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Jewish World Review
June 8, 2007
/ 22 Sivan, 5767
The Next Revolution, 3 Weeks Away
The June 29 arrival of Apple, Inc.'s IPhone is drawing the kind of
attention normally reserved for, say, a new installment in the Harry
Potter book series. A new round of television commercials, launched the
other night, confirm a public delivery date for the device, and offer some
tantalizing previews of what it will contain, while media reports claim a
price as high as $600 for a single device.
At the same time, however, news last week from another technology-based
cell phone company, Palm, Inc., may yet prove as revolutionary, if not
In short, the next revolution in high tech may be one you can, literally,
The IPhone will eschew the use of a stylus, or keyboard, for messaging and
e-mail, instead relying on a touch-sensitive screen and your finger. The
Web browser can change orientation from portrait to landscape mode, and
zoom in on accommodating sites. You'll be able to play songs and movies on
the phone as well.
All that's good enough, you say, but how will it work in business. You're
on the road, you assert, and you've got to be in touch with the office,
the Microsoft Exchange server, or the what-have-you.
I'm not sure about the out-of-the-box possibility of linking an IPhone to
Microsoft's Exchange enterprise e-mail system, though I imagine Microsoft
would be foolish not to allow this, and Apple would be equally ill-advised
not to try and make this happen. After all, Apple's Mail.app
software already allows Exchange connections.
However, this is but one place where Palm might step in. Last week, the
firm announced development of the Palm Foleo , a small, fold-up
device which can link to a Palm Treo running either the Palm operating
system or Microsoft's Windows Mobile. It offers a much larger screen and
keyboard than the Treo phones and runs for five hours on a single battery
charge. It's not a notebook computer, yet, since the software capabilities
are limited. You'll get the Linux operating system, an e-mail program, and
editing software for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, as well
as a viewer for PDF files and a Web browser. Other applications may become
available, and the Foleo will accommodate SecureDigital media cards, which
can go up to 4 Gigabytes of storage.
Right now, in my view, the device is more of a computing "accessory" for
the Palm phones. And not just for Treos: according to Palm, phones such as
Research in Motion's BlackBerry, Apple's IPhone, and the popular-in-Europe
Symbian phone operating system, should each be adaptable to the Foleo's
Suddenly, then, Apple's seemingly consumer-only IPhone could become a
business tool for even hardened road warriors.
While such developments may cause a few chiropractors to look into other
lines of work, the ability to really, truly replace a notebook computer
with a cell phone and even a Palm Foleo is tantalizing in the extreme. I
love having a notebook computer, but carrying it can be a hassle, plain,
pure and simple. The accessories, the bulk, and the fear that something
would crash are always there, and it can be a pain. That's why Apple's old
12-inch PowerBook was such a hit, and why the 13-inch MacBook has
done as well as it has.
Now, extend the concept to the Foleo, which seems to be a totally
solid-state device; there's no mention of a hard disc drive here. Freed
from moving parts, reliability should soar as the bulk drops. It's a
rather interesting idea.
The idea of a device which can extend the range of many different models
of "smartphones" and even plainer cell phones could spark all sorts of
changes in computing. This revolution may or may not be televised, but
it'll certainly be worth watching.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com