Why The PalmOS Is Fading Into History

It may be a little premature to offer an obituary to the venerable PalmOS, but not too premature: The shrinking market share, and Palm’s adoption of Windows OS portend trends that are unlikely to reverse. With that trend in mind, I wrote an article discussing the high-level reasons that the PalmOS has been surpassed by Windows Mobile. Chief among the reasons is that the PalmOS was the PDA OS for the 90s – very good at doing a few simple PIM tasks – but that people now demand much more from their PDAs, including media, email, phone, and more. The PalmOS was not conceived with this kind of complexity in mind, and lately has struggled under the weight. Meanwhile, the Windows Mobile OS has always been designed to handle a very wide range of functions. At first, the PocketPC devices were a poor fit for the weak mobile processors and hardware, but as Moore’s law delivered faster mobile processors and ample memory, the hardware grew into Windows Mobile. Unfortunately for the PalmOS, the hardware grew out of it like a 10-yr old grows out of an old pair of comfy shoes. We like the PalmOS. Those shoes were darned comfy. But it’s time to move on.

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