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What’s The Problem With Palm?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2010

So, what’s the problem with Palm, the company that brought us all the first real personal digital assistant? I remember back in the early 2000’s when everyone wanted one and needed one; now, you can’t even give away the Palm Pre, their version of a smartphone, and you can’t give away the company either.

This might make me a dinosaur among many of you, but I love having a Palm. Well, I love having one that works anyway. I got my first Palm back in 2001 when my dad first started getting really sick, and I realized I didn’t have any information with me if I were out of town and didn’t have access to my computer, since I didn’t have a laptop back then. Strangely enough, each of my parents had a Palm, way ahead of the game back in the day, but they were traveling a lot and, like me, wanted access to all sorts of information while on the go.

At a certain point in 2005, Palm went in the wrong direction, and that’s probably when things started to fall apart. I actually bought the latest Palm at the time, a heavy monster with a 4GB hard drive that was using technology that no one else was even working on, and that technology was unwieldy and, it seems, unnecessary. Everyone else who was in the PDA game was moving towards cellphone technology instead.

What ended up happening is the fancy Palm, which I actually had to replace twice in one year, just couldn’t support itself, and the entire company started tanking, even though Palm had slightly downsized its expectations and come out with the Palm T/X, which I ended up buying. Palm came into the cellphone game late, and its entry, the Pre, has never caught on.

Now word is that Palm has been trying to find someone to buy the company, but not only are there no takers, but many of the top brass have flown the coop. The guy who oversaw software and services, senior vice president Michael Abbott, is jumping to Twitter, which still hasn’t figured out how to make money off themselves; that says something to me. Palm’s stock price is dropping, 12% on Monday alone. At the beginning of the year Palm estimated it would have $1.7 billion in sales in 2010, but the first quarter only came in around $150 million; ain’t gonna happen.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what this means for me. I don’t know that any of the smartphones that are out there do what my Palm does, the way I want it done. I don’t know if there are any other PDAs on the market. I purchased a refurbished Palm T/X 10 days ago to replace mine, which lasted 2 good years, and I just sent it back today because suddenly last night the screen decided it didn’t want to play anymore; so much for refurbished stuff, although the guy said he would repair it for me.

Oh yeah, I did try to get the one I have repaired, but they said it was past the time and said I had to buy a new one, around $399, and I balked at that because the original only cost me $130; weasels!

What do I need? Here’s my deal. The main thing is I want something I can sync with my computer and laptop so that I never lose all of my information. I like my calendar feature. I like having my entire address book, with email addresses, birthdays, and any other information I want to add with me. I like setting all sorts of alarms to remind me of stuff (like today, without my Palm, I forgot I had something on the stove for over an hour, and luckily the smoke detector finally went off). The Palm can access wi-fi areas (I don’t have to pay for internet service), can play MP3 files, I can customize its look, I can take my Word or Excel files with me, I can read Adobe files, and it also came with some of the Franklin Covey things I like that let you talk about your values and goals and the like.

So, if you can recommend something that does all of that, I’d be interested. Oh yeah; I don’t want a phone if I don’t have to have one, and I don’t want to have to spend $500 for one either (though I’ll own up to paying almost $700 for the Palm that didn’t end up working out for me; never again). Information please!

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Dennis Edell:

I’d love a hand-held non-phone also, let me know what you hear.
.-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..Theme Customization 4 – NEW Social Media Icons & RSS/Newsletter Subscription Box(s) Coming – You Need to Settle an Argument! =-.

April 22nd, 2010 | 9:05 AM

Dennis, since you wrote here, if we get any tips you’ll know when I do. 😉

April 22nd, 2010 | 10:43 AM

My iPod Touch will do all that, and more, except for the Word and Excel files. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an ap that allowed it to do this though, seeing how there are so many aps on the market.

Hopefully that guy can fix it for you.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Huddle Allowing People To Collaborate Online =-.

April 23rd, 2010 | 4:38 AM

Sire, are you saying you can sync your iPod Touch with your computer? I hadn’t heard one could do that sort of thing, which is why I’m asking.

April 23rd, 2010 | 10:53 AM

Good morning,

I like my iPod Touch, too, although I’m not using it for all the things that Mitch mentions. I’m mostly using it to play games, keep in touch with Facebook, browsing the web, reading news, and reading the 500 books I bought last month,

If anyone is interested in an iPod Touch, however, and you want to get the most from updates, you need to get the two top-end models. I got the 8 GB version and — if I’m understanding what I’ve read — it won’t take advantage of all the updates that will be introduced this summer, including multitasking. The two top-end versions will be able to use the new OS, as will the iPhone.

I’ve never used it for transferring and viewing files such as PDF, word, excel, etc, but there’s a thread on another forum about this, with some suggestions for apps that can be used:

I can’t vouch for any of them, but I’m planning to look at a couple to see if they are something I may want to use in the future.

All the best,


April 23rd, 2010 | 7:23 AM

That’s two mentions of the iPod touch now, John, but I still haven’t heard if it can sync with a computer for your calendar and address book. Will it sync with a regular computer, since it’s an Apple product? Can it read any kind of database, since I believe the Palm database is a .mdb format? And is it small enough so I could walk at the lake with it in my pocket, listening to my books on tape, or is it a big thing?

April 23rd, 2010 | 11:04 AM

Hi Mitch,

Yes, it automatically syncs calendars, addresses (contacts), and more via iTunes. It works with both Windows and Mac. I use mine with a Mac; my grandkids use theirs with Windows.

If you have something that doesn’t sync automatically, it can be done by manually syncing — depending on what it is.

I don’t know anything about reading a Palm database.

Here’s several discussion about replacing a Palm with and iPod Touch:

The following document describes some of what you want to do, but is an older document and is addressed to an old version of iPod and not the iPod Touch, but it should provide some information about what you want to do:

An iPod Touch is about 4.3 inches by 2.4 inches and about a third of an inch thick. It would be great for walking around and listening to audio books or music.

Learn more at:

As far as your question about carrying Word, Excel, and PDF files, I found an app called Air Sharing:

Hopefully, that will help give you an idea of what you could do with the iPod Touch. Some of the discussions I linked to are relatively old and the new iPod Touch devices are more capable now than they were then.

All the best,

.-= John Dilbeck´s last blog ..Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-04-04 =-.

April 23rd, 2010 | 3:50 PM

Hi John,

Based on this, I’m in trouble, as I don’t use Outlook at all. I use Thunderbird for my email, and of course Palm for my calendar and everything else. Seems it’s not directly transferable unless I go through Outlook first; ugh. It also doesn’t sync with Notes or Tasks, both of which I use extensively. Man…

April 23rd, 2010 | 4:05 PM

Hmmm… I left a long comment to try to answer your questions, but it disappeared when I clicked “Add Comment.” Maybe it went to your spam comments or was held for moderation.


April 23rd, 2010 | 3:53 PM

Yup, with all those links it went straight to spam, John, but I didn’t notice it until you wrote this message.

April 23rd, 2010 | 3:58 PM

Notes or Tasks and Thunderbird, which last I heard was an animated show ;), man you love using things out of the ordinary don’t you Mitch.

I’ve only sync it to my computer to to update my songs on it. I rarely use it to take notes. The alarm feature is great as is the address book.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Is Disqus Costing You Comments? =-.

April 23rd, 2010 | 7:42 PM

Thunderbird isn’t animated; it’s from the same people who make Firefox:

I read the forums John sent, and a couple of people said if “we” were power users of Palm that none of these smartphones or the newer technology would work for us because they’re limited in that fashion, though superior in other ways.

April 23rd, 2010 | 10:40 PM

Only kidding Mitch, I was referring to the TV series The Thunderbirds 😀
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Huddle Allowing People To Collaborate Online =-.

April 24th, 2010 | 12:32 AM

I don’t know that show; is it an Australian show?

April 24th, 2010 | 12:39 AM

More an English show I think, here’s a link if you’re interested.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Tips On Having A Photo Blog And How Photos Can Inspire A New Post =-.

April 24th, 2010 | 1:07 AM

Oh my! We had something similar to this, but it’s the first time I’ve seen this particular show, as I looked it up on Google after reading your link & watched a short video. Wow, that brings back memories; we really were naive, weren’t we?

April 24th, 2010 | 2:08 AM

In those days the simple things were really quite extraordinary. That show was really quite popular and had a pretty big following.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Reality TV And How It Is Corrupting Society =-.

April 24th, 2010 | 2:26 AM