Comments on: New Features in Palm OS 4.0 and the m50x Series

Expansion capabilities in Palm OS 4.0
  • Most expansion devices are secondary storage, and provide a traditional filesystem storage
  • Secondary storage: not like built in databases
  • Different physical characteristics, so different API
  • Pretty similar user experience
  • Palm OS apps are copied into main RAM when running (just like on a desktop), and are automatically removed when they quit
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Previous Palm Applications?

EGarrido @ 3/9/2001 6:47:18 PM #
I went over it twice and I might be missing something, but is it known if Palm Apps that worked on previous OS versions, Palm OS 3.5 for example, will work on new devices with Palm OS 4.0?


RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 6:58:14 PM #
Of course. Any properly-written application written for any past version of the Palm OS will run on all versions thereafter. The ones that break are the ones that deviate from standard Palm OS programming practices, and those using undocumented features that are subject to change.

RE: Previous Palm Applications? and NO 16-bit Color!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 8:18:05 PM #
I flashed the 4.0 beta onto my IIIc and all the programs I tried worked fine, except for Quickbits, which ran the speed tests okay, but wouldn't turn on its acceleration features. By the way, I did NOT get 16-bit color on my IIIc with OS 4.0. I appears that the IIIc is limited to 8-bit color by something in the hardware, perhaps the chip that drives the LCD screen.

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 8:50:55 PM #
I could not flash any of the 4.0 images onto my IIIc, how did you accomplish this and which version ROM did you use?

The IIIC's hardware can only display 8 bit.

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
atrizzah @ 3/9/2001 11:10:23 PM #
Your supposed to use the OS 3.3 upgrade tool i think, although i haven't had any luck with it

Peace Out
RE: Previous Palm Applications?
PalmZealot @ 3/10/2001 12:36:57 AM #

Sorry for the somewhat brief previous post about what the new Palm OS 4 can handle.

Palm OS 4.0 will handle any program that will run Palm OS 3.5. That is to say that if someone's program that was written for any prior version to 3.5 that worked in 3.5 will work in 4.0.
If the program doesn't work in 3.5, then it certainly won't work in 4.0.

Also, 4.0 will actually have support for 24-bit color (roughly 16.7 million colors), but the hardware will have to support 24-bit color. The hardware in the Palm IIIc wasnot designed to handle 24-bit color.

I hope this helps clear up some confusion. Please feel free to ask me any questions, and I will try to asnswer them.

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 8:52:09 AM #
Is the Palm 4.0 OS ROM Beta available to the general public for download?

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
PalmZealot @ 3/11/2001 5:48:05 PM #
To my knowledge, No, Palm OS 4.0 beta is not publicly available. However, it maybe possible to find it available on the web if one were to jump through certian hoops and answer certian 'questions'.

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2001 11:52:47 AM #
I checked on the Palm website and the OS 4.0 is only available for the new M50x series. That sure is rude to leave the legacy Palms that aren't all that old in the dust. Do they plan on releasing a 4.0 for IIIxe models? Where can I get the beta for 4.0?

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2001 2:35:49 PM #
anyone tried using flash pro? It won't work after I
upgrade to os4. AND I really do need those extra spaces so I went back to 3.5.

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2001 4:09:42 PM #
palm's site says they will offer 4.0 to users of older model's this summer... it took a minute or two of digging...

RE: Previous Palm Applications?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/21/2001 2:01:17 AM #
1) from my experiance, all new versions of palm OS can accomidate all programs originally written for the older OS. there are exceptions, of course.

2) os 4.0 is being released like XP is. its coming on new models (very new models), and will be available to actually buy later. of course, its already out on the internet, just do some searching


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 7:22:40 PM #
Source? Is this a rumor or has this been published by Palm Inc,?

RE: source?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 8:31:10 PM #
this is all public knowledge available via, for those who don't have provider pavillion access.

RE: source?
PalmZealot @ 3/10/2001 12:44:12 AM #
Yes, its true - most of this information is publicly available on the web, but I was surprised that considering how long it has been publicly available and no one came forward with this information.

I figured that if no one was going to post this information, then no one must apparently know that all this information is 'freely' available!

Remember, this is the WWW, and you can find almost anything if you just look

One would be surprised at what could be found on the web if one only looked.

RE: source?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 7:56:13 AM #
PalmZealot, I rely on palminfocenter to provide this information – other wise what would be the purpose of palminfocenter. I visit palminfocenter many times everyday, because I do not have time to browse the web for palm related information regarding news about their products.


RE: source?
PalmZealot @ 3/11/2001 6:09:06 PM #
Michael, If you have enough time to visit PalmInfoCenter severl times a day, then you certainly have time to follow some of the links and posts by other to check them out for yourself if you chose to do so - its simply a matter of investigation for information. Its people like us, the investigators, that provide PalmInfoCenter with the information you're looking to find here on PIC. It all boils down to - if you have enough time in your day to come here to PIC, then you certainly have enough time to find anything else out on the web. Have you ever used a search engine to fing ANYTHING on the web? Try it sometime, you'll be suprised what you find.

RE: source?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 8:26:07 PM #
Good advise, there a wealth of information at your fingertips

RE: source?
Ed @ 3/14/2001 1:12:56 AM #
I'm trying to create a site that groups as much of the Palm-related news into one place as possible. I enjoy surfing Web for the very latest Palm info but I then turn around and post everything I think is significant on here so that everyone doesn't have to do this, too.

Michael, thanks for being a loyal reader.

Palm Infocenter


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 10:31:06 PM #
do u think us w\ the 'old' palms(III ,V,VII) will be able to get OS 4. Can we buy the new ROM chips
RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/9/2001 11:06:12 PM #
If they decide to release it for the older models it will come as a FLASH upgrade. No need to buy new hardware/chips.

Anxiously awaiting builds so I can use 4.0 on my IIIc and Vx.

I heard Kyocera is already working on 4.0 for their smartphone.

RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 5:20:32 AM #
I thought the new OS would occcupy more than 2 Megs.

RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 7:52:09 AM #
The full OS is certainly bigger than 2 megs. But why include the stuff for the SD slot on the ROMs for the older devices? Certain features will be cut out so the images will fit on older devices. (If Palm decides to make it available to them.)

RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 5:23:11 PM #
Several of the 4.0 testing ROM images are smaller than 2MB. Since Palm showed 4.0 running on Palm Vx devices at PalmSource, I'm fairly sure they will have an upgrade version for the older, flashable devices.

I've got it installed on mine (PalmV) and
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 8:31:26 PM #
it looks like OS3.5. It works much faster and has better calculator and daytime saving functions

RE: OS 4.0 Download
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/11/2001 3:46:46 PM #
will someone please, please post an address where i can download OS 4.0....

RE: OS 4.0 beta availability
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 5:24:25 PM #
Palm OS 4.0 beta can often be found on netnews at:


RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2001 8:38:11 PM #
alt.binaries.warez.palmpilot? that link didnt it a .com at the end? if so that brought up a site but it didnt have the os 4.0. PLEASE HELP!

RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/16/2001 2:07:53 PM #
who hosts this newsgroup, all the usual places I know do not, please help


External Memory

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 9:43:59 AM #
Does "Secondary storage: not like built in databases" mean that it will act as transparent secondary memory or work like the Sony does with having to transfer everything back and forth? Thanks.


RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 10:04:34 AM #
Good Question. I'm hyped about the new Palms too, but if they handle the expansion memory just like Sony handles the memory stick, then they will be just as worthless as the Sony.

RE: External Memory
Ed @ 3/10/2001 10:45:02 AM #
Well, a bit later it says, "Palm OS apps are copied into main RAM when running (just like on a desktop), and are automatically removed when they quit ." That seems to mean that an app that is on an SD card can be opened directly from there without first having to manually copy it over. However, what is really happening is that the app is being automatically transferred to the Palm's regular memory and run from there. This means that you can't run an app that is larger than your available built-in memory on the Palm.

At least that's the way I read this.

Palm Infocenter

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 11:14:05 AM #
Thanks for your response. Does it handle databases linked to a program in the same manner? I plan on running multiple large databases (sometimes > 4MB) but the reader program that runs it is only 40K or so. Do you think the database will launch immediately if stored on the external memory with the reader on main memory or will it take a while to copy over? I'll buy one anyway because I need the storage but it'd be nice if it was just invisible to the user when it accessed external memory. Sorry if I didn't understand your post completely before and thanks for your help.


RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 12:03:28 PM #
After reading through all the PalmSource slides, etc. it seems it won't be tough to read/access material from an expansion card. Databases can be marked to be copied over or not, at the developers option.

Adapting a reader type application to read directly from the VirtualFileSystem is easy, in fact I'm almost able to do it from scratch and I'm a complete amateur at Palm development. I have no doubt that the "name-brand" reader applications will be updated with native expansion support in the days leading up to the release of PalmOS 4.

Kudos to Palm on the nice API design, I think people will adapt very quickly to expansion. Real expansion on the Palm platform has been a long time in coming! :)

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 1:05:34 PM #
yeah, but the TRGPRO already has the AutoCF program that will allow existing programs to automatically access data on a CF card, surely Palm could come up with something similar with all their resources???
If not, it's just as bad as the CLIE!

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 1:07:35 PM # is COMPLETELY different from the CLIE! Palm's expansion system allows for true storage and i/o (like modems/network/camera/etc.) It is not anything like the sony memory stick expansions that exist right now.

You do not have to copy everything into RAM to read a database at all. Every decent app will be updated to support expansion. It is just a few lines of code for basic integration.

If they were to take the TRG route and hack together expansion rather than make it an integral part, what motivation would developers have to move from their current ways to a real expansion/filesystem?

I think Palm is making the right decision, it is about time we get something that the PocketPCs have had for a long time.

RE: External Memory
mikecane @ 3/10/2001 1:48:00 PM #
But what about opening a DB file saved on SD, modifying it, and then EXITING the app or DB -- will the PalmOS filesystem do an *automatic* Save As overwrite of the SD file? Pocket PC handles external storage transparently, and it is my wish that this will be the case with PalmOS 4 as well. I know many CLIE owners are clamoring for such a feature!

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 2:00:22 PM #
PalmOS4 works exactly like the PocketPC in this regard- to use external storage developers simply add a few lines to look at the storage card / file system beyond the internal ram.

You would never even have to copy the DB over to ram if you didn't want to.

Now one thing I do am /not/ sure about is whether the new PalmOS4 expansion routines apply strictly to their SD slots, or whether Sony is going to adapt them to memory stick.

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 2:50:23 PM #
Would there be any reason to copy a DB to main memory (is there a speed difference)? If it does work seamlessly then the m505 will rock!

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 2:53:45 PM #
Well, of course there's gonna be some kind of speed difference when accessing stuff that's in RAM vs. in a storage card.

Is it enough to notice or care? Probably not. The SD setup has plenty of bandwidth.

I look and see the people bragging about their PocketPCs with 32megs of memory. In comparison, I usually have the same amount of information- if not more- stored in my Palm apps with my 8meg. Imagine a 32meg card in a Palm. How much information is that? It blows my mind...

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 4:59:19 PM #
Lack of USB and a limit on memory were to two big drawbacks for Palm in my opinion so hopefully they have been answered with the m505 and PalmOS 4.0.
Does the SD slot actually sustain anywhere close to the 10MB/ sec data transfer rate listed? If so, I agree that there will be no problems with storing DBs off of main RAM. Thanks for all of the great feedback.


RE: External Memory
bcombee @ 3/10/2001 5:19:52 PM #
Sony actually implemented the PalmOS 4.0 routines when they wrote their MemoryStick API; they had guidance from Palm. Software that uses the Memory Stick should mostly work fine (perhaps with minor changes) on the SD-slot devices.

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 6:26:27 PM #
That's great news that Sony is already part of the Palm standard. So that would mean that both CLIE owners and Palm m50x owners will be able to take advantage of the same expansion ability - I'm glad they were forward thinking.

Regarding the SD transfer rate, I'm not concerned because, compared to the competition...

The PocketPCs manipulate data just fine across CompactFlash which is less bandwidth than SD, besides the fact that most PocketPC databases are larger.

So unless Palm or SD manufacturers completely screw up, we should finally have a usable expansion standard.

RE: External Memory
mikecane @ 3/11/2001 1:45:16 PM #
Sony, being a full Palm licensee, and having Flash ROM in the CLIE, will probably offer their version of PalmOS to support seamless Memory Stick use.

If what I have read above about the new use of SD -- seamless, like Pocket PC -- is true, Palm will clearly have saved its ass from being kicked/gobbled/beaten by Pocket PC! They will have grabbed the year they need to survive until the intro of their ARM units in 2002.

This is very exciting and I cannot wait to see the m505 and the new PalmOS 4'ed CLIE!

RE: External Memory
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 5:30:11 PM #
Sony Clie have utility for run programs stored in memory stick ready for download at sony website

Palm running scared?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 10:22:01 AM #
Its interesting that Palm is usually so close mouthed about new releases but they are postiively babbling aoubt this one. I'm sure its because Pocket PC has them running scared.

RE: Palm running scared?
bcombee @ 3/10/2001 5:16:26 PM #
Not babbling -- this info comes from the December 2000 PalmSource conference, the big developer event. Palm gave their developers three months notice in late-1999 for the IIIc -- now, they've given us three months notice for the features and APIs in PalmOS 4.0.

Ofcourse! RE: Palm running scared?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/11/2001 4:59:02 PM #
iPaq selling like hot cakes, ofcourse Palm is scared.

but those new features on OS 4.0 will nuturalize that.

RE: Palm running scared?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2001 4:20:29 PM #
Palm is outselling WinCE by a margin of close to 10:1. Running scared? I doubt it.

RE: Palm running scared?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/25/2001 12:59:09 PM #
Handspring is taking up a lot of their market share though. And the Palm CEO said they were announcing it so they wouldn't appear to lose market leadership or something. I forget what his exact words were.

RE: Palm running scared?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 4:03:33 AM #
As Handspring has to pay to palm licency fees it does not matter to them who has the leadership on the PalmOS - Palm or Handspring is commercially irrelevant.

Given the growing overhead costs of Palms inner imperium, it may be even convenient to them that others develop the platform further and they remain like a retired in Miamy with there monthly paycheck and their Porsches. And still play the "I am the master of the PDA universe" game.

Even thought the Palm OS developer was the nowadays Handspring CO.
I suspect that true driving force for further developmen will come mostly through Handspring or HandEra.

David Goldstein

You don't know what you're talking about.
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 6:22:06 AM #
Palm makes relatively little from OS licensing fees and can't afford to get out of the hardware game. Licensing the OS to Handspring, etc. is probably going to turn out to have been the worst possible thing they could have done, since Palm is unable to match their licensees in terms of hardware innovation.

Potential customers are starting to become sophisticated enough to see through their smoke and mirrors act, so I doubt Palm is going to still be able to sell PDAs at a premium just because they look nice. (Witness the current m505 screen fiasco.)

If you want to learn something about Palm's current and future problems, read this article:,1902,23844,00.html

No Corkscrew?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2001 1:02:40 PM #
Ok, the ability to add a bottle opener is ok,
but for the exectuive edition, can't they at least
have the option for a corkscrew?


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/11/2001 11:09:55 PM #
so then 90% of the features in the new palm OS will work in my IIIc?

Where should I go to beta test the new OS?

Card Info app?!

mikecane @ 3/12/2001 3:40:58 PM #
I was thinking about these new m500s -- and recall seeing a "Card Info" app on a screen shot. Anyone have any info on this app? I was wondering if perhaps it might be a File Explorer-type app -- and possibly permit the creation of directories and sub-directories on the MMC/SD cards?

RE: Card Info app?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 4:08:55 AM #
The Card Info app is... er... an app that provides info on the card!

However, if you look at PalmSource material, you will learn that cards will actually support subdirectories and even "autoexec" features, and that the API allows the creation of some kind of Explorer.

TRGPro & OS4.0 features

Lim Meng Shi @ 3/14/2001 7:28:38 AM #
TRG is already beta testing a version of the Palm OS that will support the VFS filing system of PalmOS4.0. This means that any future apps written to support VFS in Palm OS4.0 will work transparently with CompactFlash memory in the current TRGPro. This OS upgrade will be flash upgradable & will be provided FREE!

I don't think Sony is going to do the same for their Clie as they haven't shown any interest in improving the use of MS in the Clie. What they will do is they will release a Clie2 with features of the Palm M505 but with the MemoryStick slot & running the full OS4.0. If you want OS4.0 features then get the Clie2. Sony is not interested in patching OS4.0 features into their current Clies running PalmOS 3.5.x. The current Clie doesn't have enough FlashROM to accomodate OS4.0.

RE: TRGPro & OS4.0 features
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/6/2001 8:15:27 PM #
what you mean by clie 2. Is it the Clie PEG-N700C
N700C is running at palm os 3.5.X as stated in website.

os 4.0 on a IIIxe?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2001 2:02:28 PM #
I have a palm IIIxe. I wanted to download os 4.0 for it. Can I do this on my model?, if i can how? Also, i'm reletively new to palm pilots, whats a flash upgrade?

palm m10x

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/25/2001 5:36:38 PM #
Does anybody know when will this upgrade be available on the M10x series of palms?

RE: palm m10x
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2001 8:23:05 PM #
The m10x series do not have flash ROM so are not upgradable.

How can i upgrade my os 3.5 to os 4

bijan @ 10/11/2001 2:40:10 PM #
I have a Palm Vx and would like to upgrade it to OS 4. Does anybody know which site I can go to for getting this upgrade?

RE: How can i upgrade my os 3.5 to os 4
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2002 9:26:58 AM #