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Won't have Cobalt even next year?

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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Disappointment seems certain for fans of PalmOne who were looking forward to seeing the new 'Cobalt' operating system in new Palm handhelds, as president Ed Colligan told analysts in London yesterday that he "would not commit" to upgrading his hardware even next year.

The Treo 650, launched last month in the US, turns out to be based on PalmOS 5 or 'Garnet' - and Colligan said he wouldn't even be offering that model to European users until February next year.

"We've already built much of the functionality we need into the current platform," he said. "We made the decision not to confuse developers by switching, but to support the work we've done in enhancing OS 5."

The Treo 600 continues to be the most up-to-date Treo available in Europe; Colligan has an explanation: "It's so that we can have it ready for a great out-of-box user experience when it launches with European operators."

It will ship in Europe in February, he said. "We can't immediately ship to everywhere in the world. There's an enormous amount of effort goes to tying these things to the solutions of any carrier partner. It's a great out of box user experience, the one thing we think we do really well, which we're aiming at." No information was available on which carriers would take it, but it seems clear that Orange will be one of the first to ship.

But no multi-threading? Multi-threading is the ability of the operating system to keep track of more than one simultaneous task, and a good example of how important this is arises if you install a downloadable application, like an IRC chat client on the Treo 600. It works - up until the point where the phone rings. At that point, it disconnects from the chat host.

"We could do something like that if we wanted to," said Colligan. "It's a question of how we integrate the application into the device." Which, he conceded, means that the PalmOne family will continue to use OS5 for a long time. How long? He wouldn't say.

"Frankly, we're keeping that to ourselves as competitive information," said Colligan. Nobody knows when we'll start the shift to Cobalt, OS 6, or on which devices. For now, we're saying that we've built the functionality we need into the Treo and the Tungsten T5 and there's no need to confuse developers by switching. I'm not even prepared to commit us to a change next year, or the year after, at this stage."

Copyright © 2004, NewsWireless

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