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Motorola to axe Palm smartphone

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Motorola's axe continues to swing, with its PalmOS-based smartphone the latest casualty.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Motorola executive told The Register that the Palm collaboration was "extremely unlikely" ever to reach market, independently confirming other highly placed Motorola sources.

The device was announced with great fanfare last September, uniting Palm's operating system with telephony expertise from its key microprocessor supplier.

The news isn't that surprising, with John Thode, Motorola's VP and General Manager of smartphone products telling reporters at the recent GSM World Congress at Cannes, that Motorola viewed the Palm device as a research project. (And credit to PMN News for spotting that when everyone else, ourselves included, missed it).

"We had 50 products on our roadmap, with several competing against each other in the same market segments," the Motorola executive told us. "That's commercial suicide." The PalmOS was not considered powerful enough, he added, despite Palm's high brand value in the United States.

In January, Motorola canned another smartphone project, Odin, a collaboration with Psion Computer, based on the Symbian OS (in which both Motorola and Psion are shareholders). Odin had already been given the marketing designation: "Accompli 003". The sole survivor is Motorola's Accompli 008, a monochrome triband communicator based on Moto's home-brewed OS. Although according to Thode, a Symbian based version of the 008 would be produced in the future.

Palm has a Samsung smartphone coming to market this year, and a collaboration with Nokia for the US market which puts the Palm UI on top of the Symbian platform.

Motorola is to cut 7,000 jobs after reporting its worst figures in fifteen years. ®

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