Palm Regains Control Of Palm OS, In All Its Outdated Glory

from the just-a-little-late dept

News today is that Palm has secured a perpetual license to Palm OS Garnet (via Engadget) from Access, the Japanese company which bought PalmSource in the fall of 2005. The history of the Palm OS has plenty of twists and turns since the original Palm split off PalmSource, a company to focus on the OS, in 2003. But one thing has remained constant -- Palm OS 5, or Garnet. It's by now about five years old, and despite the tinkering that's been done with it along the way, it's been surpassed by other smartphone OS like Symbian and Windows Mobile. Outside of Palm itself, the Palm OS hasn't been attractive for quite some time, and nearly three years ago, PalmSource talked of the need to make it better suited to smartphones. The supposed successor to Garnet, designed for smartphones, never went anywhere, and has fallen by the wayside, leaving Symbian and Windows Mobile to dominate the market. So, congratulations, Palm, you've now basically got full control of an outdated operating system that even you yourself have turned away from. Wall Street's been trying to figure out where the company is headed, and moves like this don't seem to elicit much confidence.


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    SimplyGimp, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 10:23am

    PalmOS

    The PalmOS used to be killer. It had every app you could ever imagine using on a PDA, from gameboy emulators to GPS mapping software. Why and when exactly did it go bad?

    Is it because of the lack of 3D graphics of something? I don't understand... The PalmOS never needed a lot of Ram, CPU or anything really and it just ran like the wind. I've never liked Windows CE or mobile, whatever they call it now, cause it honestly wasn't as flexible at the time as PalmOS.

    Guess I'm just behind the times or something. It has been years since I shopped PDAs lol...

     

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    Aaron, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 10:25am

    Hey Palm, for $25 I'll sell you owenrship of Linux, you will get 50% of all sales of the OS!

     

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    Tony, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 10:30am

    Palm?

    Well this last year i needed a New PDA, and i was looking at dell's axim or Palm Tx. I went with the palm tx. I did try my friends dell axim, but it just seem more complex to do simple tasks which i am using the PDA for. plus over the year i've been able to do more with the Palm tx then my friend's dell axim. mainly there is a community to help and alot of software. have you ever look for any tech forms decitated to WM5 and tried to get answers, but every thing i wanted to know or question i have with the palm tx i have been able to find a answer within about 10 mins. while the WM5 it takes me much longer to find something that help.

    I just laught when people say palm is dead. it's just there system is solid and has a good communite with it. plus i dont have to work to hard to get the device to work. it dose it.

     

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    Keith McD, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 10:40am

    I've been a Palm OS fan for years. I've tried other people's various Windows-based devices and didn't like them. They were clunky and the software just wasn't as nice.

    I've got a Palm TX - I can play my mp3s, watch movies, surf the internet, connect to my phone, edit word/excel/powerpoint docs with absolutely no problems and with no cost as everything that costs came bundled.

    Previous I've owned a Palm 105, 130, Zire 71.

     

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    tg, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 10:47am

    That's an article 'from-the-ignorance-dept'.
    You may be right in questioning the hire-and-fire attitude of Palm (outsourcing, just to please Wall Street), but anyone who's ever worked with PalmOS seems to love it - and my colleague's iPAQ with its you-know-i'll-screw-up-again-in-a-second Windows Mobile (with about 30 mins of battery life) always gets me laughing.

     

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    Dosquatch, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:15am

    Back on planet Earth

    You are entitled to your opinion Carlo, of course, but I think you're a little off the tracks here. You say "outdated", I say "mature". Palm is a stable, reliable, responsive OS with just a mind-bogglingly broad base of available applications. And if there's something about it that's not stable, it has a mind-bogglingly talented user base willing to help out. It runs well on lower-powered processors, meaning an absolutely outstanding battery life. I've been using Palm powered devices for years. Currently I'm carrying a Treo. I have games, office apps, ebooks, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a customizable address book, a flexible calendar, a camera, a video player, GPS navigation, email, web access... oh, yeah, and it makes phone calls, too.

    What are you looking for this old, broken-down thing to do to not be "outdated"? Play quake?

    I've looked at WinCE devices, WinMobile, and Symbian. I keep coming back to Palm. Why? Because when it comes down to it, PalmOS does exactly what I want it to without the muss, fuss, or nearly punative battery life of the others.

    Say all bad you want to about PalmOS, and those of us who use it will blithely smile at you and go on our merry way, still using it. That kind of user comfort and loyalty says a whole lot more, don't you think?

     

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    googly_eyes, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:26am

    KISS works

    I used the first generation palm pilot 512 soon after it came out. It was simple, efficient, and the graphitti writing wasn't too bad to learn. It changed my life. I have no short term memory to speak of, and the palm pilot gave me reliable memory in the form of calendar, alarms, phone books, memos, etc..

    I have had multiple devices based on palm os, and every one of them has done it's job well. the wireless Palm VII was a bit off, but that is a different story.

    I now have a Treo 700w and I hate the thing. It is what my company gave me to use, so I didn't have a lot of say, but the thing is so infuriating with just simple things that I can't wait to get rid of it.

    Some gripes:

    1) the OS locks up and makes it so I can't answer the phone or switch tasks
    2) applications don't close when I close them, they sit in the background sucking up valuable memory. If you are going to have the X in the corner to close an app, CLOSE THE DAMN THING!
    3) having a folder structure on a portable device is SLOW when trying to find files, and virtually requires you use the stylus
    4) having to go to a menu button to find the mute and speaker phone options is stupid! I love that on the Palm based Treo's, there is a button right on the screen you can press
    5) some of the programs that run on the windows mobile os are SLOW to load and run. Too much overhead I think. Most Palm OS apps that I have used run fairly quickly when opened.

    In my opinion FWIW, I love the simplicity of the Palm interface, and the efficient functionality. OS 5 is a bit behind, but it is still head and shoulders above windows mobile 5!

    Anyone want a used 700w? I'll trade it, and a mule for a 700p

     

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      Ed, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:45am

      Re: KISS works

      I love my 650. Good solid palm interface, no lock ups.

      Hardware mute button in easy reach.

      Good form factor, solid feel.

      Gripes:
      No wifi (thanks to stupid phone companies)
      No SD > 2 GB (if you want tons of MP3s)
      No stereo bluetooth
      Crappy resolution camera

      So basically, I finally have a phone / PDA / camera that does almost everything I need it to do in a nice stable easy to use package.

      My wife has a Q. What a mess. It is pretty, but difficult to use. Too bad a lot of people buy pretty.

       

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    byte^me, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:32am

    I have to agree.....

    with everyone else here. I have been a Palm user for years, starting with the Palm IIIx, upgrading to a Handera TRGPro, then a Palm Zire 31, now finally a Palm Treo 700p. I have a Compaq iPAQ that runs Pocket Windows and it is nice, but I find the Palm OS quicker and easier.

    I do have some complaints about the 700p, most notably the fact that some older apps do not work with it. (Some even cause it to reboot continuously.) However, the majority of the important apps I use work perfectly, so why would I want to change?

    Also, I seem to have a hardware problem that causes occasional reboots, but that might be my fault instead of the device's.

    Overall, I think Dosquatch has it right when he calls the Palm OS "mature". It sure seems to be stable, as compared to anything Microsoft releases.........

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:33am

    Is it that broke?

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

     

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    Bryant, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:42am

    Palm OS

    This past year I switched back to a Palm TX, after using an iPaq for a while. I had used a couple of different Palm devices prior to the iPaq. Palm OS just works better, smoother, faster, easier than windows mobile. It does averything I need and want it to do.

    Now considering buying a Treo running Palm OS.

     

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    Mischa, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 11:49am

    Windows Mobile???

    I haven't used Palm Garnet but in order for it to have been surpassed by Windows Mobile, it must be very bad. I've got Windows Mobile on my cell phone and it's just horrid. Next time I buy a new cell phone, my main criteria will be that it DOESNT have Windows Mobile.

     

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    Dennis, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 12:09pm

    Palm OS dead? I don't think so.

    Apparently there are a lot of us who think there is a lot of life in the Palm OS. Ny TX allows me to surf the net, read email, read books, listen to MP3s and OGGs and...., keeps my schedule and client contact list (and syncs with my office scheduler) has a dictionary as well as two foreign language dictionaries and a verb conjugator, plays games and I can slap the SD card from my Canon camera into the TX to carry around and display pictures for everyone to see. It weighs less than 6 ounces fits in my pocket and has a beatiful hi rez color screen I can read in the sunlight.

    Oh did I mention that I can read Adobe Acrobat documents, watch movies and create small spreadsheets?

    Gosh, what are we going to do with such a "limited" OS? It doesn't even crash!

     

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    sniperdoc (profile), Dec 7th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Sounds like Linux

    You know... I see a lot of comments on here about how if you do have a problem with PalmOS that there a big user base that can help you out... how things come bundled with PalmOS, etc...

    What a load of crap. Has anyone ever tried to sync their contacts list in Outlook with a Palm based system? I had a TungstenT3 and I hated it. It wasn't very customizable, the terminology wasn't industry standard when it did offer the customizability.

    When I have any operating system I expect it to work. I don't want to have to tweak it here, do this there, and dance with maraccas around a mexican hat. I want the product to work. Period.

    I currently have the Cingular 8125 or HTC Wizard as it's called, and it comes with Windows Mobile 5, and it just works. No desktop manager to install. Just plug it in and it syncs fine with Outlook and transfers all your data. Oh... and by the way... it also came with Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. Oh yeah... it also has a PDF reader and if I would bother with the Data package it'll behave just like a Blackberry and give me all my email while on the road... Let PalmOS do that for you.

    Non-customizable, "I-have-to-be-a-moron-to-run-it" OS. And if you want it to be able to do other things you have to download plugins galore... Oh it's a great MobileOS. PalmOS sucks and is just as unstable as all the other Mobile OSes.

     

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      Dosquatch, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Sounds like Linux

      Has anyone ever tried to sync their contacts list in Outlook with a Palm based system?

      Every day, without a problem.

      it also came with Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.

      So did my Treo.

      it also has a PDF reader

      As do I.

      and if I would bother with the Data package it'll behave just like a Blackberry and give me all my email while on the road... Let PalmOS do that for you.

      PalmOS does that for me. Every day. POP3 connection to GMail. I didn't even bother with the data plan, I just burn airtime minutes.

      I want the product to work. Period.

      And you picked WM? To each their own.

      Yeah, yeah, I know, don't feed the trolls. But they're just so darned *cute*.

       

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    sniperdoc (profile), Dec 7th, 2006 @ 12:11pm

    Sounds like Linux

    You know... I see a lot of comments on here about how if you do have a problem with PalmOS that there a big user base that can help you out... how things come bundled with PalmOS, etc...

    What a load of crap. Has anyone ever tried to sync their contacts list in Outlook with a Palm based system? I had a TungstenT3 and I hated it. It wasn't very customizable, the terminology wasn't industry standard when it did offer the customizability.

    When I have any operating system I expect it to work. I don't want to have to tweak it here, do this there, and dance with maraccas around a mexican hat. I want the product to work. Period.

    I currently have the Cingular 8125 or HTC Wizard as it's called, and it comes with Windows Mobile 5, and it just works. No desktop manager to install. Just plug it in and it syncs fine with Outlook and transfers all your data. Oh... and by the way... it also came with Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. Oh yeah... it also has a PDF reader and if I would bother with the Data package it'll behave just like a Blackberry and give me all my email while on the road... Let PalmOS do that for you.

    Non-customizable, "I-have-to-be-a-moron-to-run-it" OS. And if you want it to be able to do other things you have to download plugins galore... Oh it's a great MobileOS. PalmOS sucks and is just as unstable as all the other Mobile OSes.

     

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      Tony, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 12:45pm

      Re: Sounds like Linux

      Umm you forgot that Windows Moblie has a sync program it's called activesync.. just thought ya would like to know that. since it is needed to since a windows moble device to windows, and just so ya know. i've had a Palm PDA for about 5-8 years and never have has trouble syncing my outlook contact, appointment, and task with my Palms, even trough wireless, exchange, local, serial, usb, network..

      anyway why can't windows Moble sync wirelessly?? my pda can,

      can yours??

       

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    harknell, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 12:42pm

    While I'm not quite as vehement as Sniperdoc, I have to sort of back him up. I have owned a Palm 3c, Sony Clie NZ90, and a Zodiac2 and while they all were good in many ways, they all had huge problems that never made me satisfied with them. The Palm OS simply can't do certain things that a modern handheld needs to be able to do. The biggest gap is internet web viewing. It's awful on a Palm. Practically no support for any modern (css, javascript, etc,) coding stuff, so most sites beyond a plain html page either look horrible or don't work. Compare this to Pocket IE (which is crap, but at least is somewhat more compatible) or Opera on Win mobile 5 which mostly do a good job of doing things. To be frank, my Sprint a900 phone does a damn better job of email retrieval, web browsing (with Opera Mini) than any Palm device I've ever seen. My other beef is workflow. Palm simply can't multitask at all. Can't cut and paste between documents, can't have a doc open to refer to to do something in another tab, etc. bluetooth isn't supported for multiple uses at once (so no bluetooth network dial up while using a bluetooth keyboard).
    ARGH. Frustrating.

    I actually used to love Palm, but they've just fallen behind to the point that unless your needs are dead simple, it's just not robust enough. I do have to say though, I think UMPC's will kill both Palm and Win Mobile, and I can't wait until the day I can run either Linux or XP on a handheld and have stuff just work.

     

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    Bill M., Dec 7th, 2006 @ 12:45pm

    Why is it always the morons who double-post?

    I had perfect freedom to select with Palm OS or Windows Mobile for my most recent smartphone. I tested out both systems for a while. I researched the software I could get for them. In the end, I chose Palm OS. They just do more things "right."

    What a hatchet-job, Carlo.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 1:21pm

    These comments are all well and good, but you all are oblivious to the fact that the standalone PDA market is dying. Sure, Palm OS is great for that. But as a smartphone OS, it can't stand up to Windows Mobile or Symbian. So yeah, Palm OS is the market leader -- in a dying market.

    And don't mention how great your Treo is (and I won't mention market share stats for smartphone OS). Come back when the OS allows multitasking, and developers don't have to hack it in to their apps.

     

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      Dosquatch, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      And don't mention how great your Treo is

      Wouldn't if t'weren't true.

      Come back when the OS allows multitasking,

      How many things at once do you want to do? I can use any app while I'm on a call. I can invoke my dictionary and thesaurus from inside of other applications. I can cut & paste from one app to another (despite the lament of another previously). Any program I'm in remembers where it is if I leave and come back.

      Just what is your gripe?

       

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    Tom, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 1:59pm

    Love PalmOS

    I have a Pilot 128 with a cracked screen at home :-(
    I've had a IIIxe, Visor Deluxe, Clie sj22, m130 and m515. They all do the main thing I want a PDA for:

    Carry my contacts/schedule/notes with me and sync with my computer(s) when I get back to a real computer. It works fast enought that I can take notes on it. Sometimes I even look things up on it instead of in the real computer.

    I sync on Linux, MacOSX, and Windows to Exchange. I can also run an emulator to get to my data if the palm is broken.

    Beyond that, other functions are gravy. I would like wifi w/ web browsing and MP3 playing. I don't use the email on it.

    I have a blackberry for work. The email works very well. Opera is ok for web surfing on the tiny screen. The phone sucks (it's too big!). It's too hard to take notes on. Some JavaMe games play well, but they'd work on the Palm too I suppose.

    Eventually these things are going to converge: phone, mp3, calendar, contacts, mobile web, mobile im, and low level camera. I hope they get the interface for it as well as palm did with the original pilot.

     

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    Wizard Prang, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 2:21pm

    A little heavy-handed, methinks

    Lots of comments pro and con. Palm have, to be sure, made lots of mistakes - particularly with regard to spinning-off and then re-acquiring the OS. This might explain their flirtation with Windows-whatever-it's-called-today.

    My own PDA history stretches back to 1991. After thirteen years and four different Psion machines I bit the bullet and went with a Tungsten T, last year I upgraded to a T2. I have no regrets. What do I use it for? Let's see... PIM, Address book, voice recorder, Documents, spreadsheets, Timesheets, News/Weather/Directions from AvantGo, Bibles, MP3 and Video, and a few games.

    It is true that the Standalone PDA is a dying breed... this is partly because more people prefer technology that helps them yap to technology that helps them be more productive. This is reflected in their purchasing priorities - for most people. $400 is too much to spend on a PDA ever few years, yet $30+ per month for phone service is perfectly ok. As for me, I use my phone about a minute a day (pay as you go) and I use my PDA more or less constantly. I would prefer two separate units to an all-in-one.

    Palm started off with a simple tool that worked well - it is still possible to look up an address one-handed. Data is secure, migrates easily when upgrading hardware, lockups rarely lose data.

    MS, on the other hand, attempted to create a machine that does everything. It took several years for the hardware to catch up with the ambitions of the software.

    Ironically, the Clie-toting friend who first turned me onto Palms ended up with a Pocket PC a few months ago he played with a LifeDrive and was so impressed they had trouble prising it out of his hands.

    It really depends on what you want to do... if you live a Microsoft-Centric life then by all means go with a MS solution. If you value the efficiency that Palm provides, then that's the way to go.

    As for me, I am about to trade up to a T3...

     

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      GirlGeek, Mar 10th, 2007 @ 5:06pm

      Re: A little heavy-handed, methinks

      Hear, hear Wizard Prang! I've only entered this fray because my Sharp OZ-750 finally died and I am w/o my faithful PDA. For me it's all about being organized; a cell phone is only needed for the occasional *ahem* maybe every few days phone call. All I want is a small device with an intergrated keyboard and PIM functionality that I can clip to my belt or slip in a pocket. But noooooooo... jumping into the game now (2007) pretty much limits me to a "converged device". WM or Palm OS really doesn't matter to me... it'll be the device that dictates my decision.

       

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    iWindoze, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 2:30pm

    I keep hearing this nonsense about the PDA markets dying...and to me it really IS nonsense, because I still love and use my PDA every day. I use it to read either books I've bought or various online stories you can download for free. I use it to play games, and use emulators to relive ye olde GenesisSNES days. I use my PDA to watch videos and take picturesvideos of my family members. (LOL and to think when I bought the thing I'd been annoyed at the camera...) I even toss on headphones and can listen to podcasts using my PDA.

    The one thing I DO NOT do is use my PDA to make phone calls. If I want a phone; I'll buy a phone.

    If I want to surf the internet on the size screen the average PDA comes with I'll....I'll have myself committed.

    Those mobiles, with their built in phones do not interest me.

    They steal battery power and there's not much point in paying through the nose for the ability to surf the net on a screen that small when I've got my laptop to fill that need.

    As long as there are people like myself who simply wish for a small COMPUTER to carry around in their pockets, there will be a PDA market.

    PS: I have both a PPC and a Palm. I started with an iPaq and then moved to a couple of refurbished Palms (under $30) before finally shelling out for a Palm Zire 72. I also have the Dell Axim I picked up not so long ago...I hardly ever use it though in favor of my Palm....

     

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    Chris Maresca, Dec 7th, 2006 @ 3:33pm

    No longer a Palm user....

    I've had a Palm since the IIIx, more than 10 years now. My last three Palms were smart phones, the last one a Treo 650.

    I no longer have a Palm.

    Why?

    Because the Treo crashed a lot, dropped connections, Bluetooth and push email never worked right and I was spending hours fiddling with it to get stuff to work.

    Yeah, 5 years ago the Palm OS WAS the best PDA OS out there, bar none. I now have a Blackberry and it's miles better than the Treo ever was, no comparison. The BB delivers what it promises, the Treo consistently failed to deliver.

    Palm needs to make devices that are able to work as advertised, from Bluetooth to multi-tasking to push email. Their current devices barely work and that's why I switched to a BB. I don't have time to debug devices for Palm.

    All I can say is that, if you are a Palm user and you are frustrated that stuff only kinda works, get a BlackBerry, it just works.

    Chris.

     

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