Comments on: Garmin Selects DragonBall MXL to Power OS 5 GPS Device

Motorola has announced it's second-generation DragonBall™ MXL applications processor. Current Palm OS licensee, Garmin, plans to incorporate the processor into a family of GPS-enabled products, including those that will run the Palm OS 5 platform.
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I'll believe it when I see it.

mikemusick @ 11/15/2002 3:02:13 PM #
The Garmin drum has been beaten (esp. by Palm) for several years now, yet we've seen nothing.

From years of writing navigation/GIS software, I've learned two things about Garmin - they are very slow to introduce new models, and they play their cards close to the vest. It's entirely possible that they are seriously working on OS 5-based products, but like I said the Garmin licensing of Palm OS is old, old, OLD news... too old.

An old saying about "getting off the pot" comes to mind here. :-/

RE: I'll believe it when I see it.
anderp @ 11/15/2002 3:56:57 PM #
Me too, this is such a joke. I can remember mayber 2-3 years ago when I was gonna buy a handheld GPS reading about the upcoming Garmin PalmOS device. I delayed my purchase for a few months waiting for it. All this time later and they announce their gonna use a CPU that won't be available until sometime next year!?!

Talk about vaporware...

RE: I'll believe it when I see it.
bcombee @ 11/15/2002 6:35:12 PM #
I don't know anything about this deal -- the Dragonball MX group is totally separate from our Palm OS tools group, but I would say this is pretty legitimate. Usually design win press releases like this only go out after development is fairly well underway, and we already know the earlier Dragonball MX1 chip was approved for the Palm OS Ready program back in June. I've personally used Palm OS on a MX1 development board, and it should work very well, similar in speed to TI's OMAP 1510 chip as they both use ARM9 processor cores.

Cool... I look forward to seeing an integrated GPS/Palm OS device on the market. I could see a custom device with GPS, a SD card slot, high-res screen, and a good software bundle being really useful for lots of different tasks.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: I'll believe it when I see it.
Palm_Otaku @ 11/15/2002 8:20:45 PM #
Garmin licensed the PalmOS in January '01, and it's understandable that they'd hold off production until they had access to this new powerful and *power-efficient* processor. Like Ben, I'm really looking forward to seeing what Garmin releases.

The new DB MSL sounds like a very interesting processor -- more info here:

RE: I'll believe it when I see it.
mikemusick @ 11/15/2002 9:11:01 PM #
"...I would say this is pretty legitimate."

No doubt about that, Ben, but we've been hearing about the Garmin relationship (again, mostly from Palm) for a long, long while with nary a peep out of Garmin. This Motorola announcement is only another voice singing the same ol' song.

Personally, I'm chomping at the bit. My software sales opportunities would explode if there was a Palm OS device with integrated GPS on the market. But if you don't mind, I will check my optimism at the door until Garmin makes a specific device announcement.

RE: I'll believe it when I see it.
Schorsch @ 11/17/2002 6:14:15 AM #
According to an European Garmin rep. The Palm OS device will be on the market end of Januar 2003.
There will be two options, one with inbuild GPS and one without inbuild GPS to fit to existing Garmin GPS.
They will have OS 5, high res color and SD Card slot.


price of OS 5/6

hotpaw4 @ 11/15/2002 7:12:51 PM #
Note the MXL volume price. This is only a few dollars more than the price of a Dragonball EZ. Add maybe a couple bucks for the larger ROM required, and it looks possible to build an Palm OS 5 or OS 6 device for less than $10 more in materials costs than an m130/SL10-class device.

An old news item is that Motorala paid for an ARM architecture license, not just a ARM CPU use license. That means they can design their own compatible CPU implementations, not just use ARM9 cores like TI. There's also an ARM group somewhere in Texas working on the ARM10. I wonder when these designs will be out, to give the Intel XScale a good run for the money.

RE: price of OS 5/6
Haber @ 11/15/2002 9:59:59 PM #
" looks possible to build an Palm OS 5 or OS 6 device for less than $10 more in materials costs than an m130/SL10-class device."

Of course, one shouldn't expect that in this given scenario this would translate into the lowering of the cost of the device in itself from the consumer's point of view. The OEMs, needing revenue and profits, would keep the prices as high or almost as high as before, while pocketing the couple hundred dollar difference between the actual cost and retail price. Unless Dell or a Dell-like company moved in to hyper-commoditize the PDA market, of course. Then it would devolve into a price war with the same benefits and drawbacks we see in the PC industry today.

RE: price of OS 5/6
bcombee @ 11/16/2002 5:33:17 PM #
I think we'll see some lower cost ARM-based devices move into the midrange market pretty quickly. It only took a year for 320x320 screens to go from the $500 CLIE N710C, to the $150 CLIE SL10 and $250 CLIE SJ30C. It would make sense to not introduce ARM devices at the low-end now, as low-end consumers tend not to be as "risk-ready", and the market still needs to be seeded with Palm OS 5 development tools and compatible apps. I hope fully integrated solutions like the Dragonball MXL will allow this low-end this space to be exploited.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

Current Implementations?

HiWire @ 11/15/2002 11:15:54 PM #
Which Palm devices are using Dragonball MX1? I think they mentioned some Sony Clie's with this CPU a while ago.

Palm m505 User

Almost there...

jonr @ 11/19/2002 2:40:28 PM #
How long until I can get my Tricorder:
GSM/GPRS phone, WiFi, BlueTooth, GPS, email, web (with palm access to phonebooks, dictionarys, google & encyclopædias) :)
Oh, and don't forget MP3.




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