Friday, September 30, 2005

Bill and Ed’s Excellent Adventure (Newsweek.com)

By Brad Stone

Sept. 28, 2005 - It took me a few years of using the Palm operating system—first on the Palm V PDA, and now in my Samsung i500 phone—before I finally figured out how to draw the “k” on the Palm graffiti pad. You use the stylus to pen a sidewise, cursive “L” Really.

Unfortunately, my breakthrough is now irrelevant. Palm upgraded Grafitti and made the K easier to draw. But more significantly, market dynamics, consumer preferences and the prevailing strength of software giant Microsoft Corp. have earmarked the once revolutionary Palm operating system to the technology platform dustbin.

Earlier this week, Palm, Inc. CEO Ed Colligan joined with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in a San Francisco hotel conference room to announce a new product in Palm’s popular line of keyboard-equipped cell phones, the Treo. Unlike previous incarnations, this one will run Windows Mobile, instead of the Palm OS. That’s a bit like an Apple desktop running Windows XP. Or a Chevy car with a Ford engine.

It marks the beginning of the end for the Palm OS; the inevitable disappearance of a remarkably easy to use mobile operating system (“K” not withstanding) that enabled the very first generation of tech-equipped road warriors to tote around their calendars and Rolodexes in digital form. (more...)