Palm developing own OS - again
Full circle turned
Palm is to build its own handheld operating system, combining a Linux foundation with the regular Palm OS look and feel. Work is clearly progressing: devices equipped with the new OS are due later this year, the company's CEO, Ed Colligan, said this week.
If all this sounds familiar, it's because it's the approach PalmSource, the Palm OS development company later acquired by Japan's Access, adopted earlier this decade. It decided to base future incarnations of the Palm OS - versions 6.0 and onward - on a Linux core surmounted by the famliar Palm user interface.
After 2005's Access acquisition, the OS was shifted further in the direction of Linux, with the operating system now known as the Access Linux Platform.
Clearly, that's not been what Palm itself wants, and having last year licensed the source code for Palm OS 5.4 - aka Garnet - from Access for $44m, the company now appears to be doing what PalmSource originally planned to do.
The motivation, we suspect, is as much about control as technology, with Palm choosing - effectively - to replicate work already done by PalmSource and later, Access, but presumably with enough of its own code in there to provide the differentiation it so desperately needs in an increasingly Windows Mobile-dominated world, on the one hand, and flash kit like the iPhone on the other.
Plenty of companies can make good smart-phone hardware - HTC, for example - limiting Palm's bid to stand out founded on its handsets' on-board software and the brand. And the two are closely connected: Palm's brand may have been built on the back of its PDA roots, but that's much less of a sell in these phone-centric times. The build the brand, then, it needs to promote software innovations, and that can only be done if it controls its own product.
Palm may get somewhere
I wish them the best of luck. I hope they allow the freedom for their devices to load a modified linux image. My main issue with all the smartphones is that they are not that smart.
I would love a device that I could tinker with the applications and script relatively easily to suit my needs, but took care of all the backend phone related specifics for me. I don't use or need any windows related apps, but the ability to develop networked apps to interface with my own servers would be cool. Why sync the device in a cradle when it could be real time across the (my) network ?
Imagine a fluxbox / E17 interface with phone facilities available and all that touch screen goodness. iPhone lookout !
I like PALM usability
I own a (long-in-the-tooth) PALM device and a new IPAQ hx2495.
The IPAQ bells and whistles (ebook reader, music, SD and CF suppport) are great, inspite of many, many hangs and soft-resets.
But for business and essentials, I use the old PALM. Intuitive, reliable, and just simply a great tool.
Pulling for Palm
I really hope Palm can get it together. I think my Palm TX is great. It would be nice if it had a phone, but I can live without it. It would be nice if it had better software, but its good enough.
It just does what its supposed to. I don't want to edit MS Word documents on it, and I don't want to pay for that capability.
Well to provide some balance ...
... I'm a happy (mostly) Palm user.
I'm a lone Mac user in a Windows-centric business, and I can think of little that would be worse than switching to Windoze. My colleagues all user Windoze Mobile devices, and how I laugh every time I catch one of them doing a hard reset because it's crashed again !
I agree that Palm is way behind on features, for example it was something of a "disappointment" when I found that there is no 'cheap' WiFi available for my New (to me) Treo 650. I think their desktop software sucks, but thankfully I've discovered Missing Sync which is what Palm Desktop should have been years ago.
I REALLY, REALLY hope they succeed in this major update - otherwise we'll be left with a choice of Windoze or Windoze, and I really, really, really wouldn't want to use that !
They should fix their Windows client first
Palm Desktop 4 and earlier required users to install Palm Desktop multiple times -- once for each user -- on a Windows XP or Win2K machine that had multiple users or resided on an Active Directory domain. And each of them needed Admin rights.
Contrast to Blackberry, whose Desktop Redirector worked without security hacking or multiple installations out of the box.