[linux-elitists] Ethicc v. Pragmatics (was: Why haven't you switched to MacOS X yet?)

Alan DuBoff aland@SoftOrchestra.com
Wed Jan 15 09:45:23 PST 2003

On Wednesday 15 January 2003 02:36, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Tue, Jan 14, 2003 at 11:24:34PM -0800, Alan DuBoff 
(aland@SoftOrchestra.com) wrote:
> > On Tuesday 14 January 2003 13:45, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > > However, there are some very clear successes:
> > > the Zaurus, iPaq, and TiVo come to mind.
> > 
> > ???? The Zaurus has been considered a flop for the most part, they had
> > to give most of the units away that are deployed, and the actual sales
> > have been small from what I've heard. 
> Quite possible.  There was also the Agenda, which AFAIK disappeared
> before it ever hit market, though I saw a few prototypes.

I would think the Agenda was more successful, since they seemed to be priced 
better and were selling. The Zaurus was certainly a nicer unit, and the 
software was much nicer also, but I've heard that real world acceptance was 
low, and most units were sold at trade shows at reduced pricing, placing it 
as a leader item to stir up development. Few were sold at the $500 price, and 
think about it, you can get a desktop computer for that much $$$s nowdays. 
Sure you can't carry it in your pocket, but the price point does not fit in 
todays market very well. It's a real shame, because the Zaurus is one of the 
better units, it has the features you would want (keyboard, CF, smart media), 
and you could develop for it without spending a lot of $$$s...it's probably 
one of the better pieces of hardware in that sector.

> Then again, can you name a *successful* handheld?

The only one is the Palm. The Palm has become a household word to some 
extent, and they've gotten IHVs to produce units with their OS in it.

> The Newton started us
> off down this track (I can still remember asking a cow-orker in 1994
> "what the hell would you want one of *those* for", and was right, at the
> time...).

Having worked at Taligent for 2.5 years, I knew quite a few Newton users.

> The market and pircepoints are likely going to dictate that nothing but
> GNU/Linux or Symbian make it in the long run.

I hate to think that GNU/Linux would dictate on it's pricing, but would 
rather hope to see it dictate on it's quality. I don't know too much about 
Symbian, but GNU/Linux faces some issues to be accepted in that space.

> Unit prices are too low and margins are too small for a proprietary OS.

If it's useful people will pay for it, and the Palm proves that.

> Hardware markets are brutal, period.

And nowdays they change quickly.


Alan DuBoff
Software Orchestration, Inc.
GPG: 1024D/B7A9EBEE 5E00 57CD 5336 5E0B 288B 4126 0D49 0D99 B7A9 EBEE

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