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Treonauts Against PalmOS Scaremongers

In the coming days you will likely come across some headlines such as the one that Engadget is running today stating that “Access announces the death of PalmOS…” but please don’t be fooled by the big bright lights for this is nothing more than attention-seeking scaremongering.

The fact is that there has been and will continue to be various carefully orchestrated PR campaigns designed to undermine the PalmOS (and at other times Palm as well). 

In this particular case, a statement made by an Access (the company which recently acquired PalmSource) spokesman saying that “a logical end-of-life is expected for the PalmOS” was taken completely out of context and the rest of his quote clearly points to the fact that “the company anticipates being able to offer [a new] integrated OS solution sitting on top of a Linux kernel” [in the future].

There is therefore absolutely nothing new about the fact that the PalmOS is indeed changing to a Linux Kernel but to extend this to mean that the “PalmOS is dead” would be a gross mistake.  PalmSource and now Access have made it clear for some time that they believe that their future rests with Linux (so do other companies such as Motorola) and PalmSource only a few days ago joined the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) – a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux – and its Mobile Linux Initiative.

Furthermore, it should be evident to anyone with half a brain that no company would have purchased PalmSource for $324 million (as Access did) only to shortly thereafter kill the core reason for that purchase – namely PalmSource’s operating system development skills!

Personally, I feel that people are simply scared about PalmSource’s future inroads with Linux – let’s just call it a bad case of envy then…

Access announces the death of PalmOS… sooner than later [Engadget]
Access: foreseeing the demise of the Palm OS [Computer Business Review]

Treonauts know how to filter all the BS


Posted by Andrew on October 21, 2005 at 04:31 PM

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Comments

1
by Ryan SMith | Oct 21, 2005 5:50:00 PM

Of course the Palm OS is dead. It will be palm on top of linux. It will be a linux OS, just with a palm designed interface. It's about time, Palm as an OS sucks. So what you said is actually BS, Palm OS is dead, but Palm Linux or whatever that call it will hopefully be coming and be much better. They have given up trying to make thier own OS. I don't really know what you are even talking about.

2
by SharkBait | Oct 21, 2005 6:32:56 PM

Looks like Engadget has changed their minds and quickly pulled the article from their site. Following the link to their article will now merely redirect to the home page. Lucky for you, I have the full text here, attributed to Ryan Block:

"For those holding out that PalmSource’s acquisition by Japanese firm Access would grant the PalmOS a second life, we have some bad news for you. We have it that Access officially declared what industry experts expected and Palm fanboys feared: the acquisition was not to carry on the PalmOS product after all, and that a “logical end-of-life is expected for the Palm operating system.” Though this is contrary to what we heard before, Access wasn’t terribly veiled about their interests in the handheld-Linux end of the business after PalmSource’s acquisition of China MobileSoft, nor PalmSource’s general working expertise of handheld devices. Basically, if there was ever any hope for PalmOS to survive this buyout, it’s now definitely thoroughly dashed. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

[Thanks, Jason]"

The Jason they thank links to PalmAddicts who has since posted a retraction: http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/2005/10/the_obituary_wa.html

CBR have pulled the article from their web site as well.

3
by Mike Hardy | Oct 21, 2005 6:40:19 PM

To Ryan Smith who is essentially calling shenanigans, I'd say that its not total BS. The whole overblown-ness of it, and the response is because of and aimed at the implication that we're all going to Windows ME.

That they're pulling an Apple and bolting their sleek UI design onto an OS core that is not crash-prone is brilliant though. Given that they swith to chips that have an MMU, and give memory segmentation anyway.

Anyway, that's why I think this whole thing is happening, and why I don't think its total BS. It'll still be PalmOS in the way Mac OS X is still Mac OS, and not BSD.

4
by Joshua Ochs | Oct 21, 2005 7:41:44 PM

I hate to say this, but I think the above article at Engadget is correct. They are interested in China MobileSoft. While they will most certainly create a Linux-based PDA OS, there is no guarantee that the interface will remain the same or that it will run Palm programs.

Given the track record I've seen on most Asian-produced software, it's very firmly on functionality, and the heck with the interface. I'm not hopeful.

5
by Jzurb | Oct 21, 2005 9:29:35 PM

I just hope that our existing palm apps will work with whatever Linux Palm OS hybrid they come up with.

6
by JL Gatewood | Oct 22, 2005 12:17:42 PM

I also would say that Palm OS as we know it is dead... Now that Access has purchased the company, how long do you think it will take for them to release the next phase of Palm OS... Even if they were sticking with Cobalt, look how long it has taken just to develop that? Meanwhile with Windows Mobile 5 out and on a device as we speak (PPC-6700) and on the next Treo as well, we might as well get ready to pick a side. I for one am going to switch to the "darkside." I need functionality NOW. Im sure the next Linux based OS to come from the Access camp will have all the functions needed now, but that's just it. I need streaming media (I am a mobile content and multimedia editor and I hate the fact that I have to lug my laptop everywhere to test my work when I see others with their PPC devices able to listen and view streaming content. Don't get me wrong, I've been a Palm guy ever sinve my first PalmIII. But times have definately changed.

7
by DaveZ | Oct 24, 2005 5:27:10 AM

Personally I hope Palm OS is dead - It is so far behind Windows Mobile as far as stability and features go it is not funny. Don't get me wrong, I really hope we get a new Palm based Linux system, but the Treos weak link right now is the OS.

8
by Lon Seidman | Oct 24, 2005 9:48:05 AM

I agree with DaveZ.. I'm not a Windows Mobile fanboy but having owned devices running both Palm and Windows Mobile the latter is infinitely more modern and powerful.

I switched from a Windows Mobile powered PDA to my Treo 650 mainly due to form factor (carrying one device vs. two). The Treo's OS is clearly a step back for me. It's usable, but nowhere near as stable and powerful as the Windows device I used before. My 650 reboots itself usually once or twice a day even with the latest firmware. Very annoying.


9
by Eufreka! | Oct 24, 2005 5:06:11 PM

Palm has the right, as an EAS licensee, to update the Treo 650 (as well as the LifeDrive and TX) to utilize Direct Push synchronization with Exchange 2003.

This functionality, if enabled by Palm, would keep these devices viable for at least another 12-24 months. All that is needed is a minor update to the VersaMail client software on the devices (which has already been updated at least once so far).

This would also establish a lower-end price-point for Direct Push synchronization for those organizations and individuals who did not need the advanced security features of WM5.

However, I have spent the past week trying to find out whether or not Palm WILL in fact update these devices. Worse, I have posted on several key mobile device websites/forums and blogs; and directly contacted a half-dozen "major" tech journalists, none of whom have responded to me, much less posted any followup info.

Finally, the whole issue became very suspect to me when I discovered that Microsoft had been "quietly" deleting relevant text from the Exchange 2003 SP2 announcement documents. So I am also pursuing a reasonable explanation for those acts as well: Read through the comments here http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/comments/412686.aspx

Anyone else interested in getting to the bottom of these questions?!?!?!

Bonus "Did you know?": DataViz is already PREVIEWING a Symbian UIQ Direct Push-enabled client--today! (Months before any WM5 devices are given the same functionality.)

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