Mystery New Palm Smartphone Running ALP 3.0 Coming Soon?
RUMOUR: AT&T & Palm to Launch New Full Touchscreen Smartphone Running ALP 3.0 Linux Operating System by Year End?
Please take this with a rather strong pinch of salt BUT there are growing rumours coming from well placed sources hinting at a possible release of a new Palm smartphone with AT&T by the end of this year. The important and extremely interesting part is that all of these rumours point to a new device running NOT the existing PalmOS NOT the forthcoming NOVA OS (aka Palm 2.0) and NOT Windows Mobile (such as the highly anticipated AT&T Treo Pro) but powered by none other than ALP 3.0 (Access Linux Platform)…
Those who have suposedly seen this new Palm smartphone (possibly the next generation Centro) state that it looks a lot like the full touchscreen Edelweiss smartphone that we saw a couple of weeks ago (pictured above) but just a bit smaller overall. Others vaguely state that this new Centro2 doesn’t look anything like any device that is currently on the market and is “completely unique”.
So just how realistic is all this information? I have to admit that I hadn’t thought about it properly before but 1) a new Palm smartphone running ALP 3.0 that is fully backward-compatible with most of your existing Palm OS applications actually makes some sense to me and 2) it’s clear that Palm’s success with its Centro means that sooner or later the company will release a new generation model.
The fact is that Palm has already publicly stated that:
- Treo smartphones of the future will run Windows Mobile exclusively and be targeted primarily at the enterprise market. This is considered Palm’s line of “high-end” devices priced in the $299 range (with contract).
>>> Latest releases include the GSM Unlocked Treo Pro (August ‘08) and CDMA Treo 800w (July ‘08) and it is expected that AT&T will release the Treo Pro by year end and rumours abound that a CDMA Treo Pro may also be in the works.
- Centro smartphones of the future will strictly run Palm OS and are targeted primarily at a mass consumer audience. This is Palm’s line of hugely successful “entry level” devices priced in the $99 range (with contract).
>>> Here we have the first release with Sprint Centro (September ‘07), AT&T Centro (Feb ‘08) and Verizon Centro (June ‘08).
- A new range of Palm smartphones (possibly named Quatro and due to be released in 2009) will run the new NOVA OS that the company has been developing for the last couple of years. This will be Palm’s line of “prosumer” devices with a strong focus on Web 2.0 integration and mobile entertainment priced in the $149–$199 range (with contract).
>>> New Quatro smartphones are expected in the second quarter of 2009 between April and June.
Within this context, given the fact that Palm is already effectively developing smartphones running three distinct operating systems (Palm OS, NOVA OS, Windows Mobile) and targeting three separate market segments (consumer, prosumer, enterprise) I see no reason why Palm would not choose to introduce a Centro2 model running ALP 3.0 that will be fully compatible with all applications that existing Centro owners have purchased.
Choosing ALP 3.0 for Centro smartphones would allow Palm to focus all of its resources on the development of its NOVA operating system while still expanding its hugely successful position in the “consumer” segment of the smartphone market – with a Centro2 device that would cost less than $99 and possibly $49 with a two year contract.
At any rate, the fact is that the existing Centro was introduced some 14 months ago and is “getting a bit old”. Based on previous development cycles Palm should thus now be about ready to release its next Centro2 model. Many people have actually been clamouring to see a Centro2 running Palm OS (or a compatible OS such as ALP 3.0) that offers the same superb looks as the Treo Pro for example.
However, it’s clear that while a new Centro could just “look” like the Treo Pro it could nonetheless not match many of the hardware specifications since we all know that for example the Palm OS cannot quite support WiFi, HSDPA nor built-in GPS.
The good news is that ALP 3.0 could offer the best of both worlds as: 1) its Garnet VM allows many existing Palm OS applications to run unaltered on its platform; 2) it offers full 3G data connectivity support; 3) wireless connectivity including WiFi (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0 as well as; 4) keypad + stylus + finger touch input supporting touchscreens up to 800 x 480 in resolution.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post there is absolutely no way (for now at least) of knowing if these rumours about a Palm Centro2 running ALP 3.0 are true or not but it’s clear that they also don’t sound too far fetched. Palm will at some point refresh and expand its Centro lineup and the question is simply a matter of what they will look like and whether they will _just_ run Palm OS or the more robust and exciting ALP + Palm OS combination.
At this stage I would have to say that if Palm can create a Centro2 that 1) looks just as cool as the Treo Pro; 2) runs existing Palm OS applications; 3) has the added benefit of 3G + WiFi; 4) is priced at $99 or $149 with a contract and 5) offers a 480x320 touchscreen then the company could certainly expect as much success with this smartphone as it has had with the first generation Centro.
Treonauts are always running fast…