I continued to use PalmOS internet-less but was quickly bored. Then I moved onto the Sharp Zaurus, a Linux based PDA. With a $100 CF 802.11b card, the Zaurus could browse the web on a color screen as long as I was somewhere with a hotspot. But, in circa 2005, quality open wireless networks were few and far between.
To me, the Zaurus was just a toy that was tiding me over to that always connected voice-activated pocket computer Bill Gates promised to sink three billion dollars into producing. Sure, Microsoft had Windows Mobile 5 phones in 2005 but they really were more for corporate people who use Exchange email. Going with a glorified WindowsCE on a phone was not appealing as I had already experienced what that platform had to offer back in 1998. Back in those days, BlackBerry phones were eating up the corporate emailing phone market share keeping Microsoft uncompetitive.
There was only one pocket-internet device in the mid-2000’s that attempted to appeal to the gadget-geek in me: the PalmOS-based Treos. In January 2007, I bought a Treo 650 since I had heard horror stories on the just released iPhone. By and large, I was happy with the Blazer web browser, Google Maps for PalmOS, and an mp3 player. Sadly in January 2008, I dropped my phone cracking the screen. Wanting to stick my carrier, Verizon, I upgraded to a Treo 700p.
Until ten days ago, I was a faithful PalmOS-based Treo user. Recently, I got in the mood for something shinny and new. Google had just launched the Droid with Verizon and I was there day two on the market to pick mine up. I thought it was just another phone upgrade, instead I found that pocket voice activated information system that Bill Gates, the United States Congress, and I have been waiting for ten years now.
Microsoft had failed to implement their former CEO’s Congressional promise. Nor could Microsoft hold significant smartphone market share. In fact, Microsoft’s market share is less than 10% and on the decline. Only one brilliant visionary present at the 1999 Tech Summit who correctly predicted where all this was going and profited heavily from it: Vice President Al Gore invested in Google shortly afterward.
Mr. Gore, if you read this blog, would you kindly tell us what will we use on June 30, 2011?