Symbol Renews Palm OS License With PalmSource

Symbol and PalmSource today announced a private label distributor agreement enabling Symbol customers to take advantage of PalmSource's operating system software. Symbol will license Palm OS for use in several of its mobile computers including the SPT1550 and SPT1800 handhelds and other future Symbol mobile computers.

Symbol continues to provide a choice in operating systems for its enterprise mobility customers, allowing them to select the business applications that best meet their mobile workforce requirements," said Chuck Dourlet, vice president of product marketing, mobile computing, Symbol Technologies. "A wide selection of solutions enables workers within all kinds of organizations to capture, move and manage information in order to increase productivity and efficiency."

Symbol SPT 1800 Palm OS Handheld"We believe extending our partnership with Symbol Technologies will enable PalmSource to enhance the Palm OS platform's commercial market penetration, as well as continue to serve Symbol's Palm Powered mobile users," said Charlie Tritschler, vice president of product marketing, PalmSource, Inc. "Symbol customers will continue to benefit from rugged devices designed to offer easy application development and long battery life for the needs of today's growing mobile workforce."

The Symbol SPT 1550 and SPT 1800 rugged mobile computers combine integrated scanning, a choice of batch processing or wireless connectivity, and powerful processing capabilities with the Palm OS platform--making them well suited for the transportation and logistics, healthcare and retail industry sectors.

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Symbol has it right

RhinoSteve @ 3/7/2005 2:56:44 PM # Q
These guys know a good market for the Palm OS. Unlike Sony that tries to make everything a brand-centric novel item.
RE: Symbol has it right
ocspub @ 3/7/2005 3:17:28 PM # Q
Except that they seem to be pretty focussed on WinCE devices these days. When did Symbol last update their hardware? How about a color device with ARM chip and Garnett or Cobalt? (yes, I know, there are a lot of apps that don't require this... and 640kb ought to be enough for us on the desktop as well ;-) )

Visit for Zodiac news and discussion.
RE: Symbol has it right
RhinoSteve @ 3/8/2005 2:19:47 PM # Q
Not really focused, more like letting someone else pay the NRE to get their procious WinCE/PPC devices up and running.

The Palm OS Symobl devices outsell the WinCE/PPC Symbol devices by a signifigant margin. The reason why they didn't upgrade to the later OSes is simply there isn't much customer demand for it and PalmSource doesn't subsidize hardware licensee development. It works, has a bar code scanner and that is all the customers want.

FYI, for those of you who don't know, Symbol decided to pass on RFID. Be interesting to see how the cards will fall on that one.

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New devices?

andyi @ 3/7/2005 3:12:15 PM # Q
It's great to know that Symbol has recommitted to the PalmOS. Hopefully we'll hear that they're actually working on updated devices. I'm especially interested in a 10 key device since that's what my customers want.
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hkklife @ 3/7/2005 2:00:17 PM # Q
I was just thinking the other day how quiet Symbol had been on the POS front as of late. I suspect that they renewed just to keep the 1550 & 1800 old workhorses in production and out in the field. I'd be surprised if any new stuff (short in incremental upgrades) ever comes out of the deal. Aren't the 1550 and 1800 based on ~IIIxe & m500 era specs, respectively?

I still see plenty of POS-based Symbol units out in the field and just a week or two ago signed on one for a delivery. Usually the person who handles one is clueless about the specs but occasionally someone will comment on the durability or longevity of their machines when dropped etc.

There's still quit a market out there waiting for someone to product an "industrial stile Palm OS device" like Georg has been asking for. Big color screen, wi-fi & BT, juicy battery and CF/SDIO slots, all in a ruggedized casing. AGAIN I plead for Panasonic to step in and make such a device! Call it the "ToughPalm" or some such. Watch as a small but vocal segment of the hardcore mainstream crowd, sick of mediocre battery life, poor build quality and unconcerned with sleek FFs adopt such a device!

RE: Surprising
drw @ 3/7/2005 9:13:31 PM # Q
While it's outdated try looking for inventory software. It's all for the 1550. I've found at least 6 apps of which I will try the trial versions. Check out That's a $4,000 system right there and it uses a 1550. Sure I would like to plug an SD barcode scanner into my Tungsten C, but once again the software on the market is looking for an SPT1550.

I'm looking for a program which will allow me to go around and scan alcohol, enter the amount of bottles (including fractional amounts), and then export the the list of items, price, quantity, and price*quantity as columns in a spreadsheet.

Looking for the cheapest and quickest way to calulate pour cost for a bar. If anyone can recommend a program, please do, thanks..


RE: Surprising
pmjoe @ 3/7/2005 10:56:58 PM # Q
> Aren't the 1550 and 1800 based on ~IIIxe & m500 era specs, respectively?

I could be wrong, but as far as I know, they're both based on the III series. At least Symbol finally upgraded them to OS 4. I see them pretty frequently as well.

Yeah, I'd love to see an updated Palm (Cobalt or the newer Palm on Linux) for this kind of market. Unfortunately, I suspect Symbol's license renewal is mainly to keep selling these existing models.

RE: Surprising
AdamaDBrown @ 3/8/2005 3:34:53 AM # Q
There are certain (mostly vertical) markets where capabilities don't matter as much as the principle that the base machine stays around for even and never, never changes. Hence the continued production of the aging T|C, and fossils like the Symbol machines.

RE: Surprising
MarcosV @ 3/8/2005 11:23:28 PM # Q

I write applications that use the Symbol devices and the clients are pretty satisfied with them.. Although the current specs do suffice; people often light up when they see how much clearer the screens are on the WinCE Symbol models. A higher resolution color screen would probably go over quite well for new customers, though I doubt Symbol will produce one. Our application has also been growing in size and complexity and we are starting to notice the performance drain on these devices, which could greatly benefit from a quicker CUP.

A new Australian company called Aceeca is also now offering devices very similar to the SPT models.


RE: Surprising
MarcosV @ 3/8/2005 11:35:02 PM # Q

David, (drw) You could always use the SDIO In-Hand scanner from Socket Communications:

The software that comes with it will allow you to scan in barcodes into just about any application such as SheetsToGo which is bundled on most P1 devices. You can also enter in prefix and suffix characters to automatically have it move to the next cell in the sheet where you input a value. Then other columns can be setup to do the math formulas.

If you need somehting more robust then that; let me know as I have lots of code that could be used for this type of solution and could probably whip something up pretty quick..


RE: Surprising
ganoe @ 3/9/2005 8:29:35 PM # Q
As I said under another topic, it's past time for PalmSource to end-of-life these ancient versions of the OS. Hopefully come up with some good incentives for companies to move on to Cobalt or the Palm Linux. If they won't move on, then they aren't promoting the Palm platform anymore, and PalmSource needs to kick them out. I like Symbol as a company, but watching these companies milk ancient versions of the Palm OS and platform for all they're worth is just like watching a slow death of the Palm OS.
Dumba$$ comments by mikecane proteges?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 3/9/2005 10:24:33 PM # Q
What a retarded thing to say. Looks like another victim of Mikecane Disease.

Sure, PalmSource really should EOL PalmOS 4, drive Symbol et. al. to PPC and then wonder how come the electricity bill hasn't been paid in 4 months.

Newsflash: Cobalt is DOA, PalmLinux is a pipe dream, and PalmOS 5 is of no use to companies happy with using primitive-but-reliable 1999-era hardware.


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

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RE: Surprising

dpg @ 6/1/2005 4:41:08 PM # Q
One of the reasons you see commercial products using the 1550 is that it is reasonably durable, relatively inexpensive, and has an integrated scanner. Systems that use the Socket scanner, on the other hand, are VERY fragile due to the nature of the SDIO connection. Talk about something that's easy to break, and costs $350 every time you do. Of course you could go with a Symbol 8800, but now you're talking about > $1300 a pop. For my money, a 1550 with a ruggedizer boot is more than adequate to power data collection software.
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