O’Reilly Network: A Palm Introduction

“Released in 1996 from an unlikely source — US Robotics, a
modem manufacturer — Palm Organizers now enjoy the dominant
position in the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) market place with
approximately 80% of the market. It’s not been an easy climb for
the Palm, however, having to overcome Apple’s Newton, Microsoft’s
Windows CE, and several smaller players like Psion.”

“Most Palms have processors which are about twice as
powerful as the first model of Macintosh computers
, although
some newer models are even faster. Most models are powered by a
pair of AAA batteries, while the higher-end versions have built-in
rechargeables. … It’s important to realize that Palms are not
intended to replace a desktop or laptop, with their full
environments, but instead are designed to be satellite computing
devices supporting people while they’re away from their desk.”

“An area where I think Palm will soon have some competition
is in handheld and embedded Linux devices.
As it’s taking time
for Linux to gain desktop market-share, it will similarly take a
while for it to get a strong foothold in the PDA market as well.
Also, Palm Computing isn’t standing still, with new devices and
wireless features announced just recently.”

“For end-users, right now, PalmOS-based devices are probably the
best choice of PDA, especially for Linux/Unix users. The software
selection simply cannot be matched by any other PDA solution, with
a developer base similarly large. No Palm is complete with only the
software included, though, so be sure to spend some time
downloading and experimenting with some of the available extra

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