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RE: PDA

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Bill, your comments about CE devices are clearly your opinion, and probably
with less research than devoted within the published articles I quoted from.
The two articles I indicated were consistent with many other articles I've
read. While there is no doubt that Palm OS devices have dominated the market
the fact remains that CE devices or the CE operating system is far from
obsolete or even "dying" - they have as tough a time gaining back market
share as Linux would have cutting into Microsoft's portion of the pie.

"Bloat" within operating systems means nothing as long as the operating
system is stable and Windows CE is a tremendously stable platform.

Your disdain of the Microsoft operating system is clearly heard by all.
However, you seem to believe that it is factual that only the Palm OS can
serve the needs of the public and this is not a true statement. The public
does tend to support whatever is most popular or that which has the greatest
market share (not by competition, but by being in the right place at the
right time as Microsoft was with DOS).

If you believe that Palm is on such strong ground, why was it reported on
June first that they were laying off more of its work force this summer
adding to the 300 already laid off in April (permanent and contract workers)
which represents 16-percent of the company's workforce.
In mid-May, the company reported that fourth quarter earnings were expected
to be less than 1/2 of the of its previous forecast and this caused not only
more layoffs, but stopped the acquisition of Extended Systems - resulting in
a 15% lay off of Extended Systems workers.
Now Palm is on shaky ground and there is speculation of restructuring and
possible acquisition of Palm to keep them afloat. Palm reports an inventory
"glut", expected lower earnings, "zapped" cash reserves, depressed stock
prices and of course the lay off of 16% of its workforce.

On the other side of the coin, NEC is announcing new CE devices (H/PC rather
than PPC's) and Intel is gearing up for increases in production of Compaq's
iPaq, HP's Jornada, Casio "and is in several cell phones and web-surfing
appliances" which are currently using the CE operating system.

One of the problems facing Palm is the strong competition between hardware
manufacturers using the Palm OS. This may be enough to force Palm out of the
PDA market (my opinion only) and into the Operating System industry solely
to support it's present competition. Handspring has also announced less than
50% of expected earnings promised to investors and this has prompted them to
offer a $100.00 rebate on their Visor Edge with a trade-in of almost any
PDA.

Palms greatest strength seems to be in the high end market and at $450.00
for the 505 they can not compete in features with the color iPaq or the
Casio E-125 which provides more memory, 65,000 colors on a TFT screen, more
screen viewing area, more storage, stereo multimedia playback and more
compatible plugin's to the emerging appliance markets.

Speaking of Appliances, although Handspring came into the market earlier
this year with their VisorPhone - a remake of the Palm OS-based Qualcomm pdQ
Smartphone, Ziff Davis Publications reported the following:
"But the smartphones that are likely to garner the most attention this year
are those based on the Microsoft Stinger, a version of the same Windows CE
3.0 operating system found in Pocket PCs.
Microsoft recently dropped by to give us an update on the Stinger project,
which has been in the works for some time, as well as to show us prototypes
of some of the phones that should be available starting around the year end
from manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Samsung and Sendo..." The article can
be read in full at
http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/story/0,10738,2694484,00.html

But then again, this is still (as you might argue) another writers opinion
(albeit a writer representing Ziff Davis). The only reason for your gloats
is that Microsoft has yet to put their line on the table which is why Palm
has gained such a large market share - they were admittedly the first with a
few years lead. Does this make them a better, more innovative product - far
from it. The market for appliances has a long way to go before it is
considered even remotely defined.

What other "appliances" are MS getting involved with? Speech recognition has
always been a pet project of Gates and we will expect to see more in the way
of CE based speech recognition programs installed in GPS devices to free up
the users hands. they are already adapting this technology to their Stinger
phones and GPS systems added into automobiles (Cadillac has been offering an
in-dash CE based appliance for the last few years). I believe we will see MS
coming to market with these devices much sooner than Palm OS. "Beyond its
well-known appearance in Pocket PC handhelds, Windows CE 3.0 also is being
used in WebTV's, industrial devices, Internet appliances, retail
point-of-sale systems and an automotive PC, Hoppe says." (from 8/10/2000
Ziff Davis article "Microsoft Readies Program for Embedded Devices" by
Jacquelyn Emigh;
http://www.zdnet.com/sp/stories/news/0,4538,2614178,00.html

So, my friend, as much as I admire your loyalty to Palm (or your disdain of
Microsoft) you need to do a little more homework before telling others that
there is emphatic proof of Microsoft's demise in the field of PDA's or
Applications with the Windows CE operating system. It just aint so!

As far I am concerned - Whatever suits your taste is fine by me. There are
advantages to each product - my personal taste is the Windows CE devices.
However, I do like the Visor and have liked the price conscience products
compared to Palm devices from the first day I read about them. I don't think
anyone who would purchase a Palm OS device would be at all disappointed for
quite a few years.

Regards,
Dennis S. Wish, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
mailto:structures(--nospam--at)engineer.com
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax



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