After a busy Monday settling in a meeting old friends, I was ready on Tuesday for my first full day of the DevCon. I found coffee and settled in for the keynote, wondering what the scoop might come from outgoing PalmSource CEO David Nagel.
What a surprise we got, learning that PalmSource had sold rights to the "Palm" name to palmOne for some 30 million bucks. Wow. As the news sunk in though, I found myself thinking it's a good move. I constantly see and hear conversations where the whole "PalmSource vs. palmOne" naming issue truly confuses people — even long-time Palm fans. Better to move it back to the "hardware" guys where it seems to have more connection. Now PalmSource has the challenge of finding a new name that's memorable and fits their new direction.
Powered Up Award winners are announced: SplashBlog (photo blogging tool), Quicknews (RSS reader), Village Sim (Simulation game) and The Missing Sync for Palm OS (Mac OS X sync tool) and all 4 seem very worthy recipients. I actually need to investigate Missing Sync for myself, as its features are looking more and more compelling.
Chris Dunphy of PalmSource demoed the new PalmSource Installer, which can install Palm OS apps and databases via web to sync or even better, over the air (like to a Treo). I was able to play a bit beforehand with the installer and it's very nice — even supports Macs! I do hope developers embrace this new tool as I think it makes the user's life easier and therefore will likely make sales increase for developers.
Again I was surprised that Dave didn't mention his resignation directly in the keynote (though I understand he did address this announcement after I left the PUG meeting Monday). Maybe the PR guys are afraid to broach the subject or maybe Dave is reluctant to, but I think a better course would have been to embrace the facts and be straightforward with the audience. Maybe that's just me.
After the keynote, I had several User Council meetings. In general our council was very well received by both PalmSource and their licensees. While I can't share details of those meetings, the Palm community can rest assured that we're representing them well.
Meeting Justine Pratt
At a break I had the pleasure of meeting Justine of Creative Algorithms over coffee, which we'd intended to do during the week. She actually recognized me as I was heading back with coffee (one good side-effect of my picture on the blog) so we took time to connect and chat a while. I learned quite a bit about the business she and her husband run, and her connections to other Palm community folks like Sammy and Shaun. I enjoyed this chance to get to know Justine and her family's business story.
Lunch with Bob Russell
Following another set of internal meetings, I ran into Bob Russell of MobileRead.com at the lunch buffet tables. Bob and I have traded emails in the past year, so it was again nice to meet someone in person I've known only virtually. Over lunch we had a chance to share our backgrounds, interests and talk about Bob's difficult decision between a new Treo 650 and a LifeDrive.
PalmOne vs. Tapwave Stores
A friend of mine was very interested in an unlocked Treo 650 (GSM) for use in Europe, so I took a chance at 3pm to stand in the palmOne store line for about 30 minutes to pick one up. Later on I heard there was a limited supply of 50 LifeDrives (and 50 rain checks). I was fortunate to get through in about 25 minutes but some attendees waited as long as an hour and a half for devices.
The Tapwave folks also had a special deal on Zodiac packages, though sadly enough, their store was like a ghost town compared to the palmOne store. I should mention that Tapwave was selling devices earlier that day, but it was still an interesting comparison to observe.
Coffee with Russell Beattie & Ewan Spence
In the afternoon, I was able to connect with Russell Beattie, a fellow mobile device fan, blogger, and recent hire at Yahoo. He'd stopped to pick up a Zodiac at the show, and meet with Ewan Spence of AllAboutPalm.com.
Again, it was good to meet an online acquaintance in the flesh. It's always interesting to connect writing and small photos with the real people. Russ was much taller than I'd expected: my impression of him was that of a friendly, happy, mobile-minded wookie (minus the fuzzy outer coat). Ewan on the other hand, was straight out of Braveheart, complete with tartan kilt, sporran and a mediaeval shirt with a hand tied collar.
The three of us spent a little time in the hotel lobby over coffee, discussing the entire Mobile space as it related to PalmSource and palmOne. The general consensus around our table was that the Linux direction was welcomed, with some concerns about PalmSource's ability to shift quickly enough to get something compelling out the door to complete against Microsoft and Symbian.
Both guys were a complete riot to hang with and the time went entirely too quickly, but has been the case with my entire week. I'm finding that quantity of time is not so important as quality and often the most interesting discussions happen at the spur of the moment. Through this I've learned to be open at any time to chat with anyone.
Dinner & More Networking
Dinner was served in the exhibit hall, stocked with hot asian and Mexican foods to nibble on. Near one entrance stood a flowing fountain of chocolate sauce, which attendees could use to cover varied food items with a rich chocolaty coating. Dip-able food items included all sorts of fruit, pound cake, marshmallows and even chunks of Snicker bars. Mmm, good.
Spent a little time during and after dinner catching up with developers and friends, including a chat with a team working on an interesting sync solution (I hope to share more soon). It had been a long day, so it was good to retire to my room, for an evening of capturing travelogue notes, and keeping up on email before crashing for the night.
I was pleased with the meetings I was fortunate to have on Tuesday, with Justine, Bob, Russ and Ewan along with the many other folks I spoke with. Being a social person it's always a successful day when I am able to connect with others interested in similar things, like the mobile space.
Next up: Wednesday's report.