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PalmSource launches online wireless store

Cuddles up to Sprint

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Newly independent PalmSource has launched an online store that allows smartphone users to download PalmOS applications to their devices. Only 40 of the 20,000 applications are initially certified and ready for OTA (over the air) purchase and download but the software vendor expects many more to follow.

David Limp, senior VP of corporate development at PalmSource told us that he was keen for carriers to take a cut of the revenues. PalmSource will share the revenues with PalmGear, which runs the store. Pinpoint is providing the infrastructure. "Sprint didn't join initially but we think other carriers will welcome the revenue opportunity," said Limp.

"The most important revenue share goes back to the developer community, but we recognize there are additional partners in the value chain. PalmGear has a piece of the revenue share; but we also believe that carriers should also participate in the revenue."

Sprint is PalmSource's closest carrier, and the OS vendor named it as "Charter" member for its MobileWorld channel program, an umbrella for a number of initiatives that PalmSource also announced today. PalmSource also had one new OEM; pager company Percomm Inc. which currently uses Motorola's FLEX networks will branch out into GSM and CDMA smartphones using PalmOS.

When PalmSource executives describe phones, they're careful to stress other wireless technologies too, such as 802.11 and Bluetooth. It's an indication that the company sees licensing opportunities in handheld Wi-Fi devices, too. And Limp also mentioned the multiplayer gaming aspect of Nokia's N-Gage console and pointed to PalmOS licensee TapWave, which is entering the same market with a richer console. TapWave was started by senior Palm employees.

The long-awaited rewrite of PalmOS, version 6.0, is due to ship to OEMs by the end of the year, and which solves many of the technical limitations of the 5.x. PalmSource will continue to market 5.x as a smartphone OS. ®

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