Alpha

by Peter Rojas


AlphaBlue8inch1a.jpg

My post over at Engadget yesterday about that forthcoming live-action Robotech movie reminded me about just how much I'd love to replace the blue Alpha fighter I had when I was about 9 or 10 years old. Apparently they're going for well over a hundred bucks on eBay now.


Palm and me

by Peter Rojas


palm_foleo2.jpg
I don't think anyone who knows me would consider me to a particularly rabid partisan of any of the manufacturers write about at Engadget -- I've always thought it's pretty weird to be blindly loyal to an electronics company -- but I at one point I was a fairly big fan of the Treo (especially the original Treo 600). Like most current and former Treo owners, I've become increasingly dissatisfied with what used to be the best smartphone line on the market. The launch of the iPhone this past June only made that feeling of dissatisfaction more acute -- it was frustrating to see someone else come out with a phone with features the Treo should have had years ago -- and so a few weeks ago we posted up an open letter to Palm on Engadget with some advice for how they could get back in the game and win back a lot of disillusioned Treo fans.

I figured that at best we'd get a few dozen comments on the site from similarly disgruntled users. Instead readers posted hundreds of comments, almost all agreeing with the letter, most venting a serious amount of frustration with how Palm seemed to have lost its way in recent years. Palm CEO Ed Colligan even posted a response on the Palm's official blog, acknowledging that he'd read the letter and that it was being passed around to senior management. He said he didn't agree with everything we'd written, and he didn't say anything specific about what the company was doing to turn things around, but it was still nice to know that our letter had reached its intended audience. There was something satisfying in that even if Palm never adopts a single suggestion of ours.

Anyway, I thought that'd be about the end of the story, but last night Paul Loeffler from Palm emailed me with some stunning news: that the company was cancelling what had been the imminent launch of the Foleo, a new Linux-based ultralight laptop they were pitching as a Treo companion. Killing off the Foleo was one of the major suggestions we'd had in our letter, not because we thought the ideo of an ultralight, instant-on Linux-based laptop is in and of itself a terrible idea. We just thought that the market for one would be rather limited and that the Foleo was a distraction from Palm's number one priority, which was to come up with something that could counter the iPhone and be as exciting and game-changing as the original Treo 600 was when it was introduced back in 2003.

A few people sent me congratulatory emails when they heard the news, as if somehow Engadget had been responsible for Palm deciding to hold off on the Foleo. Seems really unlikely to me, my guess is that this was something Palm had been considering for at least a few weeks. It was probably the generally negative reception that the Foleo garnered from exactly the kinds of early adopters they were targeting, combined with a growing realization that they were devoting scarce resources to creating a new platform that would almost by definition have limited appeal, made it the right decision to postpone the Foleo and reintroduce it at some later point as part of the new smartphone platform they're (supposedly) introducing next year. This isn't to say that there aren't people who would have loved a Foleo -- I actually like the idea owning an ultraportable web-centric device with a decent keyboard -- it's just that from a business perspective it seems hard to justify the investment necessary.

Without a doubt it was tough to come so close to launching the Foleo only to kill it, but it actually makes me optimistic about Palm's prospects. It's companies that refuse to make tough decisions that end up coming out with inferior products and (eventually) going out of business. I'd love to see them return to form and be a force to be reckoned with again. And that means that they better hurry up and get their next-gen smartphones out (and I'm not talking about the Centro). My Treo 700p is clunky and outmoded, and if Google comes out something decent I'm going to find it hard to resist jumping ship.


Control

by Peter Rojas


controlmovie.jpg

Joining the Producers Guild of America earlier this year paid off big time last night: Jill and I were able to attend the first US screening of Control, a movie I've literally been waiting years to see.


My summer so far

by Peter Rojas


wedding1.jpg

I'm officially back in NYC after about eight weeks of living out of a suitcase. I did a lot of things while I was gone, but apparently updating my blog wasn't one of them. Over the past nine weeks I,

  • Lost my father.
  • Got married.
  • Skipped watching the 4th of July fireworks for the first time in recent memory.
  • Got ticketed for jaywalking.
  • Signed a bunch of bands I love to RCRD LBL (technically Elliot and Josh did this).
  • Helped cover E3 for Engadget and Joystiq.
  • Celebrated my 5th anniversary as a gadget blogger by liveblogging a Steve Jobs keynote.
  • Spent way too much time driving back and forth across the state of California and flying back and forth across the country.
  • Got mentioned in Rolling Stone.
  • Picked up and moved 15 times in 8 weeks.
  • Went to FOO Camp for the first time.
  • Had dinner with both Dave Winer and Jason Calacanis. But not at the same time.
  • Finally learned how to play Guitar Hero.
  • Broke my favorite pair of sunglasses.
  • Broke down and got on Facebook.
  • Failed to start using Twitter.
  • Came perilously close to replacing my beloved Dell X1 with a MacBook.
  • Finally realized that I'm closer to the end of my time in New York than the beginning.

Not quite an update...

by Peter Rojas


I've been meaning to post something here, but it's been tough to know where to start. The past two weeks have probably been some of the most tumultuous of my entire life. Two weeks ago I was full of optimism and excitement over my new startup (RCRD LBL), my new role at Engadget (editorial director), and my upcoming trip to the West Coast to visit friends and family, do some wedding planning, and go to FOO Camp. Obviously things took a drastic turn for the worse, but I'm doing my best to deal with everything and just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has called or emailed with their support and condolences. It's been amazing to hear from so many people, and it's made getting through this a lot easier.