Feeds

Palm OS: the right balance

Microsoft and Symbian's operating systems are less flexible than Palm OS

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The Palm OS outshines its rivals through its ability to combine application variety with compatibility. Content providers and consumers alike are seeking this level of flexibility in future mobile operating systems, something which Palm's rivals are currently struggling to match.

Palm OS represents possibly the most flexible mobile OS available today, combining a (largely) unified set of APIs across devices, considerable display and user interface options and hardware agnosticism (the onus is on licensees to make sure new hardware remains compatible with existing Palm OS applications).

The upshot is that where Palm OS devices were once all similar in design, licensees can now create devices with an ever widening range of form factors while still maintaining almost universal application compatibility across them.

Of course, specialised APIs will continue to exist on certain devices, such as gaming APIs on Tapwave's forthcoming Zodiac PDA/game console, but platform fragmentation has been kept to a minimum without sacrificing the ability of licensees to innovate.

Compare that with the Palm OS' rivals. Symbian CEO David Levin believes that about 80-90 per cent of an application's code written for the UIQ Symbian variant is reusable when porting that application to a Series 60 device, and vice versa. While this figure is better than Symbian imagined, it still represents unnecessary work for developers.

Design freedom, in the case of Symbian, has led to a degree of platform fragmentation, a problem that the company is attempting to resolve as quickly as possible. Microsoft, on the other hand, has tended to restrict form factor innovation in an effort to minimise application portability problems, but still finds itself with two essentially separate mobile device platforms, for Pocket PCs and Smartphones.

The successful mobile operating systems of the future will be those that best combine design flexibility with application portability, not only to keep licensees and developers happy, but also to gain favor from mobile operators, content providers and consumers, with devices based on software that is easier to cater for, support and understand relative to the alternatives.

Right now, Palm OS is showing the way to that future. ®

Source: Computerwire/Datamonitor

Related Research
Datamonitor, "Mobile Consumer Update: data, data, data"

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.