Going Forward and Mobile
by Mike Kato
For this mobile computing issue, I had a hard time thinking about what to write about. I
already selected a few apps to feature for the month's Disk Librarian, so I didn't want to
write about these. I thought about a few other apps, but since I had already selected
some of what I thought to be the most interesting, this didn't really appeal either. What
I ended up with, then, is some sneak previews into the future of the Palm, and some other
mobile computing tidbits.
First, I found out a few very interesting developments with the Palm platform at the
PalmSource Japan Forum for developers last March 28-29. First, it is already very well
known publicly about the major new features of PalmOS 5 and the fully ARM-native 32-bit
OS. With three new ARM processors running the new Palms, built by Motorola, TI, and
Intel, the new Palms later this year will be fast, powerful, and backward compatible.
But one application not publicly announced may really change the future of software
development and marketing. The software, curiously, is not owned by the software group of
Palm--PalmSource--but by the hardware company. The software is called, for now, Cambio,
meaning "exchange" in Spanish.
Cambio has two basic parts. First the user rates some or all of the applications on
his/her device. The ratings can contain memos or notes on the software. The second part
of Cambio is the sharing feature. Only apps that the user has rated are shared with other
nearby Palm devices. Sharing can occur by IR or by Bluetooth. When another Palm equipped
with Cambio "sees" the shared information, the Palms check each others' databases, and
automatically enable the two to download shared apps not currently on the device. The
user does have the choice to "get" or "not get" each application, but they can be beamed
in bulk, and not one application at a time.
For application developers, this system enables them to write an application, rate and
share the application, and have users spread the application "virally" from peer to peer.
When the user first uses the new application on his/her Palm, or when HotSyncing occurs
with a desktop, then the user can be linked or directed to the developer's website for
Another really interesting development is the advancement of voice recognition. While
voice commands are rapidly becoming a standard feature of mobile phones, this feature is
becoming standard in future Palm devices as well. With the processing power of the next-
generation ARM processors, lookup and find features should become a whole lot easier and
more intuitive by the end of this year.
Another interesting product/service, this time with mobile phones, is a service called
(http://www.onecallnet.co.jp/). The concept
is simple. A company purchases a phone number from OneC@llNet. The company is issued a
unique URL, where the company sets up a mobile phone website via an ASP service. The
website is linked to the phone number. The company posts the phone number in ads and
marketing information. When a potential customer sees the ad, he/she calls the phone
number. After a simple registration process, the person receives an email message,
containing the HTML contents of the company's website.
For the customer, it is easier to enter a phone number than a URL when seeing an ad in a
magazine or train poster. For the company, the creation of a mobile website and marketing
campaigns is easier than completely setting up a website on their own. OneC@llNet sells
the service at rates starting at ¥10,000 per month, with costs rising to over a million
yen per month depending on call volume and site size. This could be a very interesting
development if mobile users really do take to calling over inputting a URL on their
Finally, another interesting product/service is SkyWave
Among other things, SkyWave is starting a SIP based voice call service via a PDA. Their
initial services will use PocketPC devices, but Palm devices and others are on the
horizon. Service should start by fall.
These are just a handful of the more interesting mobile computing developments, in my
opinion. If you find anything else interesting or worth checking out, let me know. These
are all very related topics for a book that I have started to write that I hope to publish
in Japanese in the first quarter of 2003.
Contact me at: <email@example.com>
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June , 2002
The Newsletter of the
Tokyo PC Users Group
Tokyo PC Users Group,
Post Office Box 103,
Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN