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The End of PalmOS?

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the where-do-we-go-from-here dept.

Handhelds 178

SLT writes "According to Engadget, PalmSource was purchased by Access, a Japanese cell phone software company known for their NetFront browser. What does this mean for the future of Palm?" More coverage at LinuxDevices and Reuters. From the Reuters article: "Japanese software developer Access Co. said on Friday it would make U.S. software developer PalmSource Inc. wholly owned in a 34.4 billion yen ($311.3 million) cash deal to strengthen its development of software for handheld devices. Access will pay cash to shareholders of PalmSource, which will be later absorbed by Access' U.S. unit Apollo Merger Sub Inc., Access said in a statement."

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Witty 3com (5, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | about 9 years ago | (#13517892)

Most consumers thought 3Com was stupid for spinning off such a profitable business. What I recall is that it sold for 300 times earnings and a bunch of investing consultants warned of such a pricey model for such a small niche product. End result is usually the same with PE ratio being to high [] . The OS isn't really that important, they should make it free to run anywhere and try selling the hardware; yeah exactly opposite of what has been said by some big OS makers.

Re:Witty 3com (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13517985)

Without Palm, the handheld-market would be much better off.

Compare a Palm to a Sharp Zaurus, and you will be disgusted to even touch the Palm again.

Re:Witty 3com (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13518573)

I have.

I prefer the Palm. Just because you can SSH into your Zaurus doesn't mean that it's good.

The hardware platform is certainly interesting, and the fact that it runs Linux is cool, but Linux DEFINITELY isn't ready for the PDA yet.

Palm OS was designed for a PDA. Linux wasn't. Therefore, Linux needs a LOT of work to scale to that specific use, and do it well.

Yes, Palm OS has it's limitations that Linux doesn't have. However, many of those limitations have either been removed in Palm OS 5.4, or will be removed in Palm OS 6.

Re:Witty 3com (2, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | about 9 years ago | (#13518593)

I've got a Palm, I think PalmOS is great, it's got a clean and simple GUI that my 4 yr old cousin understands, and there are milions of freeware applications out there that run on it, everything from a colouring in program(for said cousin) to various media players that allow me to use my Palm as an mp3 player.

Th End of PalmOS? (5, Interesting)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13517907)

Hardly. It'll just be in more devices. And the Palm handheld will just morf. OTOH, I think we may see $20 organizers or cheaper given away with other products. Kind of the way MP3 players are being given away these days.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 9 years ago | (#13517955)

I sure hope Access can make PalmOS worthwhile to use again. A few years ago, Palm was king, but pocket pc's have adopted everything palms have done and made them better. I for one am skeptical of their abilities, however, Netfront still reports itself as Netscape 4 to webpages.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (2, Insightful)

tzanger (1575) | about 9 years ago | (#13518221)

Is there a PPC device that lasts longer than about 8hrs on battery? My Tungsten E works a full week and a half with daily use (look at what's to do, look up contact numbers, scribble a note kind of work).

That's why I'm not leaving the platform. It's easy to work with, it works very well and the battery life is pretty damn good.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (1)

Hast (24833) | about 9 years ago | (#13518352)

I think that for many things the basic PalmOS is good at has now been replaced with mobile phones. And I don't mean smart phones but normal feature phones.

My phone handles contact and appointments. For notes I can use dictaphone or type in short messages with T9.

The battery time isn't as good if I want to use it to phone with as well. OTOH I have chargers available at most places so I seldom have a problem of running out of battery.

Oh, and my phone (SonyEricsson T630) is about a quarter of the size of a Palm device.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (1, Informative)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#13518367)

I go several days with my IPAQ when the wireless and bluetooth functions are turned off.

my tungsten c was a similar miser when it came to power consumption, but the IPAQ has greater overall functionality.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (1)

Tx (96709) | about 9 years ago | (#13519122)

I for one am skeptical of their abilities, however, Netfront still reports itself as Netscape 4 to webpages.

No it doesn't, NetFront's default user-agent string is "Mozilla/4.08 (PDA; Windows CE/1.0.0) NetFront/3.1". If the "Mozilla/4.08" bit is confusing you, look at what IE6 gives - yes, is starts with "Mozilla/4.0" too. Moreover it has a user agent selector in the options, so you can set it up to report as whatever browser you want.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (2, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | about 9 years ago | (#13518108)

If they're going to focus development on PalmOS-for-mobile-phones, they may very well end up with an OS that isn't well-suited for palmtops.

No more HWR, for example, and no user-accessible expansion (because the phone company will insist you move all data in and out of the device via their network instead of USB/a memory stick, so they can keep on making you pay through the nose).

Re:The End of PalmOS? (1)

salimma (115327) | about 9 years ago | (#13518986)

No more HWR, for example, and no user-accessible expansion (because the phone company will insist you move all data in and out of the device via their network instead of USB/a memory stick, so they can keep on making you pay through the nose).

Hand-writing recognition, perhaps - if a next release of the OS changes APIs, and the driver needs porting, the cost might not justify doing it.

But as far as phone companies locking things down, these are normally done as a firmware modification - some Motorola phones with dumbed-down Bluetooth (no OBEX, only contact synchronization) could be brought back to full functionality by hex-editing one byte in the code!

Given the burgeoning market for smartphones, crippling the OS instead of just the specific phones makes no sense.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (2, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 9 years ago | (#13518418)

Do you own a palm device?

I have had a palm since the *ORIGINAL* US Robotics Pilot 1000. Palm OS has outlived its usefullness. My current device is a treo 650, which I *LOVE* except that it locks up CONSTANTLY. And all the little OS mod programs you have to run to actually make the thing usefull, conflict with each other and act weird.

Second of all, the programming model is HORRIBLE. Developers are still writing code for the dragonball processor and expected to write "Armlets" which are little snipets of code that run directly on the ARM processor bypassing the 68k emulation stuff.

Palm OS needs to die and be replaced by an OS with memory protection and a fairly customizable OS. Palm OS was designed to run on 8mhz processors, and it did that quite nicely, but its time has ocme and gone.

The only reason palm hasn't died completely is that the windows devices aren't any better (I've owned a few of those as well).

We're in the home stretch in the year 2005 here, I don't have my flying car, i don't have my rocket backpack, and my robot maid has gone missing. But I think its not too much to ask for a PDA that doesn't eat shit all the time and has a usable interface.

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13518626)

(All of this posted by a user of a Sony PEG-SJ22 with Palm OS 4.1 and a Dragonball...)

I agree that the stuff with Palm OS 5's architecture is Bad(tm).

However, at least the "decent OS" is coming soon - Palm OS 6 has been with device manufacturers for a while, and is just waiting on someone to put it in a device.

It appears to use a vastly improved Palm OS interface, on (essentially) a BeOS kernel. Of course, there'll still be the Palm OS 5 emulation, and within that, the Dragonball emulation, but touching any of that will be HIGHLY discouraged on Palm OS 6, unless you're targetting Palm OS 5. (which, unfortunately, will be a good idea - POS6 appears to be targetted towards high-end devices)

Re:Th End of PalmOS? (1)

afabbro (33948) | about 9 years ago | (#13518897)

I have a Treo 650 and work with many other people who do as well. No one complains about lock-ups. All of us are quite happy. I think your experience is atypical, based on what I've experienced and what I've seen...of course, if you're running lots of "little OS mod programs", that might be the cause.

Don't they own Be? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13517909)

So maybe they'll release the BeOS source code! Probably just wishful thinking..

Re:Don't they own Be? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13517946)

Now BeOS gets to be even more like Amiga; it's IP passed from one company to another, each more obscure and poorly funded than the last, each utterly failing to do anything with the assests they've secured for outrageous amounts. They've got two different companies claiming ownership of the OS, too!

It's all too earily familiar.

They have an excellent PR opportunity. (3, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13518014)

They have a near perfect marketing opportunity right now. Indeed, it would be fantastic for them to release the source code to BeOS. Doing so could very well make Access a "household name" in the open source world. And considering the massive size of the OSS community these days, that can translate to vastly increased sales and recommendations.

I for one would be very inclined to financially support the company that provided us with the source code to BeOS, especially if under the BSD or MIT/X license.

Re:They have an excellent PR opportunity. (2, Insightful)

derteufel (69123) | about 9 years ago | (#13519111)

People seem to forget that there are parts of the BeOS source code that can not be released legally. At least not as is. It would take quite an effort to secure the agreements with other companies and/or re write the relevent portions from scratch.

Re:They have an excellent PR opportunity. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13519240)

Do you know what they do if they run into code they cannot release? They don't release it! Let the open source community rewrite such portions.

But alas, the code was apparently licensed to yellowTab by Be, Inc., before they folded. So at least most of it can be redistributed in some fashion.

Treo 670 / asian language devices? (5, Insightful)

bre_dnd (686663) | about 9 years ago | (#13517912)

It's a very puzzling development for me.

There's been speculation that the Treo 670 will not be running PalmOS anymore -- how does that fit in with this?

There are a few Korean, Japanese and Chinese producers of PalmOS devices, especially smartphones. The pen interface is more suitable for iconographic languages so it would make sense to keep a presence there. Where will this go from here?

newest Treo running windows mobile.. (1)

adamgeek (771380) | about 9 years ago | (#13518018)

I cannot say either way if this is accurate, but the few people i know who "nerd out" constantly over the newest and greatest pda/phone stuff.. all agree the various spyshots of the new treo running Win are authentic.

I have seen a few of these shots, and they look authentic to me, but since i'm not the ub-erphone-nerd (just a casual Treo600 user ;) I can't say with certainty.

Engaget (linked from TFA) has another FA that says it's real tho.. here [] .

Re:newest Treo running windows mobile.. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 years ago | (#13518319)

So what? I've seen an iPaq running Symbian OS. Doesn't mean that HP are ditching Windows for Symbian OS, just that one of the software engineers at Symbian fancied doing a hack. It only took a couple of days.

Re:newest Treo running windows mobile.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518992)

A coworker asked Microsoft about the rumors. Microsoft confirmed them. Whether Microsoft was telling the truth or not remains to be seen, but it's looking pretty likely. I'm not at all happy about this... I much prefer Palm OS.

Re:Treo 670 / asian language devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518133)

I have been saying for some time that I believed the PPC on treo was a complete rumor. But I have to say in light of this change it's quite possible it will now happen.

Re:Treo 670 / asian language devices? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13518315)

Great, now Microsoft will completely take over the PDA market, dooming any possibility of anyone making a PDA that will interface properly with my Mac.

Re:Treo 670 / asian language devices? (1)

faedle (114018) | about 9 years ago | (#13518572)

Funny. I had an iPaq that interfaced just fine with my Mac.

"Third Party Software."

Re:Treo 670 / asian language devices? (1)

minus_273 (174041) | about 9 years ago | (#13518351)

last i checked, korean used an alphabet and rarely used Chinese characters. I dont think it is as prominent as Kanji is in Japanese.

Re:Treo 670 / asian language devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518612)

Korean only uses Chinese historically, they phased it out maybe 50 years ago. Anyway here in China (and in Japan too from what I understand) plenty of people use roman-character keypads or keyboards to enter chinese-language data on their cell phones and organizers, it's very common, anyway PIMs don't recognize characters (or at least, mine doesn't).

According to the Trolls (4, Funny)

packeteer (566398) | about 9 years ago | (#13517926)

Netcraft confirms it... PalmOS is dead.

Re:According to the Trolls (4, Interesting)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 9 years ago | (#13518025)

Web Server for Palm OS []

Re:According to the Trolls (1)

se7en11 (833841) | about 9 years ago | (#13519232)

I've been looking for something like this for a while! This is a sweet idea. sourceforge didn't have the files however.

Where can one download this? - Thanks!

im a loser (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13517932)

should i end my life?

Re:im a loser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518407)

no, just stalk her until she gives in.

Who is Access? (5, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | about 9 years ago | (#13517933)

Well, if you've ever used cHTML, they are the ones who came up with it. Back in the early days of featurephones, NTT Docomo sent out a call for browser software, and Access was the only game in Tokyotown. Unfortunately, they didn't really support all of HTML, only a subset. But that subset was handled well and allowed the browser to display pages on the small cellphone screen without forcing the user to scroll horizontally.

So Access, riding Docomo's coattails, became the premier web browser company for cellphones in Japan. It's like how Gary Kildall was approached by IBM to sell his CP/M system, only in this case Access was able to capitalize on their position instead of losing out to a second-rate compiler company.

Now with PalmSource in their possession, they are strategically aligned to provide browser software, mail software, scheduling software, and a host of other useful PDA-like features in their cellphone software suite. Add to that that with greater cellphone power is bound to come greater demand for more feature-filled "smartphones" and they're in a great place with a ready-for-delivery PDA suite.

Re:Who is Access? (2, Interesting)

hkmwbz (531650) | about 9 years ago | (#13518766)

Access have later struggled to catch up with the likes of Opera in actually supporting normal web pages. Creating a subset of the internet on the internet itself seems silly, and indeed, it turned out that people wanted to access real sites, not just cHTML or WAP sites.

I guess they decided to give up fighting with outdated technology against Opera, and instead went to diversify their software offerings to survive the onslaught of better mobile browsers.

Why "The End of PalmOS"? (5, Insightful)

anno1602 (320047) | about 9 years ago | (#13517945)

Okay, so PalmSource, was acquired by Access, a company that is roughly in the same market as PalmSource (mobile devices) while not doing the same thing (OS vs. browser). It sounds like PalmSource would complement Access' offerings nicely, and actually, that is what Access is stating as its reason for the acquisition: PalmSource's OS and linux expertise. How do you get from there to the statement that Access will scrap PalmOS?

Re:Why "The End of PalmOS"? (4, Informative)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13518571)

I believe the logic is as follows.
1: find a piece of news
2: Start thinking piece of news is perhaps not that interesting
3: Put sensationalist spin on it in an effort to drive up readership
4: reap the rewards of bad journalism

How does this kill PalmOS? (5, Insightful)

amichalo (132545) | about 9 years ago | (#13517950)

Um, what kind of company would spend $311 million to buy PalmOS, then STOP SELLING THE TECHNOLOGY? Sure, they may eventually integrate the parts of PalmOS they like into "Access OS" or whatever they sell, but they are certainly not going to just exit the market that PalmOS serves.

When Maytag bought Whirlpool last month, it didn't mean they were ditching their product line. /. can be so reactionary.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (4, Insightful)

Wordsmith (183749) | about 9 years ago | (#13517975)

What kind of a company would spend millions on BeOs, and then stop selling the technology?

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

jpostel (114922) | about 9 years ago | (#13518150)

Exactly my thought. We thought BeOS would live on in smartphones, but it's ghost languishes as Cobalt.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518380)

BeOS was bought for chump change, Silicon Valley-wise. $11M, IIRC, after how many hundreds of millions were invested in it? Golden parachute for Gasse, and that's about it.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13518464)

One that subsequently gets bought out itself?

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

egghat (73643) | about 9 years ago | (#13518467)

Normally none. But BeOS had a miniscule market share in a market Palm didn't have the slightest interest in (OS for PCs). So they ditched it, but used the developers and technology from Be to built a small multimedia capable OS for handheld devices (Ok, they failed miserably (at least at selling), but at the time the decision wasn't completely brain damaged).

I doubt that access will be that stupid and guess they will learn from the mistakes PalmSource made. They will continue to make Palm an application environment (tahn an OS) for their browser, for contact management, etc. pp. and use Linux as an OS underneath. Application development for mobile devices is their core business so this fits quite well.

Bye egghat.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

biglig2 (89374) | about 9 years ago | (#13518525)

One that already has an OS, and wants to buy a big box of talented OS developers to work on it.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 9 years ago | (#13518041)

I know what this means. It's proof that Google has done some evil and is the final stepping stone for Linux on the Desktop.

The editors should be more careful.

Mod me troll, but I know you're sick of it all too.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518153)

Um, just to clarify for posterity Whirlpool is trying to buy Maytag (not the other way around) and the merger has not yet been completed.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

port3389 (626129) | about 9 years ago | (#13518213)

Palm bought BeOS and then stopped selling it.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

Doktor Memory (237313) | about 9 years ago | (#13518500)

Um, what kind of company would spend $311 million to buy PalmOS, then STOP SELLING THE TECHNOLOGY?

Uh, I hate to burst your bubble, but that happens all the time in this industry. Just ask anyone who ever worked for Aureal.

Re:How does this kill PalmOS? (1)

ilkahn (6642) | about 9 years ago | (#13518716)

When Maytag bought Whirlpool last month, it didn't mean they were ditching their product line. /. can be so reactionary.
Whirlpool bought Maytag.

Did Palm release a BeAI/Palm? (0, Flamebait)

mlk (18543) | about 9 years ago | (#13517952)

?Did Palm release a BeAI/Palm?

Well, now they own BeOS... (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 years ago | (#13518054) much do they want for it? I'm sure that a lot of people would be willing to pay for BeOS to be open sourced. I would pay $200 for the BeOS code to be released under a BSD license. How many more people do they need to pay the same amount before it becomes worth their while, financially speaking? I doubt they actually wanted BeOS when they bought PalmSource, after all.

Re:Well, now they own BeOS... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 9 years ago | (#13518342)

Palm was asking $2 million, IIRC for the BeOS source code. Surely, there are 9,999 other Slashdot readers here that could chip in! Hell, if Access would be willing to release it under the GPL, I'd throw in $200 as well. Might as well keep the code as open as possible.

Re:Well, now they own BeOS... (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 9 years ago | (#13518814)

Dear Friend,

With due respect I like to disclose a mutual transaction to you. I am Dr Ateeq Rahman Khan, the Manager International Diplomatic Source Code Services.We have consignment of the BeOS source code valued US$2,000,000.00 Two Million United State Dollars in our custody, given to us as a side effect of a business transaction with Palm Inc. Now in our computer system it records that beneficiary of the source code is dead on Air Crash early June 2003.Until date we have not receive any signal from his relation for claiming of the Source Code. Now I want your assistance to move out this Source Code to GPL for free use. As the manager of our company I would take all measures to make sure the consignment successfully moved into the GPL. Immediately I receive your positive response then I will update you on the procedures for success of this our trustee transaction. I would appreciate you keep it utmost secret because of my position.

Expecting your reply via email address:

Best Regards,

Dr Ateeq Rahman Khan

the end is neigh... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13517979)

it's just my .02, but...

The end may be a bit of hyperbole, although PalmSource has made some historical blunders which contributed to its demise (and I love thier devices, and have had them since the very beginning):

1.) Basically did not update the core OS between 1997 and 2004. Version 5.x is bascially 3.x with color and a network stack shimmed in. A lot changed over those seven years, and the OS did not evolve as well as it could have. They rested on thier laurels, much like Apple did during the Scully era at Apple, releasing new models every 8 months but not really improving the core operation.

2.) They released the big new version (6.0.) in late 2003, and no devices were ever released with it. This was a huge mistake, and points to poor partnerships (ISV and others) and planning. No other company in history has released an PDA OS that was never implemented on a retail device.

3.) They released version 6.1 late last year, and again, nearly a year later, there are no devices running it. Again, big problem.

Too bad the mutual admiration society that exists in Palm senior mangement was blind to their basic business folly.

Re:the end is neigh... (2, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 9 years ago | (#13518268)

The end is a horse???

Re:the end is neigh... (2, Funny)

MS-06FZ (832329) | about 9 years ago | (#13519102)

Hey, show some respect. Those were Mr. Ed's dying words...

Re:the end is neigh... (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13518944)

1.) Basically did not update the core OS between 1997 and 2004. Version 5.x is bascially 3.x with color and a network stack shimmed in. A lot changed over those seven years, and the OS did not evolve as well as it could have. They rested on thier laurels, much like Apple did during the Scully era at Apple, releasing new models every 8 months but not really improving the core operation.

Hmm? Version 2.1 (read: early 1997) had the network stack shimmed in, and 3.5 had color, IIRC.

Version 5.x's big leap over 4.x is the fact that 4.x- is for Dragonball, 5.x+ is for ARM. Now, yes, it's the same basic OS...

2.) They released the big new version (6.0.) in late 2003, and no devices were ever released with it. This was a huge mistake, and points to poor partnerships (ISV and others) and planning. No other company in history has released an PDA OS that was never implemented on a retail device.

3.) They released version 6.1 late last year, and again, nearly a year later, there are no devices running it. Again, big problem.

Note that 6.1 is 6.0 with better smartphone code. So, you could VERY well see a Tungsten running 6.0, and a Treo running 6.1.

As for no devices being released running it, how much could PalmSource do, at the times when they weren't merged with Palm or PalmOne? (As I understand it, Palm/PalmOne kept buying and selling them...)

windows analogy (0, Offtopic)

minus_273 (174041) | about 9 years ago | (#13518011)

remember a time when it was only Palm and they were on top. what happened? well, even though they were really entrenched, they didn't develop their OS infact, in many ways it is very similar to what it was like 10 years ago. Now compare that to the current state of the upstart newcomer, windwos CE.

This is an interesting outcome. It shows that regardless of how intrencehd you are, you can be killed off by a better product. I wonder if longhorn will be an example of this.

Dell Axim w/ Windows M 2k3 (0, Offtopic)

RingDev (879105) | about 9 years ago | (#13518036)

I just picked up a dell Axim x3i with Windows Mobile 2k3 and I love it. Haven't had a problem with it yet, and I'll be starting a .Net CF project for it in the next few weeks.


Re:Dell Axim w/ Windows M 2k3 (1)

Shakes268 (856460) | about 9 years ago | (#13518091)

Blasphemer! You should know better than to post this ;) Actually those are very nice and the CF is a nice set up for a developer. Afraid most will respond saying you should just install linux on it but look where we are.

Re:Dell Axim w/ Windows M 2k3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518252)

I just bought an x50v and used to own a palm. I miss my palm. Have to admit that whilst my axim is great hardware, it's running a piece of shit OS. WM 2k3 is the most lame-brain, unintuitive and error prone OS I've had to handle since the last MS OS, which I was forced to use. Unfortunately, it was i who chose to buy this.

Been looking for a JVM to run on it, but do not seem to be able to find one. Any idea why?

As for linux: []


Re:Dell Axim w/ Windows M 2k3 (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 9 years ago | (#13518501)

Actually, I've had no problems with my Windows Mobile system. Everything has seemed pretty easy to find, and easy to use. Syncs up no problem. Haven't crashed it yet.


Hysteria (2, Funny)

Shakes268 (856460) | about 9 years ago | (#13518039)

Oh Noez! We'll all have to switch to Pocket PC! @_@ In the meantime, the sky is falling guys.

It's the end of everything Zonk. (0, Offtopic)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | about 9 years ago | (#13518057)

For christ's sake where did /. find Zonk and will they please get rid of him? I have worked in the media and in news reporting and NEVER would this moron be tolerated in even the lowliest jobs.

Each and every day the guy posts "The End of..." someone or some company. EVERY DAY!

There is much more to news than the end of this or that, or the obligitory post about one console, then another, then the other all in one day even if nothing new is said about the second two. Just tell the big story. You don't post 12 news articles about other topics just to make sure you tell every side, it is lunacy.

Seriously something needs to be done. Zonk needs to be given his pink-slip and /. needs to get back to NEWS! I have never watched a big site implode so quickly and at the hands of one or two people in my life. A true shame.

Re:It's the end of everything Zonk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518078)

Is this the end of rAiNsT0rm's readership of Slashdot?

Here you go (2, Interesting)

Tune (17738) | about 9 years ago | (#13518126)

Now here is something Slashcode can help with. From the UnZonk-HOWTO:

From /. main page click "Preferences" (top left), then click the "Homepage" tab. You'll end up somewehere like here [] . At right hand side you see a list of authors. Uncheck the bottom one (called "Zonk"). Then scroll down and press "Save".

That's it: you've fired Zonk from your personal /. page!

Glad to have been of assistance.

Re:Here you go (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | about 9 years ago | (#13519147)

I'm well aware of how to do this, but that doesn't come close to touching on the real problem. There can't be anyone on /. who ENJOY Zonk's postings. Either they are dupes, slashvertisement, or just inane or outright unfactual postings... how can any website that accepts PAYMENT for quicker access to this crap not take a stance on this?

All that needs to be done is reign him in and school him in some basics and he could be OK, I'm not asking for his head on a platter (although I would accept it, and relish in drinking his warm blood)... seriously this is out of hand and needs to be fixed.

Palm and Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518075)

As a palm user this has left a bad feeling in my stomach.

Does this herald a new age of Palm becoming another licencee of Windows Mobile Technology? Check out this link 02 []

Any of my fellow /.ers like to predict the future for Palm?

Sad end to a Sad story - One developer's view (5, Informative)

fishdan (569872) | about 9 years ago | (#13518085)

*disclosure -- I was laid off from Palm in 2002*

It's really too bad. Palm was a great company, with the right group of people -- actually alot of disaffected Apple folks, who had left when Jobs was pushed out. Plus the original brain trust of Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky. Those 2 recognized that Palm could not really be the nimble company they would need to be to survive if they were tied down to 3Com. They asked permission to take the company solo, and were denied by the 3Com brass -- so they started Handspring.

Then (IMHO) really just to spite Jeff and Donna, 3Com did indeed spin off Palm. The problem was with Jeff and Donna gone, leadership was missing. 3Com installed Carl Yankowski, and man who had run giant companies before, but never a nimble tech company. Carl didn't know how to run a company of 500 employees, but he did not how to run a company of 10000, so his goal was to get to 10000 as quickly as possible.

This meant massive hirings and acquisitions. Palm had had a damn fine IPO (Yankowski knew how to do that too) so they had alot of cash on hand. And they started hiring like crazy. And when I say like crazy, I mean they put no thought at all into who got the positions, merely that they filled them. This was 1999/2000 pre-bubble-burst, when anyone with half a brain in silicon valley was already working. As a result, Palm was "forced" to hire people with only a quarter of a brain. Bythat I mean managers who thought they could function as engineers, and people who knew how to play the company game.

Intense corporate infighting began betweeen divisions. When one division looked like it was gaining "power" other divisions would sabotage them. The "managers" that Palm had been able to hire were only interested in making sure that their group looked better than any other group. As a result, incredibly promising ideas, such as 100% VCal/vcard complaince got killed. Palm was going to host a free public database with vcard/vcal entries, so when you updated your info in your palm, it would spread to everyone else when they synced (I know it's *sortof* been done -- but not well by anyone, and certainly the data is not publicly accessible via soap). Palm's internet strategy was completely sabotaged by "executives" who weren't part of the internet group, and really didn't undertand anything about it.

Then the hardware disaster. One of the new Palm's was scheduled for release, and was in the final round of testing. Handspring released their new device and it was Shiny. The Palm marketing team, without really consulting with engineering announced WHILE THE DEVICE WAS STILL IN TESTING that the new Palm would be out next month. Sales of current Palms stopped cold while everyone waited for the new device. And then a showstopping bug was found. The vibrate alarm in the new device was too powerful, and after x number of alarms it shook loose something in y number of devices. So the new device was delayed. And all that time, very few Palms were being sold, because everyone was waiting for the new device. 3 months with no sales is a bad thing.

In a last ditfch effort to calm the infighting, Palm spun off the software division into Palmsource, but it was too little too late. The heart and back of a great little company had been broken.

I'm glad to see Palm still alive, and I'm actually glad to see this sale, I kept my equity this long, at least now I'm forced to get rid of it.

I believe the company has shrunk back down to a small enough size that they've attritioned off the morons acquired at the turn of the century -- unfortunately they lost alot of really good engineering talent too. Palm was more than a hardware company at one point -- now they are just a hardware company. And I don't believe a hardware company can be globally competetive if it's based in the U.S.

Re:Sad end to a Sad story - One developer's view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518819)

Thank you, I always wondered about the stupidity.

alot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13519090)

You sure it wasn't alittle? Maybe you're right. Maybe it was alot.

Thank god (3, Insightful)

Dr. Sp0ng (24354) | about 9 years ago | (#13518088)

PalmOS hasn't evolved in a meaningful way since it was launched. It still has no memory protection or multitasking, and the interface looks like something out of 1994. It either needs to be updated to modern computing standards, or die, and it looks like they're choosing die. Good riddance.

I've been a Palm user since the Palm III first came out, but I recently bought my first Windows Mobile device (a Dell Axim x50v), and I love it - I finally have a PDA capable of running modern applications on a (reasonably) modern OS.

Re:Thank god (3, Insightful)

Hast (24833) | about 9 years ago | (#13518269)

This is pretty much my experience as well. I got a Sony Clie UX50 (clamshell Palm with real qwerty keyboard) last summer. I was quite surprised to find that the Palm software culture was something of Win32 shareware "give me money!" on steroids.

On paper the device was really good. It can play MP3s and video (re-encoded naturally). It has built in WiFi (11b) and Bluetooth. And, as I stated, a real keyboard.

Problem is that the MP3 player was broken, in accordance to Palm standards (We don't need no steenkin' file system!) it couldn't handle folders. The movie player requires that files are in the magic folder with magic filenames. (The same is true for PSP btw, probably due to some power moran over at Sony.)

You could install some programs on it, but as I mentioned above everyone required payment for their crappy utilities. The FTP client I tried cost $15 and couldn't handle folders.

That's about when I gave up and realised that in order to get a working system I'd need to put a loooot of money into it.

It works fine as a WiFi WWW browser. And with fine I mean "As long as you don't need anything advanced". I would love to flash it with a basic Linux distro so I could actually put programs that worked on it instead.

Palm should have ditched their crappy OS many years ago and concentrated on GUI stuff. With Linux/BSD under the hood they may still have mattered today.

Re:Thank god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518493)

not PalmOS doesn't go evolve, but the fans told her everything in PalmOS 1.0 is already more than enough.

thanks fans, next time please supports a nice product to keep evolve rather than keep saying everything existing is enough.

consumer product is a form of desire, never can be fulfilled.

NO, Acces has NOT bought Palm Source ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13518110)

It plans to buy it. (Sorry, german):
Access will pro Aktie 18,50 US-Dollar an die PalmSource-Aktionäre zahlen -- relativ viel, wenn man bedenkt, dass die Aktie momentan nur noch für 10 US-Dollar gehandelt wird. Die gesamte Ablösesumme beträgt 324 Millionen US-Dollar. Zu dem Deal müssen allerdings noch Aktionäre und die Vorstände beider Unternehmen ihre Zustimmung geben.

Translation: Acces offers/plans to offer 18,50 Us $ per Share - relatively much, considering the Share gets 10$ on the stockmarket. The whole deal would cost 352'000'000 Us$. The Shareholders and the boards of both companies have still to accept the deal.

BeOS and Palm... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 9 years ago | (#13518122)

I remember Palm bought out the remainder of BeOS and what was to be used in their devices, the BeIA software.

I'm still hoping to see some "Be" technology in these devices. For its time, it kicked some serious ass and even now, I'm damned impressed with it.

Definitely not (5, Informative)

tvf (63451) | about 9 years ago | (#13518131)

As I stated in my blog [] "traditional" Palm OS development is being done by Palm (then palmOne). PalmSource is focused on Palm OS on Linux and providing an API to improve navigation of Palm OS-based applications on non-touchscreen phones. Recent management moves had them ripe for a takeover. Access has some pretty sharp minds, which is what PalmSource is in deperate need.

Like MacOS Classic - OS X? (4, Informative)

mcbridematt (544099) | about 9 years ago | (#13518132)

Before we start rumors of Palm moving to Windows Mobile, remind yourself of the Apple migration from Classic to OS X.

Would Palm risk loosing customers trained in PalmOS with loads of applications to keep and migrate to Windows Mobile/CE?

I doubt it.

There was a post on some palm news blog recently (Palm Addict afaik) where Palm was trying to recruit Linux guys. Logically they would be going for the Palm Linux port, but who knows, does POSE come to mind? Loads of apps still run on OS 4 and even the original OS 3! (and maybe OS 3.3 since that was free)

PalmSource press release: .html [] .

Hardly surprising. (2, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 9 years ago | (#13518143)

Palm OS is OK for small solutions, but unfortunately the development has accelerated away from it. Today it's better to use Linux or Windows CE (or whatever M$ calls it today).

Maybe Linux? (3, Interesting)

gregarican (694358) | about 9 years ago | (#13518175)

I had read somewhere that the PalmOS might move to a Linux base. That would be great since I'm currently working on some Linux-based Qt GUI projects that run on the Sharp Zaurus. If I could port these over to a Tungsten so much the better for getting my sales force to adopt it!

Re:Maybe Linux? (3, Informative)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | about 9 years ago | (#13518400)

This canard again. PalmSource was looking at a Linux *kernel*, but the OS and the API would remain the same to your apps. PalmOS has changed kernels three times in its history without any noticeable change to apps.

The PS rep in a thread went on to say "these devices will *not* run Linux apps."

The chief reason they went this direction was because they foresaw PalmOS being embedded in a wide variety of phones and Linux is already proven in the embedded market. They don't have the time it took to collaborate with Qualcomm or develop the Treo.

Or as RMS would say... (1)

jdfox (74524) | about 9 years ago | (#13518601)

...they're moving to Linux, not GNU/Linux.

Re:Maybe Linux? (1)

hattig (47930) | about 9 years ago | (#13519069)

Considering the above post that the core OS was not really advanced over the past few years, only the interface, that makes a lot of sense to me.

dang. (4, Interesting)

kisrael (134664) | about 9 years ago | (#13518331)

Palm had such a nice OS. It was such a friendly, crisp, easy much better than the attempts to scale shoehorn in the Windows desktop that WinCE was pursuing.

I still love my Sony Clie...320x320 screen, good battery life, nice UI. (On the other hand...the 4k memo limit and even smaller clipboard ALWAYS seemed gratuitous to me.)

Personally I thought the writing was on the wall once they had to switch to Graffiti 2...I've only dabbled with it, but for people accustomed to Graffiti (an idea it took me a while to warm to) it's jarring. And tht Xerox "unistrokes patent" lawsuit was SUCH CRAP...Graffiti is so much better than those stupid squiggles that didn't even look like any human alphabet.

Feh. Hopefully when its time to upgrade I can find some kind of Palm work alike. And hopefully whatever I switch to can import Palm data; I love that I have my schedule going back to 1997 riding around on my hip, not to mention assorted memos, contacts, and todos...

the future is the cell phone not PDA (2, Insightful)

clustercrasher (675663) | about 9 years ago | (#13518607)

Before you get worked up about the CE threat. Ask yourself how many carry and phone and a PDA. If you had to choose one which would it be?

As devices get smaller, the PDA functions will migrate to the phone so look to phone manufacturers to set the trends.

Re:the future is the cell phone not PDA (1)

I_M_Noman (653982) | about 9 years ago | (#13518718)

Ask yourself how many carry and phone and a PDA. If you had to choose one which would it be?
Easy -- PDA. Does more, and easier on my aging eyes. And I never have to worry about losing signal on my Tungsten.

Re:the future is the cell phone not PDA (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 9 years ago | (#13518980)

Before you get worked up about the CE threat. Ask yourself how many carry and phone and a PDA. If you had to choose one which would it be?

I carry both. I have a Symbian based Smartphone, and a PalmOS based PDA. My PDA is far faster at doing PDA-ish stuff (PIM and games), than my phone. My phone has a very nice web browser (Opera), but it's piddling 146MHz CPU means that on some pages, it's fully loaded. And that plays havoc with battery life (the CPU being pegged at 100% utilization will easily drain most batteries. Think of it - most smartphones, etc. will not be able to last a full day if by some reason the CPU gets pegged at 100% utilization. Those impressive battery life numbers come from the CPU being idle most of the time. Unfortunately, complex web pages, java ads (!), etc end up tying the CPU and if you don't close it, well, the phone gets mighty warm and you'll find you can't make it rhough an 8 hour day.

My PDA, while running faster, keeps a great battery life (though it's dying), and a much snappier response time - I click, it pops up, no waiting. If only it had Opera...

Oh, and given this, if my phone dies, I'd like to be able to still access my PIM...

Who owns... (-1, Offtopic)

Kopretinka (97408) | about 9 years ago | (#13518800)

Does anyone remember who now owns Commodore, by the way? It's been awfully quiet on that front, should expect a story any day now.

Goodbye Palm (1)

jonr (1130) | about 9 years ago | (#13518829)

You have been such a geeks friend through the years. I guess my Palm Tungsten E will be my last Palm. GPRS/EDGE connections are coming down in price, and affordable for mortal people like us. I'm betting on Symbian, it has some neat features.

This should help speed the transition to Linux (1)

gearmonger (672422) | about 9 years ago | (#13518895)

As most who keep tabs on this stuff know, PalmSource has been working on moving Palm OS away from a proprietary kernel to a Linux kernel (and mostly Linux drivers as well) ever since they acquired China MobileSoft.

This acquisition of PalmSource by Access should help keep that transition going. But, I expect it to be somewhat disruptive and add some time to their roll-out schedule. That's not good, especially when everybody and their mother (except Microsoft) is jumping on the Mobile Linux bandwagon.

PalmSource had a chance for Palm OS to be the clear frontrunner for mobile/handheld Linux. Now it looks like they risk being an also-ran. Too bad. :-(

Yes, this is the end (2, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | about 9 years ago | (#13518931)

As the owner of a Treo 650, let me say, when I purchased the device, I pretty much knew that Palm OS was dead:

- PalmSource has halted development on Garnet (the version of Palm OS that the Treo runs)
- Palm's Treo 670 will probably run Windows Mobile

That said, I don't really care:
- My previous device, the Danger Hiptop2 / T-Mobile Sidekick II, was far less expandable and far less usable than my Treo is *today*, even assuming that Palm development ceases tomorrow
- I already have an SSH client, IRC client, web browser (two of them, actually), email client (with IMAP sync and IDLE support, even when the phone is off), MP3 player, Bejewled 2, and a lot more.

It does far more than the Sidekick ever could do or ever will do. As nice as the Sidekick is, it, like many smartphones, is a closed platform. I can't add features that aren't already there. With the Treo I can.

That said, Windows Mobile is a much better platform in many regards. The UI isn't as good, but it can multitask, has a real filesystem, has more web browser choices, and doesn't have stupid heap size limitations.

Palm has been dying for a long time (5, Interesting)

poopie (35416) | about 9 years ago | (#13518953)

I maintain that Palm has never really done a good job at much of anything and that their pinnacle was the release of the Palm V.

Microsoft's inability to compete with a mobile OS that worked well on low-spec hardware, and the WinCE hardware vendors' inability to make good portable hardware really was the factor that kept Palm alive so long.

Palm's ability to release new versions with differerent amounts of ram or different case colors can hardly be considered as innovative.

Palm's inabliity to bundle wireless sooner is inexcusable.

Palm's purchase (back) of Handspring for the Treo 600 just proved they didn't have a good new product. ... and then they found out that all Treos have a shielding problem that cause them to start buzzing!

The fact that Palm has never released a real successor to the Tungsten T|3 is painful to all longtime faithful Palm power users.

The PalmOS6 fiasco... It must have been even worse than I could imagine because even Palm didn't want it.

The LifeDrive. Never has a machine with a 416mhz cpu seemed so slow! Hey, let's make all I/O go through a hard drive and let's not include an effective disk cache! I'm sure people won't mind waiting 3 minutes to reset, and I'm sure our power users won't mind STARING AT A FRIGGING BLANK SCREEN FOR 40 SECONDS WHILE THEY TRY TO SWITCH APPS! It makes me feel like an idiot for having purchased your product every time I switch apps.

Palm, I was your best advocate, and I don't know how you could have disappointed me more.

Let's hope that someone else can succeed where you failed.

Re:Palm deserved it (1)

UncleSocks (243734) | about 9 years ago | (#13519094)

I concur. I've developed software for Palm OS and was amazed with how primitive the OS stayed for so long. To this day my Treo won't let a webpage load in the background while I read my mail. No real threading!

Adding features like threading should have been done years ago and it could have been done without making a heavy OS.

Microsoft is evil, but the current crop of WinCE devices have really advanced. Very nice.

Hear my tale of woe (2, Interesting)

dmccarty (152630) | about 9 years ago | (#13518972)

Way back in the day I used to be an independent Palm developer [] . I didn't do it full time or anything, but it brought in a little money here and there.

I took some of my proceeds and decided to invest in the hand that fed me, so to speak. I bought 200 shares each of Palm (PALM) and Handspring (HAND). Shortly after I bought, Palm decided to do a reverse 20:1 split to bolster their share price and buy Handspring. My 200 Palm shares became just 10, and after they bought Handspring that left me with 15 Palm shares and a fractional share in cash, which I was paid about $10 for.

Palm then split to PalmOne (PLSO) and PalmSource (PSRC) and my 23 PALM shares turned into 8 PLMO shares. Again, I received some fractional share payout. Today I hold exactly 8 shares of Palm, Inc (again PALM) that I won't sell because I don't want to take the $15 or $20 eTrade comission hit.

I'm only satisfied in the fact that I knew going into this that it was a risky investment and only played with money that I didn't mind losing. If there's a moral to this story, maybe it's that Palm may yet stage a comeback, but this is not a good company to invest in.

Let me be the 1st to say... (2, Funny)

joshsnow (551754) | about 9 years ago | (#13518997)

...quick OPEN SOURCE BEoS!! Wait..this isn't, is it?

Good (1, Redundant)

Tidal Flame (658452) | about 9 years ago | (#13519072)

Good, maybe they'll finally change it now. Palm OS is becoming incredibly outdated, even as they add new features. I don't have much time to rant on about it, but I will say that the lack of a user-accessible filesystem is ridiculous. No, drive mode doesn't count.

PalmOS's database/object model (wherein everything has to be either a database or an object) was an excellent idea back when PDAs had
I'd really like to write more about this, but I've got to go to work. Anyway, hopefully this means they'll modernize PalmOS a bit.

Re:Good (1)

Tidal Flame (658452) | about 9 years ago | (#13519143)

Please disregard this comment, Slashdot managed to cut all of my argument out of it somehow.

Disappointing lack of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13519160)

I can't believe the lack of interest this piece of news has caused on Slashdot. I thought this piece of news would have generated at least 300+ comments by now with those lamenting the possible implications this news has for Palm Inc. (a possible future Windows Mobile Licencee for its hardware).

It just goes to show how far Palm's market share has fallen and how many of Slashdots readers PDA's run Windows mobile! Come on this is Slashdot!!

I had thought that PalmSource was going to be bought back by Palm, and that new OS development was going to be built upon Linux [tail wagging excitedly], but now I'm left wondering as to what this hardware manufacture will do next.

Maybe this is good thing for PDA/Cellphone market. Maybe with money and talent Access can produce an OS that will whip Symbian and MS into second and third place in the race for market share, and slashdotters will enjoy another area of computing where M$ doesn't have dominance.

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