Feeds

Palm OS: the right balance

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Best practices for enterprise data

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"

Recommendations for simplifying OS migration

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?