PDAs again

in november of 2005, the Palm TX became available.

It was a gorgeous fullscreen touchscreen device with sleek lines. It had a powerful Intel XScale processor that could play fullscreen video. It had built-in wifi. The Palm OS was relatively open in that software development could be done at no cost with largely open source tools. It was the pinnacle of the PDA  industry to date. It was also the last serious, new PDA to be offered by anyone. Palm has since been devoted to the Treo. A rather ugly, but functional phone that eventually sold out to the windows mobile operating system.

In June of 2007, we'll have the iPhone.

It too is a fullscreen touchscreen device that will have PDA-like functionality. The application environment is unique. The 'apps' are iPhone-sized websites. Here is a digg app. Apple did go as far as to give some javascript hooks into some of the non-browser functionality of the phone. The AT&T lock-in is a big negative, but that is in part due to the overall strangehold carriers have on phone manufacturers who want to sell in the USA.

At about the same time, the Neo1973 from FIC in Taiwan will be selling a quantity 500 run of the phones to anyone but only open source software developers would want to put up with the currently alpha quality software.

This phone is unique in that the software development is completely open source and the OpenMoko project has been created to organize development. Its a sim-unlocked fullscreen touchscreen phone but no camera or wifi. It does have a GPS receiver, something the iphone does not. The next version of this phone (in 2008) will have wifi, graphics acceleration, and 3d accelerometers.

There are new opportunities on these platforms for 'killer apps' - secondary to making a phone call, of course (nod to steve jobs).