Palm OS 5 Will Be Up to Three Times Faster Than OS 4

When PalmSource decided to make the change from Dragonball processors to ARM-based ones, it was important to keep backwards compatibility to the thousands of existing applications written for the Dragonball processor. There has been a certain amount of nervousness that this process would make these applications run slower than they do now. According to Mike Mace, PalmSource's Chief Competitive Officer, nothing could be further from the truth. In an interview with the pdabuyersguide, he said "In preliminary testing, Palm OS applications are running up to about three times faster on Palm OS 5 than they do on the current systems."

However, this won't necessarily be true for all applications. "Performance varies tremendously from program to program, and some programs may be slower if the developer hasn't done any optimization."

Of course, Mr. Mace is far from the first person to attempt to reassure people that OS 5 won't have any speed problems. Last month, several prominent Palm developers said that their applications were running at least as fast under test boards running OS 5 as they are under OS 4.

In the pdabuyersguide interview, Mr. Mace, not surprisingly, declined to give any specifics on upcoming hardware running the new operating system, even declining to talk about release dates. He did mention that there would be handhelds with what he called "advanced multimedia" and also said Garmin plans to release a combination GPS/handheld.

I barely scratched the surface on this interview. I suggest everyone read the whole thing. -Ed

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Too much talking

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 1:59:48 PM #
Where is this OS? Too much blablabla. If we don't start seeing devices soon everybody will jump ship to PocketPC platform!
RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 2:03:31 PM #
Speak for yourself buddy!
RE: Too much talking
Beavis @ 8/26/2002 2:25:12 PM #
Once upon a time, in the not too distant future...

"Well, we thought OS 5 was up to three times faster than OS 4, but in reality it is three times slower due to the OS 4 simulator. It was an honest mistake. We really believed it was going to be three times faster. We apologize for any convenience we may have caused."


RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 2:25:38 PM #
I'm patiently waiting for my OS 5 device myself but I'm more than a little curious what is taking so long. It isn't like Palm and Sony didn't know it was coming.

If Palm wasted a lot of time on OSLO and decided to drop it, that might explain why they are a bit behind schedule. But I expected Sony to have something out within a month of PalmSource finishing OS 5. Don't they realize the first one out of the gate will have a huge advantage?

On the other hand, I'd rather they take their time and do it right rather than just dumping something half baked on the market.

RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 2:26:42 PM #
I say the same thing . . Palm is so predictably lame nowadays. I wouldnt jump to PPC, but I can sure tell you that my brand loyalty and perceived value of ALL handhelds is DRASTICALLY lower than it was a year ago. Palm will overprice these models and struggle some more . . .
RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 2:27:35 PM #
Beavis, shut your pie hole. You aren't funny (unless you are funny looking).
RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 2:35:14 PM #
> soon everybody will jump ship to PocketPC platform!

Speaking of releasing new hardware without getting your ducks in a row, we have the Pocket PC platform as a prime example. At least I know the 400 MHz Palm OS models will run faster than the 200 Mhz ones!! Compaq didn't get nearly as much *** for that as they deserved.

RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 3:39:54 PM #
Exactly buddy, so much talk but no show.
We are all waiting here since OS5 went RTM back in June. (tap, tap<<--fingers on table) Still waiting here to upgrade to a new color multimedia PDA running OS5. Maybe next month eh?
Careful Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 4:19:26 PM #
"Palm OS 5 Will Be Up to Three Times Faster Than OS 4"

Okay, is like the 16 bit color screens that are really 12 this over 3 combinations of faster speed?

I'd like to see one of these, we've heard about this for the last year.

Anyone think the hardware for OS5 is just vapor ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 4:45:16 PM #
It is looking like Oslo has turned out to be nothing but a proof of concept to get Sony, Acer, and the like to create hardware for PSource. Hey Palm too much hype for too long and not enough action! Im stopping the insanity and moving over to PPC because the PPC software has finally caught up to Palm as far as basic PIM apps are concerned.

How many future customers is Palm going to piss off before it steps up to the plate and says ok here is version 1 of the new Palm and it will be released on this date.

Former Palm fan.

RE: Too much talking
Foo Fighter @ 8/26/2002 5:52:31 PM #
I'm forced to agree. There's too much PR speak going on, and nothing to show for it. My patience is wearing thin. The only PR I want to hear from Palm is...Product Release!

RE: Anyone think the hardware for OS5 is just vapor ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 7:35:43 PM #




RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 8:01:28 PM #
Palm made the mistakes not PalmSource. Maybe trusted developers said that the new OS runs their games and apps much faster. Astraware, MobileWizardry, and one of the office suites (Remember the video of the spread sheet app!! Why wouldn't you believe them.
Bunch of whiners/naysayers
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 9:26:01 PM #
You pocket pc trolls crack me up. Always dissing Palm OS to justify your purchase decisions. Now flame away.
RE: Bunch of whiners/naysayers
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 9:37:59 PM #
RE: Bunch of whiners/naysayers
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 9:38:27 PM #
I bought a Pocket PC and i regret, it. I'm getting a Palm OS 5 unit!
RE: Bunch of whiners/naysayers
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 9:39:12 PM #
Come on! Get real! Open your eyes!
RE: Anyone think the hardware for OS5 is just vapor ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 9:52:44 PM #
I actually agree with this. I have been eagerly awaiting this OS and the expanded possibilities it brings, but I am very eager to buy a device and it looks like PPC's, although wasteful, chunky, and usually pretty ugly may just be the route to go for me is the OS5 devices dont start showing up.
RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2002 12:10:12 AM #
I honestly think the message board has become the silliest freak show lately. Palm Source HAS ALREADY DELIVERED THE GOODS - so stop dissing them. Palm Inc on the other hand - thats a different matter. Even so - they have only had the final release for a couple of months (and the beta for another few). Do want them to rush your fantasy device out the door only to have some stupid hardware glitch? The stakes are high (what with stupidity like the m130 screen debacle) and the pressure is on - they have to make damn sure they don't mess this up - the companies future is riding on the next wave of os 5 devices.

As for people whose lives revolve around checking this site every day and fereaking out like little children about how you 'just can't wait anymore' and now your jumping ship to PPC: fine - do it already and go post at PPCThoughts or something.

RE: Too much talking
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2002 12:19:14 AM #
Would all you people who piss an moan about the release dates of Palm products please jump to the Pocket PC platform.. at least this way you will stop all your carping on this web site, and Palm will lose all 1/10000 of 1%.

You bitch when Palm announces products to early and you bitch when they don't.. For pete sake, shut UP!

Predicted Release Schedule

Token User @ 8/26/2002 2:33:49 PM #
Just speculation but ...

September -
Rumours : Rumours of an announcement date for new models from Sony and Palm in October.
Sony : Announce another new unit. Retire two others.
Palm : Acknowledge that new units will be released before the end of the year.
General : Back to school specials and college bundles.
Everyone else : Same old thing.

October -
Rumours : Leaked pictures for devies being announce in November appear on the net. Much speculation on the specs.
Sony : Announce another accessory that unfortunately wont fit a majority of PDAs their users are carrying.
Palm : Deny that the photos are for a model that is being released, but confirm that an announcement will be made soon. Real soon.
Everyone else : Same old thing.

November -
Comdex rolls around.
Sony : have already released their current suite of models and have them available for purchase.
Palm : Demos 5 new models - 1 high end PalmOS 5 device running on a XScale CPU that looks surprisingly like the Oslo they denied so heavily, 1 low end colour OS4 device running on a 66MHz DragnonBall (m115), 1 pda /w cell phones capability via a headset, 1 cell phone /w pda capability (stripped down PalmOS version, small colour screen), and 1 PDA/GPS hybrid by Garmin.
Handspring : New CDMA based Treo announced (where did that come from? No rumours??). Includes SD slot, builtin bluettoth, and Qualcomms gpsOne chip. Also runs BREW binaries. Could be the killer device. Also announce version for GSM/GPRS early 1Q03.
Handera : PalmOS 5.0 PDA. Its screen is big enough to be a tablet. Largest colour screen on market in a PDA (unfortunately to use it fully requires custom API's), builtin 802.11b, CF and SD. Microdrive and external power supply options. Cheaper than a laptop. Lighter than a PocketPC tablet. Becomes popular in educational markets. Comes with enhance WP, SS, DB, and email software.

December -
Sony : Devices on the shelves in Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, and 7-11's across USA.
Palm : Production delays - but you can pre-order for delivery in time for Xmas (or maybe the New Year) on their web site.
Handspring : New model available at Verizon in the US, and also in Korea and Japan (Japanese version is bright pink with "Hello Kitty" logo).
Handera : Avialable online, through Sam's Club, and in college book stores.

Just postulating.

Anyone want to predict the ratio of OS4 to OS5 devices that will be sold?


RE: Predicted Release Schedule
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 3:15:21 PM #
Thats pretty good. Do you think the hello kitty model will be available online in the U.S.
I tried to read your predictions but...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 4:03:37 PM #
Well, I tried to read your detailed timeline, however, before I could finish, THEY CAME TRUE! Seriously, five or six lines of predictions could be considered to be speculation, but, anything longer is more like fiction.
RE: Predicted Release Schedule
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 7:15:21 PM #
Could not have said it better myself.

I think the PDA market will get the biggest shock of their lives (go down in history) if Palm was to deliver on time.

Even knowing this, people still get pissed off. We all know that the new Palm device is NOT just around the corner, there will a multitude of OS5 devices by other manufacturers before Palm will be able to actually get their devices on the shelves. And of course the true loyal fans (as myself) go and buy one on pre order, and guess what? 3 months later an update with more memory, brighter etc, same price, same predicament as the m505 buyers(as myself), just not worth the upgrade, another $1000 Aus. Once again loyal customer get burnt.

Palm better hope to hell that Sony never put an SD slot on their devices, otherwise bye bye.

''Advanced multimedia features...

Palm_Otaku @ 8/26/2002 3:05:31 PM #
... coming on several systems"

Ooh - there's a tantalizing teaser! :) I wonder which forthcoming hardware is going to use the ATI or MediaQ video accelerators? [g]

(and I'm also really looking forward to hearing some details on the Garmin GPS/Palm!)

Cool interview!

RE: ''Advanced multimedia features...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 4:53:48 PM #
... coming on Sony systems"

Palm might add some multimedia features but you KNOW Sony will. Entertainment is right there in the CLIE name.

I hope everyone doesn't emphasize multimedia at the expense of size and battery life, as all PPC devices and some Sony ones do. I don't want to watch movies on my handheld, I don't even do that on my laptop. I have a TV. I want the faster speed but I also want something not too much bigger than a Palm V.

RE: ''Advanced multimedia features...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 11:53:58 PM #
Sony has already done that. Look at the battery life on everything beyond the T615. Most notably the T665c. I can understand the battery life in the NR series because of the bigger screen. But the T665c is awful, because of all the lovely multimedia features.

It's a shame they couldn't keep up the battery life of the N760c.

Ah well.
I assume battery life will continue to dwindle.

Just the Beginning

RobZombie @ 8/26/2002 3:46:33 PM #
3x faster is good but I can't wait for OS 6. Remember this from February?

> code that has been recompiled for ARM-based chips is 61 times faster
> on a 200MHz ARM processor compared to a 33MHz Dragonball one

It is great that we won't have to wait for new apps to get a speed boost with OS 5 but once OS 6 and fully ARM native apps are out, we're gonna be smokin'!

RE: Just the Beginning
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 6:18:27 PM #
Yup, and that's still true for OS 5, potentially. In the interview they are talking about existing 68k applications runnings under emulation (ie no code change at all) - developers can write ARM native code for portions of their app that needs a real speed boost - this is where you'll see the orders of magnitude speed increases.


So lame....

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 3:53:46 PM #
Nothing new here. Mace doesn't get the ARM/StrongARM/X-Scale/TI OMAP issues at all. He didn't come close to answering the StrongARM/X-Scale issue with and answer not dreamed up by his marketing department.

Meanwhile, no new devices. No multitasking. No standard multimedia API. No custom fonts. No bloody file system. But hey! I can use any one of the 350+ calculators that comprise that 14,000 total apps.

On the apps, how is it they have over 200,000 developers and only 14,000 apps? Are we to believe that each app is taking about 14 people to develop it or is their developer count so blown out of whack because they are tracking how many hits on the dev kit download page?

StrongARM vs. XScale
Ed @ 8/26/2002 4:06:25 PM #
One thing Mike didn't make properly clear was that no Palm OS 5 devices will use StrongARM processors at all. The StrongARM family isn't part of the Palm OS Ready Program. Any Palm OS handhelds running Intel chips will be using XScale ones.

If you are concerned the Palm OS will have the same problems Pocket PC 2002 has with XScale processors, you need to read this article:
Palm OS 5 Can Take Full Advantage of Intel's XScale

You also might be interested in this one:
Palm to Release XScale Powered Handheld in 2003

News Editor

RE: So lame....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 5:36:46 PM #
"On the apps, how is it they have over 200,000 developers and only 14,000 apps?"


At least 1/2 of these are just wanting to run POSE with different roms.

Then cut it in half again to cover those who are just playing around with the tools.

Then double the number of apps to take into account that many of them are
custom in-house only apps.

This gives roughly a 2:1 ratio between developers and apps.


RE: So lame....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 8:20:40 PM #
What is the ratio when you eliminate duplicate (Yet Another...) Apps and useless Apps?

RE: So lame....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 8:43:46 PM #
Palm to take full advantage? You base that on this?
"Gina Clark, VP of Marketing for PalmSource, said when the PXA250 was announced, "Intel's high-performing, low-power processors coupled with the Palm OS, make for a compelling and powerful platform. Palm OS licensees and the broad base of Palm developers will be able to take advantage of the full benefits of the Intel XScale technology." "

Uh huh. Right after they get their color combinations jiberish resolved, we'll see if it takes "full advantage."

How can you take full advantage of a 32bit processor that addresses well over 256MB of RAM with an OS that doesn't allow you to multitask, much less multithread?

RE: So lame....
useybird @ 8/26/2002 10:52:03 PM #
the only reason most of those apps are lame is because palms don't have all the capabilities yet. As soon as an OS5 device comes out there will be alot more apps available to take advantage of its enhanced hardware i.e. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Voice recorder, hires screen, enhanced speaker, etc.

Senioritis: The chronic inflammation of the Senior.
RE: So lame....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 11:02:12 PM #
Many people develope for the Palm and never release anything to the public. This includes many corporatations and individuals. There's probably more "internal use" than publicly released software.
RE: So lame....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2002 12:23:43 AM #
Guy - you should know what yr talking about before posting - it saves embarassment. Speaking of embarassment, PDABuyersguide got it wrong when they asked him the question:
"With Palm OS 5 coming out running on the more powerful StrongARM processor, what would you say Palm's competitive edge will be?"
I think the interviewer over there should be fired for not knowing his facts (it is a site about PDAs afterall) but thats just my harsh opinion. Why? NEWSFLASH: Palm or PalmSource HAVE NEVER SAID that OS5 runs on StrongARM - EVER. I don't why this is so confusing but it goes to show how badly researched a lot of reporting/media is (except PIC - the best site for trying to get to the bottom of this confusion). Even WIRED said this in different articles - all perpetuating this notion that 'Palm is just getting to StrongARM, while PPC is moving on to the next generation'. In fact the opposite is true: Unlike the neandrathals at M$, Palm came up with the idea of HAL (hardware abstraction layer) - which each CPU manufacture writes to optimize there particular variety of ARM chip (XScale is ARM btw) for the OS. M$ shortsitedly hardcoded optimization for 1 chip - StrongARM - into the OS. Thus the whole XScale problem we've been hearing about in the PPC camp.

Anyway - just wanted to reclarify that and point out that Michael Mace was 100% correct and that PDABuyersguide got there facts completely wrong. The only problem with Michael Mace's response was not pointing out that the interviewers question was factually incorrect.

RE: So lame....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2002 9:09:19 AM #
>Guy - you should know what yr talking about before posting - it saves embarassment.

LOL! No kidding. Here is what you wrote:

>Unlike the neandrathals at M$, Palm came
>up with the idea of HAL (hardware abstraction
>layer) - which each CPU manufacture writes to
>optimize there particular variety of ARM chip
>(XScale is ARM btw) for the OS. M$ shortsitedly
>hardcoded optimization for 1 chip - StrongARM - into
>the OS. Thus the whole XScale problem we've been
>hearing about in the PPC camp.

MS uses a HAL too. the PPC isn't hardcoded to the StrongARM, it is coded to ARM. The new HP 928 WDA Pocket PC 2002 Phone selling in Europe runs on a TI OMAP *ARM* processor, not StrongARM. The X-Scale issue is an optimization issue, like moving from a PIII to a PIV. Remember that until Intel fixed some the the PIII emulation issues how many PIII's would blow the doors off of a PIV? No, of course you don't. You were too busy reading the Zen paperwork.

OS5 faster assuming same MHz?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 5:19:25 PM #
Is OS5 faster because the OS is better optimized or because ARM's can run more efficiently? Or is he saying it'll be 3 times faster on a 200MHz ARM than on a 66MHz Dragonball?
RE: OS5 faster assuming same MHz?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/26/2002 7:45:01 PM #
Yes it is.

Dragonball is based on 68000, CISC-type processor which require multiple clock to run single instruction. ARM, is RISC by name, required only one clock to run one instruction. At the same clock speed, supposely, ARM should run faster than Dragonball.

Newer version of ARM could run multiple instruction in single clock. So, it should be way faster than Dragonball. Same as PowerPC 1GHz perform better than Pentium 2GHz.

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