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Go Back   Thoughts Media Forums > WINDOWS PHONE THOUGHTS > Windows Phone Competition

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  #1  
Old 12-07-2006, 05:00 PM
Ed Hansberry
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Default PalmOS 5 Gets New Lease On Life?

<a href="http://investors.palm.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=221399">http://investors.palm.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=221399</a><br /><br />PalmOS 5 was supposed to be a transition OS between PalmOS 4, which was based on the dragonball processor and a new multitasking OS that would benefit from the more powerful ARM processors, but that new OS, which was called Cobalt, or PalmOS 6, never saw the light of day as far as any vendors go. Then, through various corporate reorganization, sales and purchases, the license for PalmOS went with PalmSource to a Japanese company called ACCESS, which is working on a new Linux based platform. Now, it appears that Palm, Inc. is getting a perpetual license from ACCESS to do what it wants with OS5.<br /><br /><i>"Palm, Inc. today announced it has signed an agreement with ACCESS Systems Americas, Inc. (formerly PalmSource, Inc.) to license the source code for Palm OS Garnet, the version of the Palm OS used in several Treo(TM) smartphone models and all Palm(R) handheld computers. Under the agreement, Palm has a perpetual license to use as well as to innovate on the Palm OS Garnet code base. Palm will retain ownership rights in its innovations. The new agreement also provides Palm flexibility to use Palm OS Garnet in whole or in part in any Palm product, and together with any other system technologies. The company plans to ensure that applications now compatible with Palm OS Garnet will operate with little or no modification in future Palm products that employ Palm OS Garnet as the company evolves it over time to support Palm's product differentiation strategy."</i><br /><br />I don't see this as a big deal really. Palm OS5 is 5-6 years old and is really little competition for the latest from Microsoft or Nokia. Perhaps Palm, Inc. can really do something with it, but will they be able to do it quickly enough, and what will happen when ACCESS ships its new platform?
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:08 PM
timnicholson
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Ed, its not really that Palm, Inc. is looking to make some big wave in the marketplace with their license of Palm OS Garnet. They are simply protecting their current investment in the technology, while ACCESS is off building the ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP).

ACCESS has never stated any direction with Palm OS 6 or any new traditional Palm OS platform. They are exlusively focused on ALP. Palm, Inc. just wants to make sure that they are able to maintain the current Palm OS Garnet as long as they see fit.

Now that they've already forked out the $44M for the perpetual license, they can use Garnet for "entry level" Treo's for the forseeable future. They badly needed to get the $200 (subsidized) Treo 680 out the door and if they can push that down to $100, $50, or free in the future, then all the better.

It is known that Palm OS Garnet is just not capable of true 3G data speeds, so it makes sense for Palm, Inc. to use WinMobile for their "high-end" devices and Garnet for their "entry level" devices. There is really no reason they can't continue for a few years just keeping Garnet patched up.

Palm, Inc. is looking at all options these days and I wouldn't be surprised if they use ALP as long as it comes out as planned early next year and is solid. So they may end up with three different OS's for a period of time. Even if they drop Garnet as soon as they have a successful ALP phone launched, by the time they develop it and get it certified, we are talking a year or two out from now at least.

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Old 12-07-2006, 10:18 PM
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So what did ACCESS really get out of buying PalmSource (besides license fees from Palm, Inc)? They seem to be completely abandoning the existing operating system, which at the time did have some market share.
 
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Old 12-08-2006, 04:56 PM
timnicholson
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ACCESS probably thought they were getting a lot more than they did. Its just strange how no one had any desire to make a Palm OS 6 device. Its kind of like IBM's OS/2 operating system that was superior to Windows at the time, but no one used it.

So in the end, what ACCESS got from buying PalmSource was three things. The first being some licensee revenue for the Garnet, as you mentioned, which can help fund new development (ALP). The second being a group of skilled developers to build ALP. The last thing they got was the rights to the Palm OS "look and feel". They can make the ALP PIM apps, launcher, etc. look exactly like Garnet if they want. I can tell from ALP screenshots (see my PalmZone.net article, Screenshots of ALP and Possible ALP Phone here) that they aren't duplicating them exactly, but they are making them similar. If they didn't own Garnet, then they either couldn't do this or they would get sued by Palm, Inc. for copyright infringement. In other words, they now own the Palm OS brand and are free to use it as is or modify it how ever they see fit.

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Old 12-08-2006, 08:08 PM
Ed Hansberry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timnicholson
So in the end, what ACCESS got from buying PalmSource was three things…The second being a group of skilled developers to build ALP.
that is questionable. Palm/PalmSource never developed an OS from the ground up. To this day, the Kadak kernel lies at the heart of what the PalmOS programs use to do their jobs.
 
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:50 PM
timnicholson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Hansberry
Palm/PalmSource never developed an OS from the ground up. To this day, the Kadak kernel lies at the heart of what the PalmOS programs use to do their jobs.
What kernal they used is definitely beyond what I know, but keep in mind that ALP is NOT an OS built from the ground up. Its built on mobile Linux and mainly what the ACCESS/PalmSource developers are doing is building PIM apps and other applications programs and writing a Palm OS emulator. Both of which they DO have extensive experience with.

ACCESS themselves, without PalmSource, would have very little chance of building a new phone OS and getting companies to license it. With the Palm OS brand and PalmSource's experienced development folks, they do have a reasonable shot at it.

Of course no company has announced any real commitment to using ALP yet, but I've got to believe that someone will. I'm guessing at least a company focused on the Asian market will and hopefully Palm, Inc. will as well.

At this point, I'm getting a bit off the original topic, but if I were in charge of ACESS, I would have first rolled out a mobile linux for "dumb" phones. Then add PIM apps and such that look similar to the Palm OS apps and synchronize with Palm Desktop and Outlook. Then finally add the Palm OS emulation layer. If they had done that, there probably would already be some devices out there and they'd already have some market penetration.

But back to the topic at hand, Palm, Inc. getting the perpetual license for Garnet ensures that they aren't *forced* to go to all WinMobile devices or have to wait until ALP is released and becomes stable. It gives them some assurance that they can continue to milk Garnet Treo's for the next year or two or however long they can.
 
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:47 PM
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Default Palm Still Milking Garnet OS

Sorry to druge back up and old post, but I just wanted to comment on this. Its now 2009 and Palm is still milking the Garnet OS in the Centro line. It really was the only way to get to a $100 price point for them and still make some money off the phones.

ALP is still in development with virtually no one comitting to it.

Palm, Inc. went ahead and wrote their own new operating system that hasn't yet launched with the Palm PRE.

Meanwhile, Google has managed to write their own open-source phone OS, Android, and get it rolled out on the T-mobile G1 with supposedly a half dozen or so more phones coming out this year.

I just thought it quite interesting to look back at what has happened and hasn't happened in the past 4 years almost.
 
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