PalmSource Nasdaq Opening Coverage

After years of planning, PalmSource officially became an independent publicly traded company on Wednesday Oct 29th. PalmSoucre is now listed on the on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under "PSRC." The company held a press conference in New York to mark the occasion and PalmInfocenter was in attendence to bring you this report.

David Nagel, PalmSource CEOThe event was held in the Nasdaq building in Times Square New York City on Wednesday October 29th, 2003. The audience was light but included members of the press, business and research analysts and some PalmSource executives. Opening remarks were made by PalmSource CEO David Nagel. There was also a booth setup where the audience could get hands on with some of the latest Palm Powered handhelds.

Nagel started his talk by giving a broad overview of PalmSource and the history leading up to the spin off. He then went on to explain the PalmSource philosophy and gave a broad Palm OS platform overview. He then went on to talk about the evolution of mobile devices and the future role of PalmSource as a new independent company.

He spoke on PalmSource's policy of an open model of development, and how the company embraces that by making available APIs, code, tools and other resources easily available for developers. He compared the early licensing policy decision of Palm Inc to old differing Wintel/Apple licensing strategies.

Flexible Operating System
According to Nagel, the flexibility and versatility of the Palm OS enables licensees to create new products, innovate on hardware and create new unique mobile device markets. As examples, he brought up Sony's work on adding multimedia with the Clie line, Tapwave creating a gaming focused handheld console, Garmin bringing integrated GPS to PDAs and other unique products such as Fossils upcoming Palm OS wristwatch.

PalmSource Nasdaq: PSRC ~ Click for largerPalmSource will continue to license the OS and to support new products that grow the overall market. Diversity and choice are the hallmarks of PalmSource's strategy. He see's a large opportunity in China, where they currently have as many mobile phone users as US citizens. India and Central America were cited as other regional areas that have growth potential.

Future Products
He highlighted the great growth potential in the smartphones and also media centric devices. He stated that next year, 10-15 million handheld units are predicted to ship, while 400 million phone handsets are expected. He also felt there is a lot of potential for the Palm OS in new personal media devices such as audio and video players like the Apple iPod. The emergence of larger solid state memory chips and smaller hard drives could help fuel this trend, as the Palm OS is already a great platform to build on.

Nagel also took the opportunity to share his thoughts on the mobile operating system competitive landscape. He feels that Symbian is losing momentum as companies back out and become fearful the platform will become dominated by Nokia. Just like windows, Symbain is also becoming a fragmented platform, because software usually has to be targeted to specific devices. He feels it could eventually turn into an Apple like model with Nokia controlling both the OS and hardware.

Nagel criticized Microsoft's fragmented operating system approach. Windows developers need to build and compile a separate application for each PPC, Windows CE, MS Smartphone. Applications built for one Microsoft platform do not work on the others. With the Palm OS the majority of applications will run on any Palm OS device from a Palm III to a Tapwave Zodiac, without (or with very little) modification.

PalmSource Nasdaq: PSRC ~ Click for largerPalm OS 6
Nagel said that Palm OS 6 is progressing very well and the company is on track to hit golden master (final software build) by the end of the year. Alpha versions of the next generation OS are already running on development boards and hardware. He said to expect devices running OS 6 four to six months after the final release to licensees.

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No Zodiac?!

mikecane @ 11/4/2003 6:48:03 PM #
Yeah, yeah, first post. BFD!

I don't see a Tapwave Zodiac in that pic of devices. Was it there?

RE: No Zodiac?!
Admin @ 11/4/2003 7:27:07 PM #
it was noticeably absent, as is my review unit :P
RE: No Zodiac?!
sub_tex @ 11/4/2003 8:06:02 PM #
You should read this MONSTER thread over at, Mike.

Lots of pics and video! of the Zodiac.

RE: No Zodiac?!
Foo Fighter @ 11/4/2003 9:37:40 PM #
I'm thinking of canceling my order. Tapwave botched it. They exaggerated product availability by stating that Zodiac would begin shipping by the end of October, but then apparently couldn't fill all those Zodiac 2 orders. So my "pre-order" (which I placed on the second day Tapwave began taking orders) became a "Pre-backorder". Adding insult to injury; people who ordered the Zodiac weeks after me are getting their units before me. So much for Tapwave's promise that orders would be shipped in the order they were placed. I swear...if Verizon offered the Treo 600, I would buy it in a heartbeat, and never carry a PDA again. Good riddance!

My blog:
RE: No Zodiac?!
mikecane @ 11/5/2003 9:48:37 AM #
>>>You should read this MONSTER thread over at, Mike.

Ha! Synchronicity! I came across that twenty minutes ago. It's 44 pages of posts! Just finished watching his video.

Lucky guy. But the unit's not for me. Others will love it, I'm sure.

RE: No Zodiac?!
phalanx @ 11/5/2003 10:55:34 AM #
Tapwave is done for, their game library is much smaller than 15-20 titles they promised. It turns out, the titles are filled with old palm game rehash. The bigger title are only one or two. Tonyhawk and never winter night are not out yet probably until next year.

That will reduce Tapwave to insignificant player compared to same priced T|3.

In the meantime SOny PSP picutre is already floaitng aorund the net.

RE: No Zodiac?!
hkklife @ 11/5/2003 4:02:41 PM #
As much as I hate to see it happen, I because absolutely convinced that the Tapwave/Zodiac was dead in the water upon the initial announcement that online sales would long precede retail sales. I've long followed the portable gaming market, almost as closely as I follow the handheld/PDA scene (that is, everything out there that's not a GameBoy) and the best pieces of hardware are usually the ones that flop hardest.

Nintendo has consistently had the poorest hardware (I am still very underwhelmed by the GBA SP) but that is balanced out by having value-priced, widely available hardware & software in every major retailer across the world. The huge game library ( a few strong titles and a lot of garbage) and consistently good battery life only sweeten the pot. Maintaining backwards compatability with almost every GB title released in 15 years doesn't hurt a bit either, especially as far as frugal parents are concerned.

If you look at the TurboExpress, Atari Lynx, Neo-Geo Pocket, Tiger's, and now the Zodiac, you'll see a trend of: A. powerful/expensive/awkward hardware or B. hardware only slightly more powerful than the GB with no software to back it up. Either way, a lack of killer titles and a plethora of rehashed ports doomed every one of the above machines.

I also cannot stress how vital Tetris was as a pack-in to the original GameBoy's success. You don't hearing anyone clamoring for AcidSolitaire and that bland racing game, do you?

I just hope that if Tapwave tanks, there will be enough support from either Palm or the community to ensure at least sporadic updates to the Palm Desktop software to keep it as a servicable PDA--can it run off standard Palm Desktop 4.1 or is it a proprietary version like Sony's?

What could have saved (or still can save) Tapwave?

1. Just imagine if Tapwave coulda talked iD into granting the rights to do an official Doom as the pack-in for the Zodiac. Doom, Warfare Inc, and BeJeweled (all in ROM) would have made things instantly more appealing.

2. Sega's got their fair share of problems currently, but they are sitting on a fabulous collection of titles, from the Master System all the way up to the Dreamcast. Instead of fooling around with a half-assed GameGear emulator and the disappointing Sega Classics MMC, they should have jumped on board the Zodiac with a little enthusiasm. I know there are tons of gamers out there who fondly remember their Genesis days and are dying for, say, a new Panzer Dragoon, Golden Axe, Shinobi, or a decent collection of Sonic titles. Or Blizzard, for example, could have ported some of their older Warcrafts or Diablo 1 over--maybe even Blackthorne, their side-scroller action title from 8 years ago.

3. Retail availability!!! These puppies should've been in retail stores loooong ago, even if for demo purposes alone. You still see people crowding around Halo on the Xbox at EB, 2 years after the kiosks were installed. That sort of buzz cannot be represented by a website or video clips, no matter how badly Tapwave tries to do so. I've complained about Palm having disorganized, broken retail displays in recent years but it's STILL the only way to let the general public you have a "better than GameBoy" machine out there.

4. I've never seen anything indicating pricing for the Zodiac titles on MMC/SD but I am positive they will cost more than GB cartridges do. A sure-fire way to win people over would be with a bunch of high-quality compilations on one card-selling for no more than $30 per card. Sorta like what Palm/MDM has done with their various game collections, but with titles that are not just endless Solitaire and checkers rehashes. Imagine a card with Doom I &II, or Hexen & Heretic, or all of the Duke Nukem sidescrollers, or the whole Tony Hawk series on it...

RE: No Zodiac?!
phalanx @ 11/5/2003 8:47:56 PM #

Tapwave will never rack up enough gaming title to reach critical mass of becoming long term player. The neverwinternight supposedly come out during launch, now it's January. DoomII is nowhere to be seen. This is how they are going to win the race?

Come April, Sony will show their PSP in Vegas. By late summer, SOny will pump up their hype machien to the max for late Q4 sale. By december, games is over for tapwave in gaming arena.

Only fool would think that the impending handheld battle between Sony and Nintendo will not kill tapwave.


mopcodes @ 11/5/2003 2:32:23 PM #

I think all this is great news and all, but what about folks with current devices and Palm OS 6? I've yet to see another device supported with a flashable upgrade such as the one for my Palm IIIxe. The IIIxe had a flashrom update to Palm OS 4.xx I think. It's been a while so I'm not sure about the exact version.

Currently I have a T2. I've no plans on upgrading my hardware until Palm OS 6 and maybe not even then. So why doesn't Palm have updates for existing devices? We have after all these flashable ROMs don't we?

I'd like to see OS updates for older devices - heck I'd like to see that patches being added as ROM updates rather than soft loaded patches eating my
internal memory up!

Well Palm where is the loyalty for older device owners?

D. Martin
Former Amiga/Commodore Author/Writer/Reviewer

hkklife @ 11/5/2003 4:23:28 PM #
When you are clinging to the life preserver with every ounce of your strength (like Palm is), and in the process of spinning yourself off (like Palm is) and reshuffling the company for the zillionth time (like Palm is), customer loyalty seems to end up very low on the totem pole of considerations.

Just when you thought they couldn't bungle anything worse than the whole m505 (SUDS, Hungary vs. USA, non-XP 4.1 upgrade software), along come the Tungsten T and T3 to drive everyone up the wall.

Palm has done themselves a long-term disservice by having SUCH commitment early on to their early devices. You can, by way of an E-Bay-purchased III upgrade RAM card and the official Palm OS 4.1 upgrade CD, bring a vintage 1996 Pilot 1000 right up to the capabilities (more or less) of a Zire, trading the rechargable battery and a better screen for a real set of buttons.

Long-term POS users remember the good ol' days and that probably does Palm more harm than good, since we are the ones who buy a new handheld every 6 months or year. Palm might have gained a lot of first-time owners last Christmas by selling Zires at Target, but their inability to address any of the outstanding issues with the Tungsten line will end up alienating and driving off their loyal fanbase. OS6 is practically finished and we still have a handful of OS5 units with "issues" that will likely never be resolved. Sony, of course, does the exact same thing but other than the 710 trade-in upgrade offer, has never bothered to give any long-term support so at least the Clie camp knows what (not) to expect.

I'll go out on a limb and predict that Palm will never offer any sort of comprehensive patch to the original T|T, will offer only a barely functional solution to the T3's variety of woes, and will not offer an OS6 upgrade to any existing unit (citing, of course, not enough hardware power, flash space etc etc).



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