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Analysis: What Palm Sees in Linux

One has to wonder if this announcement isn't too little, too late on Palm's end. Anyone who's been holding their breath for this one has probably long since passed on due to asphyxiation. Honestly, this is a smart move on Palm's end--there's still an entrenched base of Palm OS devices out there with applications deployed to them. But businesses, both inside and outside the wireless industry, have been reluctant to put a lot of new development effort to Palm because it's seen as sort of a dead end from a development standpoint (lack of multitasking support being at the top of the issues list). If Palm really does put out a Linux-based OS that still supports the existing Palm OS install base, Palm should be able to draw on the extensive Palm OS and Linux development communities. This will also lend further credibility to the idea that Linux is a mobile development platform that's here to stay.

Sean Ginevan
NWC Contributing Editor

Notice how units sales and revenue aren't in the slide deck. If Palm had made this decision 18 months ago it would be looking a lot healthier.

Frank Bulk
NWC Contributing Editor

I missed the purchase of ChatterEmail a couple of months ago. No wonder updates have stopped on my favorite Palm application. If they integrate Chatteremail into the standard Palm OS, they've just made it a serious contender against the push e-mail of the BlackBerry without any infrastructure at all. Very, very good move on their part.
Jordan Wiens
NWC Contributing Editor

Palm revealed plans at its annual analyst and investor day in New York this week to produce a Linux-based operating platform for mobile devices later this year, in addition to the Windows Mobile OS-based platform it already offers.

Palm said that creating a mobile platform running on a Linux kernel opens the door for Web application developers to create applications for smartphones and other mobile devices without having to pour excessive resources into development. Also on tap in a new Linux core: improved performance, reliability and stability, as compared to the current Palm OS, the vendor said. The new Linux-based OS will support simultaneous voice/data and multithreading, things missing in the currently available Palm OS.

Palm noted that it's using assets from its recent purchase of e-mail client software company ChatterEmail and the acquisition of technical and personnel resources from interface design firm Iventor to speed development plans.

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