I was talking the other day with some of my new coworkers about the whole Palm craze. It was funny how about two years ago, everything had to have a Palm Pilot and everything had to work on the Palm. If you couldn’t order a pizza from a restaurant with your Palm, then, my friend, you shouldn’t be going to that particular pizza place… or so the mentality went. And it went so far as to even start having billboards up around San Francisco that had a little spot which would “beam” (send data via infrared light) to your Palm so that you would know when a performance was and what not.
Of course, this is one of those crazes that while not short lived, has been significantly diminished in its fervor. People realized that in a lot of cases, they were doing double entry on to their Palm and their computer when single entry on to a piece of paper was working just fine. Also, there was a problem with software developers, since Microsoft started to make inroads into the Palm market with their Pocket PC system. Naturally, people didn’t want to write some little portable application for two platforms, when investment in supporting one platform was already costing them plenty. I think that people also realized that this mobile life that we’ve been seeing touted as the next big thing or just around the corner isn’t really a reality yet. Now, it’s true that you can surf the internet from any number of coffee shops these days, but the case where you can check your email from the heart of the Amazon Jungle is probably something that’s going to be quite a distance feat.
Don’t get me wrong, Palm devices aren’t going anywhere and their proliferation has created quite a user base for people to market things at the users. I think Palm did do something very smart in that they split up into two companies: one for the Palm operating system and one for the hardware devices. It seems that licensing the Palm software has been very lucrative these days. In fact, I’m listening to a Palm OS device, which is the Sony Clie. And, I think that in the end that pretty much where it’s going to go, since you need the software people to be pushing the hardware people into making advancements and for Palm that just wasn’t happening. They still don’t have a little gadget like my Clie UX50 which has an MP3 player, camera, Bluetooth, 802.11b wireless built in as well as having all the basic Palm functions. Rock and roll, roll and rock.