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Old 04-11-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
NatCh
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Palm comments on a (loose) timeframe for Linux 'Palm' devices

But if it's Linux, is it still a Palm?

Linux kerneled Palm Device planned for later this year

Before y'all get too excited, take note of this, so you get exited the way you really want to: the approach they're pursuing seems to be to use a Linux kernel, but to support the Palm OS on top of it. The idea being to main compatibility with (most, I'm sure) existing Palm apps, while using the more powerful and flexible Linux core to increase the functionalities of the overall devices. Of course the side effect is going to be a ready-made (and slavering to go) legion of home-brewers who will doubtless turn out more applications than you can shake a stick at. Even a large stick.

Now some details:
Quote:
Palm will unveil a platform before the end of 2007 that runs the Palm OS on top of a Linux kernel, allowing the company to improve the performance and stability of its handhelds and smartphones, CEO Ed Colligan said Tuesday.

Palm will also continue to use Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS, which is in high demand by business customers and global telephony carriers. By continuing to develop applications on both tracks, Palm will extend its ongoing transition from selling PDAs to smartphones, Colligan said at the company's annual analyst and investor day in New York.

...

Palm does not intend to license the new Linux-based platform to other handheld vendors but will use it to upgrade the Palm OS, allowing it to handle simultaneous voice and data traffic while preserving its instant-on and instant application-switching abilities, Colligan said.

...

Palm also plans to increase the number of new products it launches in 2007 and 2008, said Mike Farese, senior vice president for engineering. Palm designers have created a reference design for a common smartphone platform, allowing them to slash development schedules even as they save money through high-volume purchases of shared components.

The common platform could also allow Palm to compete better with Apple's new iPhone. Colligan insisted he is taking the iPhone seriously as a competitive threat but that it will appeal to a slightly different segment of users than Palm products do.
Sounds like exciting stuff is coming from my favorite PDA company.

That about covers it, I suppose, except to note that they did specifically decline to comment on "rumor and speculation" regarding the possibility that Palm might be bought out by another company.

Source (and full article): InfoWorld
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:35 PM   #2
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I guess the idea is to maintain the PalmOS Garnet look and feel (probably updated and with more multitasking or multiwindowing), but to allow Win Mobile and PalmOS devices to share hardware and core platform features so they can share technology. I guess there's a lot of duplicated work to get similar products out now. The need to do data and voice at the same time is a big deal also.

Plus, you have to figure that the whole "3rd line of business" thing is in the mention of a Linux-based, inexpensive device with communications. It's supposed to be revealed next month after all.

The Linux base is supposed to allow more form factors and faster product releases. I like to believe that the slow pace was because of all the investment done on Linux and that 3rd line of business. We'll see over the next year or two whether Palm is going to become an innovator again, or if the slow pace and incremental unimaginative products are the Palm of the future. (Treo is their cutting edge device, and really not too much has changed since the Treo 600 in 2003 other than slow incremental improvements. Yet they still have a great product. Kind of like the Dell Axim line, but oh yeah, look what happened to that!)

Personally, I like Palm and want to see them succeed. But with the explosion of development in the Win Mobile world and the tie-ins to Vista that we can expect with future versions (like One Note or how WinMob6 has a simple version of the TIP for better handwriting input, which is sorely needed), we PalmOS users can't help but think again about the switch. Now, there's hope that Palm might be able to deliver advanced and powerful devices into the future, and spur more development as well. I hope so.

And just in time -- I had just pretty much decided to go with the next really nice Win Mobile smartphone I see that has good battery life and a 320x320 or better screen. Now, it's wait (a little while) and see.

Come on Palm... do it one more time. Amaze us and make us believers again.
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Old 04-11-2007, 02:09 PM   #3
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"I do believe in fairies," eh, Bob?

I hadn't even considered the "3rd Line" implications ... I tend to think ('hope' may be closer), that this isn't that: I think it's a bit of a stretch to consider a new OS kernel to be an entire "3rd line."

Part of the article does seem to imply (or perhaps I'm just inferring) that they're moving away from the pure PDA devices and more into the Treo's (apparently their real rainmaker these days), which in turn suggests that they need to add something entirely new to the mix.
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Old 04-11-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
I hadn't even considered the "3rd Line" implications ... I tend to think ('hope' may be closer), that this isn't that: I think it's a bit of a stretch to consider a new OS kernel to be an entire "3rd line."
Ah, but maybe it's a shared core for something else? They have been emphasizing shared foundations to enable product innovation.

But this is the wrong time to talk to me about future Palm products... my Treo 700p just went into an infinite reset loop, so I'm going to have to hard reset and recover from backup. Argh! I know - it's just par for the course in these early days of more powerful smartphones, and it may be buggy software I've installed. But it still stinks when it happens.

Even so, in an hour or two I'll be back to being excited about the new Palm possibilities. And next month (May!), hopefully we'll see much more of the big picture when the 3rd line is finally revealed.
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Old 04-11-2007, 04:56 PM   #5
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What this says to me is "no new Palm PDAs for another year." Which is a shame, as my Tungsten E's battery is giving up the ghost, and I was hoping to be able to replace it with something newer and better than the existing options.

On the bright side, we might see something from an Access Linux adoptee sooner than that. Maybe.
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JAcheson
What this says to me is "no new Palm PDAs for another year." Which is a shame, as my Tungsten E's battery is giving up the ghost, and I was hoping to be able to replace it with something newer and better than the existing options.
Same here. I would love to have something minimalistic along the lines of the Z22, but with Bluetooth for communicating with phones. (The T|E2 and TX are too bulky.) Unfortunately, Palm is no longer interested in bringing us new PDA's.
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:14 PM   #7
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They have said they will bring out new PalmOS devices this year, haven't they? Of course, that's more likely to a smart phone because of the revenue potential and the need to acquire market share.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:26 AM   #8
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They have said they will bring out new PalmOS devices this year, haven't they? Of course, that's more likely to a smart phone because of the revenue potential and the need to acquire market share.
I would expect that to be a Treo. I believe they have come out and said they won't be doing a new PDA-only device any time soon.

The Access Linux people are also targetting smartphones with their OS, but I'm hoping LG or someone will come out with an Access Linux version of one of their PDAs.

I'm tempted to try and pick up a Tapwave Zodiac 2, actually.
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