Palm Pilot

    Keywords: Software

This page deals with everything Go players might want to do with a Palm. When I say Palm, I am referring to a handheld computer running Palm OS. Several makers offer Palm OS devices. I used a Palm IIIxe and a Sony Clie PEG-SJ22 for my reviews. For other devices see Go Programs.[2]

As of 2011, the price for Palm devices has decreased dramatically (for example, a new Zire 31 can be found on ebay at about 35$)

Table of contents

What can you do with it

  • Play Go against another player while on the move with a Go client
  • Record and replay SGF files
  • Solve Go problems
  • Use an interactive joseki dictionary
  • Keep a database of pro games with you
  • Play against the Palm (not recommended)
  • Have a complete copy of Senseis Library in your shirt pocket :-)
  • Have the entire database on your Palm

A word about hardware


The original Palms had black and white LCD displays with a resolution of 160x160 pixels. This is just enough to display a full 19x19 Go board plus a little info on the side. Recently a new generation of Palms has appeared with colour displays having 320x320 pixels. While the latter are much easier on the eyes when reading for several hours, the former are a very handy and cheap way to record SGF at tournaments.

Beware of the Palm IIIc, which was a low resolution color Version of the Palm III. This display is imho not suitable for viewing Go diagrams, because the different colors of the subpixels stand out too much.


Even with handhelds, there is a lot of talk about CPU speed. From my own experience I can say, that I have never had any speed problems with the software described on this page.


Early Palms came with only one megabyte of RAM. This is more than enough for SGF reading and a Joseki dictionary. If you want to carry around Senseis Library you should have a device with a memory card slot and a Memory card of >= 64 MB.

Memory cards have another great advantage. You can back up your Palm onto one. If your battery goes flat and you lose the contents of your RAM, you can restore from the card. Otherwise the only backup option is a desktop computer, which you might not have with you. Some of the newer Palm devices, however, do not lose information when they run out of power.


Newer Palms all have a built in battery, which can be recharged using a litte power adaptor. Older units feed on standard AAA batteries. The Palm maintains the contents of RAM while you change the batteries. Battery changes should be performed within 30 seconds.

Note the difference in battery life between the old LCD screens and the new color screens! An old Palm Vx might last for weeks of use without needing to recharge, but the newer color Palm OS devices may not finish a day of use. One trick is to turn the backlight down so that it does not use so much power.

Problems with accus: [3]

Go online

Modern Palms often offer support to connect to the internet using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS/EDGE or Palm Modem. This enables the user to play go online and on the move with a go client.


In addition to a Palm, you may also need a desktop computer from which you can load programs and files into the handheld. Newer versions of the Palm use SD cards and thus allow you to move files onto the Palm without ever having to synch via your desktop. This makes it much easier to not only move files and apps but to keep real backup set. It also means you are not tied to a given computer to get files and apps to and from your Palm.

One nice feature that was introduced with the Palm III is an infrared (IR) communications port. Using this, you can beam documents and programs from one Palm to another. This is a very cool feature for sharing game records. One player (or a spectator) can record the game and later beam it to the handhelds of all interested players. No cables needed. Bluetooth and WiFi, available on newer devices, can be used in a similar fashion.

What software is there

This section describes the various software packages you might want to install on your Palm.[1]


Go clients (play online against other players)

Go playing programs (with AI)

Go game recording programs

Go study reference

Goban software (board only, no AI)

This link is broken, but I found it here: [ext] (although I don't recommend it).

Does the above link refer to the same progam as the one by Adorjan Kiss found T URL: <[ext]>, version 1.2 since 2002-12-17?

Go Variants

  • Atari-Go [ext]
    • This is actually a nifty little program. It's good practice for beginning players who quite often work themselves into a bad atari. There are four levels and the fourth really thinks about the position. Great for teaching kids. Remillard

Game Clock

Miscellaneous software

Detailed Descriptions


Being the only reason I bought a Palm in the first place, PilotGOne is a very good little SGF recorder and viewer. It is easy to use, needs little memory, and is free. And it is great for solving problems. For details see the PilotGOne page.

It's probably the best GO software for Palm. It works also on Sony Clie, and it works on old devices with black&white screens.

The latest version (0.8.2) allows solving GO problems without the use of stylus (just by using the buttons of the Palm), and allows changing the board color (to save battery, depending on the intensity of ouside light).

Just follow these 5 simple steps to solve GO problems on your palm:

1. get a problem collection in sgf format (there are plenty on the Internet; the largest one is;

2. use [ext] sgfutility. to clean up the problems, rotate them to top left corner and resize them to optimal board size;

3. use [ext] sgf2mpa to import sgf files, and to get one large .mpa file;

4. import .mpa file in Palm Desktop software (if you have a Palm, it is installed on your PC).;

5. syncronize Palm with PC.

Or you could just download some collections directly in .mpa format, already resized and rotated for optimal view on small screen, like the one available [ext], and apply only steps 4 and 5.

Memory requirements: 57k + roughly 2k per game

Display: Works fine with 160x160 b/w displays. No native support for 320x320, looks fine on it though (especially if you enable the "hi-res assist" mode, that comes with hi-res Palms.)

Current version (January 10, 2011): 0.8.2

PilotGone can be used with a little work to view the entire database. It provides a very good platform to attempt problems. All variations are available. See the comments section of database for more info.

HiRes? version: (supports 320x320 and large file) find more details on GoTalking [ext] . As of 20 December 2006 GoTalking has been replaced by SupportMobileGo [ext]


[Mobile Go]

[ext] Mobile Go Website

Mobile Go is an universal Internet Go (Weiqi, Baduk) client which supports any NNGS compatible server including popular IGS, NNGS, WING and LGS. You can use it to observe or play game as long as your Palm handheld or mobile phone can access Internet using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS/EDGE or Palm Modem. Mobile Go was designed to support most IGS and NNGS commands. [4]

Memory requirements: 150KB

Display: Both standard and high resolution supported.

OS Requirements: Palm OS3.5

Current version (01 May 2008): 2.5pe($29.9), 2.5se($19.9) and 2.5be(free)


2 Dec 2006 - Link is no longer go related. It used to be [ext] here.

TenGo is the newest recorder/editor that can read SGF files directly from Palm memory or memory card. It supports variations (even editing), labels, markers, comments etc, editing, pass... It can handle files up to 50kB.

TenGo costs $14.95 which is less than a half the price of PalmSGF which does pretty much the same and has much worse graphics.
Memory requirements: 180k + SGF files

Display: Native support for 320x320 HiRes? with pretty nice graphics.

Current version (July 7, 2004): 1.01


PalmSGF is a good review utility. It can be used for game recording but variations are not supported. Commercial software, price $35. Supports SGF files up to 30k in size.

Memory requirements: 91k + size of SGF files

Display: High resolution required.

Hardware Requirements: Tungsten, Clie, and Zire 71 / 72 supported.

Memory Card: full support for memory card and onboard memory.

Current version (July 21, 2003): 1.1.0


MFoG Joseki Dictionary

This is a port of the Many Faces of Go joseki library for the Palm. It shows the entire board and marks moves that are joseki.

Since there is no comment given on the various moves, this is imho not so great for learning joseki. Makes a fine reference though. Maybe someone with more experience in Joseki can shed some light on the completeness of the database.

This is commercial software. More Info and a free demo can be found at [ext]

Memory requirements: 83k

Display: Works fine with 160x160 b/w displays. No native support for 320x320, looks fine on it though. Hi-res assist does not seem to have any effect.

Current version (July 13th, 2003): 1.21

Palm GO

This database of roughly 17000 uncommented pro games comes in two different versions, a colour hi-res version and a b/w lo-res edition.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be any further development.

This is commercial software. More Info and a free demo can be found at [ext]

Memory requirements: 9276k (so you need either a 16M Palm or a memory card)

Display: Two versions, 160x160 b/w looks fine, 320x320 colour looks simply absolutely wonderful. :-)

Current version (July 13th, 2003): 1.10a

HansWiezorke Having used the color version for over a year now, I can say the following:

  • The display is nice
  • If you want a large database of uncommented games it is a great tool.
  • The user interface is still a little unfriendly, e.g. navigation in the database is difficult, as the top entries in lists cannot be selected because the menu pops up.
  • No display of prisoners (probably made for area scoring)
  • No search by game date
  • No search by fuseki
  • I find the license model linking the software to a hardware Id a little disturbing. If your Palm breaks, you have to register (and probably pay) again. I would have preferred a link to the hotsync name, that is used by many other Palm programs.

It happened to me (a Sony Clie broke), I contacted Mace and it was no problem (thanks; he send it again, no payment). However I did not achieve to have it running on a Tungsten.


I have not used PilotGO for quite some time. It is a program that plays go against a human opponent and is based on an early version of GnuGo.

Memory requirements: 20k

Display: 160x160 b/w. I have not tested this in colour hi-res.

Current version (July 13th, 2003): 0.31 (has not changed for years)


AIGO is a weak Go playing program for Palm OS but is stronger than PilotGo.

Memory requrements: 180k

Display: 320x320 color and b/w. Works fine on 160x160 b/w.

Current version (Dec. 30, 2005): 2.3.0


AtariGo is a reasonable program for playing Atari Go (the capture game) on Palm OS. It is available from [ext]

Memory requrements: 22k

Display: 160x160 color and b/w.

Current version (Nov. 25, 2003): 1.5


Go81 plays Go on 9x9 and 13x13 boards. It a seems slightly stronger than AIGO. Go81 is available from [ext]

Memory requrements: 41k

Display: 160x160 color and b/w.

Current version (June 12, 2004): 1.6


Go169? plays Go on 9x9, 13x13 and 19x19 boards. This is the new version of Go81. Compared to Go81 it adds the 320*320 resolution, stronger AI, and 19x19 board support. It no longer supports low resolution and gray-scale devices. [ext]

Memory requrements: 60k

Display: 320x320 color.

Current version (Feb 8, 2008): 1.0


Ogo plays Go on 7x7, 9x9, 13x13 and 19x19 boards. It claims to be the strongest Palm Go program. Download Ogo from [ext] Ogo is shareware and only plays 9x9 unregistered.

Memory requirements: 51k

Display: 160x160 color and b/w.

Current version (July 14, 2004): 1.0

cut- I have tried the web page but it seems no longer available

Senseis Library

This is the real treat. :-) The entire Senseis library in your shirt pocket. Browse offline everywhere you go.

Newer Palms are able to handle the SLSnapshot in all its glory. Simply unzip onto a SD card and view on your browser of choice right on the Palm. At aprox 300mb this took up only 1/7th of my 2gb SD card, well worth it for having SL with me at all times. You may want to not move the sgf files as with too many smaller files on a vfat sd card the memory allocation fills up quick.

My first attempt was to crunch the SLSnapshot. This is a bit unwieldy and not recommended, because the formatting is not taylored to a small screen. A more elegant approach is Senseis Library on Tour for the Palm or PocketSL for Pocket PC.

This is how I did it with the SLSnapshot:

  1. Get iSilo (a document browser for handhelds) at [ext]
  2. Get ISiloX (a document converter for isilo format) at [ext]
  3. Install iSilo on the Palm and iSiloX on my desktop.
  4. Get the current SL Snapshot.
  5. To convert an HTML document with iSilox, add it to your current project, enter the parameters (see below) and convert it. After that you should see the final iSilo document in your Install window in Palm Desktop. It is important to check the size and specify, that you want to install on the memory card, lest you exceed the amount of available RAM.
  6. Sync your Palm, this can take a while.
  7. Enjoy SL2Go :-)

These Parameters worked for me:

  • I chose pages/S/startingpoints.html as source document.
  • Links: max depth 6, all three checkboxes unchecked.
  • Images: resize 180x180, improve contrast, compress, 2-Bit
  • Tables: include only tables at level 1 or greater.
  • Color: ignore all bg color specified on body, keep text color
  • Document: rigid, no default, home page 1
  • If you don't want the Stones logo on every page, delete stone-hello.png before converting.

This creates a file of roughly 34 MB, which you can upload to your memory card. Upload via HotSync is slow (it took me roughly 90 minutes to upload).

This procedure would currently occupy several hundred MBs. Please check SenseisLibraryOnTour for more accurate data.

[1] Sebastian: I moved the relevant text from handheldsoftware] into the section "What software is there", subsection "Overview", as proposed on Go Programs / Discussion. I did not try to reconcile this with the other descriptions of software on this page. Here's the previous discussion: -- (2003-09-23)

Discussion of Software

Nico: Doesn't the following software descriptions duplicate the already existing software pages? I'd prefer to have those information merged in the relevant pages (created if appropriate), and a link to handheldsoftware.

HansWiezorke: It is indeed a little redundant. My intention in creating this page was to give a thorough overview of the Palm as a Go players companion. Since I will have some time available in the coming days, I might give the entire handheld complex a master edit.

[2] Page originated by HansWiezorke

[3] My Sony Clie PEG 675C (I am quite convinced Sony really marketed 700 models; now they stopped) had an accu problem (bad for me - and for Sony - their help/consumer-relation page is/was very inaccessible; Sony seems to avoid contact with the customer)). Hard reset did not help, it was the accu after all. Repair more costly than buying same 2nd hand model. This is the disadvantages of built-in, non-exchangeable accus. Also there was no standard cinch socket for recharging, hence requiring extra equipment as the colour screen of PalmSGF did not allow to play on the Clie for more than 2 hours. Exchangeability or standard cinch is now an important feature for me. Some Pocket PC's (I called them pocket warmers, due to their energy consumption & heat production) allowed for attaching accus with double thickness & capacity. Tderz

Upate: PalmOne? Tungsten T5 also has problem with On/Off-switch, accu and especially when using SD-card in low accu capacity state (broken?). Tderz

[4] Prlwytzkofsky: have been playing regularly on IGS for several days now, and Mobile Go works works just fine! Now I can play go while commuting.

Palm Pilot last edited by on October 29, 2017 - 16:37
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