Feeds

PalmSource chief outlines twin-track OS strategy

Tablet PC a 'disaster', says CEO

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Catching PalmSource CEO David Nagel at the launch of Good Technologies' Good Link 3.0, we had a burning question.

"David, why are you keeping your new OS a secret?" we asked. PalmSource stealth-released the rewritten 'Version 6.0' to licensees just before Christmas, but didn't tell anyone about. The company's web page stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the fact, pointing browsers to version 5.

But it turns out it's a feature, not a bug. Nagel told us there was no point hyping a product that consumers can't yet buy.

"I'm not going to be Adam Osborne," he told us. The late Adam Osborne, [as we remembered here] was the real inventor of corporate immolation via preannouncement. Osborne preannounced two successor models months before they were ready to ship, sales of the Osborne 1 dried up, and the excess inventory and revenue drought killed the company. And Nagel wasn't going to fall into that trap.

But there's a bit more to it than that. PalmSource is going to keep today's OS 5.x alive for a bit longer, and market the two alongside each other. With its lower memory footprint, Palm OS 5 is targeted at low-end devices. The former hardware division of Palm, now palmOne, markets a cheap and cheerful PDA, the basic model in the Zire line-up for $79. (Although this runs Palm OS 4.2; the $99 Zire 21 runs Palm OS 5.2.1).

A re-branding exercise is expected at the Developer Conference next week, so expect the 6.0 name, which was never official, to be dumped. Nagel reiterated that the rewritten Palm OS will major on multimedia and security features. He also said, correctly we think, that nothing in the handheld market currently makes switching between networks trivially simple, between WiFi, a Bluetooth PAN and a WAN, and that was something PalmSource was looking at.

"Microsoft made a mistake in having too many product offerings," Nagel told us. But weren't we used to hearing that Microsoft offered too few options to phone companies? He described working with the phone guys as a skill that PalmSource was learning. (Uh huh).

We were curious about his recent comments about finding the new Palm OS in a notebook?

David was careful to preface his answer with an "in my personal opinion" but he was enthusiastic about the prospect of if not a notebook, then a sub-notebook.

"There is a perfect computer that has a keyboard and doesn't have the complexity of Windows," he said. "There's room for an optimized multi-function device."

"The Tablet PC has been something of a disaster."

We'd like to think so too. Psion Computer probably came closest, in 1999, with its netBook, which recently saw a hardware upgrade and is now sold to industrial customers as a Windows CE machine.

Nagel said that the new OS had already been through four shrinks. For phone companies, size matters.

It's no secret that Nokia has plans for a smaller keyboard device, and shortly before Christmas unveiled its (Symbian-based) Series 90 platform. Unlike Series 60, Nokia has no plans to license Series 90, as it wants some part of the corporate communicator business for itself. ®

Related Stories

Portable computer pioneer Adam Osborne dies
PalmSource stealth releases OS milestone

Related Products
Check out The Reg mobile store for the best prices on Palm, Sony & Handspring equipment

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE
Just need to bring the fibre box within 19m ...
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.