Lack of Progress in Palm Applications


An article in slashdot recently discussed the limitations in the current breed of Palm handhelds. I am glad somebody has pointed out the lack of progress in the palmtop market. My 12-year old HP-100LX is literally falling appart, yet I can not find a worthwhile replacement.

Things I am missing from the current generation of Palms, but I find as built-in features (not as add on third party applications) on my [t]rusted HP-100LX are:

  • A rechargable battery that runs for about three weeks.
  • The ability to plug in standard AA bateries when the rechargable battery runs out.
  • A plain vanilla 12V charger port and a backup batery when the two options fail. (In 12 years I have only lost data once, when the machine fell from my bike into a shallow water ditch).
  • A usable keyboard.
  • Real (though not preemtive) context switching. When I enter one application, the other one is suspended in the state it was, and will be resumed at exactly the same state when I return to it.
  • An industry standard file system (FAT), and support for cheap standard PCMCIA memory cards.
  • A complete spreadsheet (not just a viewer) that includes macros, and graphs.
  • A customizable database supporting complex queries and a visual form builder.
  • Customizable calendar, phone book, and note-taking applications, based on the above database.
  • A scientific and financial calculator with an equation solver, and graphing capability.
  • Locale support for Greece (fonts, keyboard, sorting) out of the box.
  • A sturdy design that can withstand 12 years of (ab)use.

The flexibility and stability of the machine's software is legendary. Over the years it has adapted to a change in the daylight savings time rule, Y2K, the introduction of the Euro symbol, and numerous phone renumbering exercises (it contains a world city database with a dialing prefixes and a map). The software is fixed in ROM; all needed changes were made via configuration files.

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Last modified: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:59 am

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