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PalmSource has released version 6.0 of its Palm OS operating system. The new software represents the biggest leap forward in the history of the OS, finally silencing critics (not least amongst current and prospective licensees) who have bemoaned the lack of memory management and multitasking.

It's been a long time coming - four years ago, Palm was planning a roadmap that put its APIs on Symbian OS, and at one stage considered Linux - but Version 6.0 received the lowest of low-profile releases last week.

The Palm OS page is chock full of information about Palm OS 5, with not a mention of it successor.

According to Jupiter analyst Mike Gartenberg, it's to do with the amount of fresh product available based on its now outdated predecessor. "They don't want to tout all the features of OS 6 while the channel's stuffed with OS 5 inventory," he told MobileWatch.

Version 6.0 was developed by much of the team that wrote BeOS. Palm acquired the team in August 2001. The software was slated to ship last June, but job cuts and key personel departures contributed to the delay. Devices based on the new software are expected this quarter.

It's a tonic for loyal Palm fans, who at a stroke have seen the platform get much more competitive. Even if PalmSource doesn't want to shout about it, right now. ®

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