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Palm OS: Reports of my death “exaggerated”

You thought Palm’s operating system was a stiff. Devoid of life, it is in death. It has joined the choir invisible. It is, indeed, an ex-gadget. After all, development work stopped when PalmOS v6 was cancelled in June, 2005, and since then the biggest-selling Treo has been the Windows Mobile-based 750. If you want a 3G Palm, you’ve got to pick a Windows Treo; PalmOS v5.4, the last version from February, 2004, doesn’t support fast data connections.

Then, Palm went on to sell the OS intellectual property rights, not to mention the software division PalmSource, to Japanese Linuxco Access, and started work on its own mobile Linux distro. So, surely that was it? Well, it turns out that the Linux project is harder than they thought. In April, CEO Ed Colligan promised it would be ready by the end of the year.

But now, during an analyst call, he confessed that the new OS won’t be ready until next year. Further, there would be new products based on the Palm OS, as well as Windows Mobile, in the meantime. It remains to be seen whether Palm is going to keep hammering at its own Linux; after all, Access’s ALP is already a PalmOS-like interface on top of an embedded Linux. Or they could try one of the existing MobiLinuxen, such as the Motorola-championed LiMO, or LiPS.

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