package; there are probably a couple of others you could do devices on.
You could put bar code scanners on this. So, these are beginning to show up in industry for sort of vertical applications, inventory applications. There, they do wireless transmission back to the database. So I think that there are … we’ll see tools for that. Yes?
PARTICIPANT: For PDA-class devices [unintelligible]
LEVINSOHN: Come again?
PARTICIPANT: For PDA-class devices, how important do you think color is?
LEVINSOHN: I think it’s important; it gives you another dimension. You don’t have much screen real estate, and I think one of the changes between designing for these 14-inch screens, 10-inch screens, and the 3-inch screens is that you give up things that you were used to doing. Even the width of your slider bar becomes an issue. Color gives you another encoding dimension, so you can use color to say, “red things mean this, blue things mean this.” And I wouldn’t like to give that up. I think it also improves visibility. The Compaq screens and the new HP handheld screens are very sharp and crisp with their color displays.
GROVES: I have sort of another question, I guess. You’ve had the Newtons for nine years …
LEVINSOHN: Five … they’ve been out for nine …
GROVES: Oh, OK. But, do you have a sense at this point in time that you’re getting better at predicting what ought to be on the next platform—what the winner is, what the loser is, and how far behind the cutting edge we should be to be wise in this?
LEVINSOHN: Well, I think it may be a little easier now than it was five years … there wasn’t much else. So, if you wanted a handheld five years ago, you were going to pick a Newton. If you want one now, I think you [should] say: do I want a Pocket PC? Do I want a Palm OS? Do I want a Windows-class machine? So I wouldn’t pick a vendor; I wouldn’t recommend that. But I think you can pick a Pocket PC standard, program to that, and then choose from whatever vendors have survived. HP bought Compaq or vice versa—one of those two devices may disappear next year. And they’re both probably—in my mind, at this point—at the top of the stack in handheld devices. But I can’t imagine that they’re going to continue on producing two and compete against each other.
But moving the software is pretty easy; anything we’ve developed so far, in our prototypes, moves from any one of these devices to another with a recompile, at worst. Sometimes you can just move the code if they’re the same chip. So I wouldn’t pick Cassiopeia, or Compaq—I’d say we’re developing for Pocket PC or that we’re developing for Windows and hope to get small enough—we’re going to rely on the ingenuity of the industry to give us a device. I think you need to … if you’re making that