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Palm licenses RIM, spawns games console

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Palm announced that it will work closely with RIM its PalmSource Developer Seminar in San Mateo today. Despite a deal with RIM's bitter rival, Good Technologies, Palm sees itself as a neutral platform company, and the choice will be down to enterprise customers or the big system integrators.

The consumer side received a boost with the announcement of a games console based on Palm OS 5. Start-up Tapwave, a company with Palm in its genes, will launch its Helix console late this year. The prototypes won early praise and the $199 and $299 (with camera) pricing looks set to appeal to the wealthy target demographic. At 320x480 it offers considerably more potential for glitzy graphics than Nokia's N-Gage, a Symbian/Series 60 device with a 176x208 display. Both devices sport Bluetooth for wireless multiplayer gaming.

Tapwave's founder and president, Peng Lim, was formerly VP of product development at Palm, VP of engineering at Fujitsu and held senior posts at TI; Marian Cauwet was Palm's first VP of engineering and has the same responsibilities at Tapwave.

Palm also announced a new industrial licensee Aceeca, and a developer programme to accelerate ARM-based applications to the new OS.

PalmSource's David Nagel said recently that more imagination was needed in the communicator space, and that there would be space for two-box solutions. He's certainly right: and Palm's commitment to Bluetooth gives its licensees far more options to design such a combination than rival Microsoft. ®

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