Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Old Loyalties Die Hard

Anyone out there remember the Palm Pilot?  Back in the late 90's it was the gizmo to own.  A small (for the times) device it not only came with a built in contact list, calender and memo program but it also had lots of other neat applications (back then we still said the entire word).  As the device evolved it got smaller and sleeker and its app catalog exploded with fun and relevant programs for almost any field.  About the only thing the Palms couldn't do was act like a phone but unless you were a Blackberry user you didn't really care about that.
In the hi-tech world one either evolves constantly or dies a quick death.  Such was the fate of the Commodore 64 in the late 1980's as Apple's Macintosh took over the home computing scene.  Such was the fate of Palm.  Late to the phone game Palm only realized inthe mid-00's that Blackberry was onto something when it combined personal data assistannts (PDA's) and phones.  It came out with the Treo and then the Centre which were okay phones but the underlying operating system never really changed.  Yes, the graphics resolution improved a bit and colour became a standard feature but overall it looked and felt the same as the original.
Then came the iPhone and Androids.  Suddenly Palm was in huge trouble selling a phone with an antiquated operating system.  Yes they had the app catalog but those programs also looked positively antique when compared to what Apple and Google were putting out.
Much too late Palm put out the Pre and then the Pre2.  I owned a Pre2 and had high hopes it would revive the company.  It was fast with great graphics and an intuitive operating system.  Unfortunately it never took off.  Palm was bought by HP which tried to make waves with the Pre3 and then just gave up on the cell phone business altogether. 
So there I was with a Palm phone and it was a lonely experience.  The app catalog numbered in the 1000's with only 2-3 new programs appearing a week, sometimes less.  It was frustrating to read about all the new app's coming out but only for Apple, Android and usually Blackberry.  It's an awful feeling to be left behind but I'd been with Palm since 1998.  I was so reluctant to let go.
Ultimately I did though.  I didn't want an iPhone or Android (I found the original Terminator movie frightening when I was a kid and he was an android) so I tried out the Blackberry Z10.
Now, full disclosure: I own Blackberry stock and I bought it on the hope that the Z10 would be a kick ass phone.  I'm pleased to note that it is.  Suddenly I'm working with a huge app catalog that is growing daily and constant updates to programs I have.  As opposed to the lonely quiet world of Palm I feel like I'm back on the information highway again, not some information side road in the country.
But every so often I look at my old Palm, still sitting on my desk and wonder about what could have been.


tesyaa said...

Like Betamax, it was destined to be the answer to a trivia question.

ahg said...

A few technical quibbles:

1) I don't think you can explain the disappearance of the Commodore 64 to the Apple Macintosh. The Apple Macintosh in the late 80s did not have much penetration in the home market. The C64 was selling for about $500, while when Apple introduced the Mac SE in 1987 it was going for about $3,000. If you wanted a color Macintosh, it was going to cost you in the pall park 8 grand. The death of the C64 and its successor came mainly from the revitalization of the gaming console market with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System in the mid 80s. Until that point, the C64 was the best gaming system available. The "PC Compatibles" became the main player in the low-cost computer market in the mid to late 80s.

2) While Palm didn't introduce their own phone until the mid-00s, they did license their OS and the first Palm based phone, the Kyocera 6035, was introduced in 2001. (I owned one, it was a good product. When it started to fail, I replaced it with a Treo650 and when that failed I went to the iPhone)

Garnel, I think you like to standout from the herd by choosing the less popular but still interesting electronics. You bought a Pre2 when everyone else had given up on Palm, and you repeated the same, dare I say mistake, with Blackberry. I'm going to guess, you owned a Macintosh II in the late 80s too but very few people did. (I had a Mac SE/30 in 1990 so I know something about the lonely world Mac was back then)

tesyaa said...

My brother, who is a true tech geek, bought a couple of HP tablets when they were discontinued and ridiculously cheap. He said the technology was good, so I guess it was an irresistable buy. Unfortunately, they're kind of useless. He gave one to my dad who doesn't have a need for it. I don't know what he did with the second one.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Yeah, those HP tablets were supposed to be amazing but with WebOS now owned by a Korean appliance maker there's no real point to them.