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A take on Phone OS and consumers

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by zuben el genub, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

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  2. !on

    !on Android Expert

    All the phone makers developed smartphones to something offering pocket computing. The form factor, style, OS & functions evolved with all of them. Requirements are pretty much the same for most people, especially with short term contracts & the abilty to choose another phone. We expect the next one to do the same things & be slightly better than the last.

    This is why the apple vs android 'war' is so stupid. If, say, android comes up with something radical that becomes fundamental in a smartphone, then all smartphones will have it. Apple will claim they got there first :rolleyes: .
  3. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    I still say the Palm Treo was the first. The screen might have been small, but whatever you could do on the wifi only Palm you could do on the Treo.
  4. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    I'll never forget the Palm VII. Truly revolutionary for the day.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  5. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    i am going to buy Palm.. and sue everyone that makes smartphones.. for billions.. and make them pay a license fee for future devices.
  6. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    And luck to ya!
  7. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    ^^^^ thanks.. can you loan me a few hundred million to purchase palm?
  8. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    Nope, sorry. Palm is dead, long live the memories.
  9. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    i think HP has all the intellectual property... i will have to get it from them
  10. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    That was based on their acquisition of Handspring I believe.

    In 2000, Handspring had the Springboard Module - plug it in, turned the PDA into a GSM cell phone, two years before the Treo.

    I'll let Bob explain the back and forth between Palm and Handspring.

    In any case - look XDA Developer's site and listen to what their founders have to say - that site was launched to support PDAs and many of the old timers still insist that is exactly what we're still carrying today -

    A personal digital assistant, with wifi, location tracking, cell phone calling, and popular apps with an on-screen input method.

    Every time I think of that description, it sound a lot more accurate than "smartphone" to me.

    I wouldn't mind seeing that again, but it's not going to happen - give me my present phone that I'm very happy with as a PDA - then just let me buy a hardware plug-in for whatever's required to work on whichever carrier I use. Anyway - that's just design by nostalgia, don't listen to me on that. :D :D ;)
  11. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    I have many stories about what went on at Palm/Handspring/PalmOne after someone else started making these products. Palm changed after we blew it at MSL and we stopped manufacturing in Utah. Not sure I can do much other than Google the back story and abbreviate the mostly accurate stories about Palm Computing scattered about the web.

    When the very first Pilot rolled off Cell 5, we were astounded. I tested the very first Palm Pilot at lunch before delivering it to our director of manufacturing. Perhaps that gives me a place in Palm history? Or not.

    We loved the Palm Pilot from the beginning and it was, at the time, a game changer. Forget what I have said about Apple being the reason we have Android; it was Palm that changed the world and convinced people to carry a small device like a PDA. Apple should thank us!

    We even kicked Apple's butt in the PDA market. I think we did, anyway. Remember the Apple Newton? It was not like the Palm. Even with the well-crafted modems and memory expansions we created for Apple.

    PalmOne came out of a merger between Handspring and Palm's hardware unit.

    I can tell you things almost came to a screeching halt after Donna Dubinski raised holy hell with us when we were USRobotics transistioning to MSL, a Contract Manufacturer. I can tell you that the Palm Pilot almost failed. Well, from our perspective since we almost lost the contract.

    We would build Palms and many immediately went to rework. The fact that we would build ten thousand units a day and more than half went to rework did not sit well with her. Especial.ly when it came time to put one together. They were heat sealed and scrap rate was huge. Covers were scrapped, internal frames were scrapped and due to the primitive way we opened them for repair, lots of surface mount parts died.

    We also sent units to distributors missing buttons, missing PCBs, battery connectors not installed, separation between the LCD and digitizer and the like.

    I am glad the web was not so important back then or our mistakes would have killed us (perhaps Palm) dead.

    Then we developed a two story high machine that heat sealed and cooled Palm V units with a high pass rate. Palm was pleased because their costs per unit dropped considerably; our production speed increased, leading to even lower costs.

    Then we reserved a hotel room for one of her henchmen (henchmaiden, perhaps?) and her secretary in a suite that catered to gay couples and she was upset. Another story, perhaps.

    On the bright side, I had the first 16MB Palm VII. I think it was our coolest device because it put a version of the web in your hand along with email. I beta tested them and not even the Palm representatives saw one before I had one in my hot little hands.

    I felt bad when we stopped production. I could well imagine if we did things differently, I might be working for (well, most likely leading, because I am uber smart, LOL) a company that manufacturers Smartphones.

    At the time, we made Plm Pilots for half of what the Chinease made them for. At the time, this was proof we could do it better than anyone on the planet.

    In the next chapter, I'll go into my adventures with RIM. We manufactured prototypes for them and they had a few great ideas way back then. I found their fuel cell powered devices interesting. Too bad they never saw the market.

    I thought they had something with their Interactive Pager and I still have the Megahertz Radio Modem. Too bad they were made in Canada.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  12. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    Nothing wrong with nostalgia, EarlyMon. Some of my best memories come from my days in the PCB mills, churning out consumer electronics products.

    The problem with nostalgia is remembering the early days when I thought about selling software by mail-order. Who knows what that might have created. You likely remember when software was crudely packaged 5-1/4" floppy disks and cheaply printed instructions sealed in a plastic bag and advertised through BYTE or Computer Shopper when CS was like a large phone book.

    I remember when smaller floppy disks arrived. A good friend made a mint selling colored disks from small ads in Computer Shopper.

    Our first ad appaeared in CS. We sold 8088 chips in a connector with a faster crystal. Encapsulated in polymer and sold through CS. We called it the Turbo Switch. Then we made modems for Toshiba and the rest is history.

    I just wish we (Americans) had more opportunities to make the crap that goes off-shore.

    I could argue that we could make iPhones or other smartphones and perhaps tablets here in Utah, but sadly, as good as we could do it, we cannot compete on price these days.

    It is frustrating that a manufacturer will opt for a few dollars more in profit per unit rather than take pride in America and give us jobs.

    I have seen a torn apart iPad and I know we could make them. The iPad is amazing, but it is nothing more than a PCB, battery, glass/LCD and a metal case with a few switches. Much easier build than a Palm Pilot.

    I fear we will never get a chance to do it because Apple (and others) want that last few cents per unit to go into their pockets.

    And to be clear, that is their right. Cant stop dreaming, I guess.

    Keep remembering, Early. Those of us in the trenches early on had good times.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  13. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    Actually, I have a working blue Handspring. Worked better than that Palm 100.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  14. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    Ah - the JRT Pascal compiler, something like $19.95 or something cheap - the one that worked. And started taking months to deliver because the guy couldn't copy the floppies quickly enough. I recall that it was from that mail-order laws got beefed up so you were guaranteed a refund if a company didn't respond to you with 6 weeks or something like that.

    I also remember when Gibson's now famous short-story, "The Night We Burned Chrome" (later made into the movie, Johnny Mnemonic) came out. I'd spent the past week burning roms (literally - burning away nichrome junctions, I'm sure you recall) and having a blast at the play on words.

    And what were our big concerns?

    Storage, speed, graphics, connectivity, communications and access under the hood so we take those little baggied floppies to use and the new roms (on wire-wrapped boards if time mattered). (Yes, connectivity, I started sending telexes out of a small CP/M machine at 50 or 75 baud on software I wrote in assembly.)

    So - what are my concerns as a phone OS consumer?

    LoL the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same because it still seems to be about storage, speed, graphics, connectivity, communications and access under the hood. :D

    My HTDV slays my old Heathkit console. My phone slays most of the computers I've owned. Ask me which was more fun, which was more rewarding to deal with.

    But modern design advances the one thing that we have always been pushing for - accessibility for the masses.

    The PDA design - rectangle with responsive glass - has proven to be a true winner, I'm still using a descendant.

    And yet I cannot the escape the deep gut feeling that it's simply just all wrong and we're not seeing the forest for the trees because we've become enamored.

    If I'm right, when its replacement hits, we're all going to flatten our foreheads over how obvious the replacement to all of this will be.

    But until then, I'm still giving a tip of the topper to the visionaries that made PDAs happen.

    I tend keep a copy of the graffiti keyboard on my phone, along with a rotary dialer app, as well as the dot-dash Morse keyboard. I guess I think it's important to never lose sight of our roots. Plus, I think it's funny, so there you go.
  15. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    I still see the phone as a tool - not an entertainment or social device. Yes, I'd be lost without it at times but not because I'm not connected to anywhere. I was never too good about keeping track of bits of paper with notes on them. Usually stuffed into a back pocket and forgotten. I've got a pretty good memory when I want it, the phone just makes not forgetting one item easier.

    I'd also have to carry 7 or 8 books on a nature walk including the camera manual. Don't have to have paper star charts and Telrad charts, either.
  16. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    Mine is definitely an entertainment device.

    I love Project Gutenberg. Along with the Manano Reader, and a decent screen, I can pull up the great classics out of my pocket and just enjoy.

    And I really don't mind the occasional movie, not a bit.

    Plus, I am posting this from my phone - many of my posts are.

    But I could give up any of that, except for my ereader.
  17. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    I agree with you, Early. This replacement will amaze us and it will be so painfully obvious, we will wonder why we did not think of that. Then someone will sue over some design feature and we will be arguing about patents, copyrights and who invented what.

    It is interesting that the cell phones, tablets music players arrived long before Android, Apple and the rest. Nothing new, one darn bit.

    I have thought about seeing if my old Western Electric rotary (pulse dial) phones still work.
  18. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    My candlestick still does. :)
  19. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    Ah, I had (have?) one of those. Some people think the candlestick phone is a reproduction.

    I still have a early phone you had to crank. The magneto packs a wallop. something like 110 volts and a few amps, as I recall. One day, I will restore her or pull the magneto and start gathering worms for fishing.
  20. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    I liked the HTC tablet that used a stylus and the Samsung Note, too.

    I'm planning on getting a capacitive pen stylus for my phone (might make one first) just to avoid the fingerprints.

    And here I am, remembering how cool it was to not have to bother with a stylus when I made that transition.

  21. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    I say make it yourself.
  22. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    I probably will. I have my eye on one at monoprice.com that doubles as a pen. If I like it, that's what I will end up with.
  23. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    I thought about turning some from rod stock. I was looking for a suitable material to make a bunch. Then I needed a name and I discovered that Apple prefaced every word in Oxfords finest with a small "i" and copyright protected 500456 words in the English language. My thinking is they might sue me.

    Then again, I would love to be sued by Apple for publishing a Jailbreaking book. Nothing beats a huge suit to drive sales.

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