The 200LX is leaving! The sky is falling!

That's right, in case you haven't heard, HP is discontinuing the 200LX and all related units (1000CX, 700LX, blah blah blah) as of 1 Nov 1999. This has created no small uproar among the 200LX community. As longtime users of the finest portable computing product in the world, we can't understand how HP could be so dumb. "Abandon the 200LX in favor of Windows CE machines? Have they lost their minds?" we say. Sadly, the answer to that question is, in many ways, yes.

HP isn't the same company they were ten years ago. With the the passing of the original founders, Hewlett and Packard, HP seems to have almost immediately disintegrated into a renowned technical and engineering company into a goofy Dilbert-like enterprise dedicated to making flimsy printers and handheld toys. It hurts to think about how badly they've betrayed their old customer base in favor of the mindless Microsoft-lusting hordes. Hmm... but that's not the point of this editorial. I want to get back on track.

Many people have asked me how the demise of the 200LX will affect hplx.net and Palmtop Information Central. "Dave," they say, ignoring the fact that my wife hates it when people call me Dave, even though I don't mind, "Dave, now that the 200LX will no longer be made, how long will you run hplx.net? Aren't you concerned? Doesn't the fear gnaw away at your innards until you wake up screaming at night and can't eat and contract horrible stress-related illnesses? How do you DEAL with it, man?"

The answer is, I'm not worried at all. It is true that the 200LX is no longer going to be made or sold new. So what? Have you seen the outrageous prices HP charges for new 200LXes? Who in their right mind would BUY one for so much money, when plenty of used ones are available from Thaddeus at a substantially reduced price? Let's face it, folks. As far as HP Marketing was concerned, the 200LX never existed. There was no advertising. No big sales incentives. Nothing! When November 1 rolls around, I don't expect the 200LX user base or the 200LX community to change much, if at all. Besides, Palmtop Info Central will be around as long as I'm alive and can pay for it. Now that I've gotten it all moved over to my home machine (the nameserver for hplx.net used to run off of my work machine, and then I quit my job and they took the machine down and it was a big mess for a week or two trying to get hplx.net back up and running. BUT MOVING ON ...) it should be fairly stable. After all, if it goes down, I won't be able to get e-mail, which I think we can all agree is a very bad thing.

In truth, it's never been a better time to own a 200LX. Why, you ask? Just look at the variety of upgrades coming out for the palmtop! 96MB upgrades were recently introduced. Think of what you can fit on a 200LX with 96MB internally. Combine that with a 440MB flash card and who needs a set of encyclopedias anymore? The SCB-01, the commercial backlight upgrade, is moving along rather well and should be available by November at least. I'm staring at a beta version of the backlight on my palmtop right now, and it's gorgeous. New software is being written frequently for the 200LX, especially networking and Internet software. Very cool. If only somebody would find a 200LX-compatible wireless Ethernet card so I could attach to my home and work networks while walking around, I'd be in palmtop heaven.

Sure, the 200LX could use a 486. Sure, it would be nice to have a color VGA screen. But the 200LX does amazing things with what it has, and, for me, it does enough. Thanks to our fantastic programmers like Andreas Garzotto of D&A, and Stefan Peichl, and our open-source champions like Rod Whitby, and our hard-working software collectors on the SUPER team, the 200LX can do a lot. I have every confidence that in the near future and beyond, the 200LX will continue doing a lot, and much, much more.

We at Palmtop Info Central plan to keep up.

Copyright 1999, Palmtop Information Central
Last Updated 10-Oct-1999