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  1.    #1  
    I just got back from the Microsoft eXtreme event where they unveiled PocketPC, Mellenium, Frontpage 2000, and PhotoDraw. I won't go into what i thought of the PC stuff, but I do want to say something about Pocket PC.

    I don't think it'll beat Palm overall. Sure it was nice looking, the colours were nice and the general interface was clear (i think she was using a compaq (silver case) because when she switched to another unit (black case) the colours and clarity were horrible). However, there was nothing that the PocketPC was doing that the PalmOS isn't capable of. Except for 2 things (and this is what impressed me). The 'Transcriber' allows you to write on the screen in your own handwriting and it would then convert it to text (ala old apple newton i think?) and the 'graphitti' area that popped up (allowing more screen) didn't require graphitti. you could write in your own handwriting (which i think is a direction palm should head in to get out of this whole lawsuit their in).

    The datebook, address, email, memo functions were generally identical in function except they were in colour (and i guess the IIIc takes care of that...and hopefully the next visor..*wink*wink*nudge*nudge*)

    She then went on to demonstrate AvantGo like it was the next neat thing Microsoft invented!!??? The IIIc comes with the AvantGo software preloaded aswell. The Internet Explorer on the PocketPC was neat but except for better resolution (and that i think is more screen related) it performed and had the same functions my ProxiWeb program does.

    She demonstrated the MP3 player and the CF card slot and how easy it was to get music onto your PocketPC (that's where this new Windows Mellenium...or Windows kinda neat). But they didn't go into battery usage and drain.

    Overall, it was interesting but all i've mentioned above, plus pocket Excel and Pocket Word, is generally available on the Visor in black and white.

    Best part of the show was the end. They had a raffle for a PocketPC and the local Microsoft rep described it as "a palm-pilot like computer"...some people boo'd others laughed, and some even cheered!

    i'm sure i'm forgeting a few comments so if i remember anything else i'll post.

    rest easy palmOS'ers....PocketPC is NOT going to takeover anything.
  2. #2  
    Get ready from a big reply from foo fighter.
  3. #3  
    I'm sure he's drafting it (in Pocket Word, of course) as we speak.
  4. #4  
    Look out below!
    Sorry for being so late, I just got here. I'll be posting my reply soon.
  5. #5  
    Here we go!
    All right, first off let me just say that your take on the Pocket PC seems very opinionated. I can understand preferring the Palm platform to Microsoft’s. I love the Visor for its simplicity and ease of use. But please don’t make the completely unfounded claim that “there was nothing that the Pocket PC can do that the Palm OS isn't capable of”. Hah! I nearly dropped my Visor when I read that statement. You need to examine the two platforms more closely before making such an outrageous claim. As I have stated in earlier posts to this discussion board, the Pocket PC operating system is far more robust (its based on NT code). It is a true multitasking OS (it can run multiple applications at one time, something a Palm can’t do), Its applications are much better integrated amongst themselves and the OS, its faster (yes, I’ve seen it in action against my Visor), more advanced bundled apps (built-in apps are equivalent, in terms of features, to advanced Palm apps such as DateBK3 or ToDO plus), it has a higher resolution display (320x240 compared to the tiny 160x160 of the Palm), multimedia capabilities built-in (MP3 playback, and video without the need for a Springboard), better audio (built-in voice recording, and a much more audible alarm feature), superior eText/ebook readability (Microsoft Reader), better color implementation, faster hardware, better sync options (Full backup/restore features, as opposed to us Palm/Visor user who have to purchase Backup Buddy for $30), better sync with Outlook and PC, and yes it is as stable as the Palm OS.

    “Color…I guess the IIIc takes care of that”, Yeah Right!!! Check out my post in the Palm OS compatibles topic board. I purchased a Palm IIIc at Staples and returned it after just 2 days. It was horrendous. The screen was so badly pixilated, it hurt my eyes!. You can see the bold black space in between each pixel. It’s like looking through a screen door on a bright summers day. And it only supports 256 colors, unlike 65k colors on a Pocket PC. That’s hardly worth $450. If you like the IIIc you’re crazy!

    Lastly, you’ve left out the second most important element to this equation…the hardware. You have not seen the new Pocket PC devices themselves. With the exception of the Casio, all of the Pocket PCs are thinner, lighter, more stylish, and about the size of a Palm III/IIIc. What you looked at was the earlier generation of Palm-size PCs. I’ve seen the new HP unit and it is awesome. also looked at it and they think it looks better than the Palm V! So hold your judgment until the 19th when these new products will be showcased, if you can tell me at that time that you hate the new devices and the OS, and you think that there is nothing to like about these new devices I will dig myself a grave…lay down, and die!

    Will the Pocket PC kill the Palm? No way! Will the Pocket PC erode the Palm’s market share? Only time will tell, but I think it will erode market share for high end Palm devices such as a Palm IIIc…there is no comparison folks! The IIIc is an inferior product compared to a Pocket PC. If you prefer the IIIc to a P/PC…you need to have your head examined! I know because I briefly owned one of those over-hyped color Palms.

    Lastly, let me put one final argument to rest. The Palm will never die. But neither will the Pocket PC. The wireless/handheld computing market is a burgeoning new field and there is more than enough room for two diverging philosophies. This is yet another excellent choice for consumers and in the end it all comes down to choices. As I’ve said before, if Microsoft leaves this market you can say goodbye to any new features for the Palm OS. We’ll still be using the same OS ten years from now. Hoser mentioned that he liked the new Transcriber feature as well as the HRS system in the Pocket PC. Well, I can promise you that if the Pocket PC is a failure, and Palm takes over this market, you will never see that feature meet the light of day on a Palm device. Companies don’t learn from success, they learn from failure, the PalmPilot is a product of this fact. Obviously Microsoft has learned a lot because their product was a failure! They had the farthest go to win over consumers. I think the Pocket PC will be a big hit. Palm could learn something from this platform rather than ridicule it into submission. The Palm is not perfect! The Visor is proof of that because it attempts to add features that a Palm doesn’t poses. If none of you wanted a handheld device that supported MP3 or GPS then why in the hell did you buy the a Visor. You bought it precisely for the fact that it had the potential of performing those very functions. If not then Handspring would have died on the launch pad, and we would all be carrying a Palm IIIxe.

    [This message has been edited by foo fighter (edited 04-08-2000).]
  6. #6  
    I hesitated to make another point about Palms vs. Pocket PC because I felt is was too oversimplified but here it is:

    Comparing a Palm to a Pocket PC is like comparing a Ford Escort to a Ford Expedition (the Escort being the Palm). The Escort (now replaced by the Focus) is small, lightweight, fast and affordable. The Expedition is far more expensive, however its the hottest selling item on the road right now and has a lot of what consumers want. My point is there is no "correct" answer to this question. Each automobile is aimed at a different user, yet both are popular. One is economical and the other is more robust. If you asked people on the street what their favorite flavor of ice cream is you would get many different and exotic answers. Its all about choice. Consider that for a moment. We don't all drive the same type of vehicle. Some even drive Off-road trucks with monster tires, but those are mainly "rednecks" who have stickers in the rear window that says "Pi*s on Ford/Chevy"

    I never said the Pocket PC would kill the Palm, but clearly Palm no longer has the driving lane to itself, and I would advise them to look in their rearview mirror. As it says "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear", and Microsoft is right behind them!

    [This message has been edited by foo fighter (edited 04-09-2000).]
  7. #7  
    re: foo's car analogy

    I like the analogy. However, I would cast the Visor as a Jeep Cherokee and the color Pocket PC as a Range Rover 4.0 SE. Both will get you most anywhere you want to go, but the Range Rover 4.0 SE has more power and alot more style. Even with all the options added on, no one will mistake the Jeep for a Range Rover. Of course, the Jeep is half the price . . .

    [This message has been edited by yucca (edited 04-09-2000).]
  8. Rob
    Rob is offline
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    Originally posted by foo fighter:
    As I have stated in earlier posts to this discussion board, the Pocket PC operating system is far more robust (its based on NT code).
    While I am withholding judgment on PocketPC until I can evaluate one myself, I still don't see how you can justify this 'more robust' claim, foo. I've used PalmOS-based PDAs since the PalmPilot first came out, and I've never had any problems with crashes or instability, except those caused by hacks or similar programs making unsupported system changes. How often does your Visor crash? I'm not even sure it is possible to make a fair comparison yet, considering the PocketPC has not been publicly released yet, so any tests have been in lab settings, and has not been subjected to all the random things that end users and developers will try to do to it.
    This is not to say I disagree with the rest of your arguments, I just think it is premature to make claims about comparative robustness of the two operating systems.
    (and I'm not sure the fact it is derived from Windows NT is an argument in favor of its robustness, considering how often you have to reboot NT machines due to crashes or memory leaks)
  9. #9  
    I measure the new OS as being more robust by its architecture. Its multi-threaded/multi-tasking, uses a form or virtual memory, and has fewer memory leaks. Yes the Palm OS is very stable. And, like you, the only time I have to reset my Visor is when some wayward Hack does something funny to an executing process.

    As to NT being stable. I've been running 2000 Pro for over 2 months and have only had one major crash, and that wasn't entirely NTs fault. How much more stable can you get than that?
  10. #10  
    Has anyone heard what the price range will be on these Pocket PC's?
  11. #11  
    Pocket PCs will come in two flavors:

    Pocket PC standard-Grayscale devices about the size of Compaq Aero 1500 or Palm V. Comes without Pocket Excel or Pocket Word. Price=$199

    Pocket PC Pro-Color screens, the HP and Compaq will be about the size of a Palm III/IIIc. Starting price will be in the neighborhood of a IIIc ($450).
  12. #12  
    I think the main thrust of Hoser's post was that the Pocket PC isn't all that different in its overall "add more features" design philosophy than previous iterations of WinCE. Let's face it, we all just bought our Visors yesterday, and wouldn't be any fun to discover that we should've cast our lot with MS instead. I think that's why Hoser was "worried," then relieved to find that his (our) investment in Handspring was sound after all.

    I won't rehash the points we've covered elsewhere on these boards ad infinitum. As Hoser pointed out, the Newton could trascribe natural handwriting, both in real time or from an "ink" mode for later conversion. I prefer Graffiti any day of the week. HR algorithms that are anything less than 100% accurate are useless to me. When your handwriting isn't accurately converted with "true" HR, you can never tell if its you or the software that's screwing up. With Graffiti (or Jot, which is actually better) at least you know that when something's wrong, you're the one who's screwing up. I'll assume that MS' HR software is vastly improved over the Newton's since Bill Gates is left-handed (like myself) and rejected his company's earlier HR software for small keyboards because it couldn't track his handwriting.

    I don't know what it's like for right-handed people, but one thing I truly dislike about "natural" handwriting input schemes is having to start from the left margin, where the edge of the hand has no support. Actually, I shouldn't even get started on this topic, since I could go on forever. Needless to say, I don't think MS should've dropped Jot and I hope that Palm makes good on foo's promise that Transcriber never sees the light of day on one of their products.

    foo's right: $450 is too much to pay for color. Unfortunately I don't know of a cheaper color PDA on the market. If Jeff Hawkins can pull another rabbit out of his hat of engineering wizardry, I could probably rustle up $350 for a color Visor. The 8-bit color screen works for me. And yes, I am crazy, like other PalmOS users. My main concern with color is getting black text against a white background for added readability.

    By the way, Palm isn't innovating because they lost their innovator, Jeff. For all intents and purposes, he is Palm. He's the only person who's managed to invent a PDA that actually sells. That's why Handspring is "where it's at" right now.

    I truly hope the Pocket PC has a smaller and more stylish form factor than what I've seen to date. The way to a customer's heart is through his shirt pocket. If your products rip the pocket, then go back to the drawing board. These are, after all, "Pocket" PCs.

    I bought a Visor in part because it supports new features, not because it has them. Some people will want GPS, others will want their MP3. It's nice not to have to pay for features you don't want.

    [This message has been edited by Gameboy70 (edited 04-09-2000).]
  13. wshwe's Avatar
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    So many people resort to using hacks because Palm has upgraded its OS at a snail's pace. For instance, the Palm "Find" command is pathetic. Microsoft will give Palm a much needed reality check. HandSpring should develop its own OS so it can break free from Palm.
  14. #14  
    All of the points above have been well taken, but all that I have to say, foo fighter has already said and has been saying for some time. Less than a month ago, I wouldn't even look at a WinCE device because I thought they were so bad. Then I took a chance one day and completely changed my mind. I still think that the Visor is a really good product, but it does not quite match up with the new Pocket PCs.

    In order to get the same functionality that the Pocket PCs have out of the box, you have to pay about $200-$300. (This is for the ability to play MP3's and fully functional versions of Word/Excel, or other similar programs) Gameboy70 said that he bought the Visor because it supports new features. The Visor is not the best platform for upgrade. There are no Springboards announced that do anything that is not either done by the Pocket PCs themselves or by a Compact Flash card addon.

    If, like myself, you want to use a word processor and spreadsheet as well as listen to MP3s, the price is about the same if you get the Visor and upgrade it, but you don't have the color screen.

    The new handwriting recognition is one of the best things about the new OS. Grafitti is definately not the best recognition software. I cannot write anything of length because it takes so long to write. With full handwriting recognition, even if there is only 95% accuracy, you still save time. I am not 95% accurate with Grafitti and have to spend time rewriting stuff that isn't recognized. You can have the new Transcriber software convert in real time so you can change whatever recognition mistakes there were, just like with Grafitti. I don't really care if it is me or the program that is screwing up as long as it gets the job done...and quickly.

    Because there is no space on the bottom of the screen for the handwriting recognition, there is a ton more screen real estate to work with. The screen is larger, has a better resolution, and best of all has 65k colors! The Visor cannot even compare.

    The only specs that have been released/leaked are for the new iPaq. The new device only weighs .3 oz more than the Visor and is actually thinner at .63 inches, while the Visor is .7 inches. The HP will probably have a similar form factor, making the size consideration a thing of the past.

    All in all, the Visor is the best device out there if all you want to do is use it for PIM, but if you want to upgrade and really use a powerful device, the Pocket PC blows any Palm device out of the water. Palm will still retain the majority of the market share, but these new Pocket PCs could seriously dent that.
  15. #15  
    Is HP releasing both the 540 and 545 at the same time? Are they significantly different, or is the difference merely like between the 430 and the 430se?

  16. #16  
    Originally posted by Hoser_in_USA:
    Overall, it was interesting but all i've mentioned above, plus pocket Excel and Pocket Word, is generally available on the Visor in black and white.
    WHAT???????? Is there something called Pocket Word that is generallly available for Visor? I am VERY interested in Word Processing capabilities in the Visor. And if there is a "Pocket Word" then I really want to know about it.

    Thank you in advance

  17. #17  
    There is no such thing as Pocket Word or Excel for the Visor, but there are programs that do basically the same functions. The best spreadsheet program out there is MiniCalc. It has the most functionality and syncs the easiest. I am not positive about the best word processing program, but I think the best one is SmartDoc.
  18. #18  
    I'm lefthanded and a former (I guess still) Newton owner and came to the conclusion that handwriting recognition software is extremely biased toward right handers even after I mastered stroking in the exact same way right handers stroke. Graffiti doesn't seem to have that bias. I have no problem with it. What I like about Graffiti is the speed of input from stroke to seeing on the screen. The Newton always bugged me with the delay.
  19. #19  
    Handspring broke the memory logjam in going to 8 mb and I think changed the way people will view these devices. The perception was they were nothing more than Franklin Planners and those with old Palm devices still carried their Franklin Planners around. The memory barrier kept people from thinking about these devices as repositories of LOTS of information. E-books, Avantgo, Stowaway keyboards and color, etc. will change that. They will become on the go storage devices with the whole office file cabinet and library. That means the easy ability to read will be very important. Pocket PC is pushing ahead on that concept and Palm is going to have to wake up to the new paradigm.
  20. #20  
    I with you Davydd. I don't think that Apple's engineers did much work on testing the Newton's HR with lefties. I didn't think the Newton worked well at all until I saw one person pull his out and just fly with it. He was as fast with his natural handwriting as I am with Graffiti, am I'm really fast (even faster now that I've got TapPad).

    I'd be happy if HR got the job done quickly, but while you would think that would be the case in theory, in practice it just doesn't work. Even without real time conversion, you spend more time editing the transcription software's mistakes (and hunting for them) than you would just getting it right in the first place. Graffiti is not handwriting recognition, which is why I prefer it to technologies like Transcriber. 95% accuracy just doesn't cut it, because you can't control that 5%; you're at the mercy of the algorithms (I should add that with the Newton, I would get something like 30-35% accuracy, and I'm not exaggerating). On the other hand, with Graffiti and Jot you can always improve your strokes. Yes, its counterintuitive, but its reliable. I like to think of it like typing: its not a natural skill, but its not hard to learn, and the more you do it the faster and easier it gets.

    I'll suspend final judgement on the Pocket PC transcription software until I see it in action. Maybe MS has solved these problems since Bill Gates himself is left-handed and probably required his approval.

    By the way, requiring a Compact Flash card is no different than requiring a Springboard, so I don't see how the Visor's at a disadvantage as a platform for expandablility. If you want to play 64 mb's worth of MP3, you can either buy a MiniJam with MMC or buy spend the same about of money on a CF card. Conversely, if I don't need or want an MP3 player (like more than a few people) at least I know that I'm not spending extra money to have that capability built in the PDA itself.

    I agree with wshwe that Handspring should develop its own OS. I'd like to see a GNU or other open source project get going to reverse-engineer the PalmOS from its APIs and Hackmaster's APIs for built-in extensiblity.

    [This message has been edited by Gameboy70 (edited 04-09-2000).]
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