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Palm Report Hints at Uncertainty Over Next Gen OS

Palm's annual report was just released late Friday. The report contains some hints as to what Palm is thinking in regards to the next version of the Palm OS. It also sheds some light on Palm's current situation with PalmSource concerning what will happen with the next-generation Palm OS.

In the risks related to Palm's business section of the annual report 10-K on page 21 under the heading: Our product strategy is substantially dependent on the Palm OS, which is owned by PalmSource, a former subsidiary of Palm that was acquired by Access Co., Ltd. It states:

We have a license agreement with PalmSource which extends through December 2, 2009. Our license of the Palm OS from PalmSource is critical to the operation of many of our products. We rely on PalmSource to provide the operating system for all of our handheld and a significant portion of our smartphone products.

[...]

Contemporaneously with the license agreement, we entered into a co-development agreement with PalmSource to develop a next- generation Palm OS for use in future Palm products. PalmSource did not timely meet certain of the milestones under the co-development agreement, relieving us of our obligation to make minimum royalty payments under the license agreement after calendar year 2006. We are presently in negotiations with PalmSource to expand our development and distribution rights to the current version of the Palm OS. If we are unable to successfully conclude these negotiations, it may adversely affect our ability to develop and distribute new products based on a next- generation version of the Palm OS. Regardless, we will continue to release new products based on the current version of the Palm OS.

Contrary to what is being reported on other websites, this does not mean Palm Inc is going to stop making products based on the Palm OS. It also does not definitively indicate whether or not Palm Inc is planning to use PalmSource's Access Linux Platform, as no licensee's have been announced for the still under development ALP operating system.

Palm Inc will continue to make Palm OS products, but is not longer contractually committed to providing a minimum royalty payment to PalmSource as a result of the missed deadlines. Palm's license agreement for the current generation Palm OS extends through 2009 and Palm Inc would still have to pay royalties based on units shipped.

This statement does hint that Palm may not be interested in PalmSource's future operating system products and is instead looking to develop and control its own future "next-generation" Palm OS based operating system.

The report states that Palm is in negotiations to expand its development and distribution rights to the current version of the Palm OS. This could indicate that Palm desires to further develop the Palm OS itself, picking up where PalmSouce stopped.

Since being acquired by Access PalmSource has abandoned future development on the Palm OS in favor of Access Linux Platform. While ALP will offer Palm OS Garnet compatibility, PalmSource wants developers to move to its new linux based tools and APIs.

There has been much speculation that Palm Inc has been gearing up to develop its own operating system. Palm would likely either use the current Palm OS Garnet as a base and wishes to offer compatibility with existing Palm OS software.

Ultimately, it is unclear from this report as to what exactly Palm is negotiating with PalmSource and we can only speculate as to what is going on behind the scenes. There are no official conclusions to draw here as this section of the annual report looks at a wide variety of potential risks and hypothetical threats to its business.

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I see some positives in this.

VampireLestat @ 7/29/2006 7:07:28 PM # Q
This is what I would do:

- Hold on to Garnet. Keep perfecting it.
- Slowly introduce Cobalt.
- Find a way to buy all the rights for Cobalt and bring everything home under Palm Inc. Leave Access go on with ALP and other licensees.

Palm Inc. has alot of negociation clout here since PalmSource desperately needs Palm Inc. Then again, without Palm OS, Palm Inc. will wither away in my opinion.

I see hope in Palm's press release. They seem to understand the importance of holding to Palm OS, the os that has made them for over 10 years. I know for myself Palm OS is the reason I don't even think about PPC anymore.

Maintaining full 68K AND (AND!) OS 5 compability is very important so as to ensure that the 30K software title base is not destroyed. I trust Cobalt more for this.

RE: I see some positives in this.
Foo Fighter @ 7/29/2006 8:56:38 PM # Q
Oh good lord. Would you forget about Cobalt already. It's dead...gone...finito...kaput. It was an ambitious but disastrous project that ended in failure, and ultimately killed PalmSource.

Access is never going to sell off its IP and lose the last remaining licensee in their stable. From Access's perspective it makes zero business sense, as they would gain nothing in the process...and lose everything.


-------------------------------
PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.com
Elitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com

RE: I see some positives in this.
MegaManXcalibur @ 7/29/2006 9:24:01 PM # Q
Actually Access could stand to make quite a large sum of money if they sold of Palm OS to Palm Inc. At the moment Palm Inc. is on of the few companies licensing Palm OS which means the operating system probably isn't making Access a terrible amount of money.

Alot of the time if a product isn't make a huge sum of money and doesn't look like it will be in the near future (and since Access isn't further developing Palm OS it probably won't be making them much more money) the company that owns it tries to pawn it off some somebody else. In this case Access would be able to gain a large amount of money quickly (and generally companies will take a large sum of money now as opposed to smaller amounts of money over many years) and Palm Inc. would gain control of Palm OS again.

This would be a good time to sell off Palm OS to Palm Inc. since Palm Inc. is (apparently) interested in buying and Palm OS probably won't be making a whole lot of money for Access anymore. I highly doubt they plan on getting more licensees for Palm OS in the near future.

RE: I see some positives in this.
scstraus2 @ 7/31/2006 1:55:38 PM # Q
If they keep on massacaring Garnet, Palm is out of business, period. (perfecting? It was perfected about 3 years ago before palm started patching the hell out of it. now it's a disastrous mess).

The only hope for Palm is to get on a new version of PalmOS, pronto. If they don't snap up ALP or the entire Palm division of Access, they are screwed. There is absolutely nothing I've seen the development group in Palm do that works. If it's an OS by them that I have to buy, I'll simply go elsewhere, because it will be a disaster. They only reason I put up with what they've done with Garnet is in the hope that the next device will have a new OS from PalmSource.

But Palm seems determined to destroy themselves, it's time to look at other alternatives.

RE: I see some positives in this.
cervezas @ 7/31/2006 2:12:35 PM # Q
It's interesting that there has been an insistent chorus of users and mobile developers calling on Palm to just ship Palm OS Cobalt. I don't agree (although the Cobalt-on-Linux OS that PalmSource was working on before the acquisition might be a viable point to work off of) but I've actually heard five or six people including two developers say they thought Cobalt was the answer and that it was a mistake for Palm not to jump on it in the first place.

While I understand how the proprietary driver model created serious business problems for licensees, I was actually pretty pleased with the way Cobalt utilized the domain mechanism in the ARM processor to allow for faster context-switching--something Linux can't do to the detriment of its multitasking performance. And while Cobalt's object-oriented architecture initially added a lot of overhead that wouldn't have shown much of a corresponding payoff to users at the beginning, PalmSource planned to expose more of that object orientation to developers over time which would have made the platform increasingly powerful and attractive to developers. Cobalt had some critical flaws, but we shouldn't kid ourselves that moving to Linux from Cobalt doesn't come without a cost.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog
www.pikesoft.com/blog

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Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/29/2006 11:31:53 PM # Q
Cobalt blew up in our faces and totally effed up the PalmOS market. We wanted Palm Linux (because Linux sounds kewl). We lost out in "buying" PalmSource when the poison pill in the new contract failed to scare off Access. We want our OWN "PalmOS" and Access is letting the old PalmOS wither and die. We are going to have to play hardball with those dumba$$es at Access so we can cherrypick the parts of PalmSource IP we need to create a Palm-branded "PalmLinux™".

This is a high stakes game of "chicken" (all a result of the idiotic scam Palm pulled when they "spun off" PalmSource):

1) Palm is PalmSource/Access' only significant remaining licensee.
2) PalmOS is effectively now a lame duck OS.
3) Besides the income from Palm's license, PalmOS is otherwise more or less worthless to Access. (Don't let the last minute addition of PACE to Access' bizarre modular ALP-OS fool you - the only benefit of PACE is to lure PalmOS faithful into the clutches of ALP-OS, keeping the faithful sheep PalmOS devotees quiet while plans are quietly made to EOL PalmOS)
4) SOME money from for worthless IP is better than NO money if they were to jump to Windows Mobile exclusively. The only question is how hard can Access squeeze its Golden Goose before Goosey either croaks or flies away to the Windows Mobile pond.
5) Palm needs a proprietary OS to differentiate itself from other smartphone sellers.
6) Palm lacks the $$$ to compete mano a mano with the likes of Nokia et. al. (new phones every six months, etc.).
7) Palm cannot differentiate itself enough to survive as JAWL (Just Another WindowsMobile Licensee).
8) Between PACE, Cobalt and PalmLinux, there should (barely) be enough viable code to cobble together a simple, functional next-generation PalmOS.
9) The smartphone market could evaporate at ANY moment.
10) Palm has run out of time - the Grim Reaper (Sony Ericsson, Nokis, Motorola, LG, Samsung) has arrived.


(From the May 2005 8K)

"The minimum annual royalty commitments for the contract years ending December 3, 2005 and 2006 remain unchanged from the Prior Agreement at $41.0 million and $42.5 million, respectively. The minimum annual royalty commitments under the extended term of the SARSLA for the contract years ending December 3, 2007, 2008 and 2009 are $35 million, $20 million and $10 million, respectively, subject to the Company meeting certain development milestones."

With PalmSource being sold, Palm can also exercise its options on PalmOS for $10 million/year for 2010 and 2011.

StyleTap Platform raises some interesting issues. Would a version of Windows Mobile with a more advanced release of Styletap Platform (emulating PalmOS) be legal? If it is, Palm could fu*k Access, get out of its licensing agreement, throw its resources behind a single platform, achieve differentiation from other Windows Mobile licensees and retain legacy PalmOS customers - all in one fell swoop. Windows Mobile + PalmOS-style PIM + StyleTap Platform + tabbed launcher + OS customizations (Wisbar, Resco apps, etc) = the safest, most pragmatic solution for Palm right now. (Assuming ripping off PACE is legal. If PACE emulation is not kosher Palm should simply give up on PalmOS ASAP and try to shine the feces known as Windows Mobile as best as they can. Any way you slice it, without control over PalmOS Palm is likely a dead company walking.)

________________________________________________________________________________


I previously suggested the "Access as (PalmOS) hostage taker" theory to explain the insane price Access had paid for PalmSource.

http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=8060#111669

While Access obviously recognized PalmOS could be unloaded to Palm (or even Motorola) at a later date - perhaps even for a profit - the $325 million price still seems absurd (even considering the China Mobilesoft wildcard).


So the question boils down to "How much is Palm willing to pay Access to regain control of PalmOS + if they don't pay, what is Palm's long term OS strategy?

Of course, Palm may survive a few other ways besides buying back PalmOS:

- Windows Mobile
- Proprietary in house Palm-developed OS
- Getting bought out/merging
- Continuing to license PalmOS + develop/hack it in-house for the next 5 years.
- Winning state lottery


[Above taken from various posts to the http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/8817/#123811 thread]

I expect Access will more or less sell PalmOS to Palm (or grant an exclusive license allowing Palm rights to any changes to the OS made by Palm)within a few months. I don't see Access turning down tens of millions for an otherwise USELESS intellectual property.

TVoR

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
craigdts @ 7/30/2006 1:31:49 AM # Q
TVOR,

If palm does get the IP from palmsource then the spin off was a success. Remember that the PSRC division was losing money. There is no way the brass at Palm Solutions & hand didn't look at PSRCs work and laugh. They also cringed at the though of putting anymore money towards cobalt or a lame group working on linux.

Remember the PSRC raised additional money (from sony? cant remember or other investors) to help with development costs. That way Palm got to see if they palmlinux/cobalt hack experiment would work at no additional cost. Palm showed profits in the meantime. Other people put up to pay PSRC's bill.

If palm had taken the core (of garnet) away from PSRC immediately, no one would have bought the deal and invested money in PSRc. Thus palm let them go, and hoped they would pull it off and succeed. Yet however investors pushed PSRC to produce, they couldnt so had to sell.

Palm was not going to overpay for PSRC, they had no need of CMS' products. Palm's bottom line feature phone can use some variant of Garnet (PIMs) on linux (where u can't install software).

This is what Access has to know . . . Palm will close up shop on Garnet and Palm OS if they have. They can release their linux product without traidtional Palm PIMs and can move forward with their WM strategy as needed. I think that the Vodafone leaks could be communicating that to Access now . . . as it looks like a winning device. Only the US wants Palm OS.

My question now. . . what kind of game is Access playing by announcing their ALP showing about 1 week before the 10k news would be put out? Who is going to want it if palm doesnt take it? I'll argue that no one will use it. I forget who but there is a major carrier or cell manufacturer in China that owns a majority of access and this may have been their way of getting CMS (well that kinda sounds crazy, but oh well).

Either way: Palm sits with a WM strategy, Palm OS garnet for non 3g phones (except for cdma). Really the Palm OS is only their strategy for the US. I think that your $200 million number is too high . . . what palm is buying is simply going to be IP. No employees, no building, nothing else. At this point palm is probably telling Access either you sell us what we want (IP) or we are totally moving away. We are not going to lease anymore. If we cant work it out we will release garnet devices for the time but will very quickly move to our linux and WM strategy . . . as there will be no incentive for us to stay with Garnet. Worst case we will license package styletap with WM as a last resort or even buy styletap (styletap's creators will look like geniuses if they get bought by palm for predicting the future)

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Mauibro @ 7/30/2006 1:32:08 AM # Q
Dang TVOR this is some of your best stuff.
I disagree with 90 percent of your stuff
You May indeed be on to something here.


RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
craigdts @ 7/30/2006 2:00:35 AM # Q
"My question now. . . what kind of game is Access playing by announcing their ALP showing about 1 week before the 10k news would be put out? Who is going to want it if palm doesnt take it?"

Let me put it this way. . . if Palm's not going to license ALP, then why keep working to hook palm os up to it. No one else will care, especially in China. I would just complicate the device and leave people confused as to "What's this here for?" So in essence it would just be wasted development and money.

It will be interesting to hear from those who attend the conference to see what is actually there.

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
LiveFaith @ 7/30/2006 2:43:19 AM # Q
VR,

I concur, that's good stuff.. But, for much less than they paid, Access will not only be giving away key Palm OS ownership, but would be sowing the seeds for a MobiLinuxPalmOS rival.

Why would they sink $300M+ and then take much le$$ (assumed) than that to raise up the main OS competitor? I can't see Access selling.

Pat Horne

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Timothy Rapson @ 7/30/2006 8:01:51 AM # Q
Well stated TVOR, but what is the bottom line? Will Palm get the original code from Access for $1 a copy? Will they get rights to the whole thing? Will Access and Palm each get rights to it and put that skin (or emulator) of the old Palm OS on top of a new Linux base?

With standard PDAs dying, I see the three way battle between some flavor of Plinux, WinMob, and Symbian as very disappointing. I had the one of the last POS 5 models (Zire 72) and the FrankenOS was not so good. I now use a Toshiba e800--The hardware is lovely, the software's a blast, the Operating System is a pain in the .....--. The reviews of the few Symbian models that are getting to full PDA functionality (Nokia 770, 9300, SonyErickson 900s) tell the same tale of slow, dysfunctional, PAINFUL.

So, even if this story does go somewhere, I am betting that it won't go where I want to go. It won't end in a stable, quick, powerful OS that allows me to do what your TH55 does. I was too mad at Sony and their proprietary memory stick debacle to buy one, but I am beginning to wish I had bought several. Nothing since has come close.

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Foo Fighter @ 7/30/2006 9:12:14 AM # Q
>> "We are going to have to play hardball with those dumba$$es at Access so we can cherrypick the parts of PalmSource IP we need to create a Palm-branded "PalmLinux™"

Too late. Even if by some miracle or hardball bargaining position Palm did indeed manage to convince Access to relinquish control of its IP to them for incorporation into a new Palm branded OS...the move would be moot. Such a platform would take yet another two years for Palm to fully develop an entirely new OS, with bits and pieces of Garnet/Cobalt code mixed in, and pressed into hardware.

In the meantime PalmOS has faded into irrelevance, Windows Mobile has become the leader among data centric (convergence) mobile platforms, and third party developers have moved on to other platforms that have a clear future. So what does Palm gain in the end? They have their own proprietary OS, and come full circle back to their roots.

The only clear advantage I see that gaining full control of PalmOS development gives them the ability to jurisdict development direction, and enable great flexibility and customization into its design. But given the above point I just made it remains a futile attempt and wasted strategy. Not to mention a costly one, as I seriously doubt Access is going to give away PalmOS IP for free. Palm could end up paying several hundred million for Garnet/Cobalt. They can't afford to incur such costs, unless some major suitor acquires Palm and then IP from Access.

-------------------------------
PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.com
Elitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/30/2006 11:26:33 AM # Q

Foo - Agreed.

The only new Palms that you kids will be able to buy in the not-so-distant future will be WINMOB Treos. That's it. Game, Set, Match - MSFT.



RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Mauibro @ 7/30/2006 12:22:15 PM # Q
Dont think so Fu.
I dont think this Palm go it alone, strategy just now came up.
They had a plan all along and are now implementing it.

Soon as Access bought Palmsource, Palm knew it wasnt going to work. They likely never complained about the violations of the agreement before and let them pile up to make the case for a breach of contract. Now they dont have to pay for an OS they will never use. Why pay for your competition?

Actually the plan even preceeds the sale.
Once Palm failed to buy Palmsource out, and knew their were higher bidders, it went after the name. At that point it knew there was at least the possibility they would need to go it alone.

Thus they have had lots of time to develop its alternate OS.
This bold move of ending the agreemant with Palmsource implies to me that they may be far closer to release than we think.

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/30/2006 2:12:29 PM # Q
TVOR,

If palm does get the IP from palmsource then the spin off was a success. Remember that the PSRC division was losing money. There is no way the brass at Palm Solutions & hand didn't look at PSRCs work and laugh. They also cringed at the though of putting anymore money towards cobalt or a lame group working on linux.

Actually, the spinoff WAS initially a success, but not for the reasons you state. The PalmSource IPO generated hundreds of millions of $$$ from what was an utterly incompetent part of Palm. Lead into Gold. Benhamou and the other alchemists at Palm have done their Enron tutors proud.

Remember the PSRC raised additional money (from sony? cant remember or other investors) to help with development costs.

Sony paid a paltry $20 million for a 6% share of PalmSource in 2002 (http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=4331) but ultimately bailed out on the platform when it became obvious that PalmSource was incompetent and could not be relied upon to deliver an OS for the type of products Sony was planning. If you look at how much independent hacking of PalmOS Sony did over the years in order to add features Palm/PalmSource was incapable of including it becomes obvious that Sony and other licensees were getting next to nothing for their licensing fees. (Sony's designs are currently being recycled in the VAIO UX50 Windows device, but most of their PalmOS R&D ultimately was wasted after a sea of empty promises and slipped deadlines from PalmSource.)

That way Palm got to see if they palmlinux/cobalt hack experiment would work at no additional cost. Palm showed profits in the meantime. Other people put up to pay PSRC's bill.

Wrong. Palm was actually counting on Cobalt and had to scramble when it proved to be a massive dud. If you're familiar with Palm's product line since 2003 you'd realize that these devices were never intended to be running a hacked-up FrankenPalmOS basd on buggy old PalmOS 5 code. Palm simply did what it could to try and compensate for PalmSource's failure. Most of PalmSource's money has been derived from Palm. Sony etc haven't funded much of PalmSource for a LONG time.

If palm had taken the core (of garnet) away from PSRC immediately, no one would have bought the deal and invested money in PSRc. Thus palm let them go, and hoped they would pull it off and succeed. Yet however investors pushed PSRC to produce, they couldnt so had to sell.

I think you're confused about the timeline. Palm spun off PalmSource to make a quick buck, fully intending to fold the company back into Palm a few years later. If you look closely at the PalmSource business model (look at how much they got per license) it's obvious that PalmSource would NEVER survive as an independent company. It was just a matter of time before they would be back with Palm.

Palm was not going to overpay for PSRC, they had no need of CMS' products. Palm's bottom line feature phone can use some variant of Garnet (PIMs) on linux (where u can't install software).

Palm was SHOCKED to see Access push the price as far as it went. Palm had put a poison pill into their PalmSource contract that would have scared off most sane companies. (Palm would get rights to the OS no matter who bought it. There was also special wording designed to scare off Microsoft in case they dared run afoul of monopoly laws by trying to buy Palm and killing it off.

This is what Access has to know . . . Palm will close up shop on Garnet and Palm OS if they have. They can release their linux product without traidtional Palm PIMs and can move forward with their WM strategy as needed. I think that the Vodafone leaks could be communicating that to Access now . . . as it looks like a winning device. Only the US wants Palm OS.

At least that's what Palm will tell Access. If Palm is smart they had already planned for the possibility of losing PalmOS and the day they spun off PalmSource and have alternate OSes ready and waiting. We'll see soon enough if Palm is smart.

My question now. . . what kind of game is Access playing by announcing their ALP showing about 1 week before the 10k news would be put out? Who is going to want it if palm doesnt take it? I'll argue that no one will use it. I forget who but there is a major carrier or cell manufacturer in China that owns a majority of access and this may have been their way of getting CMS (well that kinda sounds crazy, but oh well).

PalmOS (actually PACE) is an afterthought for ALP-OS. Kinda like adding chrome wheel and a spoiler to a car: might improve the sales, but completely unnecessary.

Either way: Palm sits with a WM strategy, Palm OS garnet for non 3g phones (except for cdma). Really the Palm OS is only their strategy for the US.

Windows Mobile makes the most sense in the long run unless Palm IS CERTAIN that PalmLinux will be both completed and rock solid by 2007 AND they will own PalmLinux. If anything can't be guaranteed then betting the company's future on a vaporware OS would be insane.

I think that your $200 million number is too high . . . what palm is buying is simply going to be IP. No employees, no building, nothing else. At this point palm is probably telling Access either you sell us what we want (IP) or we are totally moving away. We are not going to lease anymore. If we cant work it out we will release garnet devices for the time but will very quickly move to our linux and WM strategy . . . as there will be no incentive for us to stay with Garnet. Worst case we will license package styletap with WM as a last resort or even buy styletap (styletap's creators will look like geniuses if they get bought by palm for predicting the future)

If Palm has no solid contingency plan for a new OS, $200 million seems fair and is a LOT more than Access would get from anyone except Motorola. If Palm is prepared NOW to move the whole works to Windows Mobile they really don't need PalmOS since they already have a cheap licensing agreement to buy only the number of licenses they want until 2011. If Palm is looking to buy PACE so they can build it into Windows Mobile (or to be allowed to include a StyleTap Platform clone without threat of lawsuits) then $100 million may be reasonable. It will be interesting to see who blinks first (Palm Vs.Access) and if Palm walks away from the table how long before they reveal their long term OS plans. And here's a newsflash: There are no remaining PalmSource employees worth hiring!

TVoR

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
PenguinPowered @ 7/30/2006 2:19:02 PM # Q
As far as I know, there were no 'violations', and the contract hasn't been 'breached'. What there were is completion milestones in the contract with cash payouts attached. The milestones were missed, so the payouts don't happen.

Palm still has a contract with Access and they're still paying royalties for using Access' IP, in the form of Garnet.



May You Live in Interesting Times

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/30/2006 3:45:42 PM # Q
-

If I was Colligan, I'd be asking these questions:

1. What do the majority of our customers (Enterprise and carriers) want? FrankenGarnet? WM? Something else?

2. How much longer can Palm Inc. cobble/patch FrankenGarnet together to do what it needs to do to compete with other device OSs?

3. How much additionally does it cost for Palm, Inc. to support two OS's? Could palm Inc. focus on ONE OS and redirect the "saved" R&D dollars into competing better with that one OS?

4. What will the sales revenue/margins/profits/stakeholders impact be if Palm shiiit-cans FrankenGarnet for all new future Treos and simply uses WM? Short term? Longer Term?

5. If Palm Inc. does switch to exclusively selling WM Treos, will the long term effect be a commoditization of the Treo along with all of the other WM phones where the unique differential (PalmOS) is now gone and will that ultimately destroy sales? Can Palm add enough value to WM to make the Treo unique and yet still keep prices competitive and yet still keep margins favorable?

6. Does Palm Inc. have the time or the resources to build a new proprietary OS from scratch? Should it even be done even if it can?

7. Is ALPO a viable option for the future in part or whole?

8. How can I get the stock price up so I can dump all my stock options and grants and get out of this rat race like Hawkins did?



RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
PenguinPowered @ 7/30/2006 4:31:40 PM # Q
Palm was actually counting on Cobalt and had to scramble when it proved to be a massive dud.

If by "counting on" you meant "didn't have an alternative to but never liked", then yes, they were "counting on" Cobalt.

I was only at PSRC for the end of the "Cobalt blues" but people who were there for the whole thing say that Palm never liked Cobalt, never wanted it, and only went along because it was the only PalmOS option available.

The problem with all of the 'what will Palm do now' scenarios is that Palm is not a software company, and hiring up to 130 linux programmers doesn't make you one.

I have no idea what Palm is up to now, but it would insane for them to think that they could become a player in embedded Linux development. So I suspect that's what they're up to.

At this point, Palm's best bet is to reimplement their PIM aps to the winmobile APIs and try to differentiate at the application layer. Otherwise, they're either

a) just another winmob player and aren't big enough to play in that pond

or

b) are the nth in an infinite series of embedded linux wannabes.



May You Live in Interesting Times

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/30/2006 5:03:03 PM # Q
Dang TVOR this is some of your best stuff.
I disagree with 90 percent of your stuff
You May indeed be on to something here.

Everything I write is THE "best stuff". Be honest: deep down you know you agree with 100% of what I say...

"My question now. . . what kind of game is Access playing by announcing their ALP showing about 1 week before the 10k news would be put out? Who is going to want it if palm doesnt take it?"

Let me put it this way. . . if Palm's not going to license ALP, then why keep working to hook palm os up to it. No one else will care, especially in China. I would just complicate the device and leave people confused as to "What's this here for?" So in essence it would just be wasted development and money.

Looking at how modular ALP-OS appears to be, adding PalmOS support through PACE is a relatively trivial undertaking. I wouldn't be surprised to see that versions of ALP-OS without PalmOS could be specified as easily as you specify options at a car dealership. If a company as small as StyleTap can produce StyleTap Platform for next to nothing, Access should have no problems given the fact that they have the source code to PACE.

VR,

I concur, that's good stuff.. But, for much less than they paid, Access will not only be giving away key Palm OS ownership, but would be sowing the seeds for a MobiLinuxPalmOS rival.

Why would they sink $300M+ and then take much le$$ (assumed) than that to raise up the main OS competitor? I can't see Access selling.

Thanks, Rev. I don't think Palm and Access are direct competitors. Access seems to be going after the "global (especially in Asia) smart dumbphone" market while Palm will likely try to keep carving out a niche in the smartphone market primarily in the USA.

After seeing how quickly Access scuttled PalmOS development it's obvious (assuming they did due diligence) that they never intended to keep PalmOS alive. Marty is right about China MobileSoft being the key, but I believe potential profits from the sale of PalmOS to Palm or Motorola (essentially "flipping" PalmOS) made the deal workable.

Well stated TVOR, but what is the bottom line? Will Palm get the original code from Access for $1 a copy? Will they get rights to the whole thing? Will Access and Palm each get rights to it and put that skin (or emulator) of the old Palm OS on top of a new Linux base?

With standard PDAs dying, I see the three way battle between some flavor of Plinux, WinMob, and Symbian as very disappointing. I had the one of the last POS 5 models (Zire 72) and the FrankenOS was not so good. I now use a Toshiba e800--The hardware is lovely, the software's a blast, the Operating System is a pain in the .....--. The reviews of the few Symbian models that are getting to full PDA functionality (Nokia 770, 9300, SonyErickson 900s) tell the same tale of slow, dysfunctional, PAINFUL.

So, even if this story does go somewhere, I am betting that it won't go where I want to go. It won't end in a stable, quick, powerful OS that allows me to do what your TH55 does. I was too mad at Sony and their proprietary memory stick debacle to buy one, but I am beginning to wish I had bought several. Nothing since has come close.

Thanks, TR. I think Palm wants it all - just so Access couldn't dilute the perceived value of Palm's PalmOS devices by making ALP-OS (featuring PalmOS compatibility) available on cheap featurephones. Realistically, Palm should only try a KISS strategy: graft PACE onto Windows Mobile and be done with it. Reviving Cobalt, conjuring up an in-house PalmLinux, etc. are voodoo strategies best left unexplored now that the company has no room for further errors in execution.

I STILL think PalmOS blended with Windows Mobile would be the premiere mobile OS, offering the Palm name, app library and history along with the safety of choosing a Microsoft standard. Licensees would get the best of both worlds, Palm would benefit from Microsoft doing all of the heavy lifting and best of all: the code to create "PalmWindows Mobile™" ALREADY EXISTS. Palm cannot afford a third vaporware OS.

When I realized that Cobalt was dead I assumed PalmOS was in trouble and started stocking up on devices. I'm glad I did. My CLIE VZ90, UX50 and TH55 along with my Samsung i500 are the last good pure PalmOS devices ever made. These devices do everything I need from a PDA, so even if Palm OS disappeared tomorrow I would not be affected.

>>>>> "We are going to have to play hardball with those dumba$$es at Access so we can cherrypick the parts of PalmSource IP we need to create a Palm-branded "PalmLinux™"

Too late. Even if by some miracle or hardball bargaining position Palm did indeed manage to convince Access to relinquish control of its IP to them for incorporation into a new Palm branded OS...the move would be moot. Such a platform would take yet another two years for Palm to fully develop an entirely new OS, with bits and pieces of Garnet/Cobalt code mixed in, and pressed into hardware.

Wrong, Kent. I don't think Palm is dumb enough to try to create PalmLinux from scratch so late in the game. "Windows Mobile featuring PalmOS" (courtesy of PACE) for the high end and a VERY SIMPLE Linux distro with Palm PIM for the low end is a safe, easy to implement strategy. Both of those OSes could ship on REAL devices in less than 6 months if given the green light today.

In the meantime PalmOS has faded into irrelevance, Windows Mobile has become the leader among data centric (convergence) mobile platforms, and third party developers have moved on to other platforms that have a clear future. So what does Palm gain in the end? They have their own proprietary OS, and come full circle back to their roots.

PalmOS has faded not because it's a bad OS but simply because of mismanagement. The fact that Handspring's hacked PalmOS STILL works better than anything else on the market suggests PalmOS is not yet irrelevant. With a little foundation work (broadband support, cleaned up telephony) and a fresh coat of paint (complete set of apps including backup/tabbed launcher/security/remote device deletion/Office-compatible suite/email/MP3 + video/SMS and IM clients/file manager/etc.) even PalmOS 5 could soldier on as "PalmOS Classic™" for another year or two.

The only clear advantage I see that gaining full control of PalmOS development gives them the ability to jurisdict development direction, and enable great flexibility and customization into its design.

You missed the BIGGEST advantage, Kent: the ability to differentiate Palm's devices from the hordes of others coming to market. Palm as a brand still has great name recognition and a lot of goodwill built up from its days as the best known PDA company over the past decade. The Treo one-handed UI is also the best UI I've ever seen in ANY mobile device besides the (much more simplistic) Apple iPod scroll wheel.

But given the above point I just made it remains a futile attempt and wasted strategy. Not to mention a costly one, as I seriously doubt Access is going to give away PalmOS IP for free. Palm could end up paying several hundred million for Garnet/Cobalt. They can't afford to incur such costs, unless some major suitor acquires Palm and then IP from Access.

$200 million for all PalmOS IP is fair. But if ALP-OS actually ships in the next year with PACE on board, PalmOS will truly be worthless to Palm at that time, as any two bit company willing to license ALP-OS from Access could crank out cheap handsets and become a Palm competitor.

The legality of Palm including a SytleTap Platform clone in their Windows Mobile devices should ultimately decide whether or not Palm pays whatever Access is demanding for the rights to PalmOS.

It should never have come to this...

TVoR


RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
palmato @ 7/30/2006 5:33:50 PM # Q
I also disagree with the assessment that cobalt was a dud.
The reason it failed has much more to do with the willingness of Palm to innovate, or rather lack thereof.
At one point they also feared losing control of the plumbing and decided it was better to hack improve Garnet forever. Keep in mind that Garnet was basically a Palm thing and they know it better than anyone else.
Cobalt was a PS thing but Palm was the only one realistically able to build and sell a device. Without their leadership collapse of Cobalt was inevitable.


--------------------------
Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
SeldomVisitor @ 7/30/2006 5:38:54 PM # Q
If PALM can get out their "hidden third business" soon enough, many of the prognostications here will be moot.

The network is the computer.

Don't forget now!

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Foo Fighter @ 7/30/2006 5:51:19 PM # Q
>> "The reason it failed has much more to do with the willingness of Palm to innovate, or rather lack thereof."

That is flat out untrue. Cobalt was never adopted by any PalmSource licensee for legitimate reasons...it was garbage. Not a single Cobalt-based hardware device ever shipped. And the only vendor who did display a working prototype (Oswin) failed to generate support among hardware OEMs to mass produce such a device. Anyone who stil believes that Cobalt was a wonderful OS that Palm shamefully withheld from us has their head up their @ss. If you don't believe me download the Cobalt simulator from PalmSource's website and test it out for yourself. It's crap.

Palm didn't want it. Developers showed no interest in it. And despite Garnet's antiquated state, we're all better off without Cobalt.

-------------------------------
PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.com
Elitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/30/2006 6:00:58 PM # Q
-

i want to see some answers to my questions #1-8 above.



RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Foo Fighter @ 7/30/2006 6:24:12 PM # Q
Gekko, I think the answer(s) to your question is that Palm will move to WinMob. It's the most logical business strategy given the circumstances. Unless Palm believes that its best bet is fight for control of a dying platform and subsequently fight an even greater battle to re-establish that dead platform as a legitimate player int the mobile space. The smart move is to hitch their wagon to the platform that has a real future ahead of it, and that platform is clearly Microsoft's.

-------------------------------
PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.com
Elitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com
Gee, writing an OS is hard work. DAMN!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/30/2006 6:32:06 PM # Q
Actually the plan even preceeds the sale.
Once Palm failed to buy Palmsource out, and knew their were higher bidders, it went after the name. At that point it knew there was at least the possibility they would need to go it alone.

Thus they have had lots of time to develop its alternate OS.
This bold move of ending the agreemant with Palmsource implies to me that they may be far closer to release than we think.

Guess again, brah. Look up when Palm "bought"
the Palm name from Cousin PalmSource.

And sorry, but Palm does not have the codemonkey power to develop a decent OS in 5 YEARS much less 1 or 2 years. If creating a mobile OS was easy PalmSource's Cobalt would not have been a catastrophe, PalmLinux would not have been vaporware, Motorola's phones would not be crippled by a HIDEOUS OS (HideOS?), Nokia's 770 would already have have telephony completed, Sony Ericsson would not have needed 3 years to get their OS polished...

>>>Palm was actually counting on Cobalt and had to scramble when it proved to be a massive dud.

If by "counting on" you meant "didn't have an alternative to but never liked", then yes, they were "counting on" Cobalt.

Indeed. That's what happens when you get stuck with a few dozen Holy Be Engineers from "Gassée's Gang" and have to put them to work and then lose the ability to control what those pie-in-the-sky dumba$$es do because you've spun off the company and can't reign them in once they lose sight of the "big picture" and start trying to recreate their "glory days" from when Be could have become the next MacOS.

I was only at PSRC for the end of the "Cobalt blues" but people who were there for the whole thing say that Palm never liked Cobalt, never wanted it, and only went along because it was the only PalmOS option available.

That can't be true. Dianne Hackborn says Cobalt was the best thing since sliced bread! I'm not hearing you, Marty. La La La! La La La!

The problem with all of the 'what will Palm do now' scenarios is that Palm is not a software company, and hiring up to 130 linux programmers doesn't make you one.

Which is precisely why Windows Mobile + StyleTap Platform makes the most sense. By the way, Palm likes to think of themselves as overflowing with software "engineers" and codemonkey goodness...

I have no idea what Palm is up to now, but it would insane for them to think that they could become a player in embedded Linux development. So I suspect that's what they're up to.

No time for that as a primary OS, but Linux + Palm PIM should be easy enought to whip together.

At this point, Palm's best bet is to reimplement their PIM aps to the winmobile APIs and try to differentiate at the application layer.

Yes.

Otherwise, they're either

a) just another winmob player and aren't big enough to play in that pond

Yes

or

b) are the nth in an infinite series of embedded linux wannabes.

When you say nth do you mean "last"?

TVoR

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/30/2006 6:32:13 PM # Q

Do you think that Palm should focus on Smartphones and get out of the PDA business?

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Foo Fighter @ 7/30/2006 6:49:48 PM # Q
>> "Do you think that Palm should focus on Smartphones and get out of the PDA business?"

That much is a given. The bottom is falling out of the PDA business right out from under Palm's feet, as it is for the rest of the industry. We can count the number of months Dell will remain in this segment on one hand now. At the rate of decline it won't be much longer before the breakers kick in, where the amount of revenues generated from traditional PDAs literally doesn't match the bill of sales from hardware development.

Smartphones are the answer, but the problem is that Palm isn't innovating fast enough. The 700 series is already outmatched by the competition and yet Palm hasn't completed its product rollout. An exmaple of a formula for success: Apple dominates the space it competes in and still remains far ahead of its nearest competitor. Conversely, the GSM Treo 700s haven't even begun rolling off the assembly lines and already they are yesterdays news. Right now the Motorola Q is THE most coveted smartphone North America, followed distantly by the Nokia E61. Treo 700? What's that? Don't believe me? Look at this chart that tracks weekly interest among handset vendors. Look where Palm is at...

http://www.competenews.info/vantage2.jpg

Unless and until Palm moves the ball forward with some exciting new products, they have no hope of even keeping up with the lead dogs in this pack, let alone outpacing them.

-------------------------------
PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.com
Elitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/30/2006 7:06:19 PM # Q

>Right now the Motorola Q is THE most coveted smartphone North America

my anecdotal evidence supports this. a buddy of mine who i hadn't seen in a while showed up with this Q and when i asked why he chose it, he pointed to my treo 650 and said "i can't carry around a big phone like that." and the Q got all the oooohs and ahhhs from the rest of our gang over drinks (including me). pictures do not do it justice. Motorola is on a roll.

-----

"We'll sell more RAZRs this year than Apple will iPods." - Ed Zander, CEO Motorola

http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/31/magazines/fortune/razr_greatteams_fortune/index.htm

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
rcartwright @ 7/30/2006 9:27:45 PM # Q
One thing not really mentioned here is that Palm may be further along the curve with a Palm OS II (or an API layer to ride on WinMob) implementation than we think. Palm has the source code to Garnet (and Cobalt FWIW) they could have hacked a stable and useful OS toegther, but can't use it till they have the IP rights to the source code that Access owns.

I hope that is the case, but my gut tells me that the future will be a UMPC running Windows. Hey, when Jeff Kirvin trades in his Treo for a WinMob smartphonehe you gotta wonder...


"Many men stumble across the truth, but most manage to pick themselves up
and continue as if nothing had happened."
- Winston Churchill

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
AdamaDBrown @ 7/30/2006 10:30:34 PM # Q
That's a future that's still years away from being a satisfactory handheld replacement. As for the floor dropping out of the PDA business, I must have been hallucenating the latest Canalys numbers which show that the overall market is booming. As for why some people insist that there's absolutely no room for more than one path to mobile technology, I cannot fathom.

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/30/2006 11:16:58 PM # Q

PDA market booming? you must have been hallucenating, silly. now stop sniffing that glue with your Radio Shack comrades.

Resources are finite, and shareholders demand a return on their investment. If you want to stay in business, you focus on where the demand is. The trend is clear.

-----

Canalys has just released their Q2 2006 worldwide smart mobile device research report on the smartphone and handheld device shipments. The latest research from Canalys highlights the continuing shift from handhelds to converged devices. Overall year-on-year market growth of all smart mobile devices was largely unchanged from the previous two quarters at 55%, but converged device shipments (smart phones and wireless handhelds) rose 73%, while handhelds continued to slide, down 33% compared to the same period one year ago.

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
AdamaDBrown @ 7/31/2006 1:32:48 AM # Q
The percentage share is more than a little distorted by the fact that Nokia has significantly boosted the shipments of their quasi-smartphone S60 devices. This also affects the overall growth numbers, but the bottom line is that mobile devices are on the upswing. A certain share of that is smartphones, but:

1. Smartphones aren't the entire market, and not even close to it.

2. I still fail to see how adding a wireless connection to a handheld computer makes it no longer a handheld computer. Adding a cellular radio doesn't magically change the form factor, OS, composition, or baseline usage of a PDA in such a way as to make it no longer a data device.

Palm must know all this. Right?
freakout @ 7/31/2006 5:28:20 AM # Q
rcartwright said:
One thing not really mentioned here is that Palm may be further along the curve with a Palm OS II (or an API layer to ride on WinMob) implementation than we think.

I've wondered about that too. I don't think Palm is run by idiots nor are they blind; everything that's being discussed here in this thread has surely already been discussed in their boardrooms, and hopefully a long time ago. (One would hope.)

When they announced the Treo 700w, what surprised me most was not that they'd finally decide to tip their toes in the Microsoft pond (don't drink from it), but that they'd already been working on it for two years.

What other secret projects have they been brewing? Is one about to come to the boil? Their silence on their future OS plans is extremely annoying.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Palm...

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
cervezas @ 7/31/2006 11:12:58 AM # Q
AdamaDBrown wrote:
The percentage share is more than a little distorted by the fact that Nokia has significantly boosted the shipments of their quasi-smartphone S60 devices.

If the characterization of S60 as a "quasi-smartphone" platform ever made sense I think it doesn't make sense today. If you haven't picked up an S60 3rd edition phone like the E61 or N80 you should do so before you keep repeating this tired refrain. Or admit that you don't consider BlackBerries and MS Smartphone devices like the Q to be smartphones either (S60 3ed blows those away).


David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Foo Fighter @ 7/31/2006 12:46:28 PM # Q
Adama, you have a habit of always quoting studies which incorporate PDAs and Smartphones to hide the fact that traditional PDAs are a dying segment. Every study I have see which disseminates the two categories show conclusively that non-cellular PDA sales continue their sharp decline on a quarterly basis. Even Palm's own earnings report shows this.

Beyond that evidence, we have the activity (or rather inactivity) of the few remaining players in this space as ultimate proof. HP has stated they see traditional PDAs as dead market, and plan on shifting to smarphones. Dell hasn't produced any new model in what...two years now? And will likely soon exit this space just as they did with DAP. Palm meanwhile hasn't released a single new handheld model all year, and is unlikely to do so. Your assertion that PDAs are somehow a booming underground success is flat out silly.

As per your statement about Symbian S60...David said it best, it's time you take a close look at the latest wave of S60 third edition devices. Because this ain't your grandma's Nokia featurephone OS anymore. Devices like the E61 and N90 are in every way a rich smartphone environment. One that effectively trumps RIM and Windows Mobile Smartphone (not PPC). The E61 is among the very best Smartphones on the market today. It's embedded web browser (based on Apple's Safari rendering engine, WebKit) is hands down the best, and certainly most innovative, mobile browser in the industry. It makes Blazer, NetFront, and Pocket IE look like sad caricatures.

-------------------------------
PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.com
Elitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
buckeyetex315-2 @ 7/31/2006 6:14:58 PM # Q
PenguinPowered wrote:
As far as I know, there were no 'violations', and the contract hasn't been 'breached'. What there were is completion milestones in the contract with cash payouts attached. The milestones were missed, so the payouts don't happen.

Palm still has a contract with Access and they're still paying royalties for using Access' IP, in the form of Garnet.

If there were completion milestones in the contract and PalmSource didn't meet them on time, then they breached their contract. That is the definition of breach of contract...not complying with the terms of the agreement.

Brent

Palm Vx -----> LONG WAIT -----> Palm T|X

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/31/2006 6:29:11 PM # Q
The death of PDAs is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but in reality the "PDA" is merely an idea in transition. Form factors and functions change, devices are relabelled using arbitrary definitions.

A few points:

1) Traditional smartphones (think Treo) are an endangered species. Featurephones and low end semi-smartphones (running variants of Windows + Symbian + Linux) are already cannibalilizing this market. This is already becoming a commodity market, much to Palm's chagrin.

2) Real Windows™ tablet and micro laptop devices are the future, the goal being a CLIE TH55 or UX50-sized device running Windows with few compromises.

3) Traditional PDAs must evolve upmarket + into new niches to survive. Always-on connectivity, multimedia and remote access to desktop applications are the key. Yes clever PalmOS powerusers can already do a lot of these things by selecting the right third party apps, but Palm must deliver this right out of the box. NOW. The only problem is they waited too long. With traditional laptops now available for $500 and UMPCs already evolving rapidly, the raison d'etre for the "nouveau PDA" is evaporating as quickly as a vaporware SD peripheral in the desert sun. Low price is not enough to sell these devices. Any way you slice it, Palm is screwed unless they find a buyer this quarter. Bringing a well known individual on bord in an effort to legitimize Palm's position would be a smart way to help polish the fading paint prior to a sale, wouldn't it? I wonder what happened to the exec PalmSource promoted prior to their sale? Is McVeigh available? ;-O


TVoR

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
cervezas @ 7/31/2006 6:54:37 PM # Q
It's not a breach on PalmSource's part. The payouts were like incentives for hitting the milestones on time, as I read it. A breach could imply cause for Palm to terminate the agreement and there's nothing being said about that at this point. Palm *is* asking that the agreement be modified, though.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog
www.pikesoft.com/blog
RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
cervezas @ 7/31/2006 7:01:14 PM # Q
Real Windows™ tablet and micro laptop devices are the future, the goal being a CLIE TH55 or UX50-sized device running Windows with few compromises.

If the device market diversifies as I expect, you and several thousand others like you will probably get your wish. But the idea that micro-laptop devices running desktop Windows is "where the market is going" as a whole is just proof that you need to spend some time with normal people. The PC itself will die before that happens.

Any vision of mobile computing that suggests it will become mainstream because a vendor delivers all the right software out of the box is wrong, too. Even you don't believe it, TVoR. Slap yourself around a bit, please.

Outside a few basic things that already ship on Palm devices, 90% of the software people will use will be stuff that 90% of everyone else will have no interest in. If no vendor succeeds in making discovery and personalization through software easy enough to enable that kind of software market (and someone will) I doubt mobile computing will ever become truly mainstream. Personalization is the killer app for mobile.


David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Palm's position explained: (Colligan on his knees?)
Gekko @ 7/31/2006 7:26:31 PM # Q
>Real Windows™ tablet and micro laptop devices are the future, the goal being a CLIE TH55 or UX50-sized device running Windows with few compromises.

Maybe for the small niche of psycho-ward help desks, but not for the real world of business.

It has to be POCKETABLE, silly.

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