Rumor: Panasonic to License Palm OS, Make ARM-Based Handheld (Updated)

A source who has spoken with a former Palm employee says that Panasonic is going to announce early next week that they have licenced the Palm OS. Even better, they have details on the handheld that Panasonic already has in development.

A name for the handheld is not yet available. It will be one of the first PalmOS handhelds to run on an ARM-based processor. It will use a 32-bit Intel StrongARM SA-110 at 100 MHz. Possibly the most questionable part of this rumor is that this device won't use OS 5.0, but instead run OS 4.2. Until now, it was believed that the first devices with ARM-based chips would run OS 5.0.

It is only speculation but possibly the answer to this is Panasonic has created a Device Abstraction Layer allowing the current version of the Palm OS, written for the Motorola Dragonball family of microprocessors, to run on an ARM-based chip.

It will sport 16 MB of RAM and 8 MB of masked ROM, meaning its OS will be non-upgradable. No explanation was given for the large amount of ROM.

Its screen will have an 8-bit reflective color screen with front lighting at 320 by 320 pixel resolution. The screen's image will be rotatable.

Update: The source has sent a correction. This device will not have a virtual Graffiti area.

It will have dual SD slots located on the top of the device.

It will still have an infrared port but there will be one version with built-in Bluetooth.

The source describes the device as looking similar to the m505 with fewer curves. It will be approximately as thick as the m505.

It will come pre-installed with image editing software to work with pictures taken by Panasonic digital cameras. It isn't clear if Panasonic is intending to announce a Bluetooth-enabled digital camera later of if images will need to be transferred on SD card.

The model with built-in Bluetooth will cost $430 and the model without will be $360. They should be available near the beginning of April, 2002.

Panasonic is also developing a tri-band GPRS wireless modem as a clip-on sled. It is not yet known if this will be data only or voice and data.

At this time, there is no way to double check this. If Panasonic does announced that it has licensed the Palm OS next week, that will certainly be a strong clue that these device specs are accurate.

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My Opinion?

EGarrido @ 8/23/2001 4:54:52 PM #
Is it just me, or is that a laundry list of features? It goes on forever... I'd imagine a device like that either not exist or cost *quite* a pretty penny.

That'd be really cool if these are the real specs, though.

Eric Garrido

Sounds suspicious

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 4:51:59 PM #
320x320 with a virtual grafiti area? That implies grafiti on a square screen. If it is to fit in an m500 size case, then then screen can't be much wider than the m500 screen, which means it isn't much taller. If the Panasonic screen is already square, then the grafiti area will take up part of the square screen instead of sitting below the screen. Picture an m500 with metal casing where the grafiti are is and the grafiti are moved to the screen. I don't think this is real. HandEra went with 240x320 because this allowed them to use a virtual grafiti a while still having the normal square screen displayed above the grafiti area. Samsung went with 160x240 for their phone to allow for a virtual grafiti area.

RE: Sounds suspicious
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 5:22:53 PM #
The specs sound suspicious also. However, Panasonic becoming one of Palm's licensees makes sense for several recent events.

Recently Palm turned down Toshiba as a licensee, and they did it because they knew they are going with Panasonic.

Palm went with SD cards, and guess who is pushing those cards. You guessed it.

Perhaps we will know for sure next week.

RE: Sounds suspicious
RoofusPennymore @ 8/23/2001 5:43:19 PM #
Those are two good reasons that I think that it could be true. Also Panfonics also has had the time and money to put some development efforts into this.

It's rather a HandEra with Color, an ARM and a CF slot.

RE: Sounds suspicious
GrouchoMarx @ 8/23/2001 6:47:18 PM #
Palm turned down Toshiba? I didn't hear that one. What's your source, and why in gods' name would they want to turn down someone like Toshiba? :-)

RE: Sounds suspicious
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 7:44:21 PM #
Especially considering the next lot of Tecra's will have SD slots in them...! :-) I heard that from a journo under NDA last week. I believe they will be announced next week. Should be an intersting week...! :-)

RE: Sounds suspicious
atrizzah @ 8/23/2001 9:23:28 PM #
I was just thinkin that maybe the 320x320 resolution is not including the virtual grafiti area. Just a thought, because it would also make no sense to have a rotatable, square-shaped screen.

Peace Out
RE: Sounds suspicious
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 12:58:40 AM #
I though Toshiba is building a PPC. Not sure who turned who down.

anyway, isn't there still a limitation preventing 16 mgs RAM with Palm OS, or did this get addressed with 4.0?

RE: Sounds suspicious
bcombee @ 8/24/2001 2:08:43 AM #
The 8MB limit was a problem with the DragonBall and DragonBall EZ processors. With the VZ chips, 16MB is very doable; I suspect that the vendors haven't introduced 16MB devices mainly because they already have volume contracts for the smaller 8MB parts. One upgrade house has been selling 16MB upgraded Visor Prisms for several months.

RE: Sounds suspicious
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 6:22:05 AM #
There were numeous articles about Toshiba's new machines on technical periodicals, and if you refer to it you will see about they approaching Palm first.

16 MB Prisms
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 9:23:20 AM #
Please tell us who is selling the upgraded 16 MB Prisms.


16 Mb Prisms
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 9:39:15 AM #
The guys at upgrade them from 8 to 16.

Sony vs. Panasonic?

EGarrido @ 8/23/2001 5:01:43 PM #
I know this is horrible for me to make a second comment, immediately after that last one, but...

I was just thinking (For once). Perhaps Panasonic would be the answer to Sony's line of products, meaning, they are entertainment based for multimedia purposes. Do you think that there could be a rivalry between the two companies with this product?

Eric Garrido

RE: Sony vs. Panasonic?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 9:01:28 PM #
Well, it would explain the huge ROM--multimedia software.

RE: Sony vs. Panasonic?
rueyeet @ 8/24/2001 11:38:10 AM #
>>Do you think there could be a rivalry between the two companies with this product?

And wouldn't it be neat if there was? :)

Competition is good for innovation...I can definitely see Palm vs Handspring duking it our for the more PIM-based business/consumer market, and Sony vs Panasonic going head-to-head on the personal technology/multimedia front, if this rumor really does make it to reality.

(ten bucks on Sony. hee!)

enough with these crazy rumors!

AriB @ 8/23/2001 5:06:31 PM #
first Handspring then Sony and now this? ok that does it

Flushing, New York Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ --
AriB Technologies ((Nasdaq: ARIB), today announced that it is releasing new Palm Powered devices next week with the Intel XScale processor.
400 mhz XScale processor
64 megabytes of RAM
2 Secure Digital slots
a USB 2.0 connector
32 bit color high resolution screen with a virtual graffiti area
audio DSP
always on wireless connection
integrated Bluetooth
3.9 ounces
2 month battery life

About Palm, Inc.
Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) is a pioneer in the field of mobile and mobile and wireless Internet solutions and a leading provider of handheld computers, according to IDC (December 2000). Based on the Palm OS(R) platform, Palm's handheld solutions allow people to carry and access their most critical information wherever they go. Palm(TM) handhelds address the needs of individuals, rumor mongers, enterprises and educational institutions through thousands of application solutions.
The Palm OS platform is also the foundation for products from Palm's licensees and strategic partners, such as AriB Technologies, Franklin Covey, Handspring, IBM, Kyocera, Sony, Symbol Technologies, and HandEra (formerly TRG). Platform licensees also include Acer, Garmin, Nokia and Samsung. The Palm Economy is a growing global community of industry-leading licensees, world-class OEM customers, and approximately 176,452 innovative developers and solution providers that have registered to develop solutions based on the Palm OS platform. Palm went public on March 2, 2000. Its stock is traded on the Nasdaq national market under the symbol PALM. More information is available
at .

About AriB Technologies
We're even cooler but we don't have a website yet. Stay tuned...

NOTE: Palm OS is a registered trademark and Palm and Palm Powered are rademarks of Palm, Inc. or its subsidiaries. Other brands may be trademarks of their respective owners.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 5:30:29 PM #
what????? When is the release date??? and price??? THis is AMAZING!!

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
RoofusPennymore @ 8/23/2001 5:41:52 PM #
It's just BS designed to take advantage of the more gullible.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
Islander @ 8/23/2001 6:42:21 PM #
Can't wait yill they get their website up so I can order mine.
I never thought we'd hear from the owner of a PDA company on our little board.

Clearly Mr Arib has been reading our board for months as a member here, taking close note of what we really want. This is how he has design a nearly perfect device.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 6:53:00 PM #
That's the problem with rumors and "anonymous sources". After a while, even an obvious rouse gets taken seriously. Thanks AriB for making that obvious.

All that is left now is for PRNewswire to sue the pants off you for using their name in what may otherwise be construed as an actual announcement without any legal disclaimer. It is called libel regardless of your good intentions.

What a tragicomedy. It's funny because you guys are all obviously good natured techies who love Palm technology and handheld computing technology in general. It is sad because this is a public forum and ethics are becoming questionable. We all understand a good joke. However, this is not the right forum for such jokes for you may actually hurt the true value of this medium.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 7:10:39 PM #
Maybe we can start talking about the products that are out there already and stop with the reporting of rumors. Frankly, Ive always thought it was stupid. Rumors are not news!

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
Islander @ 8/23/2001 7:13:16 PM #
"That's the problem with rumors and "anonymous sources". After a while, even an obvious rouse gets taken seriously."

You dont REALLY believe anyone is taking Arib seriously do you?

Speaking of "anonymous sources" try registering (pseudo name is fine) so we can know who we are talking to.

"It is sad because this is a public forum and ethics are becoming questionable. We all understand a good joke. However, this is not the right forum for such jokes for you may actually hurt the true value of this medium."

You are taking this stuff WAAAAY too seriously my friend. Arib illustrated his point very well with humor. I found it entertaining. NOBODY is going to think it was real.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 8:47:35 PM #
There is no such word as "gullible". It's one of those nonsense words that sounds like it should be a word.

Try looking it up in a dictionary if you doubt it

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 9:04:51 PM #
Ha ha.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
AriB @ 8/23/2001 11:40:17 PM #
The name of the new device is Gullible's Travels mPEG 330. The ultimate mobile device for the totally clueless.

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 8:39:09 AM #
Main Entry: gull·ible
Variant(s): also gull·able /'g&-l&-b&l/
Function: adjective
Date: 1818
: easily duped or cheated
- gull·ibil·i·ty /"g&-l&-'bi-l&-tE/ noun
- gull·ibly /'g&-l&-blE/ adverb

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 9:33:13 AM #
>Main Entry: gull·ible
>Variant(s): also gull·able /'g&-l&-b&l/
>Function: adjective
>Date: 1818
>: easily duped or cheated
>- gull·ibil·i·ty /"g&-l&-'bi-l&-tE/ noun
>- gull·ibly /'g&-l&-blE/ adverb

LOL, I can't believe you actually looked! :)

All the dictionaries should be modified so that the word "gullible" would be on its own page and the last definition would be "See below". The rest of the page should be a shiny reflective surface to act as a mirror. :)

RE: enough with these crazy rumors!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 9:33:38 AM #
You are very gullible if you actually looked in the dictionary to see if it really was a word. Duh!!!

Nice feature set, but...
rueyeet @ 8/24/2001 11:24:56 AM #
what, no JogDial?! ;D

Mixed Bag

EdwardGreen @ 8/23/2001 7:25:29 PM #
Well some of this makes sense: Panasonic and Palm do seem to be "in bed together" at the moment, so a Panasonic PalmOS device isn't a silly idea. The 320x320 resolution may well end up being the OS 5 standard, (although I can see contrast suffering at that resolution on a greysacle screen) but a soft graffiti area doesn't strike my as likely at this resolution. Panasonic will want to show pictures, so the high resolution with only 8bit colour would be a strange move. 100Mhz Strong Arm seems a bit slow for running emulation, but that's conjecture either way. PalmOS 4.2, well I can't see it suporting ARM anyhow.

My take on this one is there may be some truth in it. Panasonic may well have a Palm m505 alike in the works (like Acer:, which could be bluetooth enabled and run the bluetooth version of PalmOS4 (4.2 / 4.5 whatever). It may be 320x320 and have 16bit colour - if I was Panasonic that's what I'd want. If that is the case it is highly likely that they have ARM PalmOS 5 device in the pipeline too.

It sounds like someone got to see some internal Spec sheets for some future possible devices.


Enough with the whining

Islander @ 8/23/2001 7:41:58 PM #
Why suddenly all who are whining about these "rumors." As long as they are labeled as rumors I got no beef. If you dont want rumors why read them. Do they hurt your eyes when you see the title? If you dont want rumors go to a dedicated news site like cnet, or Palmgear news section. While they occasionally post rumors, they mostly stick with verifiable facts.
EVERY BIT OF OFFICIAL NEWS CAN BE FOUND ELSEWHERE. I bet you people spend more time at Palmstation, and PDA buzz, instead because you want cutting edge info. This is where "rumors" come.

Face it. YOU ALL DONT WANT TO WAIT FOR THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASES THAT IS WHY YOU COME HERE. Months go by and when the rumors turn out right nobody grumbles. When a rumor does not pan out (handsprings supposed monday release which was downplayed here)people cry "no more stinkin rumors." Get real if it werent for "rumors" this site would not be as popular as it is. Most of you would not be here. Eds "sources" have been pretty good (by no means perfect.)

I'll say what Ed is too polite to say-

RE: Enough with the whining
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 9:30:48 PM #
Amen. That's definitely one of the reasons I come here (not the only one though--I like the reviews, I like the early notification of actual press releases, and I am really grateful for all the help I got here to find my m505 as soon as they started appearing on the shelves).

Ed, would you consder setting up a category under the articles section of the Main Menu that lists all the works in progress we've heard about? I know many of these are rumors, but some are a little more solid. I had forgotten about the Acer Palm until I was reminded of it in this thread. It would be great if we had a place to scan through all the possibilities with ease.

Thanks in advance.

Can I have some cheese, too?
rueyeet @ 8/24/2001 11:26:58 AM #
I like rumors. They stimulate the imagination. As long as they aren't represented as fact, one doesn't get confused between verifiable fact and rampant speculation.

Ed and Palminfocenter do a good job of distinguishing between what's fact, what's pretty likely, and what is probably hot air; and explicitly let you know which parts of the rumor are which. In this article he speculates the possibility of a Bluetooth-enabled Panasonic digital camera, and lo and behold, there's a link posted to validate it. Not bad for predictive commonsense.

As to a rumor hurting sales by figuring that people will wait to buy the rumored product rather than the current one, well hey, no matter what you buy now, chances are almost certain that it'll be outmatched by some new product within a year, or even six months. So you can't win, whether you wait or not, and personally I'd rather have some advance warning not so much of specific products, but of where the technology is trending.

But that's just me. If I didn't care, I just wouldn't read about it.

RE: Enough with the whining
Moosecat @ 8/24/2001 11:44:35 AM #
We shouldn't overstate the potential of rumors to affect sales. Although it is sometimes difficult to believe, the population of this and similar sites is a tiny, tiny fraction of the potential PDA-buying public. 99.9% of that population has no idea what the latest rumor is (and would have no idea where to find out the latest rumors anyway).

Official announcements, on the other hand (a la m50x announcement), generate lots of press in the general media and infiltrate the general population to a much greater degree.

RE: Enough with the whining
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/25/2001 9:25:38 AM #

Yes I agree.... enough already!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 11:52:30 PM #
where's that freaking Palm m125? Eh? Pictures and rumours don't help these sites at all. Then we all believe that everything written is bs, that's fine with us. We don't need to visit bs sites. Even C|net screwed up :(

no handspring... no palm... damn where's the back to school specials???

RE: Yes I agree.... enough already!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 12:58:37 AM #
FWIW, I was in a Staples retail store yesterday and saw an empty display for a product called "Palm m125". It was priced at $250, just as the rumor said it would be.

RE: Yes I agree.... enough already!
B @ 8/24/2001 7:02:52 PM #
If you dont like rumors why do you visit a RUMOR site??

Panasonic will announce Bluetooth capable Camera

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 2:47:55 AM #
I just read this article announcing that panasonic will bring out a new camera which has bluetooth to send digital photo's to other bluetooth enabled devices:

The camera will further have an detachable part with the vcr-unit so you will be able to use it either as an still-camera or as an vcr. The still-camera is said to store on sd-card or on the vcr-tape.

PS: The article comes from the Nr. 1 daily newspaper from switzerland. As the Tech-Section gets updated about weekly the link above might not be valid for more than about 3 weeks.

RE: Panasonic will announce Bluetooth capable Camera
drw @ 8/24/2001 7:22:55 PM #
I'm trying to understand the need for a bluetooth camera. I see the use of a bluetooth phone, cordless headset, and palm. The phone could stay in the pocket the whole time while receiving voice calls and making data calls with the palm. G3 voice over IP would be cool as well giving one the ability to talk while the data connection is active.

David in Pflugerville, TX

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