Home > Uncategorized > Great sadness at the fall of a giant

Great sadness at the fall of a giant

Like many others I’ve been reading the press around the expected demise of one of the consumer electronics most innovative companies – Palm.

With the exception of the Psion Series 3A, (which I used occasionally), my Palm III PDA (bought for me by my Dad when I was at school) was my first foray into the world of gadgetry and the beginning of a long love of gadgets thereafter.  Whilst my schedule in those days was significantly less hectic than today, I was still able to update my basketball and football practices, and phone numbers and addresses (no emails in those days) of my buddies; have access to a calculator, and various other productivity tools.  I was always amazed at the handwriting recognition (albeit one letter at a time but incredibly accurate ‘Grafitti’) and occasionally marvelled at the ability to beam notes and contacts to other Palm users (well, my Dad).

After a few years with the Palm III, I upgraded to the Palm V, a little slicker with a bit more memory and an SD card interface which meant you could add addtional programs, storage etc.  A popular addition was that of a dictionary/thesaurus – too expensive for me at the time I recall (£40).  With the addition of an infrared enabled Nokia mobile phone I was also able to connect to the internet which was quite an experience!  Not exactly quick but good enough for downloading some weather info for sailing while abroad.  I remember being very efficient as a data call back then was an expensive international call from a mobile phone (no Vodafone passport then!) – given the speed of the Nokia modem, I dread to think how much the data transfer costs would be per Mb.

Latterly, I used the palm as a first gen ebook reader.  I have to say that even now it could give the likes of the the Nook, Kindle, and iPad a run for their money in terms of ease of use and reading pleasure and that was over 10 years ago.  The mono-chromed non-backlit display gave no eye strain and the size of the pda (similar to the iphone) was comfortable to hold with the central up/down cursor button making it easy to change pages.

The move to a rechargeable battery was good in some senses (slimmer, cheaper to run etc.) but but bad in others.  As we all know, rechargeable batteries that cannot be removed, result in devices having a very definate shelf life – the fate of both my Palm Vs.  I suspect if I still had a Palm III I could slip a few AAA batteries and get up and running in a couple of minutes.

I’d like to think that Palm isn’t done yet and that its going to come up fighting.  I love my iPhone and think that the Palm Pre was a poor imitation but it was still a lot better than the majority of android devices I’ve seen.  Come on Palm – step up to the mark and reclaim your place as one of the world’s leading consumer electronics firms.

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