The news about Palm’s buyback of OS5 rights has slowly but surely sunk in – we now have two Palm OS ‘owners’. The current version of Garnet has a few quirks, but is a reliable platform…this is what its owners should do to it 2007 to keep it competitive:
Get a GOOD web browser
Face it, all current Palm Os web browsers suck badly. OK, the Treo 680 version of Blazer/Netfront is said to be decently usable at the least – but it still lacks many features in comparison to PDA browsers for other platforms.
This point should be really simple for Access – all they need to do is add a few features to their old Sony Clie Palm OS NetFront browser. Alternatively, Palm could bug Opera or buy up the Universe3 project before it ships.
Give Garnet a competitive UI
Face it – Garnet looks ugly compared to Windows Mobile. Ok, black on white means great contrast, but the average user doesn’t give a f*** about a few nits more. Instead, he wants a cool-looking device…
This is also a no-brainer for a licensee. Buy up either SkinUI or its competitor(probably cheaper) – and party.
Unlock the multitasking API/ARM development API
First of all – I got much of this information from a reliable source inside a Palm OS licencee. However, I cannot disclose the name for obvious reasons.
Palm OS’s core is multitasking capable – people like Dmitry Grinberg have used the Kernel for quite some time. The problem is somewhere else – Palm’s original license for the Kadak kernel forbade them to publicly release the multitasking API(Kadak sold such an SDK, fyi only).
Now, if Palm owns the complete rights to the OS, what speaks against looking at the kernel rights once again and maybe opening up multitasking in one sort or the other? And if you are already at it, why not unlock the ARM native stuff, too?
IMHO, the three steps outlined above should help Access/Palm get their operating system back in-line. Garnet’s days may still be counted and its architecture may eventually need an overhaul(dual core ARM processor, come) – but implementing the 3 commandments should be able to add at least 3 more years of life to Palm OS Garnet.