PalmSource Shifting All Efforts to Linux Development

In last weeks PalmSource conference call interim CEO Patrick McVeigh also announced the company is shifting all engineering efforts on the future Linux based versions of the Palm OS.

He stated, "We are delaying all development of products not directly related to this."

He also put a timetable on the release of the upcoming linux Palm OS products. The version for low end and feature phones is planned to be completed by summer 2006 and a high end version for smartphone is expected to be ready in the second half of next year.

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Is this the end?

bdoubledee @ 7/5/2005 2:28:30 PM # Q
Does this signal the end of the Palm OS as we know it? Will OS6, er that is Cobalt, ever see the light of day?

Check my homepage! This REALLY works. See the article in the Gadgeteer.
RE: Is this the end?
Kesh @ 7/5/2005 2:32:28 PM # Q
My wild prediction: Some company will put out a Cobalt device, simply for the hype of "with new PalmOS 6 Cobalt!" on their advertising. Virtually no one else will, preferring to stick with a known OS until PalmLinux comes out.

RE: Is this the end?
fishtastic @ 7/5/2005 7:18:38 PM # Q
Even if a device with Cobalt on it shipped, who would develop apps for cobalt knowing that it has a 1 year shelf life. OK, it 'should' run 'most' of the existing apps, but the thing about Cobalt is the support of modern features.

Also, why low-end first? Surely with these things it's the bleeding edge guys who will go out and buy the new latest thing. I can only guess that they expect problem with legacy app or such like.

Cobalt is DEAD. PalmLinux is vaporware. PalmOS 5 still rules
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/5/2005 11:42:45 PM # Q

Everything else is talk.

Palmsource stock has dropped around 15% in the past week and will probably be in the $7 range tomorrow. Once it hits $5 - 6, it will be time for Palm to take PalmSource out with a Handspring-style buyout. Probably will happen within 6 months, once PalmSource stockholders are "softened up" enough that they'll accept ANYTHING.

Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

The Palm Economy = Communismô
The Great Palm Swindle:

RE: Is this the end?
LiveFaith @ 7/6/2005 10:06:18 AM # Q

Please, P1s not crazy. They'll wait for $1.50 on the market and offer $3 to appease.

Pat Horne;

Michael Mace: RIP
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/6/2005 10:22:24 PM # Q
Chief Apologist, Michael Mace is history at PalmSource, kiddies. A truly gifted spin doctor, Mace kept pumping out the PalmSource B.S. party line right up to the very end. I'm amazed he could manage to say some of the things he did over the years with a straight face.

Since Mace basically did nothing more than PR for the platform, he was considered expendable. The new management is now trying to get rank and file PalmSource staffers to post to more Palm sites in an effort to generate goodwill for the platform. No doubt they can now come up with the funds to hire a full time Astroturfer as well. (Jeff Kirvin, anyone?)

No offense to Mace but I don't think anyone could ever figure out exactly what the he11 it was he did for a living. May he rest in piece. No doubt Mace will soon be reborn working with another ex-Apple/ex-Palm crony...

Bless 'im.

Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

The Palm Economy = Communismô
The Great Palm Swindle:

RE: Is this the end?
sdf @ 7/7/2005 12:59:48 AM # Q
Other than not having to sign another contract in 5 years, what would palmOne really get out of purchasing palmSource?

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WTF "Other" Products???!!!

Gekko @ 7/5/2005 2:41:46 PM # Q

What other REAL products could these morons be working on anyway??? Have they done ANYTHING even REMOTELY productive since releasing OS 5 THREE YEARS ago?

If these guys ran a funeral parlor, no one would die!

EdH @ 7/5/2005 10:11:35 PM # Q
Bwahahahahahahahahha!!! I love that line! :-)

drw @ 7/6/2005 1:47:55 AM # Q
The whole segment has down syndrome. I don't see any products on the PPC side which I would consider an "upgrade" from my 2 year old Tungsten C. I can't believe that I'm the only person in the world who does enough data entry to make a thumbpad essential. At the very least Palm could throw us a crumb in the form of an OS5 bluetooth SD card so we could surf when WIFI is not available.

Anyway, I'm all for moving full steam ahead towards some goal. If Linux is to replace BeOS, so be it. Get on with it, get 'er done. We've seen more updates from "The Video Professor" and he gives his product away for free.


InsGuy @ 7/6/2005 10:36:30 AM # Q
And I don't see any palm product coming that would make me switch back to them from my X50v. I've used it long enough that I can do everything I want with it, to include data entry with G1, and with Styletap, I can run nearly all of my POS programs as well.

No thanks Palm.

All good things...

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It's a palmsource hail mary

DJS_TX @ 7/5/2005 2:42:32 PM # Q
While I am happy to see this happen from a technical standpoint it only confirms what VOR and the other demented trolls have been saying. To pubically announce you are abandoning a product before it is ever adopted by one manufacturer is a pretty sad commentary on the state of palm innovation.

That said, bring on the Palm OS linux smartphones. Just be sure to leave access to the kernel layer in there for the hackers. Remember that it was the ease of development and innovation that contributed to making the original palmpilot great.

Make it stable. Make it intuitive. Make it open to the hackers to innovate. Make it be able to run all the legacy apps. And they just might save palm from the becoming yet another technological roadkill of the Microsoft juggernaut.

Skinning unix worked to save Mac's hide. Hopefully palm can do it as elegantly.


RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
LiveFaith @ 7/5/2005 3:33:39 PM # Q
It just feels more like a HELL Mary

Pat Horne;
RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
ReneeRoberts @ 7/5/2005 4:20:24 PM # Q
>>He stated, "We are delaying all development of products not directly related to this."

This doesn't say that they have abandoned the other development, just that they are concentrating on the Linux development.

I think it wise to be patient and see what transpires in the next coming months. We all know that PalmOS was self-limiting, due to the overall simplicity of the original device. Growth is inevitable, everyone. Just because the kernel will be Linux doesn't mean PalmOS will die. It is taking a front end form, that's all. This means that the platform will be capable of expansion in ways that we don't even see right now.

Patience. I for one am anticipating playing with the new OS. I hope you are too.

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
DJS_TX @ 7/5/2005 4:46:30 PM # Q
Cobalt is already 1.5 years old. They just announced they are halting work on it for at least another 1.5 years. You're right that they are not announcing they are killing Cobalt. But common sense would state that if no licensee has announced a Cobalt device, do you think they will now that they will get no bug fix or patch support for the next year and a half? And let's say they pick up Cobalt development after they finish smartphone development. 3 years of shelf time is pretty close to an eternity in the embedded computing market.

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
LiveFaith @ 7/5/2005 4:48:03 PM # Q

I hope our little jewel of a platform stays alive and well in phone and PDA forms. How it will happen I have no idea?

Pat Horne;

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
hkklife @ 7/5/2005 5:03:58 PM # Q
Just a thought: I wonder if P1 could just buy up all of the IP & rights to Cobalt for *pennies* on the dollar and continue to cobble it together on their own? All while milking FrankenGarnet for another year or so...

Then in fall '06 P1/Palm could release a handful of Cobalt-based Tungstens or Treos to carry them along until they pick up the remnants of PalmSource for (again) mere pennies on the dollar--along with the 85% complete (by that point) PoLinux. Then P1 could theoretically keep PoL for themselves and license Cobalt to the asian smartphone manufacturers...

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
JarJar @ 7/5/2005 6:44:50 PM # Q
"I wonder if P1 could just buy up all of the IP & rights to Cobalt for *pennies* on the dollar and continue to cobble it together on their own?"

The answer is yes the could, but the real problem is--are there software developers or other hardware developers behind it? Even if P1 had a Cobalt device tomorrow morning for free, they would have a hard time convincing folk to sign on knowing that the platform is somewhat of a dead end.

By the way, Cobalt is a great OS. PalmSource screwed up long ago because their licensing model punishes device makers who move up to a new OS. PalmSource should have had an even subscription model. The warning signs were there four years ago, when Handspring stuck to OS3 instead of moving to OS4. The idiots in charge have been more interested in playing stock games rather than looking at the fundamentals of their licensing model. --I said these things 4 years ago.

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
Texonite @ 7/5/2005 8:25:19 PM # Q
DJS TX, what the hell are you saying here, if you even don't know what are you talking about?
From what is written I understand that you don't know at least that two things:

- PalmOS For Linux is not "again" written from the ground
- At least 1/3 of its code is adopted from Cobalt.

And if you worry about quantity of apps being written, that's the last thing you gotta worry about. Every year on Palm DevCon there is a contest. Four nominations each system (5 and 6) to make best app.
This thing I might not remember correctly, but once there was 50 code samples in Protein API from Astraware. That's telling something...

Cmon, I'm waiting for you! Cobalt, come here!

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
Gekko @ 7/5/2005 9:13:27 PM # Q

I agree with lapchinj -

"Anyway sooner or later the reason why they're canning Cobalt will surface but for my 2 cents they must have blown it with a poor design. When they came out with the betas something was probably not working correctly which might have caused fears about a big rewrite for portions or even all of it. Or that Cobalt was already behind the times and outdated. But what ever the reason is it seems to smell like the same foul oder as the Denver International Aiport baggage system smelled like when the canned that project."

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
LiveFaith @ 7/6/2005 10:11:58 AM # Q

Is that punishment because the "new" OS is sold at a premium while the old is cheaper? How do/did they punish?

Pat Horne;

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
DJS_TX @ 7/6/2005 10:12:01 AM # Q
texonite said:
DJS TX, what the hell are you saying here, if you even don't know what are you talking about?
From what is written I understand that you don't know at least that two things:

- PalmOS For Linux is not "again" written from the ground
- At least 1/3 of its code is adopted from Cobalt.

>>>end quote

First off, easy there. I am a palm enthusiast and I want it to succeed. Look at my post history, I'm not a troll spewing anti palm diatribes. I have more money in registered software on my Zire 72 than I paid for the device itself.

Cobalt as it currently exists is an operating system and a GUI. Palmsource is throwing away the operating system and replacing it with linux. If Cobalt were a car then they are ripping out the gasoline engine and replacing it with a hybrid electric drive train. Sure you can reuse the GUI bits but the GUI bits were already recycled from previous generations.

Don't kid yourself, this is going to be hard. You have a ton of existing applications that use the old API. You have a new operating system with its own API. Palm's programmer's have to write a lot of new code to glue these two things together.

The smartest thing Palmsource could do is open up their system to open source developers and let them bughunt their system API for them. Copy Apple. The core OS on Apple is open source.

RE: It's a palmsource hail mary
JarJar @ 7/6/2005 10:44:41 AM # Q
"How do/did they punish?"

They "punish" device makers by making them pay when they step up to a new version of the OS. If device makers stay at the old OS, they don't have to pay as much. This was a huge incentive for Handspring to stay at version 3.x for the longest time.

Rather than charging huge fees for new versions of the OS, Palm should have simply had a subscription.

Because manufacturers have to pay huge amounts to develop and retool, they already have an incentive not to move up to a new OS. Adding fees on top just makes them even less eager to change.

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The Osborne Effect

robman @ 7/5/2005 3:02:09 PM # Q
Well, here I am all ready to buy a new Palm LifeDrive to replace my Tungsten E and this headline hits the front page. Now I am going to hold out and see if the Linux effort pans out.

Maybe someone else can clue me in here as to why this isn't a remarkable display of stupidity?

Palm Enthusiast since 1998

RE: The Osborne Effect
LiveFaith @ 7/5/2005 3:34:39 PM # Q

I wouldn't wait a nanosecond to make a buying decision based on this news. Why?

#1 This is the same folks that stated Palm OS Cobalt was deemed necessary after first looking into Linux, WinMob and others ... the same ones who said Cobalt was designed for high end PDAs and Garnet would remain for the smartfone and low end markets ... the same ones whose cheif stated that he had 11 liscensees lined up in 2005 for the Cobalt now "abandoned" (11 models in 6 months or maybe he meant 11 Oswin handbuilt phones?)?

#2 They are projecting a release of the "featurephone" version 12 months from now. PROJECTING! Fifteen months should not shock anyone, knowing general release date setbacks. That may mean 16-20 months (2007) for the full smartfone version.

#3 Twelve - twenty months only gets the final OS outta into the hands of a smartfone manufacturer. It will most likely take them another 6 months to have a fully tested device ready to ship in quantity. That's Spring to Fall 2007!

#4 Just because a manufacturer has a ready device is by NO means and indication that Cingular, Orange, T-Mobile, Sprintel, or Verizon will be ready to actually sell one. Six more months before their release would not be suprise on AT ALL. Furthermore all of the above is a mute point if the same company, which released OS 6.0 (no takers) and was upgraded to 6.1 (yet still has no takers) is able to be very stable and very useable. a gazillion new cell phones are released every year, but only a tiny fraction make it to a carrier's store. Have you ever watched one of those "Sea turtle journey movies beginning from the hatching and ending with the return to lay eggs"? Similar story.

2008 before a full featured smartfone available for purchase, would not be impossible!

... my advice. Buy the LifeDrive and hope the HDD keeps spinning until Christmas 2007. :-)

Pat Horne;

RE: The Osborne Effect
Foo Fighter @ 7/5/2005 5:44:39 PM # Q
Don't count on PalmLinux hardware anytime soon, boys and girls. Even if PSource manages to get the OS out the door early next year, rest assured it will be at least another year or more beyond that point before we see actual hardware running the puny penguin. Realistically we're looking at a two-year wait.

And the first release won't be a final product. More like Cobalt redux. This will put the OS in the hands it matters most...developers. I look forward to witnessing PalmSource's efforts come to fruition, but after the Cobalt debacle, I coming up short on faith.

Contributing Editor,

RE: The Osborne Effect
palmpast @ 4/23/2006 8:27:00 AM # Q
Given their history of not being able to get OS6 done in a reasonable time I wouldn't count on ever seeing this linux-based version.

Add to this that PalmOne is likely to be the only company selling PDAs based on the OS, if it does ever get released, and you're left with a product best avoided. PalmOne have very successfully turned this longtime Palm user into a Pocket PC convert through hardware design flaws they refused to even acknowledge and pathetic support for their devices. The Tungsten T3 was the last Palm I'll ever buy.

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No PDAs?

sremick @ 7/5/2005 3:04:31 PM # Q
Notice there was no mention of a version for non-phones.

Hello... some of us don't dig the idea of integrating things just because you can. There are plenty of reasons not to. Computers and TVs both use "screens" but you don't see many people browsing the web or writing papers on their 42" TV, nor do you see many families crowding around a 17" monitor to watch a DVD movie.

I'll keep my PDA and phone separate, thanks.

RE: No PDAs?
hkklife @ 7/5/2005 4:22:10 PM # Q
It's probably because they feel a patched FrankenGarnet is "good enough" for PDA applications. It's entirely possible that the LD/LD2 will be the last "true" high-end Palm-powered handheld. In all fairness, assuming the lingering Garnet bugs are worked out, it's a servicable OS for T|E2 style (and lesser) devices. I really see dedicated PDAs continuing but at $250 and below price points--much like how the Sharp Wizard/Casio/Royal "throwaways" still control the <$60 retail electronic organizer market.

BTW, the Zire 21 is $60 this week at Office Depot--that's an all-time low for a new Palm device from a major retailer. I'm definitely predicting an upcoming trend here.

RE: No PDAs?
sr4 @ 7/5/2005 4:52:35 PM # Q

Just because a device has a GSM radio does not mean it HAS to be phone centric. The MDA IV for example is more mini-laptop than phone. It should not be allowed to dominate the device. It should just be thought of as WAN, with WIFI being WLAN and Bluetooth PAN. The more wireless types the device has the more expensive it is, but a device should not be underpowered just because it doesn't have an extra radio.


RE: No PDAs?
PhylarDreamhalls @ 7/5/2005 5:37:58 PM # Q
Think of the use case here. People often watch TV with other people, needing lots of space, and at a distance. Computers are only used by 1 person at a time (97% of the time anyway). TVs require little to no interaction - computers require lots. Even then people are starting to use their computer for media more and more, and the converged devices, ie Media PCs, ARE coming out.

Your cell phone and PDA are both devices you want to take anywhere. Both are used by just you, both contain personal data (often redundant), and both need to be charged regularly, etc. Frankly, carrying around 2 devices is annoying, data is often inconsisten with the 2 (and if it is it's unnessicarily redundant), and smartphones now have the processing power for what the majority wants, market research shows that.

Sorry, but the people that want a big powerful PDA and no phone are small in number. I also think it has to do with $700 notebooks, and ultra-light notebooks with 13" or smaller screens weighing less than 4 pounds. Why get a PDA needing all kinds of specialized software and specialy formated webpages when you can just get a notebook for a bit more? and run all the apps you need anywhere?

RE: No PDAs?
sremick @ 7/5/2005 8:27:29 PM # Q
A phone is most effective and useful as the size DECREASES. A PDA on the other hand needs to be large enough to be usable, and so preference tends to lean towards LARGER screens.

A cell phone the size of a useful PDA is too large to be useful and looks ridiculous. A PDA the size of a desired cell phone is too small to be usable.

PDAs need touchscreens. Cell phones do not.

Cell phones need keypads (yes you could debate "need" here but the tactile feedback of REAL keys on a cellphone is rather critical IMHO). PDAs do not, and keys/thumboards/etc take up crucial real-estate on a PDA that is better served by a screen. While people like their PDAs to be large enough to be usable, there IS an upper-limit... so it is best to use as much of that as possible as SCREEN.

Cell phones' primary "personal data" are phone numbers. A PDA contains a much broader range of personal data. My cellphone is brought EVERYWHERE, for emergency purposes. My PDA however, due to the extensive amount of extra data it contains that I normally don't need constant access to, plus the fact that it costs considerably more than my cell phone, does NOT go with me everywhere.

As a result, I consider my cellphone to be rather expendable. I could lose it, get it canceled, get another w/ the same #, and be back in business. Totally losing my PDA would be more drastic and a much more complicated issue to replace.

In the same line... I don't worry too much about loaning my cell phone to a friend who needs to borrow it. I keep a tight leash on my PDA, however.

My cell phone is much more durable than my PDA, also affecting which gets brought where and who gets to use it.

Just because both a PDA and a cell phone are things I take with me, and have screens and batteries, and CAN be combined doesn't mean they SHOULD be. By doing so this is eliminating the usefulness of the separate devices to countless people. The combination of the two is far less than the sum of the parts, and is a detriment to both devices. Instead of having a GOOD cell phone or a GOOD PDA, you end up with a Frankenstein device which is awkward for use as either... all for the sake of saving space and adhearing to some insufficiently thought-out "convergence" mantra.

A better convergence device is possible
Scott R @ 7/6/2005 10:56:33 AM # Q
sremick, this is the design I've been pushing for about two years now:

I think you can have your cake and eat it, too. That said, I do think it will be foolish for them to put all of their eggs in the cellphone basket.
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: No PDAs?
Altema @ 7/7/2005 2:46:04 PM # Q
sremick, I'm in the same boat. Even though I love my phone (S66), I'll carefully lend it to someone I know (especially in those situations where no one else can get a signal). Borrow my PDA? Forget it, even my kids don't ask. Yet if I'm someplace where I don't want both, I'll take the phone.

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This is NEWS...

jlbunting @ 7/5/2005 4:54:40 PM # Q
SO the question is ... DO I give up on OS6 this year and get a Treo 650?

Move from my T3 to a treo...

I was waiting for an OS6 T3 to show up but that seems very unlikely this year.

RE: This is NEWS...
hkklife @ 7/5/2005 5:28:18 PM # Q
I personally could never downgrade from a 320*480 device to a 320*320 device. Heck, I've have to spend too much time resizing all of my digital pics to fit on the Treo's screen that it wouldn't be worth the hassle.

The 32mb Treo ceiling would be kinda hard to live with as well. Still, I have to admit I at least gave the Treo a brief consideration before ditching my 5-month old T3 in favor of a patched T5. Why? I coult not stand the slider ANY longer.

RE: This is NEWS...
LiveFaith @ 7/6/2005 10:19:37 AM # Q

Buy the Treo if you really want to converge. Cobalt could be 2008 before anything more than a feature phone arrives.

I personally love the Treo 650, but cannot part with my T3 screen real estate. Unlike HKK, I cannot bear to lose the awesome slider on my T3 in favor of the newly stabilized T5 ... among other features.

PSRC needs a cash infusion. So, they oughta release an OS6.1 upgrade for the Tungstens without warranty at a $29.95 clip. We would have a hackathon around here and PSRC may get enough cash to pay Nagle's severance. :-)

Pat Horne;

RE: This is NEWS...
jlbunting @ 7/6/2005 3:08:06 PM # Q
Thanks for the insight. I do love my T3.
But right now I carry a palm and cellphone it would be nice to combine them.

It seems I can give up hope on OS6 with this NEWS of no OS6 till 2006 or maybe later.

Looks like no matter what happends, I still get trusty OS5

RE: This is NEWS...
Gekko @ 6/15/2008 7:42:27 AM # Q
>I personally could never downgrade from a 320*480 device to a 320*320 device.

hkk - never say never.

RE: This is NEWS...
hkklife @ 6/16/2008 9:19:04 PM # Q
Well, in 2006 I did "downgrade" from a TX to a 700p (and now a 755p) as my 'daily' device but I still keep the TX around as a web tablet around the house w/ wi-fi and an e-book reader etc.

And I were to go on an overseas trip where CDMA's not supported, you'd better bet I'd take the TX along instead of the 755p.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

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