Palm OS: I remember when

palmpilotLike many of you, I used a Palm device back in the day. This was back in 1998 when mobile phones were only good for making phone calls, when unlimited Internet service was unheard of, and a personal organizer was normally made of paper. I remember the days of the green backlit device, with the graffiti handwriting recognition system, and that shark game to teach you how to use it. I loved that shark game.

I remember when a color screen was something those Handspring Visors had, while Palm purists used monochrome and liked it! This was long before Microsoft came on the scene with their “Windows Mobile” platform and in those wild days you could find an application that would do almost anything you wanted, and long as it wasn’t too processor intensive. I remember being jealous of the guy three cubes over: he got the new Palm VII and could access the network wirelessly to sync his email. And I also remember how I convinced the IT manager that I really needed that Handspring Visor Prism, and not just so I could play solitaire in color.

Using a palm device in the early days was a lot like when computers where just being developed. You had a few other options, and maybe some clones that got bought out and folded into other companies as time went on. People were writing homebrew applications, turning their PDA’s into TV remotes, and controlling their house lights with them. I’ll admit to using mine to roll dice for the weekly table gaming sessions, once I convince the DM that it wasn’t a cheat.

And then phones started to have more and more features. The Ipaq came onto the scene, with a larger screen and some pretty flashy gizmos. I had a wifi compact flash card for mine, and a sleeve you could slide onto the device that would turn it into a GPS with turn by turn instructions. But the PDA’s days were numbered by then and even though my Palm could sense it, she probably didn’t know she’d be dead a decade later. There was that new thing people were starting to talk about, the huckleberry or something, but no one saw it as a threat, right?

And we see now that Palm has struggled in years past, trying to remain relevant when everyone has email on their phone, a contact list with everything there is to know about your associates, your friends, your family. I remember right before CES this year, Devin and Peter mocking the fact that Palm was hosting a press conference to make a big announcement. I’m actually glad for Palm. I hope that they can turn things around and make get some of that old magic back, when they were running the show and if you weren’t Palm OS compatible, you were outta luck.

Godspeed you, Palm OS.