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Palm readies PalmOS for new markets

And it's looking for licensees to take it there

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3Com subsidiary Palm Computing is lining up tailored versions of the Palm OS for different devices and applications, an acquisition programme, and a licensing drive for 1999. Janice Roberts, Palm's acting general manager, quoted on CNet, said the company is preparing not only an upgraded version of the Palm handheld organiser, but a programme to extend it into new markets where the company feels there is a need for a mobile information appliance. Modifications to PalmOS include the ability to work with a much wider array of screen sizes and support for wireless communications, including Bluetooth, she said. Palm is following a path first trodden by Apple with its Newton technology. Palm is moving from its initial personal digital assistant focus into wider roles and other devices, just as Apple started with the MessagePad and ended up with kit like the eMate sub-notebook. Palm, given who its parent is, is likely to fix its sights on portable networking products. Less synergistic markets, such as education, entertainment and vertical markets, will be left to the new licensees the company is hoping to sign up. Current licensees include IBM, Qualcomm and Symbol Technologies. "We're trying to drive certain markets," said Palm's VP for strategic alliances an platform development, Mark Bercow. "But what we won't do is offer everything from toasters to space shuttles." ®

  • Palm is to demo a version of its handheld based on Motorola's DragonBall EZ CPU at its developer conference next month. DragonBall EZ is to be used in the company's forthcoming machine, codenamed 'Razor'.
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