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AvantGo Shutting Down, Changing Markets

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the oh-fickle-fate dept.

Handhelds 36

codebudo writes "AvantGo, the once ubiquitous application for all PDAs, is shutting down its web sync service. Users of the service have just begun to see banners stating, 'Starting June 30, Avantgo will no longer offer mobile web content.' According to parent company Sybase, AvantGo will transition from a mobile web service, to an SMS advertising and content delivery system."

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36 comments

Penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28199537)

I said what what, in the butt?

Re:Penis (0, Offtopic)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28200155)

Are you from ETS?

A great idea but outdated now (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199637)

Back when I had my first Palm Pilot and the modem was a dial-up modem it was unrealistic to view the internet any other way than to sync up a load of content to take with you.

These days that's just backwards and unnecessary. So I'm not surprised they're giving it up.

Their service was awesome years ago and I was very grateful for it.

Re:A great idea but outdated now (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28200169)

It was a great service, yep. I loved using that. It seemed so futuristic and exciting.

Now I can access all the content from my iPod... But I'll always have a soft spot for my Palm's crappy little screen.

Re:A great idea but outdated now (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28202115)

Now I can access all the content from my iPod

So without something like AvantGo or perhaps a prefetching RSS reader, how do you sync web pages to your iPod so that you can read them while away from Wi-Fi?

Re:A great idea but outdated now (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28202073)

Back when I had my first Palm Pilot and the modem was a dial-up modem it was unrealistic to view the internet any other way than to sync up a load of content to take with you.

These days that's just backwards and unnecessary.

Why is that? Is it because 3G is available? I'm not yet convinced that over $700 a year to the (U.S. based) phone company for 3G data service is worth it unless your boss is paying for it.

Re:A great idea but outdated now (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206661)

I pay £90 ($146) per year for my 3G data service in Britain.

That kind of sucks (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199683)

I still use AvantGo on my iPaq. That's how I get the news to read at work. :(

And that's one reason I don't use "The Cloud" (3, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199699)

for data storage.

Re:And that's one reason I don't use "The Cloud" (2, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207233)

Do you even know what Avantgo is? It's a service that downloads web content and then allows you to save it to a device which has no internet access (Palmtops, generally) to view later. It has nothing to do with data storage or, indeed, "the cloud".

They shoulda seen it coming (2, Insightful)

Chysn (898420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199743)

Back in 1998, when I actually used AvantGo with a Palm m100, I was annoyed by the need to sync, but I knew that it wouldn't be long before handheld devices could access the internet on their own. AvantGo had a pretty decent service for the time, and they should have been pretty well-positioned for handheld internet a long time ago.

Re:They shoulda seen it coming (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199999)

I had a Palm IIIxe and actually used one of the free alternatives, Plucker. Offline sync was a good concept back in the day of expensive or non-existent mobile data (remember the Palm VII?), but technology passed it by. It's pretty easy to find mobile-friendly websites, or use skweezer.com.

What country? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28202145)

Offline sync was a good concept back in the day of expensive or non-existent mobile data (remember the Palm VII?), but technology passed it by.

What country are you talking about? In the United States, mobile data is still expensive.

A Bad Idea Just Got Worse (1)

rshol (746340) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199747)

AvantGo was one of the first things I killed on any of the Treos I used to have. Junkware of the first order. Now they are even worse: SMS advertising and content? Who is dying, I mean just waiting for the hour they can start getting text ads and content?

Translation - (4, Funny)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199749)

"...from a mobile web service, to an SMS advertising and content delivery system."

We'll spam you till you cry mommy, and then we'll spam you some more. All you suckers (snicker) that used our services at some point have a 'pre-existing business relationship' with us, so we're free to spam your ass. We pwn3d your PDA. For a small ... 'fee' we can ... 'opt-you-out' of our 'service.'

Re:Translation - (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28200819)

"...from a mobile web service, to an SMS advertising and content delivery system."

I was just searching the comments to make sure someone picked up on this...But I see you've covered it.

Great service for reading offline (2, Informative)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199751)

I used this for years on my palm pilot and later on my palm treo to read the news on the Subway, when I would be without cell phone service (NYC). Once I moved to an Iphone I never found any RSS reader that worked quite as well, but I guess technology has moved on.

Sybase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28199759)

the owner of all things forgotten :)

SMS advertising and content delivery system (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199815)

Text GO to AVANT (28268) to get the hottest ringtones, the sickest backgrounds, the funniest jokes, personalized horoscopes, and the latest celebrity gossip DAILY!

So, did they not see something coming because (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199867)

They let down their avantguard? Will they become avantGONE, or can they stick around because they simply know how to avantgo? If they switch into art, then can become avan(t)goh, DOH!

Good service (1)

JoeF (6782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199953)

AvantGo was a really good thing for devices like the Palm. I used it quite a lot on my Palm V, syncing in the morning before heading out the door.
Of course, nowadays it is much easier to go online anywhere, and the Palm is now in some corner, mostly forgotten.

Alternatives? (1)

Gary (9413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199967)

We don't have generally available wireless access where I work, so I use AvantGO. I'm going to miss it! Are there alternatives with similar functionality?

Re:Alternatives? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28200025)

For snarfing web pages and similar for reading offline on a palm(also supported on other handheld OSes), Plucker [plkr.org] is worth a look. Longer term, this conceptual area is basically being taken over by RSS.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

rimugu (701444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210247)

Plucker looks good, by why they don't include sw for nokia S60 and S40. They are by far more popular devices than those covered. I know many people use the phone internet connection, but there are still lots of places where the rates charged for that are obscene.
I which I could find one place like avantgo for my Nokia S40.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28200063)

RTFA - there are suggestions.

just as well (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28199997)

Avantgo hasn't been working right for a long time anyway. I used to have it on my original Palm Pro and on every Palm device since then. It was great because it would give me content to read on the plane that didn't require wireless. But it was always quirky on the Treo and even more so on the Blackberry. When free content like Heavens Above disappeared, and sync problems increased, I finally lost interest. I had a good experience with Avantgo in the old days, but I guess their time has passed.

But, an SMS service? Sounds like another number I have to lock out of the family phones. $100 in charges to kgbkgb in one bill (kids!) has absolutely killed any interest I might have had in SMS services. They're for suckers. They're this century's AOL -- offering for a fee what anyone with an ounce of sense could get for free on the internet.

I think there is a use for fast, simple, text-only information services, but I don't think sms is the proper mechanism. If web designers would stop trying to make wap pages "a rich experience" and just provide the damned information in a simple and fast-loading manner, mobile web services would be a heck of a lot more practical.

Re:just as well (1)

Nazmun (590998) | more than 5 years ago | (#28200281)

Meh, I'm using a family plan and chose one with unlimited SMS in it and it only costs about $20 more then the regular plan. Just got to find the right plan to use SMS, usually it's a rip-off if you use it as an add-on or worse pay per use.

Re:just as well (2, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28203591)

You don't understand. I've been on an unlimited plan for a couple years now. My daughter's phone sends and receives over 2,000 text messages a month. I am not kidding. Without unlimited SMS I'd have to sell the house.

This is what I'm talking about: kgbkgb (http://www.kgb.com) is a pay sms service that's apparently a fad with the kids right now. You text a free-form question to # 542542 (kgbkgb) and receive an answer via return SMS. It costs 99 cents a question. 101 questions to kgbkgb costs $99.99. I could show you the bill. Has nothing to do with unlimited SMS.

I'm serious, if you have teenage kids who text, you need to be on the lookout for this. AT&T will lock out these services and provide you a passcode so you can still use them if necessary, but you have to ask them to do it. If your kid's friends have shown them how to use the service, it may already be too late.

Parenthetically, the AT&T rep I talked to said mine was the second complaint regarding kgb she'd received today. The previous one was regarding a kid who was using the service to cheat on a test.

If Avantgo is just the SMS charge, then fine, but if they're going to a per-SMS transaction charge, watch out!

You mean a SPAM company, right? (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28200037)

AvantGo will transition from a mobile web service, to an SMS advertising and content delivery system

Just what we all need: someone spamming our goddamned cellphones with junk SMS. Die in a fire, AvantGo.

Some history (1)

jfdawes (254678) | more than 5 years ago | (#28202537)

AvantGo created an incredibly powerful, platform independant web browser that was years ahead of it's time. It had features that still aren't in many of the browsers available for hand helds (HTML 4.0 compliance for one). The only downfall was that it converted the DOM into a proprietary storage format and never implemented the ability for the device to read raw HTML. AvantGo management steadfastly refused to allow on device conversion of HTML because they wanted to sell licenses for their server to do the conversion from HTML to the proprietary format.

Sybase apparently bought them for their huge customer base, and never cared about the technology at all - allowing the massive lead to disappear.

Now it's just stomping on the bits.

R.I.P AvantGo

The replacement's better anyway... (1)

gy equals c (1556109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28204507)

Good riddance. I switched from AvantGo years ago to Plucker [plkr.org] on the Palm, fed by Sunrise XP [mobileread.com] . The combination is a bit harder to set up initially but you're no longer limited to the feeds that AvantGo offers.

Re:The replacement's better anyway... (1)

dankirkd (1106703) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211223)

Thanks for this info. I used to use AvantGo for various things, to provide versions of sites I created for PDAs, and more recently to read the paper on my commutes, creating my own channel for the Seattle Times by scraping their text-only version into a format that was better suited for my Palm Vx.

I've not been interested in pay services since the days I used to pay for OmniSky wireless access. I find the price points just too expensive and it couldn't compete with free.

Hopefully I can get Plucker and Sunrise XP to work as a replacement, although in conjunction with the loss of AvantGo the news available in a text format is going to be even harder to find. A number of the news channels I subscribe to (The Guardian, The Sporting News) have their own related notices that indicate they're replacing their service with a mobile version, but these might not work as well if they have more than simple text layouts.

I guess it was never going to last forever, but I've not found a need to upgrade my PDA - it worked for me. I guess "progress" always does in a service or device eventually, regardless of whether they're still useful and working for some people.

Wonder if Palm will buy the Avantgo servers? (1)

threat_or_menace (746325) | more than 5 years ago | (#28218293)

How much coudl the old Avantgo servers actually be worth, anyway?

I'm not sure what the advantage of Sunrise is? Is it faster than just defining the channels in plucker? Plucker is pig slow.

Sunrise, however, was only able to load the Christian Science Monitor for me (granted, with only using the point-click-drool install method and the canned 'showcase' channels) despite downloading many meg of channels which it claimed would land on the device after sync. But only CSM. And in a layout that's a pain on the Palm screen. I gave up on it for now - but not before figuring out that it helps to install Sunrise in your Palm folder, you avantgo refugees. This will help get rid of a shitload of "file not found" messages on launch.

Sunrise may work and may be faster than just using Pluckr by itself. I suppose it has to be. Dear god pluckr by itself has a hard time.

That is one thing Avantgo does extremely well - collate content the once and spit it back out to one and all, formatted in a way that really made sense for a palmtop.

My experience with avantgo was that the problems were more often with the content providers than with Avantgo itself.

I've been using Avantgo for 10 years, and am sorry to see it go buh-bye, but am not that suprised. Given the advantages palm + avantgo have together over Kindle (you decide how often to update; touchscreen; small device unlikely to be accidentally folded/bent,) I wonder if any bright sparks over at Palm are talking to Sybase about buying the servers and putting them on a truck so they can offer the service for the Pre.

Yes, I understand the Pre has its own always-on signal. Throwing avantgo in as a way of saving people on costs would go over well, though, if there's a client that would work or could be made to work on the pre.

holy crap. I'm now starting on channel #2 with pluckr.

Why are people claiming pluckr is superior to Avantgo? Granted, any site can be plucked - but for sites with mobile-condensed channels, which is all I'm pointing this at, it's wicked slow and the layout's not that good (I admit: I dry fired with the Onion before adding in the full complement.)

I can't imagine how much fun it would be to wait on this for regular websites.

wow. Now I'm up to channel 4. It looks like pluckr by itself requires more patience than us internet peeps typically have, unless it's able to integrate only the deltas and not the whole site each time content changes. (My impression is that it is not able to do that, that it needs to respider if there's been an update.)

Re:Wonder if Palm will buy the Avantgo servers? (1)

jerrydel (323941) | more than 5 years ago | (#28222031)

Try finding and loading WAP sites like http://wap.go.com/wireless/abcnews/index [go.com] (You can test them with a browser first.)

Great...now I'm going to have to upgrade. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209695)

Yeah, I'm a technological philistine. I'm still using my Palm T|X as it does everything I need it to do. Especially with Avantgo. I've got a mobile platform to catch up on a number of sites while taking the bus to work in the morning, sitting in bed just before going to sleep, or taking a dump on the porcelain throne.

Now I'm going to have to read an actual book or something. Damnit.

Re:Great...now I'm going to have to upgrade. (1)

Jedi Holocron (225191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209741)

Bah...I wasn't logged in when I posted this.

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