Feeds

Palm waves farewell to Windows Mobile

Device roadmap only lists WebOS handsets, says CEO

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Palm's four-year flirtation with Windows Mobile is over, now it finally has an operating system to call its own again.

Company Chairman and CEO Jon Rubinstein last night said that the Palm would now "dedicate all future development resources to the evolution of webOS" with the result that "going forward our roadmap will include only Palm webOS- based devices".

Palm signed up to use Windows Mobile in September 2005, later releasing the Treo 700W early in 2006.

Back then, Palm no longer owned its own operating system, which had fallen into the hands of Japanese software developer Access, so licensing another one wasn't much of a shock to anyone other than Palm OS die-hards.

Palm later acquired full development rights to the Palm OS, but it soon became apparent that the platform's future was unclear and, in any case, was losing marketshare to Windows Mobile, an OS viewed by many as the only one corporations would consider.

The success of Research in Motion's BlackBerry proved that wrong, but by that stage Palm OS had largely failed to evolve out of the early 2000s. The arrival of the iPhone OS only confirmed the Palm OS' role as a mobile operating system without a future - at least, not without a very radical overhaul.

But that wasn't on Access' roadmap, and Palm eventually decided that it was better off beginning over again and crafting a mobile OS that not only was its own but came without more than a decade's baggage.

Palm has already canned its last Palm OS phone, Centro, in the US, though the device is still available in the UK and elsewhere. It seems unlikely to survive the arrival over here of the Pré. Palm's website still lists the Windows Mobile-based Treo Pro, and it'll be interesting to see how long it stays hanging on in there.

As for Palm itself, at least it is now once again fully in charge of its own destiny, as it was until the - with hindsight - disastrous decision to separate operating system from hardware. Planned as a way to encourage third-party hardware developers to support the platform, simply licensing the OS having brought only a few others, most notably Sony, into the fold.

All it really did was weaken the parent, as most such late-in-the-day attempts to 'do a Microsoft' and turn a vertically integrated hardware and software company into separate entities.

The notion that because selling operating system software worked for Microsoft it can also work for any other technology company is absurd. You need big sales volumes to make it occur successfully, and every technology firm that has followed Wall Street's hints that it should implement just such a transition has done so precisely because it lacked that degree of marketshare.

We wouldn't have seen a resurgent Apple if it too had heeded calls to take the same approach, and we very nearly didn't see the Palm OS-less. Symbian, once just such a platform OS, is now owned by a hardware maker, Nokia.

Windows Mobile never became the Windows 95 or even the Windows 3 of the handset market. Palm's latest move shows it never will. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.