Apple iPhone fallout: Palm scrambles to develop new PalmOS based on Linux kernel

“The big story so far from Palm’s Investor Day today is that Palm has been working on a new version of the PalmOS that is based on a Linux kernel,” Dieter Bohn and Jennifer Chappell report for TreoCentral. “Details are still very scant, but so far we know the following:

• PalmOS 5 devices (currently the latest version) will still be released later this year
• Devices based on the Linux kernel should be released by the end of the year.
• The OS is separate from the Access Linux Platform, it is Palm’s own homegrown OS.
• Palm will not license the OS to other manufacturers
• It is highly likely that the new OS will use Opera as its default browser, given the recent agreement between Palm and Opera.

Bohn and Jennifer Chappell report, “Palm seems to intend that the Linux-based PalmOS will maintain some backward compatibility (i.e. ‘Commitment to the Palm OS Commmunity’). It seems clear that Palm has no desire to license Access’s mobile OS, but prefers to develop their own to leverage the long experience in creating software with great usability. This PalmOS will be separate from Access’ OS. Furthermore, Colligan made it clear that Palm has no intention of licensing the new OS to other hardware manufacturers.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Another Irish Dude” for the heads up.]
Palm is scrambling, sent desperately reeling and floundering about by Apple’s iPhone. Foisting clunky, dated, plastic-buttoned mediocrity on the market for years comes with a heavy price. Payments begin in June 2007. The future won’t be pretty for, nor will it probably include, Palm.

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple’s iPhone has Palm ‘shaking in their sandals’’ – March 09, 2007
Palm hires former Apple engineer in attempt to respond to iPhone – March 09, 2007
Palm hires Morgan Stanley to explore sale – March 05, 2007
The once-mighty Palm Inc. doomed to decline and failure – thanks to Apple’s iPhone – February 23, 2007
Analysts: time is right for Palm sale – February 20, 2007
Palm CEO can’t stop talking about Apple iPhone – February 19, 2007
Palm CEO: ‘We don’t want to follow design fads’; Nokia CEO challenges Apple over iPhone – February 13, 2007
Apple’s soon-to-be iPhone rivals sound just like iPod rivals circa 2001 – February 01, 2007
Research in Motion downgraded due to Apple iPhone competition – January 23, 2007
RealMoney: Apple just blew up the whole damn mobile-phone supply chain with its new iPhone – January 11, 2007
eWeek: Apple iPhone fallout: ‘They must be crying in Nokia-ville and other telephony towns today’ – January 10, 2007
Jefferies downgrades Motorola on fears of market share loss to Apple iPhone – January 10, 2007
Time: ‘iPhone could crush cell phone market pitilessly beneath the weight of its own superiority’ – January 09, 2007
Analyst: Apple iPhone should be given its own category – ‘brilliantphone’ – January 09, 2007
Apple debuts iPhone: touchscreen mobile phone + widescreen iPod + Internet communicator – January 09, 2007
Palm CEO laughs off Apple ‘iPhone’ threat – November 20, 2006


  1. Well, competition is always good. For both sides, it keeps everybody on their toes and pushes the envelope in innovation. I’m gonna get an iPhone, but I wish Palm the best of luck. Developing a better Palm OS is still better than using MS.

  2. Linux offers all the basic usability and security that OSX offers. Most of the same tools are there, and Linux may actually have an edge in that department. And, there are more capable Linux coders out there than there are OSX coders.

    Snide remarks aside, there is no reason why Palm cannot change direction and rescue itself. Yes, they will be playing catch-up. And their user-base is not nearly as loyal or as large as the Mac’s user base. Still, they are not in precisely the same markets. The iPod has had many of a Palm’s capabilities since 3G, but I’ve heard little about the iPod replacing Palm – even though the iPod has out-sold Palm.

    This is not a Zero-sum game. There is room for both.

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page Pod-Cast

  3. MDN’s take is pretty much the naked truth. Not only did Palm get lazy, but they “partnered” with MS, and if we use the WayBack machine to go back in time to see just when Palm started down the road to no-where, it was just about the time that MS sent it’s suites to Palm with the usual Fear-and-Intimidation methods that it used(s) an small and medium sized companies just like Palm, and to this day.

    Palm was positioned, for a long time, to be a real industry leader and inovator, on the order of Apple, but it has been a sad story of squandering the most precious and costly resource – Time?

    Too bad, so sad.

  4. “The right thing to do when you’re surfing is to be in the right spot when the big wave comes,” said Colligan. “We’re lining ourselves up to catch that wave.”

    Too bad that what looks to Palm like a wave, is actually the Apple tsunami.

  5. Absolutely not a winner-take-all scenario, and Palm’s got a bigger head-start on Apple than anyone else.

    The Treo is a good device. Heck, it’s a GREAT device. Best on the market, at any price. It does everything the iPhone is purported to do, it did it three years ago, and it does it well, The iPhone appears to poised to do it with a bit more style and ease, but until the iPhone actually DOES something (the last live demo of the thing didn’t even have a functioning calendar yet) it’s still Palm’s game, and it sounds from this report like they’re serious about staying in it, by whatever means necessary.

    Go Palm.

  6. I don’t think that Palm creates the worst product ever. People here make it sound like they’ve been peddling crap for years. I like my Treo. It’s stable, fairly intuitive to use. I can operate with my finger. There are plenty of apps available. I would tell you that surfing the web leaves something to be desired.

    I think that the iPhone will be much better, but the iPhone is going where no hand held device has ever gone. It’s going to take everyone a long time to catch up. I wouldn’t say because they are lazy, but because apple went somewhere that the rest were struggling to figure out. I hope Palm comes out OK and with a better product. You guys act like they’re Microsoft or something.

  7. I think that Palm will stick around even after the iPhone comes to market. There will be whole market of folks that don’t want to pay the higher price for the iPhone, so if Palm keeps their prices down then they’ll have a market for themselves. You also have those guys that won’t buy ANYTHING from Apple for some unknown reason. They will keep using Palm or other devices.

  8. I had a Palm OS Treo and loved it. Palm makes great Palm OS based products.

    Unfortunately, I recently lost my Palm OS Treo and rather than renew my 2 year contract with Verizon to get a new one (I’m waiting for the iPhone to come out in June so I can switch Cingular), I brought a Palm 700w from a guy on craig’s list. Yea its the Window’s mobile edition. This is the Biggest Piece of Consumer Electronic’s CRAP I’ve Ever Owned! Never buy a window’s mobile anything! The interface is SOOO overly complicated. Its like they threw in a bunch of features, but never gave any thought about how the features should work together. It amazes me that people buy this mess.

    I will be one of the first people to buy and iPhone in June & my Palm 700W will be back for sell on Craig’s List. I’m really not a window’s hater at all. My PC at work is stable and works just fine (though I’d perfer a Mac). However, this Windows Mobile device is a piece of Shyt.

  9. This is news? Not very accurate MDN take – Palm is hardly ‘Scrambling’. It’s been working on this for some time now. I hope Palm stick around for some time yet. Of course the iPhone is in another league – but cost more to but and will cost a fortune to run if some of the full Browsing feature are made of use of out of WiFi range! Palm needs to think low end of the market.

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