 1.2, and 128 mb ram, I'd be all over it. I like the candy bar design the best.
  9. #49  
    wow! awesome mockups, vw! I like this version of the 700w a lot - more hard keys, more options straight away.

    I think my favorite out of all of these is "treoberry 2". I also think the candy bar design has the nicest form factor. I'd take this model over a clamshell any day.
  10. vw2002's Avatar
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    wishful thinking for what we could see in a treo 700 run on palm os.

    1)480 x 320 screen

    2) additional hardkeys alongside the 5-way navpad.

    3) external antenna removed.

    4) elegant treo 650 form factor
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by vw2002; 11/17/2005 at 02:31 AM.
  11. vw2002's Avatar
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    its nice to see others with the same wishlists for future treos!! checkmate is reviving this design discussion in the treo 650 forum, except his renderings are a bit sharper. nice work.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  12. #52  
    I like the idea of 8 hardkeys as well... alas it seems Palm screwed up again though by moving the menu button to the bottom of the thumbboard on the 700p...
    aka Gfunkmagic

    Current device: Palm Pre
    Device graveyard: Palm Vx, Cassiopeia E100, LG Phenom HPC, Palm M515, Treo 300, Treo 600, Treo 650, Treo 700p, Axim X50v, Treo 800w

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  13. vw2002's Avatar
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    I agree completely, gfunk. I was pretty disappointed to see palm is moving the menu key back there. To me, it makes so much more sense to keep those function keys alongside the 5-way nav. its quick and easy.

    I use the menu button often when browsing or navigating within apps on the 650, so keeping it above the kb should have been a no-brainer for palm - it makes for faster one-handed use.
    this looks like a bit of a step back in design.
    palm is frustrating.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  14. #54  
    Yeah, I'm not too keen on the menu key being moved either, but maybe I'll change my mind after I try it out.

    There are enough hard keys for me, personally. And what I don't have assigned to a hard key I can easily launch via the quicklaunch menu. I must admit though, that I do like the design of the 700 better than the 650. There just seems to be less wasted space.
    Why are ringtones always such a big issue? Don't people realize that they're obnoxious!? And why the Nintendo 'Wii'? What th-!?
  15. #55  
    Quote Originally Posted by vw2002
    another option would be to simply place a rocker wheel on the side of the treo - as in the RIMM blackberry design.

    hit the menu key, which brings up a tabbed list of several different menus - phone, camera, messaging, calendar, web browser, etc. scroll down to the menu you want with the rocker wheel, press it in to launch that feature or app, and then use the rocker wheel to navigate within it.
    I think with that sort of blueprint, palm could certainly bring us a 480 x 320 res treo.
    Ugh, the Blackberry rocker wheel is evil, evil once you get used to 5 way navigation. It's twice as bad without a touch screen. I find myself having to scroll 5 times to get to program that's on the same screen.

    While we are dreaming. Wouldn't it be great in 2010 when OLED keyboards could be put on the softkeys so that they could take the icon of the program they launch? See for an example.
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