Now that the dust has begun to settle about Palm’s perpetual license of Garnet, a few seething questions still remain(in developer’s minds). This article is just my personal opinion though – so please don’t buy stock on it, and feel free to discuss!
First of all, this purchase shows that Palm seems to understand the value that its third party developers make for the platform. OK, Windows Mobile now has a load of stunning apps too, but the diverse application landscape of the Palm OS still is mostly unique for a mobile OS. So, keeping developers happy by keeping their API alive pays out.
This insight probably didn’t fall from the sky though – Nokia gave a great example of what happens when you piss off developers by releasing an incompatible S60 revision.
Palm’s purchase of the Garnet environment allows them to do exactly the opposite of what Nokia did – they can now swap out the old Garnet kernel and kick a new one in; or they can create a Garnet emulation environment(PACE, anyone – Garnet is a huge Os4 emulator mostly) on whatever host OS they want to use.
Palm also saves a lot of licensing fees with this purchase on the long run – they must have some kind of longterm usage in mind with the IP that they just acquired, for else they would have just kept paying a per-box licensing fee.
Essentially, this IMHO is a bit of a good sign for Palm OS developers. While now always is a good time to look out for another OS to support(as Seth said – Do or Die), a one-OS shack owner should now be able to sleep a bit better. I will run another article on how Palm’s future lineup will look soon – for now, what about sharing what you think?