Palm OS 6 To Be Released in Late 2003

According to new statements out of PalmSource, Palm OS 6 will be released to licensees before the end of late 2003. The new version will focus on wireless technology standards, security and multimedia.

Update: Possible screen shots of Palm OS 6 have been posted.

Albert Chu, PalmSource's VP of business development to, "PalmSource expects to debut major OS releases every 12 months to 18 months after the first hardware ships."

Palm OS 5 was released to licensees in June of 2002. Devices that made use of the new operation system became available in October of the same year.

Developers at the conference are being given a sneak preview at Palm OS 6, in order to outline long term product plans and strategies for using the new os. PalmSource expects to have applications that can take full advantage of OS 6 ready when devices running it become available.

Focus on Wireless and Security
PalmSource CEO David Nagel commented at the PalmSource Developer Conference, "The operating system (Palm OS 6) was designed nearly from the ground up for wireless capabilities, with a focus on security for wireless data transfers." He went on to say that PalmSource is committed to supporting all of the current main wireless standards and that PalmSource has put a major emphasis on building the most secure OS environment.

In previous talks about the upcoming OS Nagel stressed that Palm OS 6 will focus on next generation communications and frameworks for new and upcoming technologies. Specifically, scalable communications, more robust security features, a new multimedia framework with a scalable graphics engine, interchangeable I/O features (such as the ability to incorporate many different methods of data input) and a new messaging framework.

Developers will also be able to write fully ARM native applications. With OS 5 developers have had to use armlet's, or snippets of ARM code, to speed up applications to take advantage of ARM processors. OS 6 will also include Multi-processing/threading features, web services (XML/SOAP), a reference Java VM and the PalmSource proxy-less web browser.

Update: PIC has received what might possibly be a early screen shot of Palm OS 6. The two images show a revised interface with a new UI look, form buttons and a soft input area (aka virtual graffiti). The image on the left appears to show an updated version of the datebook application and to the right, the main application launcher showing time, sound controls and a battery meter.

Possible Palm OS 6 screen shot ~ Click for larger

PIC could not confirm if the images are indeed from OS 6. There is a possibility they are from an early design concept.

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wireless , security and multimedia?

dhchung @ 5/7/2003 2:24:49 PM #
I can't think of anything of wireless other than 802.11 and BT..
For multimedia, palm already got a fast CPU, good speaker, and camera on their PDAs. what else can they add?
security? So what are the security holes Palm has so far?

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
xtremist5150 @ 5/7/2003 2:35:59 PM #
Methinks more security for Wi-Fi traffic, etc. Just because Palm has a good hardware setup with the Tungsten C for wireless right now doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement on the software side.

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
JKingGrim @ 5/7/2003 2:40:56 PM #
>>I can't think of anything of wireless other than 802.11 and BT..

Hoping from one connection to another, protocols, ect.

>>For multimedia, palm already got a fast CPU, good speaker, and camera on their PDAs. what else can they add?

That does not mean it is as good as it can be. My guess is new UNIVERSAL APIs (meaning media players that work on every device), support for diffrent codecs, ect.

security? So what are the security holes Palm has so far?

A whimpy password is not good security. REAL 128 bit encrytion is security.

Did you really think the OS was perfect? Its good, but not perfect. Technology moves on, and operatins systems must keep up.

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
xtremist5150 @ 5/7/2003 3:03:50 PM #
I have an excellent source who claims that OS 6 will be better than OS 5.

Shhhhh, don't tell anyone. Our little secret.

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
cbowers @ 5/7/2003 5:09:47 PM #
There's lots of room to grow into in both wireless and security. It will be good to see some of the concepts discussed come to the platform. Code/message signing/verification, file permissions, better use of encryption.

As for wireless, at this point other there are multiple directions. Palm seems inclined to wait until cellphone chips come down to $10 and include them. But they might well in the short term, relent and include a CF slot, so that for *today* the user can choose best of breed solutions for themselves, and/or mix and match. For example the pocketPC camp can add a tri-band GSM phone to any CF slot:

But in the mid-term the better solution might be the now FCC approved software definable radio. It takes more horsepower and battery (but we have lot of both currently in the platform), but one DSP array can be any wireless technology, or given sufficient resource availability, be multiple wireless flavors at the same time.

Imagine now your PDA is a IS-95 or CDMA2000 phone by day with an office number, a GSM phone by night on a personal account, or when overseas on a trip. And all while offering BT and or WiFi in the background as needed.

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
indesman @ 5/7/2003 5:27:49 PM #
I was thinking more along the lines of cellular as well. Maybe it could be a 2.4ghz mobile phone when in use around your house. I've long wanted a single device that would be programmable to accept multiple RF signals so I wouldn't have to have separate devices. When I'm working in the yard I'll sometimes have my cordless phone, baby monitor and radio. Wouldn't it be something if you could have a Palm phone be all of these at the same time? Of course I don't know squat about RF signal processing, antennas, etc.

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
cbowers @ 5/7/2003 6:57:27 PM #
Funny how in some ways we've moved back in time with the loss of the HandEra 330, and HandSpring Visor lines, when it comes to expansion.

As for 2.4Ghz cordless phone around the house, there used to be just that, in fact, as a Visor springboard module from a local company. Pop it in, and voila, a cordless phone. Some of the models even gave internet data abilities to the Visor in addition.

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
gfunkmagic @ 5/7/2003 11:09:32 PM #
"I can't think of anything of wireless other than 802.11 and BT.."

Are you serious? How about 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11a, other 802 stantards, BT, TDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, CDMA, CDMA2000 1xRTT, CDMA2000 1xEvDo, CDMA 2000 1xEvDv, GMRS/FRS radios, 5.8 GHz DSS, 2.4 GHz DSS, 2.4 GHz, 900 MHz DSS/digital etc, DGPS, WAAS GPS, IR, FM modulators, various RF modulators, UWB or "sneaky wave" and on and on...

RE: wireless , security and multimedia?
gfunkmagic @ 5/8/2003 1:28:58 AM #
Oh, I forgot to add mobitex, and Huntec's Reflex netowrks as well...

Great News!

Verteron @ 5/7/2003 2:54:16 PM #
If PalmSource manage to pull this off well (what with the expertise from Be and all), things look bright for PalmOS devices future, I think...

My wish list of features would be:

- Improved support for WiFi, BT, and plug-in 3G and GPRS for devices that want to support it with seemless connection hopping
- Properly encrypted file system (Blowfish or similar at the file system level), WEP, RSA/DES for Internet security (SSL sockets)
- More optimisation for the ARM processors
- Support for 'real files' in internal RAM and hierarchical structure. Now we have 32MB and 64MB devices this will become important.
- Better multi-tasking (might have to wait until POS7 for this depending how much they've taken from BeOS...)

RE: Great News!
Take1 @ 5/8/2003 3:44:00 AM #
How about seamless program access to the SD/MS.. That's WAY overdue.

RE: Great News!
sthakor @ 8/25/2003 12:17:39 PM #
I've also heard that the Palm OS 6 would have support for Landscape Mose (Currently it only has support for Portrait Mode). The new Sony UX40/50 operates in Landscape Mode (I really like that). With the New APIs that Palm is going to put out, Developers of Palm OS will be able to take advantage of the Landscape Mode. Infact I've also heard that the Tungsten T3 (The one after Tungsten T2) would possibly have support for the Landscape Mode. Some apps make more sense to view/operate in Landscape Mode.

Palm OS 6

macfixer @ 5/7/2003 3:06:07 PM #
I'll just settle for the cool "yellow tab' look that made the BeOS so...'unique'



RE: Palm OS 6
Verteron @ 5/7/2003 3:29:04 PM #
The strange thing is, the title bars of programs under both operating systems actually look quite similar :D

RE: Palm OS 6
NikMan @ 5/8/2003 7:40:29 AM #
I think Palm is sad, becouse the invested money in buying BeOS. I am pretty sure about that. It's allready old.

RE: Palm OS 6
MikeInDM @ 5/8/2003 8:50:38 AM #
"I think Palm is sad, becouse the invested money in buying BeOS. I am pretty sure about that. It's allready old."

Unless, of course, technology from BeOS was used to develop OS6.

Did you expect that they would just dump BeOS on a Palm device without modification or without making is compatable with the vast amount of software already written for OS 5 and earlier?

Possibly, if it hadn't been for the purchase of BeOS, OS 6 might be a couple of years away?

RE: Palm OS 6
NikMan @ 5/8/2003 1:45:51 PM #
I understand that, but 11million , they can produce better os by themselfs. It's handled not PC.

Well I beleive if they had another chance they wpuldn't buy Be. They would invest in better marketing and better UI on PalmOS 5.

And yes, UI could be better and i dont want to buy Aeroplayer, LauncherX.....ETC.

RE: Palm OS 6
rsc1000 @ 5/8/2003 3:57:51 PM #
>>It's allready old."

'Old' is PPC legacy win32 code bloating out every PPC device their is. My 144mhz OMAP driven T|T feels snappy compared to the latest PPC.


Scott R @ 5/7/2003 3:09:34 PM #
Can anyone confirm for sure that OS6 will allow for multitasking?


RE: Multitasking?
xtremist5150 @ 5/7/2003 3:11:25 PM #
Yes OS 6 will allow multitasking. For instance, you can have your Palm device lock up intermittently on you while you're on the phone with tech support.

But don't tell anyone I told you. Shhhh, HUGE industry secret.

RE: Multitasking?
abosco @ 5/7/2003 5:32:15 PM #
Riiight. Palm OS 5 can actually selectively multitask, but OS 6 is supposed to support full multitasking, as in programs running in the background.

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RE: Multitasking?
Odyssey41 @ 5/7/2003 7:25:46 PM #
That thing about programs running in the background sounds to me like Pocket PC. Oh no! I just hope OS6 devices are stable. PPC, as many know, can be very unstable with lots of programs running in the background, forcing people to be aware of the need to close the programs every once in a while
RE: Multitasking?
Jim_G @ 5/8/2003 7:56:55 AM #
Don't think of PPC multitasking, think of EPOC/Symbian multitasking - rock solid. I've recently replaced my Psion 5 with a Tungsten|T, because the Psion was starting to fall apart. In six years of daily use I had to reset the Psion two, maybe three times.

RE: Multitasking?
mikecane @ 5/10/2003 6:26:59 PM #
I still don't think they understand they could have crushed Palm and gutted Microsoft if they had only added a portrait device to their lineup instead of stubbornly sticking to the keyboarded landscape units. EPOC/Symbian is a tragic case of what might have been. (But don't feel too sorry for them; they are coming on strong with cellphones, no?)

How about Java?

DessertProfessor @ 5/7/2003 3:23:07 PM #
I think Palm has been awfully quiet about progress on Java support for its platform. I had more or less expected it to be available for OS 5. Is there any word on built-in support for J2ME/PDAP in OS 6?

- Rene

RE: How about Java?
Be3G @ 5/7/2003 3:39:06 PM #
You can already get the J2ME for Palm OS from Sun's Java website. Also, the reason PalmSource may have been quiet about Java is because they were/are thinking about integrating M$'s Mobile .NET framework.


Check out the Palm Tungsten|T review at

RE: How about Java?
Foo Fighter @ 5/7/2003 3:44:19 PM #
Where? I don't see anywhere to download J2ME on Sun's site.

RE: How about Java?
DessertProfessor @ 5/7/2003 3:50:39 PM #
Sun only has J2ME/MIDP 1.0 for Palm OS (, search for "Palm"). I'm more interestend in J2ME/PDAP, since it is supposed to be a tool for developing applications that are typical for PDAs. For instance, it offers easy access to the built-in calendar and address book databases.

RE: How about Java?
Fammy @ 5/7/2003 3:55:04 PM #
I doubt we will see .NET framework support. You know, Microsoft does make the OS for the competition.

Java support should be built in. Should have been in OS4. Should have been in OS5. If they build it in, the programs would run "faster" since they wouldn't need a interpreter (unless that what was built in). Apple did something similar for OS X.


RE: How about Java?
sr @ 5/7/2003 3:59:22 PM #
Palm has already licensed .NET, that's no secret. And while Microsoft does make a competing PDA OS, that is nothing compared to the stakes of it has in .NET and making sure it reaches as many platforms as possible. Windows CE and Pocket PC lose money for MS, but .NET is supposed to carry them for the next few years.
RE: How about Java?
palmato @ 5/7/2003 4:01:05 PM #
Go to the palmsource java page at:

Moreover you get more information on this thread at brighthand:

The Sun Java impelementation of MIDP for Palm is only supported on POS 3.5. It's old stuff that is not going to be updated. It may work on OS5 devices, but there will be no update for any problem it might have.

Tired of PPC? Get a TT!

RE: How about Java?
Token User @ 5/7/2003 4:30:15 PM #
> I doubt we will see .NET framework support. You
> know, Microsoft does make the OS for the
> competition.

.NET is a misunderstood beast. On one level it is a programming framework allowing for allowing "buzzword compliance" between networked devices and applications (B2B, P2P, LAN, WAN, etc). This is .NET Gold Level partnering.

Taking a step back, .NET is a communication "standard" that makes heavy use of XML/SOAP to allow networked devices to communicate. Adhereing to the communications guidelines, but not using the underlying .NET framework will get you a .NET Silver Level partnership. I'd guess that Palm fall into this camp (as do Sun Microsystems, and the company I work for).

It is possible for individual apps to be .NET apps independant of the OS, so you might see these on the PalmOS BEFORE a formal integration at the OS level.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

Java: no way
mj6798 @ 5/7/2003 6:53:17 PM #
"Java support should be built in. Should have been in OS4. Should have been in OS5."

Palm has no interest in making it easy for people to write cross-platform applications. Palm has consistently tried to create a franchise of proprietary APIs, and they still have the developer base to get away with it.

If PalmSource has anything to do with it, Java isn't going to ship with Palm until Palm has absolutely no other choice.

However, PalmSource now faces a dilemma: if they do a reasonable job with PalmOS 6, then porting Java and cross-platform toolkits will be easy. If they continue shipping the kind of weird architectures they have been shipping until now, they are going to lose market share and developers.

RE: How about Java?
grg @ 5/8/2003 11:59:13 PM #
I hope we see better Java support from Palm. Java will be huge in PDAs and mobiles. The day we have JSR75 compliant PDAP in Palm is the happiest one in my life.

RE: How about Java?
ganoe @ 5/9/2003 2:24:57 PM #
Well, I've sat through a few meetings in the last weeks where I've basically told our group to forget about Palm for the time being with respect to Java. I have seen no positive signs of things improving soon.

For those of you waiting for PDAP, it was essentially dropped. The main APIs from it (for accessing PIM info and FileConnections, if I remember right) were kept as optional API packages. The PIM APIs will be nice if/when they ever see the light of day on a device. In the long run, I think they made the right decision, but it is also hard to not see it as a setback.

Instead of dragging their feet to a J2ME CLDC MIDP 2.0 with the FileConnection and PIM APIs implementation, which is where I can only guess they are heading (since JSR-75 was for CLDC). Why don't they get Insignia to do a PersonalJava port for OS 5 (like is available for nearly every other PDA) and/or head toward J2ME CDC Personal Profile with the PIM APIs (which is where I'm assuming everyone else will head in the future)? The CLDC stuff is nice for an OS 4 device, but I fear it is going to be too little, too late for the OS 5 (or 6) devices.

Microsoft and their promises.
orb2069 @ 5/11/2003 3:07:06 PM #
Palm has already licensed .NET, that's no secret. And while Microsoft does make a competing PDA OS, that is nothing compared to the stakes of it has in .NET and making sure it reaches as many platforms as possible.

I think that Microsoft would probably be more interested in stringing Palm along as long as possible in order to delay them from introducing a technology that competes in the same space on a platform that numerically outnumbers them in deployment.

If you need an example, MS pulled it's support for Microsoft Reader from the eBookman at a VERY late stage, which has done a LOT to assist in the tanking of the platform.

MS' announcement on Reader support for the eBookman:

Franklin's rather terse FAQ answer to the ubiquitous 'Where is the version of Microsoft Reader for the eBookman????'

RE: How about Java?
mikecane @ 5/11/2003 5:19:32 PM #
In future, when you want to post URLs, use to shorten them. Long URLs distort the Comments formatting. I've emailed Ryan and he'll no doubt fix them.


Foo Fighter @ 5/7/2003 3:46:30 PM #
Are there any screenshots available of OS6? I'm dying to see what, if any, updates have been made to the UI.

RE: Screenshots?
mikecane @ 5/7/2003 10:04:34 PM #
Whaaaat?! I looked at that and my first reaction was: SYMBIAN!!

OTOH: HOLY COW!! *SOFT* Graffiti!! Make it SKINNABLE, dammit!

And I can see this isn't a hoax: I see the WiFi signal strength icon from the Tung C there.

RE: Screenshots?
Foo Fighter @ 5/7/2003 10:55:05 PM #
Wow! That does look like Symbian, but I LOVE IT! I hope this is something along the lines of what we see in the new OS. It looks much more "modern" and robust compared to the current geriatric user interface.

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