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  1. #1
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    i300 and PQAs: Beware

    One of the things I was planning to do with my i300 was to develop some PQAs. We all know that the i300 comes with V3.5 of the Palm OS. General consensus has been that the ROM is not flashable, though conflicting reports (or wishful thinking) has left this uncertain. Well, here's a quote from a FAQ on the Palm Developer site:

    An easy way to check if your device has a flash ROM and therefore, a unique ID, start by going to the menu button (the lower button on the left hand side of the graffiti area). In the upper left hand corner, go to the "App" menu and select "Info". When the Info page pops up, select the "Version" button (the 1st of the 3 buttons in the bottom right hand corner of the page). If you are looking at a page where the first line is "Palm OS software v.#.#.#", and there is a line beneath the it that stars with "ID: .....", then your device has flash ROM and a unique ID based on it. If you do not have this second line, then your device has non-flashable ROM and no unique device ID.
    If this is true in all cases, then the i300 most certainly does not have flash ROM.

    This has certain implications as far as PQAs are concerned. First, as many of you know, lack of flash ROM means that you do not have a device ID. Some PQAs require this, the most notable being ThinAirMail.

    But it gets worse. Apparently, Palm has made several nice improvements in the PQA development model which are only supported under OS 4.0. These include being able to launch an email application other than iMessenger from an email link on a PQA, support for larger images (via scrolling), sending of device specific information to the server (e.g. - bit depth), downloading files. The biggest drawback is probably the one we already knew about (lack of a deviceID). For those who may not understand why this is such a big deal, think of it like a user ID cookie where the server that you're accessing can store your private info (location, etc.) which will allow it to pre-fill form fields for you.


    Having said all that, there appears to be a 3rd party app which will allow PQA developers to pre-fill form fields with info from the business card (personal address book entry). I'm going to look into this as this could be worth the $20 that he charges for it.

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  2. #2
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    12-17-2001
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    Your information is not completely correct - the fact that the device does not have the unique ID DOES NOT mean that the unit does not have a flash ROM....

    The unique device ID is NOT a Palm OS implementation requirement when developing a Palm device, there are several
    devices from different manufacturers that do not incorporate this feature.

    Samsung is currently working a patch that will make this feature available, along with some of the other features you mention, e.g., launching email applications or SMS messaging from Phone Book email address entries, these should be available in the near future.

  3. #3
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    jackthehack, thanks for the info. It sounds promising. Do you work for Samsung?

    I still have to say that I'm disappointed that Samsung hasn't included flash ROM (or, at least, held off a bit and used V4.0). Yesterday, I came across a list of all of the improvements included in V4.0 from a developer's perspective. While PPC users like to claim that the Palm OS hasn't changed significantly since the original Palm Pilot, what I see is Palm, Inc. making small but useful/significant/important changes to their OS. Take a look at this link:

    Palm OS 4.0 Development Overview

    There are a lot of little, but significant, changes that have been made to the whole web clipping model, which only 4.0 devices can take advantage of. Unless, of course, Samsung is planning to provide these improvements to their 3.5 OS in a similar way to how Handspring incorporated 16-bit color into its 3.5 OS.

    Scott

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