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TreoCentral Thoughts on the Vertical Slider, Plus PIC Lists 7 Things Nova Should Have

Mon Jan 5, 2009 - 11:41 AM EST - By Jennifer Chappell


Update: I just read over in our forums that Engadget has updated their story, saying that Ricky from MobileBurn wrote in to tell them that his sources are pegging the first device to be a Sprint exclusive and that it will feature a high-spec camera of some sort. And of course Engadget pointed out that it's all rumor and speculation at this point.

Let the rumor mills keep on spinning! ;-) Thanks Miles4000!

Tim Carroll over at Palm Infocenter has written an interesting article about Nova. Tim talks about how Palm's Garnet has been in limbo since 2004 and that Palm has been in desperate need of a capable, home-grown platform on which to build their next generation of devices.

We heard yesterday that Palm's new smartphone will be a vertical slider with a flush, capacitive touchscreen like the iPhone and that it will feature some pretty snazzy transitions and animations and packs a lot of "wow factor".

I'm very excited to hear about this vertical slider! I love sliders and it would be so cool to have a Palm smartphone in this form. And that large capacitive touchscreen sounds awesome. I've been hoping that Palm would give us a larger screen and that the screen would be "iPhone-like". The two mock-ups pictured above look sweet. I can't wait to see the actual device though! The pic on the left is CrunchGear's version, and the pic on the right is a Flickr photo courtesy of Palmdoc_Food.

With the phone sliding vertically, we would still be able to type easily with our thumbs or even type one-handed, unlike those horizontal slider phones like the Tilt and G1. Everytime I've seen a vertical slider phone on a television show, I've thought that I'd like to have one like that. And to get one that is also a Palm smartphone would be a huge plus!

Anyway, a lot of tech blogs have stated that they feel that Palm's future is riding on the success of Nova. Nova has to really make our jaws drop and wow us. Dieter wrote in his article yesterday that the vertical slider is expected to "feature some pretty snazzy transitions and animations and packs quite a lot of 'wow factor'.

And CrunchGear said:

"The new operating system is described as �amazing� and there will be a full software bazaar on launch. It will have media playback functions along with standard Palm"

Tim Carroll over at PIC lists seven items that PIC considers to be must-haves for Palm's new baby:

  1. ENOUGH with the candy-bars, already - ...a brilliant design that Palm has foolishly allowed to stagnate by virtue of a curiously stubborn refusal to vary the basic candy-bar chassis...
  2. Mission: Media - ...So, Nova will be targeting the "prosumer" market, eh Palm? In order to hit that mark, you're going to have do much better on the media front. Once upon a time, information management was the killer app for a mobile computer...
  3. Superior Sync - ...Palm Desktop and Hotsync need either a total makeover, or to be completely junked...
  4. Banish Blazer - Amen! Heck, I second that! Like PIC said; this one doesn't need much explaining.
  5. Spectacular Specs - PIC says that Palm has skimped on hardware too long with pitiful amounts of on-board storage combined with anemic CPUs. Plus, "The requirements of mobile operating systems, the modern Internet and highly compressed media formats now demand something faster than a 312mhz ARM..."
  6. Love the Developers - If there's a common complaint you hear from iPhone developers, it's that Apple places strict limitations on what they can and can't do with the hardware, with undocumented APIs that remain Apple's exclusive domain. Another sore point relates to the "extremely convoluted and strange" development process and what it takes to get yourself accepted into Apple's program. And we all know how hellish Palm OS development became over the last few years, which each minor hardware refresh often requiring apps to be re-written...
  7. Leverage the Heritage - The huge selection of third-party apps: everyone has their favourites and for many there's one or two that they simply couldn't do without. To this end, Palm would be foolish not to include some form of backwards-compatibility with the classic Palm OS � and entice those developers like DataViz, Normsoft, Resco, Tealpoint and SplashData to develop new versions of their popular apps for Nova.

You can read the full article here.

Here's what Matt Miller over at had to say about Palm's new Nova device:

"A large touchscreen, with the option to also have a Treo experience with a keyboard would be a fantastic design, IMHO. The Palm OS (version 5.x) is already very iPhone-like with the icons that launch applications on a home screen and simplistic limited multi-tasking functionality. I think Palm could have probably taken the existing Palm OS and made some significant improvements and come out with this type of new design and been competitive with the iPhone. If this new design is real and it runs a much more optimized and current OS, then Palm could really have a winner on its hands. You know that I will definitely be buying one since I have a place in my heart for Palm and like the latest and greatest devices."

I'll definitely be buying it too Matt! Palm has a ginormous spot in my heart as their PDAs are what got me addicted to gadgets. ;-)

We have a great discussion going on in our TreoCentral forums at the moment, and there are some interesting comments.

Forum member RickMG said:

If it's going to be an iphone killer it better look more like Flickr's version than Crunch Gear's. It would be the best of all worlds size wise and having a slide down qwerty keyboard for the one handedness.

Forum member KeilwerthSX90R stated:

This is interesting news. I had one of the old Samsung vertical slider WM phones and you could use the keyboard one handed because the weight of the phone was unbalanced with the keyboard open. It will be interested to see how Palm figures this out, if true.
I'm skeptical of yet another major new OS but hopefully they'll get ActiveSync and the on screen keyboard right. Sliders are great, especially a vertical one, but only if the onscreen keyboard is good enough for regular text entry. This has always been my problem with WM sliders. The on screen keyboards in the past were useless requiring the slideout keyboard for everything.
Palm needs a home run so I'm hoping this phone doesn't suffer from the beta problems that the iPhone and Blackberry Storm had at launch.

Forum member hkklife wrote:

No offense, guys, but I am calling B.S. on this one. I've been waiting on something "spectacular" from Palm since at least 2000 and I don't have any reason to change my pessimistic stance...yet.
I just don't see how Palm is going to be able to handle a lot of stylus-heavy legacy Garnet (and earlier) apps to Nova without being able to support native stylus support. Just think of the impossibly small onscreen buttons used by some older Palm OS apps & games that might not have ever been updated to be Treo-friendly. You'd go nuts trying to jap that with a fingertip....unless, of course, Palm sees to include a special capacitive stylus with the unit.
Personally, I think Palm's just going to play it safe and try to get Nova out the door on a "safe" device....think the Treo Pro specs & formfactor with a lower pricetag and maybe a few small differentiating touches. Then, assuming that one hits the market on time and with no major bugs, they'll work on a followup device for later in '09 or early 2010 with a different formfactor and/or higher resolution and include Garnet compatibility.
Basically, as long as a few stocks of Palm OS PDAs remain for sale and the Centro is still offered by some carriers, Palm doesn't have a huge reason to push Garnet compatibility with their first Nova device. Seamless importing of PIM data etc from Garnet devices? Yes! But 90%+ seamless Garnet backwards compatibility? Not as crucial as having a stable, feature-laden, widely supported new OS with all of the eye candy intact.
I see Palm basically doing the opposite of what Sony has done with the PS3over the past 2+ years...instead of slowly removing backwards compatibility bit by bit, Palm will slowly integrate & perfect it over the lifetime of the platform & hardware.

Forum member Hdhntr23 said:

Now if that design is true and it included either a touch pad for the mouse or a trackball.... THAT would be a homerun. Im also wondering if it (screen) spins like the other mockups we saw last month leaked.

While writing the article and checking back and forth with the forum, I've just seen a new mock-up posted in the forum. The above pic was done by Rob Beschizza over at Boing Boing Gadgets Very nice!

Also, Dieter had just posted in the thread:

...I am 80% sure the ODM is Foxconn, NOT HTC.

Forum member rambo47 wrote:

Sliders are tricky things as far as quality control goes. Nokia has had slider mobiles in their lineup for ages and it's still hit-or-miss with quality of the mechanism. With Palm operating at a zero tolerance level for mistakes, I find the slider form a curious choice. While the slide concept solves some problems, it opens up other issues and avenues for complaint. Wobbly sliders or loose ones can ruin the image of a mobile so fast it's scary. How many of the first batch will wobble slightly and start the complaining? These initial reviews are going to be crucial for sales as everyone pours through the reviews to make a buying decision. If they get a "meh" rating for QC sales will suffer. If sales suffer, well, we all know what happens to Palm then.

Forum member Geo-Treo said:

The trend towards big, capacitive-touch screens necessitates some sort of hidden keyboard (unless you go with a soft keyboard). A device similar to the Treo Pro with a larger screen and a slider is logical. A Treo Pro form factor with the new OS will be needed, too, because many people don't like sliders with their added bulk and big-screen power consumption.
The (many) remaining questions are how good is the OS, are the core apps complete, can it run Palm apps effectively, what carriers will it run on, and when will it be available? A lot of pieces have to fall into place for this to be a success.

Gearlog also has some interesting thoughts on Palm's Nova phone. They talk about how Palm's new Nova operating system and phone is the biggest cell phone story of this week's upcoming CES show, and that there aren't any spyshots, product sheets, or even a carrier name:

For something that Palm's been working on for years, this is information control worthy of Apple.

Gearlog also says that it's pretty safe to guess that Sprint will get the Nova phone first since every single Palm phone that was first introduced with a US carrier since May 2006 has been launched with Sprint. I wouldn't be at all surprised myself if Sprint were to be the first carrier to get the Nova phone. I sure hope Palm will sell an unlocked version soon so I can get my hands on one!

Stay tuned for more Palm news because Dieter will be reporting live from CES on Thursday!

In the meantime, chime in over here and let us know your thoughts on the Nova vertical slider.

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