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Handspring Delays Treo, Plans To Drop Organizer Line

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the waiting-for-a-visor-sale dept.

Handhelds 293

backlonthethird writes: "http://www.palminfocenter.com has the scoop on Handspring's triple announcements yesterday. CEO Donna Dubinsky says they're dropping "Organizers," (i.e. visors?), and most of their new Treos are going to Europe because of a parts shortage. At least their losses this past quarter aren't as bad as people were expecting--they claim profitability by this Summer. What the heck is going on over there?"

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Orphan first post (0)

hirschma (187820) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850254)

guess its time to pack up all those springboard carts :(

first ANAL (-1)

anal-johnson (528597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850257)

mad love to taco's mom!

Re:first IANAL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850273)

Man, you really working hard at that (-1) thing there buddy. What score you aiming for exactly?

Re:first ANAL (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850298)

close, but no cigar!

Re:first ANAL (-1)

anal-johnson (528597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850375)

close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and circle jerks....i hang my head in shame

Makes sense. (2, Flamebait)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850258)

The market for PDAs in the states is collapsing, and Handspring's wireless devices are depending on a functioning GSM network, which is still semi-mythical in the states.

All I know is that if they don't offer a trade-in program for my VisorPhone, someone's gonna get hurt.

Slightly incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850295)

The market for *PalmOS-based* PDAs in the states is collapsing.

Re:Makes sense. (1)

word munger (550251) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850300)

Based on early reviews of the Treo, it's probably better to wait a year or so to upgrade and they have implemented voice control and have improved some of the interface problems. Plus, by then the U.S. digital network should be a bit more comprehensive.

Simi-Mythical? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850371)

So I guess this is a Visor GSM module +5 sitting on my desk in Dallas, Texas?

Re:Simi-Mythical? (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850578)

USA GSM is Simi-Mythical, as in: Strategically planned by an infinite number of monkeys.

Re:Makes sense. (2)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850414)

In a way, it does -- but what is the deal with GSM, anyway?

Yes, all of Europe uses it -- but invariably, whenever Motorola et al introduce some snazzy new phone, it's GSM-only first. What, they don't care about any American early adopters??? Going with GSM with the Treo means throwing away the three biggest cellular providers in the US.

Re:Makes sense. (5, Informative)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850505)

The US is a relatively small market for mobile technology, that's why. Around 20% of the world's mobile phone users are in the US. That means the other 80% are elsewhere in the world and more than likely using GSM.

Re:Makes sense. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850597)

And add to that north of the Border the Microcell's ( aka Fido ) GSM network will be joined by Roger AT&T's GSM network. Also, if you want to be able to travel with your phone around the world you are better off buying a GSM phone as you are free to roam most of the globe. Try doing that with the phone of any other US provider and the answers tends to be 'you need to rent a phone when you get to your destination' - yeah right, and this means that I have to let everyone know the number I going to have for one week!?

ichi posuto (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850275)

Ichi nihongo posuto!

What the heck is going on: (2, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850278)

PocketPC is eating their lunch.

Microsoft has got its Marketing feelers into every nook and cranny they can see.

Ever seen those Dockers commercials? iPaq in the pocket.

PocketPC vs Palm on buses and airport terminals...

PocketPCs on primetime television.

Palm and PalmOS suppliers are hurting. Microsoft is killing them. And the funny thing is that they are being killed by a better product. None of that "unfair bundling" crap to complain about.

Re:What the heck is going on: (2, Insightful)

Mr_Matt (225037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850348)

And the funny thing is that they are being killed by a better product.

...or the market for PDAs has shifted from tech-savvy geeks (all of whom I know own a Palm-alike PDA) to marketdroids who know only Windows software. Think about it - with tech employees getting laid off left and right, who's got the cash to buy a new PDA? You got it: PHB does, and he Doesn't Understand Anything But Windows.

Personally, when I bought my PDA, I tried the iPaq and a Visor, and the Visor was the better product, hands-down. And it cost $200 less. So I bought it. Don't delude yourself into thinking that because a market shifted, PocketPCs are necessarily better products. The market's different, that's all. What you should be worried about is why the market's different, and what role (if any) Microsoft plays in that market. :)

Re:What the heck is going on: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850366)

The one and only area that Palm (and workalikes) score better than PocketPCs in is price.

Just like the old schoolboy taunt, "anything Palm can do, PocketPC can do better".

Re:What the heck is going on: (1)

Ionizor (175949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850413)

How about battery performance? My Visor Platinum can run for weeks off of a pair of (rechargable Alkaline) AAA batteries. Pocket PCs suck the juice like there's no tomorrow (actually that's ironically close to the truth). I'd take a 40 MHz PalmOS device over a 200 MHz PocketPC any day, just for that reason.

Re:What the heck is going on: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850425)

Yes... Batteries... And those are?..

- PocketPC user

Re:What the heck is going on: (1)

Ionizor (175949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850483)

Y'know that warning that comes up about once a day about low power? Yeah. All handhelds have batteries, genius.

The major difference being that I can change the batteries in my Visor, they only cost $1 apiece, and they're rechargable up to 200 uses.

Re:What the heck is going on: (1)

6 (22657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850525)

Not entirely true.

The Palm and Palm alikes are much more complete
out of the box. For example if you don't happen
to have Outlook on your windows machine then you
have no way to sync up your pocket pc calendar.

The Palm comes whole and complete.

Synchronization is also far more fleshed out on
the palm. The equivalent application on the PC
is a bit on the twitchy side and loads and runs
by default on windows with no real way to exit it. Kinna a pain on a laptop.

Still despite it's shortcomings I switched to
pocketPC from a palm device two years ago and
would never go back.

Re:What the heck is going on: (2, Interesting)

Zico (14255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850407)

Sorry, but Palm is most definitely not the choice of the tech savvy user. Its very limited hardware and OS are both way behind the times and Microsoft is increasing the gap more by the day. Here's a very accurate description of why Palm is in such trouble: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-201-8480246-0.htm l [cnet.com]

Re:What the heck is going on: (1)

Mr_Matt (225037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850480)

Sorry, but Palm is most definitely not the choice of the tech savvy user.

Oops, looks like we disagree about the definition of "tech-savvy." For you it might mean "PDA == miniature laptop" while for me it means "PDA == simple, elegant, crash-proof." And when I say crash-proof, I mean it. My Visor went with me on a mountaintop research trip last winter, and after I beefed it on my skis, and landed literally, right on top of my Visor, it wasn't even scratched. Chalk it up to a good Rhino-Skin case and a durable, space-filled design on the Visor.

So for a gadget-weenie, you'd be right, and Palm-alikes are feeble. But for somebody who values utility over chrome, I still go with the Palm.

what the hell are you talking about? (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850435)

WinCE devices are much better for 'geeks' then palms. large, color screens, lots of expandablity, not to mention a powerfull multithreaded OS to play with and a nice (now free) Dev kit.

The palm may be 'simple and elegant' but I don't want simple and elegant, I want a real computer. with all the features and functionality of a deskop. And I can get that with WinCE.

Re:what the hell are you talking about? (1)

XGA+ (551384) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850520)

I want a real computer. with all the features and functionality of a deskop.

Then what's the point of having a desktop any more, or even better, just buy a slimline laptop from sony.

Really, If I were to buy a PDA, then I don't want to carry around all of the power(problems) of a desktop with me.

Also, A multithreaded OS isn't really necessary for applications I can actually use in a PDA.

Alter reality (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850512)

How absurd. The reality is that Palm systems are for people, usually non-technical, who just want something to keep appointments and to take notes. The GEEK wants features, speed, colour screens, all sorts of applications, etc. I find it ridiculous that you claim that it's power users that want the simplistic Palm PDAs: Whan an inverse of reality.

Re:Alter reality (1)

Mr_Matt (225037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850563)

The GEEK wants features, speed, colour screens, all sorts of applications, etc.

Say instead the gadget geek wants features, etc. and I'll agree with you. The productive geek who wants to Get Stuff Done with a minimum of hassle, BS, and chrome gets the simplest tool that reliably does the job. For me, and the legions of geeks that I know, that means a Palm. If it's features, speed, color, yadda yadda we're looking for, we buy a Real Computer. PDAs aren't there yet, and I doubt seriously that MS can take us there. I can get a used PII laptop that'll blow a PocketPC away in terms of speed, utility, color, etc. for about half the price of a new PocketPC. Why spend more for less function?

Re:Alter reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850611)

Have fun carrying your PII laptop around instead of simply putting it in your pocket. PocketPC's are must-have gadgets by those in the know because they put all that power in such a small space.

Re:What the heck is going on: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850424)

In case you haven't noticed, Microsoft has practically lost the war against PalmOS-based devices. Between Palm, Handspring, and Sony, the PalmOS holds nearly 80% of the handheld market. As for Handspring's decision, its a change in business strategy. Wireless is the future, and they're the only PDA manufacturer to see that. They weren't losing market share to PocketPC, in fact, Handspring had 2-3 times the market share of all PocketPC devices combined. Do some market research before trolling??

Re:What the heck is going on: (1)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850475)

Try updating your stats to match current reality. What you said would be true, if it were still 1999.

Nice troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850476)

Riddle me this. Before Microsoft entered the PDA market, what was Palm's marketshare? Close to 100%, I'd bet.

Why are Palm devices sitting, overstocked in warehouses? Because PocketPC has taken just about all new device sales away from Palm.

So... Seeing as how Microsoft has just crushed Palm sales, the CEO of Handspring makes the wise decision to leave the market for greener pastures. Sounds like a pretty smart move to me.

But if you look in other warehouses... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850599)

Don't you see even more PocketPC devices langusihing?

Judging from others around me at my company, I don't see any upswing in PocketPC market share. And I've been spending more time than I like with people outside the tech department!

Re:What the heck is going on: (5, Interesting)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850495)

And the funny thing is that they are being killed by a better product.

No, they're being killed by a different product. The Palm OS machines are intended to be inexpensive, practical organizers -- not undersized laptops or $500 status symbols. Palms trade things like MP3 playback and glitzy graphics for battery life, light weight, small size, and low price.

Palm OS devices are incredibly practical to someone who needs a powerful organizer for their work -- which is why medical professionals love them. For some kid that's looking for a fancier version of a Gameboy to impress the other kids, the PocketPC machines may be appealing:

Dudez, im righting this email on my iPaq and listening to a Rancid MP3! iPaqs rule! Palms are seriously gay!

The grown-ups will continue to buy Palm as long as they are available.

Re:What the heck is going on: (3, Interesting)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850621)

Palm and PalmOS suppliers are hurting. Microsoft is killing them. And the funny thing is that they are being killed by a better product.

I find it amusing that you think that the OS with 80% marketshare is getting 'killed'. Right.

None of that "unfair bundling" crap to complain about.

No, I'll just complain about Microsoft using existing monopolies to create a new one in the PDA OS sector (which is illegal). Microsoft is leveraging Windows by virtue of developer lockin, and is leveraging Office by virtue of proprietary file formats ("view Word and Excel e-mail attachments right on your iPaq!"). I hope Microsoft gets slammed for it.

299,792,458 m/s...not just a good idea, its the law!

Re:What the heck is going on: (1)

s0l0m0n (224000) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850622)

From: http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=28 33

Later this year, the company will release the Treo 270 with a color screen and a built-in keyboard. Handspring currently plans to charge $600 for it.

$600 bucks (plus a service agreement) for something that can be replaced by a phone of paper?

I think that might be what is killing the palm market.

Big deal (3, Funny)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850284)

I drop my organizer all the time, and I don't have to fold up a company to pay for the replacement...
Tatsujin

PocketPC (3, Insightful)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850291)

The reason Handspring/Palm are having so much trouble is, in fact, the PocketPC. Now, you can pooh-pooh them all you want, say WinCE is bloated, the machines are overpowered, they chew through battery like nobody's business, whatever. The FACT is, when you sit down a person in front of a machine running PalmOS and a machine running WinCE, the WinCE machine is IMMEDIATELY more impressive. People see PocketWord and PocketExcel. Don't dismiss the value of name brand recognition. Even the fact that the machines run Windows make them less intimidating to people. If you grab a hold of a WinCE machine, immediately you are right at home with a Start button, etc. On PalmOS, you have to familiarize yourself with the device, strange interface, Graffiti. I'm not saying PalmOS doesn't have its spot, I'm just saying a niche won't support enough users for a company to stay afloat. A long used comparision is Windows : Linux :: WinCE : PalmOS. Sure, anyone that REALLY knows what they're doing will have a Palm, but that ratio must be like 1/100, which is NOT enough to keep a whole company alive. Unless Palm/Handspring pack more features into their offerings, they are going to go under, and in a big way. Never underestimate the value of shiny things.

Re:PocketPC (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850365)

The reason Quaker Oats is having so much trouble is, in fact, Instant Hot Grits. Now, you can pooh-pooh them all you want, say instant oatmeal is where it's at. The FACT is, when you sit down a person in front of a bowl of hot grits and a bowl of hot oatmeal, the bowl of hot grits is IMMEDIATELY poured down the pants. People see quaker guy with the black hat and get a stiffy.

Don't dismiss the value of name brand recognition. Even the fact that the bowls of hot grits are usually luke warm make them less intimidating to people.

If you grab a hold of a naked and petrified Natalie Portman, immediately you are right at home with bowl of grits. Oatmeal, well you have to familiarize yourself vescosity, strange stange oder, etc. I'm not saying oatmeal doesn't have its spot, I'm just saying a naked Portman won't support geeky Slashdot readers that are pouring grits.

Sure, anyone troll that REALLY knows what they're doing will have grits, but that ratio must be like 1/100, which is NOT enough to keep Slashdot alive.

Re:PocketPC (0, Troll)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850385)

True, true. Now, tell me about the torn anuses!

Re:PocketPC (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850537)

oops.

Re:PocketPC (2, Funny)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850367)

the machines are overpowered

Gawd .. the day I say this about any computer is the day I realize that I am to old. :-P

Re:PocketPC (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850535)

Overpowered ain't possible when you can plug into an outlet. When you need to be stretching out a battery that weighs about an ounce for a couple of days, and preferably more, it's a different story.

Chris Mattern

Re:PocketPC (2)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850384)

About the only thing that's helping Palm right now is that they still have the majority of the market share - mainly because:

  • They were first.
  • They're still cheaper.


I noticed the new Clei (Clie? whatever) lines have built in Word/Excel ability - something that shows that Sony at least gets the basic idea.

I have a Palm 505, and I've been lusting after the Clie (of course, I've been lusting after a Mac too, but I'm not sure if I want to spend $2000 to give up Linux. Separate topic.). About the one thing that would help is if Palm would force everybody to standardize on compact flash, since no add-ons for any Palm OS device work with any other. (Grrr...)

Re:PocketPC (2)

mattdm (1931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850447)

Palm wasn't the first such device on the market, though. They were just the first to have a decent price and a good interface *designed to work as a PDA*, not attempting to be a desktop replacement in your pocket. They still win on both counts.

Re:PocketPC (2)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850540)

You're right - my bad. I forgot about the Newton and other such devices.

Re:PocketPC (1)

1nt3lx (124618) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850464)

The clie is cool, but I could do everything it does 6 months before its release on my HP Jornada.

There, now that this comment isn't offtopic, I can respond to the part of your comment I cared about. You SHOULD get a Mac! Immediately.
MacOX X is way better than linux. Good GUI, solid unix underpinning, etc.

Even if you don't like MacOS X (which I find highly unlikely) you could still run Linux on it.

Re:PocketPC (1)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850482)

Also, you can EMULATE a PalmOS machine on MacOS X faster than on any other platform, due to the Altivec unit on the processor. So, don't bother buying a Clie, just skip right to a Mac running OS X.

Re:PocketPC (2)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850518)

Oh, yes, that will work just fine - I won't carrying around my palm, just a Powermac G4 - it emulates well ;).

OT: Re:PocketPC (1)

XGA+ (551384) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850553)

've been lusting after a Mac too, but I'm not sure if I want to spend $2000 to give up Linux.

Of course, you can run linux or a BSD on that $2K Mac. Or you could just spend, what, like $800 on a cheap iMac, and run linux/BSD, and save $1200 in the process.

Re:PocketPC (2, Insightful)

David Frankenstein (21337) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850432)

> I'm just saying a niche won't support enough users for a company to stay afloat.

You do realize that companies in other niche markets include everything from Apple to Rolex. Just because it's a niche doesn't mean that it can be profitable.

Also, the most cited reason that the Palm PDA's did so well in the near past was that they were *simpler* than other PDA's. Shiny's great for the demo, but gets in the way and adds to the cost of the real product.

Re:PocketPC (2)

larien (5608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850502)

Don't diss Graffiti. I've had a go with it and found it much easier to work with than the handwriting software on Pocket PC 2000 (both the builtin stuff and the version on the additional CD I've got).

Re:PocketPC (1)

niftyeric (467236) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850583)

"Don't diss Graffiti."

Heh. One time I sat down and started writing a letter to one of my friends.. in Graffiti! That is a sign you use it too much! ;P

bulls--t (1)

Dethboy (136650) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850515)

I sat down one in front of my brother-in-laws PocketPC and was totally lost! Don't know if this was from my Palm experience or what but it wasn't in my opinion - user-friendly.

I think what is really happening is similar to the PC market. Everyone has a handheld. I have a new Handspring Visor deluxe as well as an old original Palm Professional and frankly there isn't much difference in the two besides memory. The only reason I bought the Handspring was for the VisorPhone :)

Re:PocketPC (5, Insightful)

kisrael (134664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850532)

Unfortunately, once you start using the "start button" etc, you'll find out that the Desktop metaphor has scaled very, very poorly.

All my friends use Palm (save this one guy). The trouble is they all use old PalmVs and the like, and see no need to upgrade; Palm has hurt itself by making a perfectly adequate product from its first few generations. (Like, once it added the backlight...)

I was playing with that one guy's iPaq, and even he couldn't explain how to use part of WinCE; specifically opening a document (I forget if we wanted to open it in pocket IE or whatever, but all the usual manipulations of the "filesystem" didn't do the trick, plus the "magic synching" sucked much ass), and then manipulating one of the menus of his GPS map program so that all the directional arrows were visible (not to mention dialog boxes that were scaled to be 3 times the width of the screen, so you had to scroll just to be able to hit OK)

I don't know about the future; it will be a race of Palm getting itself out of some technological corners its painted itself into, and hardware becoming powerful yet battery efficient enough for WinCE to make sense, with Microsoft making improvements to their basic organizer functionality.

Re:PocketPC (3, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850569)

I'm wondering if the purchase of BeOS will help with this.

Since Palm is making their move to the Strongarm processor, and BeOS was touted for having a great interface, cool filesystem, etc (and not having used BeOS before their demise, I can't comment on how good or bad it is), but it should be possible to imagine a Palm system which actually does some cool multimedia, and with the Metadata part of the filesystem, can make things like document editing/mp3 playing, etc a snap for developers and users.

Remember - Palm did well first because it takes one button to get to whatever you want. If they can use the BeOS pieces to their advantage with the more powerful processors (without sacrificing battery power), the game might still be an interesting one to watch.

I love competition. ;).

Re:PocketPC (1)

fiori (45848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850541)

Isn't it a sad commentary on the userbase that the PalmOS is more difficult to understand than WinCE?

Give me a lobotomy now, and I'll fit right in.

Re:PocketPC (1)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850543)

I'd be interested to know why you think anyone who "knows what they're doing" would prefer a Palm? I've been earning my living developing for handhelds, and I much prefer my Toshiba PocketPC to any PalmOS product, despite the $400 price difference.

Re:PocketPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850554)

Sure, anyone that REALLY knows what they're doing will have a Palm


You've got to be kidding. Someone who really knows what they're doing, as long as they've got the cash (and here's a secret -- we usually do), could care less about the crippled Palm when compared to PocketPCs. Hell, even if I don't like Windows CE, I can put another OS on it. PalmOS? Talk about outdated and lame.

Re:PocketPC (3)

trcooper (18794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850562)

Bingo.

Palm sat back while Pocket PC came in and introduced high(er) res displays, more storage, more generic expandability (through CF), and the ability to do things like play MP3's.

The average person goes into Compusa looking at these devices, and the Pocket PC machines just stand out better. They've got more memory, are more colorful, and faster processors. Whether or not all this is neccessary is moot, it's a percieved deficit on the palm side.

I've been shocked that palm hasn't reacted to this. Sony has, and the new Clie machines are very cool, but palm has been stagnating for quite a while.

Re:PocketPC (3, Insightful)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850590)

The reason Handspring/Palm are having so much trouble is, in fact, the PocketPC.

Actually, I think it has more to do with the fact that everyone who needed a PDA over the last few years still owns a perfectly functional Palm III.

Re:PocketPC (2)

JordoCrouse (178999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850600)

Actually, its the other way around. People who truely use their handhelds want the Palm OS. The people who are going to *buy* the handheld wants Palm OS. Thats because, in the long run, people in the know want a reliable, supported, and stupidly easy OS. And most importantly, they want an operating system designed for a handheld.

A handheld is *NOT* a cute little version of the desktop. Period. You don't use the same applications, and its not designed to use the same applications. And this is why non PocketPC operating systems outpace Microsoft 2 to 1. And by 2005, Microsoft is expected to be 4th in the embedded space behind Palm, Linux and VxWorks.

On PalmOS, you have to familiarize yourself with the device.

Wow, and thats all of what, 10 minutes?

Never underestimate the value of shiny things.

The value of shiny things depreciates much faster then the value of things that atually work.

It's just an evolution... (5, Insightful)

trix_e (202696) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850318)

Yeah, they'll stop making Visors one day... color me stunned. Sony stopped making 10" B&W TV sets at some point too...

The Treo is a nifty little device which is an evolution of the Visor. Integrating a phone makes sense, integrating wireless makes sense. If Handspring decides not to make a device that *only* does PDA type functionality, that's probably a good business decision. Sure they're still be a market for a limited device like that, it just won't be Handspring making it. But as the technology changes, and component prices come down, it'll be generally expected that a device have more and more features. Handspring is just acknowledging that fact.

PocketPC or Handspring to rule them all (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850322)

Sorry... too much Tolkien...

From an informal mental survey of people I know 5 have Handspring / Palm-Pilots vs 1 w/ a PocketPC ( forget the brand ).

I'd say the Handsprings / Palm etc are suffering from a price drop ( I think b/c of oversupply ) and they need to be a bit more aggressive in updating the models. It'd be super-nice to get away from 160x160 pixel screen and have the microphone wired in like it should be so it can be used. Oh, and throw a decent ( semi-decent ) sound chip on there too...

Business Decision (1, Funny)

jdc180 (125863) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850330)

>>"We are a company that is transitioning out of the organizer business and into the communicator business. At some point we will have transitioned out of the organizer business."

So let me get this straight, you're going to leave a market where you have a niche, ie: the Visor, and enter a market that's already saturated and run by Nokia, Ericson, and Motorola.

I think Qualcomm tried something similar, they should've stuck to making Eudora ;)

Organizers *are* dead... (5, Insightful)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850340)

Donna has referred to organizers as a "dead end" several times before now. I can't blame her, since she's right. With the hardware getting better and better all the time, and Microsoft's PocketPC basically owning the high-end of the market, she can see where the road will lead. When the hardware finally does catch up and the price falls, no one will pay $100 for a Palm when they can get a PocketPC for the same price that runs their cozy Windows OS and does almost as much as their laptop.

So what does Handspring do? They go sideways. Start merging their devices into cell phones and other WiFi solutions, and hopefully expand the market in a way Microsoft's lumbering embrace-and-extend strategy won't be able to engulf for another year or two, buying them some more time to figure out where to go next.

In a bizarre way it reminds me of The Nothing relentlessly following Atreyu across the countryside in The Never-Ending Story. :)

Well, duh... (1)

Liquid(TJ) (318258) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850352)

Besides what people have been saying about PocketPC (alas, palmos is losing), Look at the visors and treos. A quick read of specs may not tell it, but the treo is a visor replacement. The "graffitti" model esp. is the upgrade path they want you on. The treo's look pretty sweet too in my opinion; unless I end up poor I'll be all over getting one sometime this year.

PDAs are still more of a Geek Badge of Honor (3, Insightful)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850360)

Until PDAs really get more main stream in large corporate world accounts they won't be successful. I call on fortune 500 companys and state government accounts. The only people that have Palm or WinCE devices are other Techs that are 'evaluating' one, or other sales types that sell them. Other than that, I never have anyone I can beam my business card too and I continue to have to use paper ones.

They need to get a product on there that is invaluable, or can help replace the much more expensive laptop. Until then, they're going to be an expensive calandar whos nearest competitor is the Franklin Planner, or the DayTimer.

Re:PDAs are still more of a Geek Badge of Honor (1)

tfurrows (541222) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850511)

As you said, they need to more widely accepted here in the states. They are a very useful tool, very affordable, and yet we ignore them (for the most part) or label them as a "geek tool". American's have a serious problem accepting new technology, and until we get over it we're always going to be one step behind. I personally think the problem is greed more than anything else... Gasoline powered cars and Franklin panners; welcome to America, land of non-innovation!

Exactly. Get back to me when the do something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850529)

Maybe the new Nokia clamshell PDA/phone will start creating appeal for these units, but to me the Palm Pilot is a $400 address book.

Buy your OWN damn PDA (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850582)

IT dept. "recommending" PDAs is a double edged sword. Of course it's nice to have one bought for you .. BUT: if the IT dept. buys it, they own your data! Get laid off, sorry, your whole life for the last three years is shot unless you backed up recently. Plus they are likely to demand features you DON'T need (remote management, for example) at the expense of features you DO (MP3).

PDAs are way cheap now. People should, and do, buy their own.

Sharp? (0)

jimbis (451242) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850363)

does this bode well for the new linux based Sharp PDA? Personally I can't wait to get hold of one.

Has anyone used the TREO? (3, Interesting)

pgrote (68235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850376)

I was at Comdex this year where the Treo was unveiled. It is boxy and not very comfortable to use. The idea is a good one, but it looked like an American car from the 70s next to a sleek Toyota of today.

Europe is a great market to move this to as folks appreciate the gadgets more than Americans do. Then again, maybe they like the design. ;-)

I have no idea... (4, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850377)

I looked at the Treo device and thought really cool.

But some poster mentioned that the PDA market is collapsing, or the PocketPC is eating everyone's lunch.

Well I do not know. Here is what I do know. Companies are not allowing things like Blackberries anymore (PDA inclusive). I have owned about 5 PDA's in different form factors and the result is that I use none of them.

So I kept thinking why this is the case? The answer is that I have several notebooks and I find the problem with PDA's is that there is simply not enough space. I get quite a bit of email and documents. A PDA just sucks. However, notebooks have become small, work everywhere, etc, etc.

So I think the black knight is the notebook market.

Re:I have no idea... (1)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850579)

Two words - Gigabyte Microdrive.

I have one right now in My Toshiba e570. It has eighty mp3s, a dozen programs, and an episode or two of my favorite sitcom with tons of room to spare. It sucks power, but if you're using it for Email and document storage you're not going to be hitting it for an hour straight like I do, so it probably won't be an issue. You ought to take a look at the new PPC 2002 devices with CF slots built into them. If storage is your issue, they might change your mind.

But watch out for the tribbles... (5, Funny)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850380)

Dubinsky said:
We are a company that is transitioning out of the organizer business and into the communicator business.[emphasis added]

Now if they'd just work on getting the transporter functional, phaser operational, and making one-piece miniskirt outfits come back in style, I can start living the life of Kirk. ;^)

Re:But watch out for the tribbles... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850472)

"I can start living the life of Kirk"

Yeah, but you'l still need to work on the "getting laid by green chicks" part yourself. Technology can't handle everything.

Palm OS is better suited to phones anyway. (4, Interesting)

Angerson (121904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850389)

Sure, it's a gamble for Handspring, but it might just pay off. I've used both PocketPC and Palm OS devices extensively and found that if you want a lightweight, mini-pc, the PocketPC is far better suited to this. However, if you want something really lightweight (as in both form and function), the Palm OS is a nice addition to any phone.

In fact, I've got a Samsung Palm OS phone right now and it's a truly wonderful hybrid device - perfect for my needs. I can't wait to see what these new Treo phones bring to the table, especially the color model (should Handspring hang around long enough to deliver it).

transitioned out of plain English (4, Funny)

Jonathunder (105885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850394)

Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky said "We are a company that is transitioning out of the organizer business and into the communicator business. At some point we will have transitioned out of the organizer business."

Please don't do that to the English language, Ms. Dubinsky. It has suffered enough.

Kiss Sales and Partners Goodbye (1, Flamebait)

gizmo_mathboy (43426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850395)

In just a few simple words Dubinsky probably lost 20% of short term sales and pissed off every partner that makes Sprinboard modules.

Heck, I'm pissed off and I love my Visor Pro with Visor Phone. That the greatest combo of PDA/phone but it does what I need it to do. With her comments I'm thinking I bought a piece of crap instead of the useful device it really is.

I guess she's just like every other CEO these days. Stupid.

conferance call (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850416)

You can listen to their conferance call with investors here:

http://biz.yahoo.com/cc/5/12625.html [yahoo.com]

Alot of this is spin, but investors can be a nasty crowd.

Wither the Springboard? (1)

just dave (29782) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850418)

I find it interesting that handspring is dropping
"organizers" to make "communicators", which, given
the convergence of organizers and cell phones, is
mostly a marketting move.

What I do find disturbing is that the treo lacks
a springboard slot, which gave handspring a reason
to exist. One can only assume that in order to
stop making "organizers" handspring will integrate
springboard modules into the treo. Otherwise, how
are they going to compete with the "cliephone",
which has to exist on somebody's drawing board.

-Dave

Re:Wither the Springboard? (0)

gtaluvit (218726) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850521)

Because everyone I know with a Visor, including myself, doesn't use the modules. I'm not paying $100 or whatever it costs for a golf module for the Visor. The modules are very expensive and usually there are better alternatives. I bought a cable for $30 to connect my Visor to my cell phone. Much better than $199 for a cell phone module. I think I've used that only twice though. Handspring is making the right move cause they offered no innovation other than springboards which aren't selling. Better to get out now and try something different than to die a horrible PDA death.

Oh well (1, Offtopic)

NiftyNews (537829) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850420)

When in doubt, just blame the Euro. :)

Feel Free to mod me down. (1)

Daunting*Alligheri (215036) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850426)

But this just sucks. Period. Here I have a nice sexy little visor, and you damn well know that when they stop making them (and probably cease to make the springboard modules (as they aren't on the treos) that tech support will go down the shitter. Goddamn silly.

BAH.

I never liked the hardware too much... (3, Insightful)

Adrian Voinea (216087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850431)

In order to create a successful wireless platform you're going to need good hardware.
Handspring doesn't have it. They've got a 33Mhz 16-bit Motorola Dragonball processor. It can (slowly) serve the most basic mobile data needs (email, instant messaging), play a couple of neat little games, and be a pretty effective organizer, but that's about it.
Palm OS devices are stuck at 8 or 16MB's of total capacity, which sure as hell means you won't be storing any large files (movies, MP3s, etc) on it.
They need modern hardware, like an ARM-derived platform, to overcome these inherent limitations. (I know, Palm says it's working on it, but that was supposed to materialize how long ago now??)
Also, another hardware problem is the resolution... the Prism looks awesome in the photos, but remember that the resolution is ONLY 160x160 -- the same as the Palm IIIc. For those that have seen the IIIc, you will remember that it has a very grainy resolution.
Although the Prism does have a higher color depth, and uses TFT color, unless the screen has a tighter dpi, you will probably find that it is only marginally better than the IIIc. Also, remember that it is thicker and heavier than a regular Visor.
I'm very interested in seeing a real one up close, in both indoor light AND outdoor light. As far as color goes outside, I have only seen 2 color LCDs that really work well outside -- the Sony hybrid LCD on their digital camera, and the Compaq IPAQ. The rest wash out completely.

Re:I never liked the hardware too much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850575)

I have a Prism, and your criticism of the hardware is misplaced. The 160x160 display has great color support, and is great for the market it was designed for. I can see and read the display with ease indoors or outdoors. You are correct that the Prism is a little bulkier; it feels more like a Gameboy when compared to the smaller + lighter Palm Vx it replaced.

The real problem is that nothing supports the full (16k) color support the Prism offers, and few apps support color at all, aside from a few games. It's a cool device, with more than enough processing power to perform admirably on many tasks, but the software just isn't there as nobody else makes a PalmOS device with real color support.

Re:I never liked the hardware too much... (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850588)

They've got a 33Mhz 16-bit Motorola Dragonball processor. It can (slowly) serve the most basic mobile data needs (email, instant messaging), play a couple of neat little games, and be a pretty effective organizer, but that's about it.

Professionals don't spent their day doing instant messaging, sending e-mails from their organizers, and playing games. They need devices that can serve as calculators, automate their schedules, store phone numbers, and provide a convenient way to store written information. They don't want to change batteries every two days or be tied to a charger so that they can have an x-hundred-megahertz CPU in a handheld. They need to have the company phone directory in their handheld -- not MP3s from Rancid, the Backstreet Boys, or Everclear.

That's why the Palm continues to have a strong following.

Remember not so long ago .... (1)

anpe (217106) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850444)


Handspring IPO Bounces Up
by Joanna Glasner

10:00 a.m. Jun. 21, 2000 PDT

A closely watched initial stock offering from Handspring Inc. got a warm reception on Wall Street Wednesday.


From here [wired.com]

The Springboard Slot... (4, Insightful)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850446)

...is the only reason I'm a Handspring user. The backup module kicks ass, and with my extra on-call pay this week, I'm seriously considering the OmniRemote module. The VisorPhone looks cool too, but GSM capabilities in the U.S. are virtually non-existant and I'm not impressed by VoiceStream. That slot is what sold me over. I'd have a Palm V otherwise.

Last I knew, WinCE devices don't have that kind of expandability...unless someone is planning to make PCMCIA versions of all those cool devices. :) Granted, they look pretty...but under a very heavy use load, I get a couple weeks out of my Visor Neo's batteries.

There's something about it being "non-Microsoft" that I enjoy...something that I don't feel particularly tied to...free.

50th Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850463)

I hope i have it :)

Beam me up (1)

Yiddishkite (525633) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850467)

"CEO Donna Dubinsky (says)... We are a company that is transitioning out of the organizer business and into the communicator business" I thought communicators weren't due until the 23rd century ?

delays will kill them (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850471)

NOOOOOO!

Dammit! Well I've been waiting months for the Treo already, a few more weeks won't hurt.

In all seriousness, these delays have the potential to really hurt them. The Nokia Communicator, the Danger Hiptop, and (supposedly) voice-enabled Blackberry's are all breathing down their neck. Who will be first to the party?

Springboards are overrated (1)

biggerboy (512438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850477)

Really now. I think this expandability stuff, especially in the lower-end is overrated. People tend to buy new organizers for new capabilities rather than buy an add-on anyway.

Oh, but I'm talking to the Slashdot folks -- the crowd that tends to upgrade their videocard and memory every, say, two weeks?

A base PDA is a commodity anyway. Let Palm own that part of the market with its low margins.

I've been fortunate to preview the Treo, and it kicks butt. Looking forward to when they become available.

This is only market-speak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850499)

This message stolen from the PalmInfoCenter board.

The way I interpret the comment about stopping Visor's and only selling communicators is not that bad. Another way to say the same thing, by my interpretation is, "Eventually all of our organizers are going to have wireless communication built-in. When that happens, what is now known as the Visor will not be sold anymore, and we will call our organizers communicators instead."

Pressure from the Samsung PDA (1)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850501)

What did the Treo (vaopourware) offer over the Samsung I300 (I have one and I love it) anyways? I think the HandSpring people realized that they were late to the party and did not have, in Treo, a Samsung I300 killer.

Maybe they are giving themselves more time to re-think their strategy and add some really convincing features that would make consumers want to buy it.

'tis a shame (4, Insightful)

bpowell423 (208542) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850506)

The springboard was a marvelous idea. The biggest selling point in my book being plug-and-play that actually worked. All software is on the card, and the Visor recognizes it instantly. Witness the Sony Clie's memory-stick camera. Note on their web site says that it only works after loading the software on seperately. That's a shame, because with the Springboard, it's 100% automatic. In the end, I think most people were like me and thought they were cool but couldn't fork over the money.

Burned Springboard Developers (5, Interesting)

libertynews (304820) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850507)

Handspring has just destroyed the Springboard and Visor markets with these statements. I am lead programmer for Shine Micro Shine Micro [shinemicro.com] , maker of the SM2496 DSP module for the Visor, and we have been working hard to bring our product to market. Currently it is in Beta testing, but it now appears that we are going to have to redesign for a different platform, or dump the project entierly.

The quote was that the will be exiting the PDA market "but not today". That doesn't provide any kind of reassurance to any of the Springboard deleopers who have invested a great amount of time and effort into what is now a dead product line.
Yes, all product lines are finite. But you usually don't have the manufacturer announcing this fact prematurely. I don't see any reason for someone to buy a Visor or a Springboard module now that they know that the support will not be there sometime in the near future.

It sounds like Handspring is turning into a fancy cellphone company. I don't think that they will survive this move. The Visor and Springboard are a good product and would have carried them far into the future (just look at Palm).

Brian Lane
Lead Programmer
Shine Micro [shinemicro.com]
Maker of the SM2496 DSP module

American Grammar (1)

gotw (239699) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850513)

Let's correct this, our friend across the atlantic need to learn how to conjugate their verbs. "We are a company that is transitioning...soon we will have transitioned" is "We are a company in transition...soon the transition will be completed".
Sigh

Re:American Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2850609)

Shouldn't that be "our friends across the atlantic need to learn how to conjugate their verbs"?

Maybe because (5, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2850539)

nobody's upgrading? My old Palm still works fine.
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