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Palm OS Goes Linux ! - 12/8/2004 5:04:56 PM   
LinuxMarshall

 

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Mobile software company PalmSource is planning to acquire China MobileSoft, and with it a Linux base to use in Palm OS for Linux and Palm OS mobile phones.

PalmSource, maker of the Palm OS operating system for mobile devices, today announced its intent to acquire China MobileSoft (CMS), a Chinese mobile phone software company. Providing PalmSource with footing in the Chinese market, the deal also includes CMS's Linux-based phone platform, which will allow PalmSource to develop its newly announced third version of its OS, Palm OS for Linux.

The CMS deal, expected to close before the end of PalmSource's third fiscal quarter ending 28 February 2005, provides PalmSource with two main benefits. First, it gives the company a new foothold in the large Chinese market, a market that includes 300 million mobile phone subscribers currently with 5 million new ones added every month. Second, it gives PalmSource access to CMS' proprietary mobile phone platform and Linux-based smartphone platform. Linux-based smartphones, communicators, and handhelds are considerably more popular in Asian markets than in the US or Europe, where they have negligible market share.

CMS currently develops both a proprietary platform for mobile phones and a smartphone- and communicator-targeted Linux based platform with application software for the former, with ten Asian licensees building devices based on its software for local markets. PalmSource will be inheriting both of those. It's longer term plans include using the CMS Linux stack to create a third variant of Palm OS under the working title Palm OS for Linux, which will coexist along side Palm OS Garnet and Palm OS Cobalt. The company says it will continue to offer and support all three platforms for as long as there are licensees who ask for them.

Palm OS for Linux will include the Linux kernel and GNU utilities, common to any Linux-based platform, with the Palm OS APIs and applications on top of that. That will include the Palm OS Application Compatibility Environment (PACE) for supporting legacy applications written for Palm OS 4 and earlier, which is actually how most Palm OS applications on Garnet and Cobalt run as well. It will also support the improvements made in Palm OS Cobalt, many of which are based on the now-defunct BeOS, which PalmSource purchased several years ago. Traditional Linux development support will be available as well, opening the doors to a new set of developers.

When all is said and done, PalmSource intends to offer four platforms. The first will be a proprietary phone platform based on CMS's work, but including a basic PIM suite that mirrors the look and feel of traditional Palm OS PIM applications. It will also continue to offer Garnet and Cobalt as well as the new Palm OS for Linux for use in handhelds, communicators, and smartphones worldwide to any licensees interested in building products based on them. All three will include the same application libraries and support, meaning most well-behaved applications will be portable across all three. PalmSource's Director of Competitive Analysis Chris Dunphy told infoSync World that there are "quite a few interesting devices on [Garnet and Cobalt] coming soon."

PalmSource will be announcing further details at its April Developers Conference. However, it should be noted that Palm OS for Linux remains a future development, and not one that will be appearing on shelves immediately.


Source : InfoSyncWorld
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