Windows CE: Should it be saved?

Erik Eckel showed us the good, the bad, and the in-betweens of Window's CE during this Guild Meeting.

On April 18th Erik Eckel showed us the good, the bad, and the in-betweens of Window’s CE.If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting.

On April 18th Erik Eckel showed us the good, the bad, and the in-betweens of Window’s CE.If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

Welcome to the Guild Meeting!

MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone! Let me take a quick moment to introduce our speaker. Erik Eckel is the Master of Microsoft at TechRepublic and editor in chief of our humble site.

ERIK ECKEL: And a Nino-toting fiend, don't forget.

MODERATOR: And tonight he's going to help us debate the CE vs. Palm question. So, to follow up Erik's questions, any Palm fans out there?

MODERATOR: And did I tell you the most vocal member wins a free copy of Microsoft Press's Advanced Windows by Jeffrey Richter.


Why the palm is so popular
ERIK ECKEL: According to an e-mail bulletin I just received, some believe Redmond's launching its third, and final attempt, to establish Windows CE. I have no doubt the CE platform blows the doors off the Palm.

MIKKILLUSA: But, as usual, I am here. Do not have a palm pilot, so just observing.

ERIK ECKEL: It integrates better with Outlook, the most-used e-mail client. It possesses greater ease of use with recurring appointments, better notes-taking abilities, a much more powerful calendaring program, and better compatibility with Windows. It had color first. CE gives you the choice of using rechargeable batteries AND expandable memory. So, why are Palms beating the pants off CE sales? Anyone?


DHOWELL: Been in the market longer?

ERIK ECKEL: Personally, I don't think that's it. But, it could be. I think it's marketing. Like the iMac, Palms are cool, fashion-flashy, and hip. And, like the iMac, there's much better technology out there.

Platform friendly
AKZDS17: Other platform friendly?

ERIK ECKEL: Are you asking are they other platform friendly in that Palms work better with Sun/Linux/UNIX/Novell/Mac?

AKZDS17: Windows CE is not Mac friendly or Linux.

ERIK ECKEL: I don't think you can even use a Palm with Linux, can you?

AKZDS17: Just saw a few interfaces at COMDEX.

DHOWELL: Are there "clone" palms using the Palm OS out there?

ERIK ECKEL: Do Palms come with the interfaces? Yes, the Handspring Visor.

DHOWELL: So if CE doesn't take hold, will all the CE handhelds become useless?

ERIK ECKEL: How many folks chatting tonight use a handheld PC?

DHOWELL: Not me, still waiting for approval from the Boss (wife). :-)

ERIK ECKEL: No one chatting has an HPC?

MIKKILLUSA: Not me. Is on my support list at work but never had to support it. So far good thing cause have not a clue.


ERIK ECKEL: But all software has bugs!

AKZDS17: That MS policy.

Remote access and Microsoft bias
ERIK ECKEL: What features would you look for in an HPC?

AKZDS17: Database integration that's stable with better remote access due to better open development.

ERIK ECKEL: Wireless Internet in the new 3.0 should help meet that requirement. There are more applications for Palms, no doubt.

ERIK ECKEL: The Palm's open source. Or you can receive the code for a price ... Is that what Microsoft needs to do with CE?

AKZDS17: Or at least some kind of partnering.

JSZADA: They may be forced to take some such measures, especially with the latest court decisions against them.

ERIK ECKEL: Do you think the antitrust case will impact CE's success?

JSZADA: There may be a growing anti-Microsoft bias out there.

MIKKILLUSA: Lions and tigers and bears. Oh, my.

AKZDS17: No, only if MS thinks of something different to do.

ERIK ECKEL: Oh, I think that bias grew years ago! I don't believe it changes the fact that CE is a much more potent mobile platform than Palm, though.

MODERATOR: Erik, maybe you can convert all these folks to getting one!

JENKINSS: I am a web programmer getting ready to move from NT to Linux.

ERIK ECKEL: Does that mean you'll use a Palm over a CE device?

JSZADA: I agree that the bias has been there, but the recent decision will only add fuel to the fire, and may impact on the success of CE and any new releases Microsoft comes up with, unless they come up with something really spectacular that grabs people's attention.

AKZDS17: And yet that will even have 63000 bugs.

If CE were to disappear
ERIK ECKEL: So, no one feels it'd be a shame if CE were to just disappear?

AKZDS17: I would, because if MS ever truly gets their act together it's the perfect remote client.

DHOWELL: I do, but I have no experience on Palm or CE.

AKZDS17: That is if you're a Windows company.

JSZADA: I think it would be. I actually favor Microsoft. My personal experience with them has been nothing short of wonderful. And as you said, the ability to integrate with other applications is a strong drawing card.

DHOWELL: I just figure CE will integrate in to all the MS Office software I use daily.

ERIK ECKEL: CE's already integrated into the Office suite!

AKZDS17: With PC's getting smaller and more powerful, will we need CE?

ERIK ECKEL: That's a great question. That begs the question; does anyone really need an HPC with the prevalence of laptops?

DHOWELL: I meant integrate better than Palm, that's why I would lean toward CE at this point.

ERIK ECKEL: I vote yes, as I don't like dragging a laptop to every meeting I attend. I can schedule a meeting while in another meeting, return to my office, sync up, and the meeting gets sent to everyone that needs to attend. And, I can use the HPC in a meeting to ensure I don't have a conflict when someone else proposes another meeting.

AKZDS17: What about the new headset CPU that projects an image to you and has a DVD player on your side that weighs less than two pounds?

ERIK ECKEL: Does it sync with Windows and keep notes, calendar information, contacts, and tasks?

AKZDS17: You can run NT workstation on it.

ERIK ECKEL: There you go! Who manufactures the device?

DHOWELL: I'll take two. Well, after I get it approved, that is. :-)

AKZDS17: Can't remember the company, but my distributor is sending it. They run around $4000 and are 233 MHz PII, 4.3 GB HDD and DVD with headphones.
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.
ERIK ECKEL: If you had to buy an HPC tonight, which platform would you purchase and why?


DHOWELL: Same here.

ERIK ECKEL: I feel it's a much more potent platform than the Palm, despite the greater abundance of software written for the Palm OS.

DHOWELL: So if I'm set on what platform I want, what do I need to look for in the hardware options of an HPC?

ERIK ECKEL: Therefore, if I were to drop <*gasp*> my Nino, I'd go right out and purchase a new Compaq Aero. Anyone seen those? They're about the size of a Palm, but they run the CE OS.

AKZDS17: Is that the one that has the built-in camera?

JSZADA: Price range?

ERIK ECKEL: I don't believe it's got a camera in it. I might add that, although this is a CE chat, we've got some BIG Palm news.

AKZDS17: And the news is?

ERIK ECKEL: The specs on the Aero are CE, 8-MB RAM, I believe 12-16-color grayscale, 75-MHz RISC processor, I believe.

ERIK ECKEL: The news is ... two of our TechRepublic colleagues are currently freezing their butts off on the side of Island Peak (Imja Tse).

High altitude palms
ERIK ECKEL: They're using a specially outfitted Palm as a compass and to get other technical information related to their climb.

DHOWELL: I like the Aero and the HP Jornada 430 - same size, not sure what all the differences are.

AKZDS17: Best of luck to them.

ERIK ECKEL: The Aero is smaller, no?

JSZADA: Which takes us back to the earlier question with regards software for CE. Is Microsoft going to emphasize the CE and devote courses to programming for it, or are they going to be willing to open the source for it to allow independent development for the platform?

ERIK ECKEL: That's a great question. I'm not sure.

AKZDS17: You mentioned 3.0.

ERIK ECKEL: A bulletin released today by Win2K magazine says Redmond staffers that work on the CE team are distancing themselves from the product.

DHOWELL: Could be.

ERIK ECKEL: That usually means it's going to be left to die, but you can never tell.

JSZADA: Any reasons given for why?

AKZDS17: I'd say they have other plans.

ERIK ECKEL: This is the third push, and the OS hasn't made the in-roads Redmond had hoped for, I guess. Palm has stolen the show.

The perfect CE device
ERIK ECKEL: What would you like to see in a dream CE device?

AKZDS17: At COMDEX there wasn't much on Windows CE as Palm.

ERIK ECKEL: It hasn't been marketed as heavily as Palm, that's one of my concerns.

AKZDS17: A remote client with sync to your main client and having relative equal power.

JSZADA: Is it possible that Microsoft has had its hands full with so many other things, (i.e. lawsuits) that they are afraid to jump out there to have heavy marketing for this relatively new product?

ERIK ECKEL: Anyone have any last questions before we finish up? No, I don't believe that's the case for Microsoft.

JSZADA: Ok, thanks.

ERIK ECKEL: The company has more software development and marketing resources than anyone else.

JSZADA: It certainly hasn't been their style in the past.

AKZDS17: Just another note as to marketing, at COMDEX with Windows World their MS had info on sync with Palm.

ERIK ECKEL: Is the consensus that CE hasn't been marketed well, or that Palm simply has a better product?

JSZADA: Don't think CE has been marketed well, but the reason for that is anybody's guess.

AKZDS17: I would agree that marketing was bad, odd for MS.

DHOWELL: All I know is I knew about the Palm long before I saw CE competition around.

ERIK ECKEL: Being first to market helps, certainly. Time will tell, and time begins tomorrow when Redmond launches version 3.0!

AKZDS17: As for other companies that create for the CE environment, I only know of Sybase that's had any marketing for the product.

ERIK ECKEL: Most of the development has been Microsoft based, indeed.

Wha-cha know about 3.0?
AKZDS17: What do you know of 3.0?

ERIK ECKEL: I know that it possesses the Windows media player, enhances audio and video, an MP3 player, I believe, and more. It appears Redmond is taking the device consumer-side. Check that link from earlier in the chat for more info.

ERIK ECKEL:. Thanks to everyone for chatting tonight.

AKZDS17: Consumer meaning for gaming?

ERIK ECKEL: Just remember, Dr. Christmas Jones (played by the wonderful Denise Richards) used a Windows CE device to save the world in The World Is Not Enough, not a Palm. So, if it's good enough for a Bond girl, it's good enough for you!

Thanks, everyone
MODERATOR: This has been a great meeting, everyone!

ERIK ECKEL: Here's wishing CE a long and prosperous life.

MODERATOR: It's going to be tough to decide who gets the prize. Jzada and akzds17 were neck and neck, so I'm going to get a second copy of the Advanced Windows book and give each one.

DHOWELL: Don't make me cry all over my keyboard.

MODERATOR: JSZADA: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Sorry, dhowell.

AKZDS17: Thank you. It is most gracious.

MODERATOR: Please send your mailing addresses to

DHOWELL: No problem, I consider the experience my prize. :-)

MODERATOR: Don't worry, dhowell, if you attend enough you will win something! Thanks, everyone!

JSZADA: Good night, all.

DHOWELL: Looking forward to it ... Thanks again, see you next time.

AKZDS17: Thank you and good night.
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

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