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Palm Working On New Linux OS Treo Smartphones

After months of rumours, this past Tuesday Palm finally officially revealed that it has been secretly working for a number of years on a new operating system – now in its final stages of development – that combines components of the existing PalmOS Garnet with a Linux core. 

According to Palm CEO Ed Colligan this move represents “a new foundation” and products using this technology will become available as early as the end of this year or beginning 2008.  At the same time, Colligan reitared that “we will continue to leverage Windows on Palm [Treo smartphones]”.  Palm presented this dual operating system strategy via the slide below.

Treo Palm Linux OS

The new “PalmLinux OS” is intended to significantly enhance the features and functionality of future Treo smartphones such as faster UI responsiveness, multitasking, simultaneous voice and data usage, better battery life and even (finally) WiFi capabilities while still providing a level of “backward compatibility” to existing PalmOS applications.  In the meantime, Colligan also pointed out that Treo smartphone releases using the existing PalmOS 5 (Garnet) are still expected during this year.

Palm’s CEO also stressed his company’s focus on the development of connected web applications and web services – with the ability to wirelessly backup and restore data, install new applications and receive operating system updates and upgrades – as well as the overall mobile web experience with a new web browser likely to be provided by Opera.  I personally believe that this is an area that holds the single greatest promise for the company and is integral to my own vision of the smartphone space.

It should also be noted that Palm has clearly stated that its new OS will not be licensed to third parties but will be used exclusively by the company to power future devices.  Like Apple, Palm will thus have an integrated software (OS) and hardware strategy that it can use to deliver unique and highly differentiated products.  In this respect, Palm revealed details of its very strong patent position – with 270 patents issued and some 370 pending – which should help the company to further increase its position in the smartphone and mobile computing market.

In addition to Palm’s significant efforts and investment in software and application development (including the recent acquisition of the popular PalmOS ChatterMail email client) the company outlined three other key focus areas for its business relating to 1) new devices with common hardware architectures and components to reduce time to market, costs and increase quality and reliability; 2) marketing with a new brand awareness campaign that is already yielding significant results and 3) international growth with carrier business development efforts (such as Vodafone in the UK with the Treo 750) as well as regional developments centers such as the existing one in Dublin (for Europe) and new ones in Taiwan and China (for the Asian market).

Evidently we’ll have to wait a little while longer to see exactly what the new PalmLinux OS will look like and how it will perform.  However, given Palm’s previous success in this area I am pretty confident that it will not disappoint while also laying the foundation for a future filled with millions more Treonauts worldwide.  At the same time, Palm’s many efforts clearly demonstrate that the company has not been sitting idle and that it is fully committed to further grow and exploit the smartphone space that it has so well defined.

Treonauts are always working on something new

Posted by Andrew on April 12, 2007 at 10:06 AM

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by darmaysa | Nov 20, 2007 11:39:31 AM

treo + linux will the best offer. there million of open source comunity will support treo and ready to hack it. treo will do more in there hand (open source comunity).

by Guy | Dec 2, 2007 12:06:10 PM

The foundation of a move to the Linux world is to open the platform and get hackers and programmers to have a chance to help leverage the platform. In my case, i'm waiting for this move to buy a Treo. I won't buy a Windoze crappy one that's for sure.

I am a Palm "Old Timer" (still working with Palm OS) who don't like the Winblows way of doing things. On top of that, i'm a computer/telecom senior support engineer, i have many applications for these little Palms and if they can at last offer me a Linux platform, it will be very good news for people like me.

If we're looking ahead, there will be a push to open the wireless phone world as US and Canada will redistribute the bands occupied by analog tv broadcast. Apparently, a part of these bands will be reserved for an open network. Linux could play a major role in that, even in our actual relatively closed world.

by Christopher Stura | Jul 8, 2008 1:56:01 PM


I think that a lot of people have a point. Palm needs to well not so much have a new os, but needs to have Full J2ME support, it needs to support HSPDA, and UMTS on it's palm devices. And it needs to stop it with WinMobile which is just terrible. I bought a 760V and it broke after 15 days. I mean give me a break. I wan't another palm phone, with palm os. I want java on it and I would like to browse the mobile web with a touch screen. I wonder why this is so hard to have? We would be set with symbian but there is no touch screen on that platform.

by Max | Nov 13, 2009 5:21:08 AM

Would it be possible to start using the new OS on the Palm Treo Pro?

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