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A Second Favorable Opinion About the New 56K Modem

Three comments from a faithful subscriber

HP or no HP manufacture, we rely on you people at Thaddeus. Keep up the fantastic job you are doing for all of us sensible 200LX users!

I guess the HP Palmtop discontinuance came as no great surprise to anyone. However much we regret it, we could see it coming. The HP Handheld Division is really a strange breed: technically second to none, in the market almost invisible. Certainly from the European end you get the impression that HP has been completely relying on the products to sell themselves. And with sales below expectations, somebody must have kept saying: surely there is something wrong with the technology, so let us launch a better model!

I quote from Hal Goldstein's latest article: "Since 1995 we have seen two OmniGo organizers and seven Windows CE PC companions...". But how can you expect sales success if you have neither distribution, nor promotion? In fact, the biggest single problem for the European prospective buyer of HP handhelds is still to find a retail outlet! Once in a while I have asked for HPs in a store that carries Psion and other makes. Typically they would answer: "...we have stopped carrying HPs because we receive no training or other forms of point-of-sales support." This peculiar and almost tragic imbalance between technology and marketing is becoming more and more obvious if you compare with the advent of other competing organizers/calculators. Take the Palm Pilot! This product is now enjoying rising sales and is widely distributed here by GSM telephone chains and similar outlets. It is certainly not perceived as a toy for hackers only, but as a very practical supplement to the GSM and to the PC.

A product philosophy note: Today the PC is on most people's office desk, whether they like it or not. The GSM is just as common. Men and women, even school kids carry their own GSM. So how can we improve the versatility of the GSM, while maintaining its mobility? Both the PC and the GSM are parts of the environment. Both must be taken into account. However, I personally believe that "GSM companion" is a more fruitful vantage point for future handhelds than "PC companion". Not least considering the distribution patterns for PCs and GSM telephones. Moreover, I feel that the "PC Companion" approach could easily lead you to complete dependence on the latest Windows frills. And over time, you will be able to offer less and less value over the ever lighter laptop PCs.

Also, looking at the 200LX,I believe that the single most important way to prolong its life is to demonstrate (and improve!) its ability as a "GSM companion," as good as the Palm Pilot and others, but with more capabilities.

Of course the PC cannot be forgotten, as a secondary part of the "companion" concept. I was therefore somewhat surprised to read your article on sync between PIMS and MS Outlook. To me it conveyed the impression that this type of sync is still a problem waiting for a solution. However you made no mention of IntelliSync from PUMA. I have been using this program now for a year and am 95% satisfied with the syncs I get between Appointment/ToDo and MS Schedule+. I just wish more people would use it to provide sufficient incentive for PUMA to upgrade their program for new MS upgrades!

I just noticed in The HP Palmtop Paper a reference to your support of the old HP Portable Plus. Well, I might be one of your oldest and longest fans. I not only had the Portable Plus, I also had its HP predecessor. And I started reading the Portable Paper with your very first edition and have never missed one since.

Thanks folks for a wonderful job well done as you have not only helped me hundreds of times but I can remember being bailed out of several jams with your great articles.


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