An open letter to HP's Lew Platt

Dear Lew

I've just seen Jornada, and frankly I'm bowled over: 10 or 15 hours of battery for a weight of 1.1 or 1.3 kilograms; and a 56Kbit/sec modem, full-size keyboard, and screen, instant bootup, and one key access to the Web. Memory: 16Mbytes, and more on a PC card. It's enough to blow your socks off!

Now I don't want to rock the boat but I would like different preinstalled software. Why should Gatesy get all the running? Going with the flow is logical I know, so Windows CE, like Word and Excel, and Internet Explorer are your choices. But I want Linux, WordPerfect, Winfax and Netscape Navigator.

Cost efficiency is key I know, but why should this rule out choice -- I want the best not the most popular, and I sure I'm not the only one. I feel Michael Cowpland (CEO of Corel), who has already announced Linux support, would love to hear from you.

And Linux is said to have a very small footprint.

Symantec also could be persuaded, I feel, to participate in this spectacular direction you (and Sharp, and no doubt others) are taking.

Also, I'd like an opportunity to trade in. You know that other handheld HP did, and dropped pretty quietly? It was an aberration during the dark period. But it would be excellent if you accepted responsibility for this one (though I understand you, personally, were not involved) by taking the now-doorstop as a trade-in -- even for just $100 and getting rid of that embarrassing reminder -- there must be parts that could be recycled.

It is, after all, politically correct these days to be green-minded -- though I observe engineers are often the last bastion. Even so, being green can save quite a lot of money. Take packaging around press releases -- totally not needed -- just an inkjet-printed press release on plain bond paper -- the rest is thrown away -- sometimes with the release still in it!

I'm feeling quite bad too about all those print cartridges piling up in the junkyard. They should be taken back and bits salvaged. Compaq is doing this, if only in Germany, with its computers, which it now makes with recyclable parts. And it is saving money. Digital saved $US750,000 a year by e-mailing instead of mailing its newsletter to its resellers -- BC (Before Compaq).

So what is it about the Jornada that makes it so special? It's another revolution in technology -- but brought about by an evolution, with a dash of lateral thinking. The individual components together create true synergy -- that is, the sum is much greater than the parts. Jornada epitomises the best about the creative processes of IT, which is responsible for quite a few things that are, or were, nothing short of miraculous. It's the result of a constant search for a more amazing achievement. And I know that quite soon it'll be even more amazing! Phew!

Cheers!

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