Comments on: Article on Palm's Uncertain OS Roadmap

ComputerWorld has posted a article that, while not delivering any Earth-shaking new info, nicely summarizes the current cloudy outlook regarding Palm's future OS plans. By publishing this article hot on the heels of this week's Treo 755p launch, ComputerWorld again raises the question of how closely one should read between the lines of Ed Colligan's comments last month to continue shipping Garnet-based "...devices this year".

ComputerWorld was unfortunately unable to elicit a response from Palm Inc. regarding their plans for any additional future Garnet OS devices. Several industry analysts interviewed by ComputerWorld paint different scenarios for the immediate future of the "classic" Palm OS. One thing that all parties agree on, however, is that Palm is sending mixed signals to their customers. Maintaining a lineup consisting of Windows Mobile-powered Treos alongside a number of legacy Garnet devices is already sending mixed signals. Add to that Ed Colligan's recent announcement that points towards a new Linux-based Palm platform in the future and it is no wonder that ComputerWorld concludes that the smartphone OS world is in the midst of tremendous uncertainty and instability.

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Such incompetence it's sickening

drbuzz0 @ 5/11/2007 1:49:40 PM # Q
After seeing the release of the 755p, which is a 700p with the antenna lopped off a much less useful miniSD card slot and (hopefully) a couple bug fixes that should have been made LONG LONG ago, I'm starting to wonder who the hell is running this show.

Do they realize that they are not the only game in town anymore? They are the PalmOS/GarnetOS company and the only thing that sets them apart from the rest is their operating system, which although lighter and simpler is way way past due for being revamped.

If they are going to just become another Windows Mobile vendor, like HTC, Motorola, Samsung and all the others then they are going to have to keep up hardware-wise in order to compete. Their hardware upgrades are very underwhelming.

Somebody please explain that people only will stay with an OS so long before they expect it to not seem so 2002-ish!

RE: Such incompetence it's sickening
zire102001 @ 5/11/2007 2:09:15 PM # Q
Palm is owned by Microsoft Now, and it's not going to last, once Microsoft gets its claws on a good working product it tears it down and gets rid of it. In other words Palm is no more, it's Dead, M$ Rules it, and M$ Windows handhelds will now try to flourish, however there will be NO innovation in it at all...

The Good has Fallen...

RE: Such incompetence it's sickening
GF_PalmInfo @ 5/13/2007 5:30:18 AM # Q
Do you think people will spend 44m to buy the license then dump it? Definitely not. They buy the license is because they want to customize the OS for their future device.

Why they want to sell PocketPC phone? Two reasons: Steal the pie from other ppc manufacturers and MS help to promote the brand "Palm". New marketing + Free promotion. Why not?

Innovation? How much improvement of the 1st generation iPod compare to the 5th generation? Not much right? Why nobody complain Apple? Actually both Palm and Apple have made a lot improvement in usability not the form factor. You see so many devices come from HTC, any different in usability? Not much except the form factor and the different combination of hardware, such as 2G/3G, 1.3MP/2MP camera etc. Why? Because HTC is a hardware company.

RE: Such incompetence it's sickening
SeldomVisitor @ 5/13/2007 7:34:43 AM # Q
> Do you think people will spend 44m to buy the license then dump it? ...


The license purchase was INSTANTLY cost-effective. PALM can DUMP PalmOS =entirely= within ONE year of buying that license and, relatively speaking, MAKE money.

Do i think they WILL within one year?


But they could.

[I think they will "soon", however]

RE: Such incompetence it's sickening
joad @ 5/15/2007 12:00:36 PM # Q
correction: "Palm is 'Powned' by Microsoft"

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Palm's May Judgment Day is near.

VampireLestat @ 5/12/2007 1:04:16 AM # Q
I am extremely curious what the new product line will be.

I will have a good idea is Palm is serious about anything other than phones and WM.

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It's even more confusing for developers

asiayeah @ 5/12/2007 4:42:50 AM # Q
I think this instability of smartphone OS is even more confusing for developers. For a consumer point of view, they shouldn't focus so much in the OS, anyway.

But to a developer, without a long-term plan for OS, it's really hard to justify to develop something new for Palm smartphones. While the new Linus platform promises Garnet or Palm OS compatibility, it's still not going to be 100% compatible...

If Palm cannot promise a new smartphone based on the Garnet OS, who will want to develop a new Garnet based application?

With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: It's even more confusing for developers
GF_PalmInfo @ 5/13/2007 5:40:02 AM # Q
"But to a developer, without a long-term plan for OS, it's really hard to justify to develop something new for Palm smartphones. While the new Linus platform promises Garnet or Palm OS compatibility, it's still not going to be 100% compatible..."

Interesting. How do you know it is not going to be 100% compatible? Who will guarantee the new OS will be 100% compatible? All new version of PocketPC (Windows CE), Windows, Mac OS, Java... have the compatibility problem. Why confuse?

The new OS will be using Linux kernel and Palm OS shell. So long as Palm updated the APIs, all existing programs should be working fine.

RE: It's even more confusing for developers
cervezas @ 5/13/2007 12:25:31 PM # Q
In fact, the new OS has to pass compatibility tests run against a test harness mutually agreed upon by Palm and ACCESS.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
RE: It's even more confusing for developers
SeldomVisitor @ 5/13/2007 1:52:22 PM # Q
Actually...not being a lawyer I'd say there is now sincere doubt about whether any "compatability test harness" needs to be passed.


Because all that agreement/test harness stuff was done BEFORE PALM bought total rights to PalmOS et al.

And now they have the trademark, too.

So I don't think ACCESS can say anymore "Sorry, you didn't pass the test, you can't call THAT PalmOS!".

RE: It's even more confusing for developers
twrock @ 5/13/2007 9:00:31 PM # Q
Actually...not being a lawyer I'd say there is now sincere doubt about whether any "compatability test harness" needs to be passed.

You might want to go back and re-read the ACCESS/Palm agreement, at least the pertinent points.

Palm owns the "Palm" name. Yes. They have the right to create a "Palm OS". But this happened prior to the ACCESS acquisition of PalmSource. PalmSource sold the full rights to the name to Pa1mOne. PalmSource was going to have to stop using the "Palm" name.

In order for Palm to use the Garnet code in "their" OS, their "OS" must pass a compatibility test. That was part of the agreement with ACCESS When Palm recently purchased the rights to the Garnet code.

So, yes, technically, if Palm wants to write an entirely new OS that in no way includes any Garnet code, then no, they don't have to pass a compatibility test. They can call it "Palm OS" or whatever.

I'm quite sure that this last scenario was not what David was referring to. At the moment, there seems to be no compelling reason for Palm to not use the Garnet code for backward compatibility, particularly since they have already paid for it and it is still a desirable thing for them to do. In that case, they need to pass the compatibility test. Unless they want to take on ACCESS in a court room, I think there is not a lot of room for doubt as to whether or not Palm must maintain compatibility to the test harness if they are going to use the Garnet code they "purchased".

Thinking about Vista? Think again:
Want an alternative? Try this: or

RE: It's even more confusing for developers
craigdts @ 5/13/2007 10:34:12 PM # Q
I'm pretty sure it's simply:

In order for palm to say it's "Garnet compatible" or "Uses Garnet Apps" it has to jump through some basic Access hoops. They can call it Palm OS as much as they want. However in order for it to run Garnet apps AND for them to claim it run Garnet OS apps, it needs to meet basic standards of Access.

Why? Because Access wants to ride with Palm. They want any third party program development to be compatible with their ALP OS.
ALP is "Garnet Compatible" too
Palm OS (new linux) is "Garnet Compatible"

Think about it. If palm made major changes to the way apps were to be written, etc. and developers had to write them were they were completely incompatible with older devices (also ALPs because they won't do jack with the Garnet side) then what would be the benefit of including the Garnet environment for Access' licensees? They would be like "Access your Garnet is crap. It doesn't even work with Palm's Garnet." They want that overlap. However, everyone knows Garnet will be only useful as a transitionary agent during the linux move.

This is really nothing to get worried about, because at some point - about 3-4 years from now noone will care about "Garnet Compatibility" because that is simply a way for us users and developers to make the transition to the new Palm OS. Garnet Apps will be like the Classic OS of apple . . . it was there but eventually everyone moves away from it. That way us Palm users don't fuss too much during the transition and developers have time to adjust.

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