Photo Album: DigitalLife Expo 2007

September 28, 2007

Of last year’s small attendees, only Supacam and GelaSkins came back. No Pepper. And, shockingly, no Sony! I wanted to fondle the new Sony Reader, dammit.

Even though Palm had four Meeting Rooms, no Foleo. Palm was all Centro.

No Asus Eee in sight or even hinted at. Damn!

The show was shockingly small. My quick overview was done in just an hour!

On with the show…

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Gateway was showing off a new machine that ripped off the Mac design was all-in-one…

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…in fact, it’s called One

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Gateway also showed off this humongous monitor; that’s three websites and an XboX picture-in-picture running

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The cheap-ass Palm display; you had to pay for drinks!

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Sorry-assed freebies (also a pen and jellybeans; not shown)

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Crowded, huh?

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No Treos. No PDAs. No Foleo. Just Centro.

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Centro being demonstrated. Palm had the blonde I ordered, but no Foleo!

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The crowding will kill you…

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PC Magazine made it worthwhile again with a batch of wee devices

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The big deal HTC Advantage running WinMob 6. Their HotSpot wasn’t working so I couldn’t try Opera browsing. But still, now having given this thing a feel (that’s far less than a fondle), I was very unimpressed. About a grand for that? No!

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Size next to Centro actual-size brochure

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Next to the ShitDrive my LifeDrive (left edges aligned)

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With iPhone (left edges aligned)

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My flash kills the HTC screen while the iPhone smiles

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Better picture where I off-centered the flash… iPhone screen is still better

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HTC vs OQO (left edges aligned)

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Dell brings color to notebooks. Big whoop.

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Erector is pimping a WiFi spy robot now…

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… I didn’t get details. Go Google.

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Aie! My mortal enemies!

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Yeah, she looks like a satisfied customer. Must have used the 770!

Just as my brain began to melt out of my ears, I hear over the rush of earwax, “Mike! Mike! Mike! Mike!” I think, “Me? It’s a trap!” “Mike! Mike!” I turn around and my god —

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— it’s Liz Kelly and Hannah Fairlight of Girls Don’t Cry at the Save Net Radio booth! Real human beings at the trade show! How did they get in?

Then it was back to the torment for me…

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Why? Why? Why?

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See above caption

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A Pac-Man hat!

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What the world was waiting for: Snoopy on cellphones! Kill me now.

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I don’t know what it is …

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… but I want it. NOW!!


Did anyone buy these?

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Spider-Mutt. And Linux should sue for abuse of the penguin.

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Look at them, ready to pounce and kill me!

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Some parrot robot that does things

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No Philip K. Dick electric sheep in sight. Thank God!

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Cute enough to make you want to kill yourself. Not cute enough for Japan.

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The new slavery: People as videogame consoles

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All right! Something freaky!!

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An electronic camera that magnifies up to 200x. What’s this guy have?

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As I thought: FLEAS!

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Non-parasite-infested samples to magnify

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OK. This is just wrong.

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Toshiba’s new Gigabeat player. More fodder thrown underneath the iPod juggernaut.

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This is a very interesting notebook. Very lightweight with a CD/DVD drive!

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The specs. Turns out that sub-2-pound one uses Flash, not a hard drive. Always a catch!

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Only I would turn a notebook over like a turtle to show you its bottom isn’t flat!

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Closed view. Wee LEDs on the edge you can see when closed.

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Scale next to LifeDrive

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Next to dollar bill (suggested by Toshiba rep!)

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Screen in outdoor transflective mode. No, it’s not turned off —

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— close up. I was told it’s very bright in direct sunlight. Hmmmm. I was also told you can get this with XP installed instead of Vista. The Toshiba rep wanted that made very, very clear. Wow, Vista must be the biggest disaster in Microsoft history!

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Eight flatscreens showing eight players killing each other in Gears of War

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This was fun. Toshiba did a Deal Or No Deal game

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They picked a number by random draw corresponding to a seat. This woman was the first to play…

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She picked a case. The two models were very lovely and lively. Drool. Real women!

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The banker tries to get her to swap the case for a backpack!

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“Open the case…”

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Oh. My. God!

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Close-up

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She won top prize: A free Toshiba laptop computer!!!

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One of those ceiling-projected interactive displays seen on mall floors

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At hp’s booth, I come across their Tablet PC …

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— and leave my mark!

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The new hp PDA next to the LifeDrive; hp stylus shorter & thinner than LifeDrive’s. Yes, my LifeDrive screen is also showing year view on full brightness! Those of you thinking of swapping a RAM-based Palm PDA for this, forget it. It took five seconds to open a Mobile Word document. I can get that shitty non-performance with my LifeDrive!

I go back to the Palm exhibit…

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LifeDrive next to Centro

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Real-life size comparison: my shit-ass Thiefone Tracfone next to the Centro

I need a break from this unrelenting technology. I go see Hannah and Liz and find to my horror…

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Hannah has become professorial, tutoring people on Saving Net Radio. Poor Liz is getting high from sniffing soy chips again. She has such a tough addiction!

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I see the pair of assassins Palm and Nokia have co-funded to kill my ass. I flee.

But there’s no escape. In the hallway leaving, I see …

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American technology vandalized by Finns …

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… inside it has an Anti-Internet Tablet installed …

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Thoughtfix probably drooled. (I see the lad is lapping up the Kool-Aid these days… sad.)

The show ran til 7PM. I fled a little after 5PM (sorry, Hannah and Liz!). It was very disappointing. I didn’t return today due to lack of sleep. If I’m bored tomorrow, I might return to see what’s going on. But I doubt anything will be…

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Apple To Rewrite Computing Again

September 26, 2007

Up next for Apple: the return of the Newton

Externally, the mutil-touch PDA has been described by sources as an ultra-thin “slate” akin to the iPhone, about 1.5 times the size and sporting an approximate 720×480 high-resolution display that comprises almost the entire surface of the unit. The device is further believed to leverage multi-touch concepts which have yet to gain widespread adoption in Apple’s existing multi-touch products — the iPhone and iPod touch — like drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste.

More broadly characterized as Apple’s answer to the ultra-mobile PC, the next-gen device is believed to be tracking for a release sometime in the first half of 2008. Assuming the project remains clear of roadblocks, sources believe it could make an inaugural appearance during Jobs’ Macworld keynote in January alongside some new Mac offerings. Still, manufacturing ramp and availability would seem unlikely until closer to mid-year, those same sources say.

Now everything is beginning to make sense to me.

1) Why Apple does not want people to hack the iPod Touch for third-party software — it would undercut sales of this future device with one that does not offer the same profit margin*

2) Why Apple doesn’t care if the iPhone has third-party software on it — there is sufficient profit in the monster volume sales of this device to let it slide (for now)

3) Why Palm believed the Foleo had to be introduced now — it was its only chance to gain a foothold in a market Apple will soon dominate

4) Why Asus chose as its low-ball computing introduction a subnotebook-size device (which has higher manufacturing costs) — they believed Apple was going to do that

5) Why there has not been a scramble to add ebooks to The iTunes Store — this device will offer a true “paperback-quality” reading experience

6) Why a portable Bluetooth keyboard has not been offered by Apple for the iPhone — it will be offered for this machine

7) Why Nokia persists in its efforts with its Anti-Internet Tablets — they fear Apple is going to grab the market (and the entire world!) from them

8) The rumor of internal H.264 decoder chips in future Macs — will this device have that, to further position the Apple brand as one for consumer electronics?

What I think still has to fall into place:

1) Apple announcing joint ventures with social sites such as MySpace (Murdoch just recognized the importance of The iTunes Stores for TV, is this a hint of secret talks?)

2) Hackers revealing secret features in the upcoming Leopard OS release that aren’t yet being used

3) The discontinuation of the Mac mini (could this new device be called the mini II or the Mac nano?)

4) Leaks of Apple making deals with print publishers (not limited to just books)

5) iSync being enhanced

6) This device being announced at MacWorld Expo in January along with the revelation of a customized version of the iWork suite for it

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Apple’s Thermonuclear Bomb Of Mobile Applications

One company I wouldn’t want to be is Palm. And one business I wouldn’t want to be in is offering non-phone devices running Windows Mobile.

(*Personally, I think this is a mistake. It would help to create the market for this larger device. It would whet people’s appetite. It would also create an ecology of developers ready to port everything over to the new device.)

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Previously in this blog:
Can Apple Create A Real Handheld Market?
eBooks On iPhone: Reading Software
New MacBooks = Optical Drive Bye-Bye
The Asus Eee Effect?
Wow. I’m Really Out Of The iPhone Loop!
Is The Foleo Completely Dead Now?
Foleo: Dude, I’m Not Getting A Fat-Ass Dell!
The iPod Touch: Don’t Touch It?
Size-Off: Foleo Versus Powerbooks
Asus Eee: OS X?!
Will Palm Die Or Show Others How To Be Reborn?
Hey, SanDisk! Buy The Foleo IP From Palm!
Ed Colligan’s Worst Nightmare
New Disease: Post-Foleo Nightmare Syndrome
The Foleo Dispossessed
Quote Of The Day: Popular Mechanics
The Palm Foleo Disaster: Part Two
Quote Of The Day: Michael Mace
Quote Of The Day: Flashback To iPod Introduction
You Still Make Me Want To Bleed To Death
Foleo: The Beat Goes On…
The Palm Foleo Disaster: Part One
Dumbass Of The Year: Ed Colligan
The DUH! File: BoingBoing Catches Up
S.O.S. Steve Jobs! eBooks Will Save You!
If We Can’t Have Momentum On This, Can I At Least Get An Amen, Brother?
Newsflash! Pictures Of Corpses Left In Wake Of iPhone Price Cut!
Today’s Episode Of The Steve Jobs Show, Plus More
Tomorrow’s iPod: The Beginning Of Bliss?
Palm Kills Foleo
OK, Now The Foleo Scares Me
A Post-iTunes Fable For NBC
Nokia’s Upcoming Fake iPhone
Should Apple Turn iTunes Into A Platform?
iPod Price History: Will Apple Fight Or Lose?
Quote Of The Day: Nokia’s Innate Ineptness
iPod Touch Coming Next Week?
Poor Ed Colligan. Ascared Of Me.
Apple Wins The Internet Video Wars
Oh Look! I Get To Bash Palm And Nokia At The Same Time! It’s Two Two Two Hits In One!
Do New Apple Keyboards Hint At An iPhone Keyboard?
iPhone Death Star Upgrade Coming
Splaying The Code Guts Of The iPhone: TV-Out & Filesystem
Microsoft, Palm, And Nokia: You Better Be Freaking Out!!
I Don’t Think You Understand Just How Incredible The iPhone Really Is!
Some People Catch On Later Than… Everyone Else.
iQuote Of The Post-iDay
I’ve Fondled The iPhone!!
Record Blog Traffic: Apple iPhone Vs. Palm Foleo
Jobs Gets YouTube On iPhone — But Without Flash!
Oh My God! What Did We Buy?!!?
Oh Look At This! My Apple-YouTube Prediction Will Come True!
A Picture Of Two Tech Devices That Should Have Never Been Released
My Reaction To Palm’s New Foleo Device
On A Day When Palm Gets Everything Wrong, Apple Gets It Right
Does Apple Hold The Key To Breaking Open Computing Everywhere?
Prediction: YouTube/Google Drop Flash Video
The iPhone Is A First-Generation Pocket Mac
A Pocket Keyboard Fit For The iPhone?
OS X Widgetry And iPhone Possibilities
Applenomics, Or Why Steve Jobs Will Now Hate Me For Ever And Ever
Bravo Nicholas Carr!


Reference: iPod Touch Versus iPhone

September 25, 2007

iPhone features you’ll miss out on by buying an iPod touch

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Can Apple Create A Real Handheld Market?

September 24, 2007

JK on the Run offers this interesting article:

We need a real handheld computer, who will build one? Apple of course

So who will make the first “real” handheld computer?

Apple. There are very few companies who can design and produce the handheld PC like I’ve indicated in this article, in fact there are only two. Microsoft is one and I believe that if the Redmond giant ever took on this task they would produce a killer handheld PC. Let’s face it, they are operating system experts and they control the office document space with Office so they could integrate this into a handheld in a dynamite way. I’m talking embedded Office to go with the embedded OS on our super handheld. That opens so many exciting possibilities that it makes my pulse race when I think of all of that potential. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t make hardware more complicated than a mouse or keyboard and they’re not going to make any type of “WinHand” device. They have too many anti-trust worries whenever they take on something like this and I don’t think they’d do it.

That’s why it has to be Apple. Cupertino now has the hardware design, communications experience, OS kernel expertise to produce an awesome handheld computer.

As I stated in the Comments there, I don’t think Apple is the only company. Palm tried something new with the Foleo, but their imagination just didn’t stretch far enough. There’s the Asus Eee, which is an unknown quantity when it comes to quality of software and just how bulletproof their variant of Linux is. But really, the Asus Eee is just the Same Stuff made smaller and vastly less expensive. It’s not a re-imagining of anything.

What made the Foleo different is that it really did focus on mobility. It was the first device that was built on the question, “What do people do away from their desks?” In other words, the old architectural rule of Form follows function. The first rule was to offer a full-size keyboard. Once that hardware issue was settled, it moved on to the software end of things. It was the limited thinking of software function that then probably dictated the choice of CPU and amount of storage. One limited vision created another limited vision.

Apple has shown the world it has the ability to do mobile devices right. The iPod and the iPhone are true re-imaginings of devices that existed before Apple entered their territory. While every other company accepted the ground rules that had already been established, Apple rejected them and started with a clean sheet of paper.

I don’t think Apple would be so bold to enter the market with a Tablet computer. I don’t think anyone has yet shown there’s a big enough market there. There are lots of improvements that Apple could bring to such a device, but the limiting factor will always be people’s desire for a keyboard (hello, Foleo!). (Even with absolutely error-free handwriting recognition, there are times I’d rather have a keyboard. I’ve written entire articles with past Palm PDAs using nothing but Graffiti. I wouldn’t want to handwrite full articles using my “pen-on-paper” script. My words-per-minute output would be atrocious. When I did that kind of thing back in the pre-computer days, I’d wind up quickly abandoning paper and running for the typewriter keyboard. Some people like handwriting things. I don’t. I save that for editing.)

If Apple wanted to test the marketplace to determine if people would buy a handheld computer, there’s some steps they could take right now:

1) Update the iPhone to work with a Bluetooth keyboard

2) Offer mobile blogging software for the iPhone

3) Offer text editing software for the iPhone

4) Offer photo editing (basic size rescaling & cropping) software for the iPhone

And then see what happens.

It’s a niche within a niche — people who do blogs — but it’d be a cheap test bed too and also display to non-bloggers a few of the possibilities of ultra-portable computing.

The cluetrain would run on this track:

Station 1: I didn’t know you could do that with an iPhone

Station 2: I have to get that for myself

Station 3: I love this!

Station 4: Damn, I wish this iPhone was bigger!

Even those who were scarred in the past by trying to use Palm PDAs and Pocket PCs as mobile productivity tools would take notice.

But I don’t think Apple would do that. Apple — OK, Steve Jobs — doesn’t like to do things halfway. (Even if a half way measure would be absolutely great for some people.)

That’s why I still think Apple will introduce a Flash memory-based Apple subnotebook at MacWorld Expo in January. No, it wouldn’t be a handheld, but it’d be easily totable. And once people get in the habit of carrying a very light, very thin computer with them just about all the time, it opens up other possibilities.

Like a real handheld.

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Did you just read this post? Now click here.

Previously in this blog:
New MacBooks = Optical Drive Bye-Bye
The Asus Eee Effect?
Wow. I’m Really Out Of The iPhone Loop!
Is The Foleo Completely Dead Now?
Size-Off: Foleo Versus Powerbooks
Ed Colligan’s Worst Nightmare
The Palm Foleo Disaster: Part Two
Apple Wins The Internet Video Wars
Quote Of The Day: iPhone
Apple And H.264 Internal Chips: I’m With Cringely
Do New Apple Keyboards Hint At An iPhone Keyboard?
iPhone Death Star Upgrade Coming
Splaying The Code Guts Of The iPhone: TV-Out & Filesystem
Microsoft, Palm, And Nokia: You Better Be Freaking Out!!
I Don’t Think You Understand Just How Incredible The iPhone Really Is!
Some People Catch On Later Than… Everyone Else.
iQuote Of The Post-iDay
I’ve Fondled The iPhone!!
Does Apple Hold The Key To Breaking Open Computing Everywhere?
The iPhone Is A First-Generation Pocket Mac
A Pocket Keyboard Fit For The iPhone?
OS X Widgetry And iPhone Possibilities
Applenomics, Or Why Steve Jobs Will Now Hate Me For Ever And Ever
Bravo Nicholas Carr!


The iPod Touch: Don’t Touch It?

September 15, 2007

There seem to be problems with sound quality compared to past iPods. Even worse, the screen is shit. Look at this photo and see how poorly blacks are displayed.

Another photo showing Touch above and iPhone below. The full article. Something is wrong with that Touch screen! And something is wrong with the DAC chip too.

You see? This is why I am glad not to be able to be one of the first to buy something. I’d be so pissed at having this happen to me.

A few days ago I did a light fondle of the iPod Touch and the new iPod nano. I didn’t fondle long enough to notice screen problems of the Touch. As for the nano, even with my far-less-than-audiophile ears, I felt a lack of depth with the track I always play — R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion. It sounded flat. It sounded less bright than the times I listened to it on past iPods.

As for the nano, that metallic finish will be a problem. I noticed it was already chipping off at the bottoms of all demo units near where the connector touches it. I can forsee that baby being a scratch magnet in my pocket. Also, my hair stood on end when I saw most of the nanos have misaligned screens! The screens aren’t parallel to the top of the fascia. They are mostly all off by a fraction of a millimeter. It’s very noticeable when viewing video. If Steve Jobs saw that personally, I’d think it’d upset him too.

I’d really like to get that new nano, despite the less-deep/bright sound, but I wonder if the Apple Store would laugh at me if I got one with that misaligned screen and wanted to exchange it?


Hey, SanDisk! Buy The Foleo IP From Palm!

September 12, 2007

No, I’m not kidding. SanDisk is playing For Real.

Taking On The iPod

One of the new players is the Sansa Clip. The Clip is aimed squarely at same market niche as the Shuffle, which has one gigabyte of storage capacity and retails for $79. The Clip is larger, but costs half as much, has the same storage capacity and includes features not available on the Shuffle, including a small screen to display song titles, an FM radio and a built-in microphone. A two-gigabyte version will be available as well for $60, still nearly $20 less than the Shuffle.

Yeah, I said to watch out for that baby.

And:

Flash is SanDisk’s natural forte. As a leading manufacturer of the chips, the company enjoys cost advantages over rivals. And because the SanDisk brand was already associated with memory cards and USB devices, it wasn’t a great leap for customers to accept a flash music player from the same company.

The Foleo likes Flash, SanDisk. Think. About. That.

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The SansaBook. Has a nice ring to it…

Previously in this blog:
New iPod Nano!
iPod Price History: Will Apple Fight Or Lose?
SanDisk Announces The Sansa Clip
jWin MP3 Player Needs Replacement
Wherefore Art Thou, Zune?
More On That Tiny Sony Video Walkman
Does Sony Have An iPod Nano Killer Here?
Ten-Buck Camera Album
Sandisk Sansa
How To Buy An MP3 Player
Live Zunes In NYC To Fondle!!
Let’s All “P” on Steve Jobs


The Palm Foleo Disaster: Part Two

September 12, 2007

In Part One I reviewed the disastrous introduction and abysmal marketing of the Foleo. In this part, I think it will be instructive to delve into the history that’s been shared by Hawkins, Dubinsky, and Colligan for three reasons:

1) It’s affected Palm for the worse

2) They previously experienced what happened with the Foleo

3) They should have known better

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On pages 272-273 of Piloting Palm:The Inside Story of Palm, Handspring, and the Birth of the Billion-Dollar Handheld Industry by Andrea Butter and David Pogue, we find this about the beginning days of Handspring:

Yet Colligan and Dubinsky held off on revealing the company’s [Handspring’s] new [and first] product until it was ready; they had no interest in hurting Palm’s sales. Furthermore, “we had this mantra of ‘Underpromise, overdeliver,'” Dubinsky says. “We really didn’t want to come out as our first introduction to the public with vaporware.” When, in June, a Wall Street Journal journalist pressed especially hard for details of the product Handspring was working on, Dubinsky replied, point-blank: “Look . . . this is a market where there’s been lots of hype, where people are announcing things and not delivering. We want to deliver a real product, not hype.”

Emphasis added by me.

Given that Ben Combee, a programmer and insider to the Foleo project, stated that “[w]e weren’t ready to go to market with this,” why then did Palm permit the Foleo’s premature introduction?

It’s been rumored that Palm learned “other companies” were going to announce “similar devices.”

So what?

As far as I can see, the only other product that’s been compared to the Foleo is the Asus Eee PC. It’s no Foleo. And although it’s very competitive at face value on both price and features, no one has had much hands-on time with it. In fact, there’s still wild speculation about its final hardware. Plus, the highly-publicized $199 price has disappeared and the lowest-cost model to be sold in the U.S. is $259. It could very well have a short durability lifespan and be the world’s first disposable computer.

It can’t be that Microsoft has found a sucker new licensee willing to put Windows Mobile in a Foleo-like form factor. That was tried years ago by several prominent manufacturers — Hitachi, NEC, LG, and HP among them — and it failed. It would fail again today. The more-capable viral-marketed UMPCs haven’t yet replaced many notebooks.

Even if Nokia were to go irrevocably insane and come out with a Foleo-like device running Maemo, it’d flop too. No one looks to Nokia for anything other than phones. It has no clout in other market segments and hardly any presence in America.

Intel announced with a huge fanfare its Mobile Internet Device (MID) initiative and displayed several different prototypes. But there hasn’t been a single manufacturer who has committed to building and selling them. No one knows what such a product would be priced at, either.

Currently, the only Linux device that’s been on the market has been the Pepper Pad 3. And judging from the near-invisible owner presence it has on the Net, it can’t be taken seriously as any threat to Palm. (Besides which, it looks like the two stores that were carrying it in New York City — J&R and DataVision — have both stopped.)

(If Nokia and the Pepper Pad 3 have done anything, it’s the degradation of mass-market Linux. Anyone contemplating a Nokia device will find this on the Net. As for the Pepper Pad 3, some reading of owner comments are enough to dissuade potential purchasers.)

It will probably remain a mystery what prompted Palm to pull the trigger on the Foleo. If it was the need to meet the Mossberg conference deadline, Jeff Hawkins could have simply gone to it with the Foleo and framed it as a technology demonstration preview. After that, Palm could have shut up about it and let the Net bubble over in anticipatory speculation about what flavor of Linux it was using, how much storage, etc, etc. Palm could have also solicited features potential customers wanted through polls on its website and blog (their blog would have finally had a useful role!)

The above strategy worked well for Steve Jobs and the iPhone in January!

The next part of the history Hawkins, Dubinsky, and Coligan shared has to do with the first PDA ever created and marketed: the Casio/Tandy Zoomer, which Hawkins helped to create.

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What they learned from Zoomer owners has carried over to Palm and overshadowed the way it develops devices. On pages 56-57 of Piloting Palm:

Dubinsky had grasped early on that, as a company that wrote software for other companies’ products, it was crucial for Palm to have a good mailing list of those products’ customers [the initial Palm company created software, not hardware]. She had therefore insisted in the contract negotiations not only that she’d have the right to use the list of Zoomer’s registered users, but even that Palm was to receive the Zoomer’s registration cards directly as they were returned by Zoomer buyers. This issue had been a contentious contract term with Casio to the very end.

Now, however, a package of registration cards arrived at Palm each week, revealing a startling fact to the Palm executives: Most Zoomer owners declared that they owned a PC.

When Palm began advertising PalmConnect directly to them, orders for PalmConnect began pouring in. Nearly half of the Zoomer owners bought the PC connection package. [PalmConnect was a program to transfer data between a Zoomer and a desktop computer.]

Jeff Hawkins, and with him the rest of Palm, was learning firsthand a crucial lesson: People didn’t necessarily want to own a second computer. They want an accessory to their PCs, some means of carrying around the data that were also on their hard drives. All the PC functions that Palm and GeoWorks had painstakingly built into the Zoomer did nothing but clutter the screen with options that the customer didn’t need.

Emphasis added by me.

That was the seed of thinking that was to retard the growth of Palm’s devices for many years.

On page 61 of Piloting Palm there is more to the story:

Ed Colligan commissioned in-depth surveys of Zoomer buyers and, with the other Palm executives, pored over the data. The good news: Only 10 percent of customers had returned their Zoomers, a surprisingly low number for an expensive gadget. Nearly 75 percent were satisfied with their purchase, which boded well for a much-improved Zoomer II.

In his original product concept, Jeff had assumed that adding many small applications (e.g., the language translator, games, a dictionary, America Online, etc) would enhance the customer’s enjoyment of the machine. Even as they labored over these features, the engineers had known that nobody would use them all — “but everybody will find three or four things they love,” they had said. However, Ed’s survey showed that, in fact, Zoomer owners almost never touched those other programs. Instead, they used the $700 computer almost exclusively as an organizer: the date book, address book, and memo pad. Buyers couldn’t have cared less about the other nifty features that Palm had painstakingly built.

Another finding: Almost no one printed from the Zoomer. So much for the premise that a handheld should be, at its core, a scaled-down PC.

Emphasis added by me.

These user surveys defined the scope of what would eventually become the first Palm PDA. And afterward it was this framework that would work against Palm as Microsoft continued to hone Pocket PC and begin to chip away at Palm sales.

I contend that this long-obsolete view of the handheld/portable-device market — from a sample of Zoomer owners that simply cannot in any way be deemed scientifically valid — also fed into the design of the Foleo. Hence, no built-in ability to print from a Foleo. No video. And an overall perception of Lack.

Until Hawkins, Dubinsky, and Colligan discard this history, Palm devices will never have the basic and sweeping imagination needed to compete against ones that weren’t developed under such a constraining and antique vision.

Palm could have never developed the iPhone. Because it didn’t fit into what they were taught so long ago. Zoomer owners wound up creating a sort of design religion that’s hardened into a crust of fundamentalism at Palm. It explains why Palm has been so hard of hearing towards its users: we are like infidels and they are like Muslim clerics! Only they know the Truth.

On pages 54-55 of Piloting Palm we encounter a lesson Jeff Hawkins learned but apparently never passed on to Ed Colligan:

Only Jeff Hawkins saw the flaws of the product he’d helped design. A few weeks after CES, at a talk at a swank computer industry conference, he demonstrated the Zoomer onstage. After his presentation, the moderator turned to the audience and asked, “Would you buy a Zoomer for yourself?” Three-quarters of the audience raised their hands.

“I sat there thinking, ‘This is going to be a huge hit!'” Hawkins remembers. “On the other hand, when I personally used the product, I felt it was usuable, but a lot lacking. I learned a lesson from that. You can’t be swayed by public opinion about a product that people haven’t had a chance to use.”

Emphasis added by me.

But when it came to the Foleo, Palm was!

Even worse, Palm has now created a barrier in people’s minds that will be very hard to overcome. Again, it’s something the three have been through before. On page 55 of Piloting Palm:

The Zoomer arrived in stores in early October. Early adopters snapped up 20,000 units during the first two months. Then sales slowed to a trickle. The Palm executives believed that Apple had poisoned the market. In the aftermath of the Newton fiasco, how could anyone — in the press or in the computer store — keep an open mind about the Zoomer?

Let me revise that for today:

The Palm executives believed that the Foleo had poisoned the market. In the aftermath of the Foleo fiasco, how could anyone — in the press or in the computer store — keep an open mind about the Foleo 2?

Ed Colligan stated he was canceling the Foleo. He chose the wrong word. He should have used postponing. It’s the difference between saying something will never come back and saying something still needs work. What’s the tagline Palm will use if they do produce a Foleo 2?

Back From the Grave and Better than Before!

You Thought It Was Dead. Not Yet!

We Never Killed It. We Just Hurt It A Little Bit.

Don’t Worry! It’s Been Fixed!

The general public, which is not known for careful reading or listening, got the message that Palm introduced something that turned out to be so bad they had to pull it back before it ever reached store shelves. All the news headlines they glimpsed — a form of viral marketing in itself! — said CANCEL, not delay or postpone. Beyond that message, people don’t care.

When Foleo 2 arrives in stores, people will wonder why they have a visceral reaction of dread towards it. No one likes to think they’re buying a lemon. Or a zombie. (“Maybe they brought it back just to try to get some money out of their losses?.” “If they killed it once, maybe they’ll kill it again?” “If they didn’t think people would buy it the first time, will anyone buy it now?”)

What makes it all even worse: Palm has given Apple a glimpse of how future computing could be.

Apple has succeeded in creating a version of OS X for portable devices. It’s in the iPhone and iPod Touch (probably in all recent iPods too). To think that version of OS X will stop there is foolish.

I can easily see Apple developing a Foleo-like device that would trump Palm’s creation. Apple has its own sync program: iSync.

isync.jpg

Apple could expand it into a sync-anything program that would transfer many kinds of files between an iPhone, a desktop Mac, and a Foleo-like Flash RAM-based “satellite Mac.”

Where the Foleo concentrates on email sync, a “satellite Mac” would not be so choosy. Apple’s iSync could be a sync slut, permitting anything — text, spreadsheet, photo, audio, maybe even short video — to move seamlessly between Bluetooth and WiFi-capable Apple devices.

Plus, just as it did with the Safari browser, Apple could develop and release — for free! — a PC version of iSync.

Also, unlike Palm, Apple owns a suite of productivity programs: iWork. That code can morph into a ready-made light productivity suite for a “Mac Foleo.”

iwork.jpg

And if Apple were to develop such a “Mac Foleo,” you can bet Steve Jobs won’t stumble in selling everyone on his vision for mobile computing. If he were to give a technology demonstration of such a device — an iBook 2? — at January MacWorld Expo and then, iPhone-like, tell people it wouldn’t arrive for another six months, he’d freeze the market for portable computing and, without spending a single marketing cent, exterminate Palm’s Foleo 2.

Palm’s squandering of its market lead and its alienation of power users through the years could come to this. The full magnitude of the Foleo disaster has yet to be discerned.

Let me close this part of the series with the words of Ed Colligan, from page 54 of Piloting Palm:

Palm watched the unfolding Newton drama intently. Apple’s mistake was right out of the marketing textbook. As Colligan summed it up to his colleagues, “They over-promised and under-delivered.”

foleo-top.jpg
Over-promised and under-delivered. Thanks, Ed! Love from Steve Jobs.

In Part Three, I will examine the Foleo specs in light of the real world (that is, outside Palm’s Zoomer-created dogma) and reveal a better marketer of the Foleo than Palm.

In the final part of this series, Part Four, I will outline how the Foleo could have been saved before Ed Colligan hit the Cancel button on it and the possibilities for bringing it back from its premature grave.

Click here for Part One of this series.

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Did you just read this post? Now click here.

Previously in this blog:
Quote Of The Day: Flashback To iPod Introduction
Blog Notes: Brain Fever
You Still Make Me Want To Bleed To Death
Foleo: The Beat Goes On…
Asus Eee: Increasing RAM Possible
The Palm Foleo Disaster: Part One
What Was Your ROS*, Palm?
Blog Notes: Yes, I’m Working On It!
Dumbass Of The Year: Ed Colligan
I’m So Bad, I’m Good
If We Can’t Have Momentum On This, Can I At Least Get An Amen, Brother?
Newsflash! Pictures Of Corpses Left In Wake Of iPhone Price Cut!
Palm Kills Foleo
OK, Now The Foleo Scares Me
Ugh. Backlogged. Still.
Poor Ed Colligan. Ascared Of Me.
Engadget Snags The Attention Of Autistic Palm, Inc.
iPhonespotting
Oh Look! I Get To Bash Palm And Nokia At The Same Time! It’s Two Two Two Hits In One!
Palm Flogs Blog, Flails, Fails
iPhone Vs. Palm Treo: You Can’t Fight A Corpse
Microsoft, Palm, And Nokia: You Better Be Freaking Out!!
Failure Has A New Name
Treo-Skimming. A Post-iPhone Craze?
Record Blog Traffic: Apple iPhone Vs. Palm Foleo
Earth To Palm: Change The Foleo’s Browser To Safari
What Foleo 2.0 Needs
If FSJ Says It, Then It Is So!
Oh My God! What Did We Buy?!!?
Prediction: Palm To Drop All Handhelds
LifeDrive Notes: Should Palm’s Software Engineers Be Beaten With A Spiked Bat Or Tied Up Together And Dumped In The Ocean From 30,000 Feet?
Palm’s Flopeo, Uh, Foleo: Best Other Name For It
A Picture Of Two Tech Devices That Should Have Never Been Released
My Reaction To Palm’s New Foleo Device
On A Day When Palm Gets Everything Wrong, Apple Gets It Right