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User Dismayed Over Lack of 95LX/100LX Compatibility

User Dismayed Over Lack of 95LX/100LX Compatibility

I became dismayed soon after I discovered that HP intended to come out with the 100LX. I and the organizations I am associated with have quite an investment in the HP 95LX Palmtop and its peripherals, including a number of disk drives and docking stations from Sparcom. I was informed by Sparcom that their Drive95 will not work with the 100LX.

Another change that's causing problems is the 100LX's new 9-pin serial interface. My Sparcom Station95s are built with a 4-pin connector, so they're of no use with a 100LX. I also fear that all my connectivity packages and data transfer cables will not work with the new Palmtop.

I am faced with several unsatisfactory choices. I could acquire an HP 100LX and still utilize my 95LXs as part of my system. But this would mean that I have to duplicate Sparcom drives and docking stations, as well as, I suspect, my connectivity packages. I could delegate the 95LXs to the scrap heap and lose my investment in it, and the original Sparcom drives and docking stations. The most sensible choice seems to be to simply ignore the 100LX. Unfortunately, this means that I lose its added features and utility.

Both Hewlett-Packard and The HP Palmtop Paper have aggressively touted the benefits of using third party products to enhance the HP 95LX. HP apparently designed the 100LX without taking into consideration the difficulties its new serial port would cause third party manufacturers and the users of their products. HP ought to have anticipated the incapacities of a 4-pin port, or it ought to have used its engineering prowess to design the 100LX to be able to interface with 95LX peripherals.

Marvin Stark

Richmond BC, CANADA

[Most anyone reading this can sympathize with you. Another common related complaint we hear is: why is there no upgrade path from the HP 95LX to the HP 100LX?

The main changes between the 100LX and 95LX were based on user feedback. Users wanted improved built-in software and increased IBM compatibility. IBM compatibility meant a serial port that could function like a desktop serial port and the capability of running software on a full 80x25 screen with access to all standard PC-AT keyboard combinations.

To create a more IBM-compatible palmtop, HP had to virtually redesign the palmtop. If you carefully compare each 95LX piece with each 100LX piece, you'll find there is virtually nothing in common -- even the 100LX screen is slightly bigger. That means there was no way that HP could provide its customers with an upgrade path and be profitable. It is sort of like asking a car manufacturer to let you upgrade their 1991 model to a 1994 model.

Addressing your concern, the 95LX and 100LX are really quite compatible. All SRAM and Flash memory cards that work with the HP 95LX work in the 100LX. Almost all software that works on the 95LX -- even system compliant EXM programs, and the 95LX Connectivity Pack software -- works on the 100LX. Even products such as Drive95 work with the 100LX (see my User to User column, page 22.). A few products like Sparcom's Station95 and the HP cradle that were made for the four-pin serial port will not work with the 100LX.

All in all, I think HP did quite well given all the considerations it had to balance in creating the HP 100LX -- Hal.]

iPhone Life magazine


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