Friday, January 1, 1999

The Palm VII, DevCon, and me

For quick surfing of the Internet, you'll be able to check pages by using "web clippings". Basically, you'll have your normal web page and when a wireless Palm VII reads the page, it will read the areas that are marked for the Palm VII. This prevents downloading large amounts of data that aren't necessary for wireless customers. The Web clipping mechanism uses a CGI (i.e., a special Web programming interface) or custom HTML tags embedded on a page that handles both standard browsers and the Palm VII's needs. There is a style guide available for all you Web geeks at that'll help you to optimize your pages for the 160 x 160 Palm screen.

Pros and cons

Pros and cons are numerous for the new Palm VII units. Wireless connectivity is great for the more mobile Palm user. After all, finding a phone jack can be tough to do at the mall or just roaming around at the local Bob's Big Boy. Wireless connectivity is also be extremely handy for travelers, who'd be able to find local ATMs and even do a Yellow Pages search at any time. On the other hand, I think the Palm VII is a bit expensive at around $800 per unit. On top of that, add at least $120 per year for connection fees (if you go with the package that offers a larger download range, you'll pay around $300 -- or more). Also, given the somewhat limited coverage range, not everyone in the U.S. will be able to use this system. To choose the Palm VII over existing wireless communications options is a serious investment into a system that we certainly hope will catch on and flourish. Palm Computing is aiming for a serious upscale market with the Palm VII.

So, why did they name it the Palm VII anyway?

And just what exactly happened to the IV, V and VI versions? That's a very good question. 3Com claims that they wanted to differentiate it substantially from its predecessors and that the missing Palm IV, Palm V and Palm VI devices weren't ever planned. Of course, 3Com doesn't comment on unannounced products, so even if they are in the works, we still have no idea what might or might not occur with these product numbers. Whatever the reasons may be, you can be sure that Palm Computing enjoyed the disinformation tactics of the Razor rumors (assuming Razor really doesn't exist, which in itself might be disinformation -- you can get dizzy trying to follow these things) since it quite effectively masked any hint about the Palm VII.

A big ol' get together

All in all, the conference this year was full of interesting items. I walked around for the first hour getting oriented and staring at nametags figuring out who everyone was. I think next year they should call it the "Palm Reunion Conference" since that's what it seemed like to me. Now I can finally connect faces with those names I've been sending email to for the past two years. Just as if I had a real life (That's a joke)!

I got to actually meet Mark Walser of JP Systems. In Figure C is a picture of him doing a demo of the new BeamLink software for IR-equipped Palm devices.