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ACE Technologies Closes Its Doors

ACE Technologies Closes Its Doors

ACE Technologies, a major supplier of HP Palmtop flash storage and software, went out-of-business in January. Palmtop users will miss ACE; several products and services will be transferred elsewhere.

By Hal Goldstein

ACE Technologies opened its doors about the same time as The HP Palmtop Paper and has advertised with us since our first Fall 1991 issue. It was a small company that made a large presence both in The HP Palmtop Paper and among HP Palmtop users. Naturally as the Publisher, I am sorry to see them go, but all of us who are dedicated Palmtop users also lose.

Thanks to Andy Fu's leadership and Mark Scardina's technical insight, ACE provide the lead in faster, cheaper, Palmtop-aware flash storage products. ACE also brought us a variety of made-for-Palmtop software and communications products.

HP Palmtop users are extremely fortunate to have companies like ACE, Shier Systems, Times2 Tech, EduCALC, Notebook Supply, EXP, Steel Creek, (check out all the advertisers in this issue), as well as hundreds of freeware/shareware authors to support them. The HP Palmtop market is a small market. Aftermarket companies must support a product that only costs consumers around $500. These companies must compete in an arena where the perceived norm is the price-competitive PC Desktop industry.

For example, people ask us all the time why our $39 publication is "so expensive." No one believes me when I say our price is incredibly cheap. The problem is our perceived "competition" is a publication like PC Magazine, funded by advertisers, 200 times our circulation. What readers see with PC Magazine is a cheaper subscription price for more pages and issues. They don't recognize that we are in completely different markets.

It is a similar situation with companies such as ACE that dutifully support the Palmtop. These companies must produce products with low profit margin, yet the volume is low and they are expected to give strong service and support. These companies often are inspired as much by the usefulness and power of HP Palmtops as by the profit motive. But at the end of the day they must still pay their staff and themselves. ACE had to answer to outside investors, which put more pressure on them to make strong profits.

This is why from time to time I editorially urge everyone to support HP Palmtop vendors. As long as you keep subscribing and purchasing products we will keep publishing and vendors will keep selling Palmtop products. I am happy to say our renewals and new subscriptions remain strong so we look forward to producing The HP Palmtop Paper for a long time. We think that Windows CE helps educate the public on the value of handhelds. As sophisticated users examine the alternatives, many will continue to choose HP 200LX Palmtops.

Comments from a few ACE fans:

"About 5 years ago, Andy Fu and Mark Scardina hosted what in my mind was the first Palmtop meeting. Held here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I met and spoke to many of the people developing the products that would shape the Palmtop's future. Because some of the best software they sold was written by Palmtop enthusiasts, I looked to ACE as a Palmtop authority, Palmtop people selling to Palmtop people. I will miss the people and products that were ACE." Conrad Cox, organizer for the San Francisco Bay area users group for the Palmtop

"I'm very sorry to see ACE discontinue their business. They provided quality products, knowledgeable service, and a source one could recommend with confidence." Craig de Fasselle, AOL PDA Forum Leader


PALMTOP.COM Continues -- PALMTOP.COM service, formerly sponsored by ACE Technologies, is now being hosted by ESP Networks, a cc:Mail-to-Internet service provider. The PALMTOP. COM service provides the HP Palmtop user an Internet e-mail address using the built-in cc:Mail application. The new network which hosts the service represents a major upgrade with full T-1 Internet access and high-speed modems. Pricing: From $6.50 monthly. CONTACT: ESP Networks, 888-463-7762; FAX: 408-744-9141; E-mail: support@palmtop.com; http://www.palmtop.com

FastWRITE and VDE.ZIP <ON DISK ICON> -- The FastWRITE word processor has been discontinued. However, the VDE editor, upon which FastWRITE was based, now offers full support for the HP 95/100/200LX Palmtops, and thus an upgrade path for FastWRITE users. VDE 1.82 offers improvements over FastWRITE 1.01, including column block mode. A spelling checker is included with registration. Type: Shareware. Availability: this issue of The HP Palmtop Paper ON DISK; FastWRITE users can upgrade for $25 plus proof of purchase of FW, sent to Eric Meyer, 3045 4th St, Boulder CO 80304.

Magnify Now Sold by D & A -- D & A Software will now be selling Magnify 100/200LX software magnifying lens. CONTACT: Shier Systems & Software, Inc.; 920 Hampshire Road, Suite A; Westlake Village, CA 91361 USA; Phone: 805-371-9454; Fax: 805-371-9454; E-mail: 74777.2477@compuserve.com; Web: http://www.shier.com. Note: We'll keep you informed as additional information comes in about ACE products. For Tech support for ACE products contact fellow users on the CompuServe HP Handheld forum and AOL Palmtop message center.

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