Palm licenses Planet.com WAP browser

But for its licensees, not itself -- at least, not yet...

Palm has licensed Planet.com's WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Web browser, but curiously the move appears to have been made more for the benefit of third-parties than itself. According to Palm, the deal was made to allow it to sub-license the browser to Palm platform licensees, in particular those taking the PDA technology into the cellphone arena. Pressure to do so is likely to have come from US cellphone manufacturer Qualcomm, which is already developing a PalmOS-driven CDMA mobile handset. Given WAP is going to play a major part in the evolution of cellphone handset functionality, it's no wonder Qualcomm reckons WAP support needs to be built into the PalmOS. Palm itself claimed that it would not be supporting WAP in its own devices -- instead it will stick to its own Web Clipping technology. Previously, it had been rumoured that Palm would drop Web Clipping in favour of WAP. Of course, Palm is smart enough not to rule out such a swap, which could well happen once WAP becomes as widespread as its advocates predict. In the meantime, by supporting WAP Palm at least ensures its telecoms-oriented licensees aren't limited in the devices they offer. Licensing the PalmOS is now a key part of Palm's strategy to broaden acceptance of the platform, and the last thing it wants to do is put potential licensees off. ®

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