PalmInfoCenter just received a few screenshots of the software that is supposed to be an early beta of the MAX platform-they can be found here:

Time to revisit out UI speculation that we ran a few days ago. In fact, we had the choice that seems most likely on our list-it was number 2, the Access Netfront Platform. If you look at the link provided there, you may get a good “first taste” of what to expect for MAX applications!

And to be honest, I somehow like what I see. The blue is calming which is nice, it is not too strong(costs contrast). But what stresses me as of now, is the look of ther included apps. They appear to be very meager as of now, but as said, this is a beta and many new, exciting apps will probably be bundled with the second ALP device( a la Tungsten T, no software back then, I was a more-less early adopter ;) ).

What do you think?

Recently, the first few screenshots of the ALP emerged-but all they were showing was a garnet app running under Palm OS ALP. The MAX UI still was not shown-and so people were speculating about how it could look. We at TamsPalm have dared to predict its look-but we didnt predict just one, but rather three variants:

BeOS style
PalmSource owns BeOS. So, why not use their GUI? I had BeOS running on my box a few years ago, and can say that it looks pretty cool. Here are a few screenshots(click for bigger versions):
first How the Palm OS UI may look sound How the Palm OS UI may look

terminal How the Palm OS UI may look workspaces How the Palm OS UI may look

CMS Linux/NetFront mobile client Style
CMS was also bought up by PalmSource a few monthsd ago-and they already have a nice operating system. So, one could theoretically also use their UI. A PalmSource employee sent me these pictures a long time ago-they are a little pixelated, but one still sees how it looks:
06 04 How the Palm OS UI may look 06 05 How the Palm OS UI may look 06 06 How the Palm OS UI may look
11 01 How the Palm OS UI may look
11 02 How the Palm OS UI may look
Extra shots of the new NetFront platform are available here:
Cobalt style
Possiblity number three is using the PalmOS Cobalt UI. This is probably well known from the simulator et al-so no pictures here!

Overall, I am not sure what they will choose. Cobalt is a very likely choice, as the code already exists in ARM and thus should be very easy to use. Also, it was designed for mobile usage. BeOS looks good and also is proven, but it still needs to be adjusted to mobile devices-and that is a lot of extra work. About the CMS/NetFront mobile platform, I am really not sure. It seems to be in use in Asia, but-um-not for smartphones. So, it may be a little to weak to support MAX applications.

What do you believe that we will see in MAX?

For a long time there was a browser on Palm devices called Blazer. Contrary to the name, it was not very fast. Sometime in the last couple years, Palm did something smart. They licensed the Netfront core from Access to use for their browser. Then came something we did not expect. People loaded up the browsers on the new devices, and they were not that much faster. In fact, they looked just like the old browsers. Something must have been wrong! Anyone who had had one of the newer Clies has seen Netfront, and knows what it can do; how fast it is. This was not Netfront. In alot of ways they were right. Palm took the Netfront core, and added and tweaked it to give people the “Blazer experience”. Palm, we have to tell you, the Blazer experience is not that great. For these reasons, I am making a move, and trying to get something started. I will call it the “Straight Netfront Petition”. All I ask of Palm is that they give us Netfront. Access now owns PalmSource, and so they certainly have the resources to make a great Palm version of Netfront. They have no excuses, only angry customers.

Palm, you have to compete against Windows Mobile. Im sorry to say that I think Blazer is just about at the level of IE on Windows Mobile. They arent your competition. People dont compare your browser to the worst browser on another platform. You are competing against Opera and Mozilla, who both have very impressive offerings, not to mention Netfront on WM which is lightyears ahead of Blazer. All we ask is that you give us something a little better. Something that we know you can deliver, but just aren’t. Give your customers something back. We are sticking around because we expect this much from you. Dont show us we are wrong.

To “sign” the petition, click this link and sign up!

Recently, PalmSource announced the winner of its PoweredUp awards-needless to say, AutoSync didnt win. Tamoggemon has little problems accepting this fact. However, CoreCodec, the developer issued the following open letter to PalmSource(quoted text)-I inserted some comments:

“An Open Letter to PalmSource”
First… I would like to thank the community who had tried to vote for TCPMP during the PalmSource Poweredup Awards, we at CoreCodec and the Developers of The Core Pocket Media Player value and thank you for your continued support.

It is a question if this voting did not invalidate your submission. Motivating users to click on AdSense ads invalidates your earnings. Anyways, PalmInfoCenter says that the winners were chosen by judges-so, user votings apperently were worthless.

We would like to point out some ‘non-bitter’ obvious things (or in this case not obvious) to PalmSource and why we think their PoweredUp Awards and the process for judging IS WAY BEHIND THE TIMES and note that their purchase by of ACCESS Co., Ltd, has not changed their way of thinking one bit.
– No Open Source Software is allowed

Giving money to open-source programs can be damaging! I can darkly remember a german magazine’s report about the xbox linux project when a cash prize was announced. The coordinator feared fights when the cash is due for distribution!

– PalmSource was to announce winners Dec 14 but pushed it to Dec 19th, why?

Delays do happen. Should not, but Murphy’s laws apply here too!

– The contest is built with one purpose in mind, push closed source products
I am 100% behind the fact that a business like PalmSource wants to push products to potentially generate revenue for their third party software vendors. The Poweredup Awards are a great way to do so, but the reality is that there is substantially better open source software then the current winners from this years awards and that these Open Source Projects could use the same amount of advertising and revenue that their closed source competitors have.

I beleive that the decicion for PocketTunes was influenced by Palm. I personally never understood WHY they didn’t include TCPMP instead-but having a free program beat yours could look painful!

I am simply stating that “PalmSource might want to get with the times and truely adopt (or even recognize) Open Source in their process flow and let the Palm Community speak the truth on what is actually good software!”
There is a happy medium to be had… but to SNUB Open Source in general and to have been aquired by a company that openly embraces it and the freedom it brings… says nothing for this contest.. and the time to change has come, not today, but yesterday.

Please keep in mind that this is not a PalmSource-only thing. There are lots of companies involved, and each one of them has its own interest.

Overall, I totally agree that TCPMP needs to be honoured somehow. However, I am not sure if those awards are the right way. Two or three handhelds can not be divided among developers ‘fairly’-and what is fair? Giving a price to a company is considerably easier, there is no risk of quarrel if the stuff becomes company property…
What do you think?

RIM found coals in their stockings today…

Research in Motion, known for their product, the Blackberry, has recently found themselves in a lawsuit that has their core product feature in the crosshairs. Blackberry’s are known for their ability to check email anywhere at anytime. Unfortunately, this feature may be considered a patent infringement.

The blow dealt today was issued by Judge Spencer who resides over the trial. He refused RIM’s request to have the trial postponed. He also refused to allow RIM to pay $450 million dollars to settle the dispute.

Palm’s stock shot up 6% when investors heard of the unfortunate news for Palm’s competitor. RIM’s plunged downward with worries of production coming to a halt temporarily.

A rumor has immerged that RIM could tweak their software very slightly to “work-around” the patent. However, the rumor has yet to be verified by any reliable sources.

Recently, a few analysts rumoured that Access is planning to sell Palm Os Garnet aka Palm OS 5 to Palm Inc. While I personally believe that this is mainly an attempt to get some attention to their sites, it would be a very bad idea anyways.

Whenever thinking of Palm powered handhelds, you really need to look at more companies than just Palm. Yes, I know, most of us can only see Palm in the retail store, but there still is Qool, GSPDA and possibly also Fossil, Garmin, Symbol and Aceeca! These all make decent devices running on Garnet or even on some older versions of the OS. Imagine their reaction if they hear that the OS they depend on went to a competitor? A swap would likely follow… .

Now, some of you will say that this is a good thing as they would move over to Cobalt. However, I believe that this is not true for a simple reason. Cobalt is an intermediary OS that will die a fast death in the moment Palm OS for Linux materializes. So, all the cash that went into customizing Cobalt will be lost on both developers and licensees ends. Thus, many of the licensees will then be motivated to look at Windows CE, and some of them actually already have.

Last but not least, the Cobalt device would have a hard stand in the market. Many developers will not optimize their apps for Cobalt as it doesn’t pay out on a financial standpoint. Thus, users will be dissatisfied with it and will eventually swap brands-which is not a good thing to happen.

So, I personally believe that Garnet is in the best hands where it currently is-at Access Co’s headquarters. However, I am always open for suggestions. Where do you believe that Garnet should be at home?

Recently, Motorola went to court because it got outbid in the PalmOS buyout. PalmSource apparently promised the company a termination fee if the deal would bust-and indeed, as we know now, the deal busted and the PalmOS went to Access. Now, one has to pose the question where the Palm OS would have fared better!
Indeed, Palm OS going to Motorola would probably have produced a few lively PalmOs powered boxen-but at what expense? Palm originally split up in order to give all licensees equal rights to the Palm OS. This benefit would be gone if the Palm Os would be owned by Motorola. I am pretty sure that the company would not be interested in having competition-cancelling licensee contracts would have been a logical step for them on the long run.
So, Palm OS going to Motorola would IMHO have led to a few decent devices-and to consolidation of the PalmOS economy into one company: Motorola.
Access, on the other side, does not have any in-house hardware business. Thus, all hardware partners are equal for Access-and thus, licensees don’t need to fear being left behind because the OS owner feels that they get too dangerous to their own devices(symbian Treo, anyone?). However, the problem that Access has is finding hardware licensees. With the PalmOS licensee count dwindling, device variety gets less and less as well.
So, Palm OS with Access is a bit riskier. If access manages to find a few new licensees, the PalmOs future looks bright IMHO. However, if they don’t find any new licensees soon, the Palm OS will eventually fall out of the market!
What do you believe?

“An editorial on the PalmSource acquisition by Access” (Its a long one, so if you dont like long, skip over this)

The past few days there have been many stories, as well as much speculation floating around regarding this acquisition. Some people are praising the move, and a few (though not many at all) do not think it is a great idea. The naysayers are probably more concerned with the fact that Access bought PalmSource at an 83% premium, which I would be most people would think is alot. I would have to agree. At the heart of this matter though is the question, “What does this mean to the Palm community?”. I will try to explore the motivations for the acquisition, the current state of PalmSource, what could happen, as well as my personal opinion regarding the sale of the company.

Access is a fairly large company. Their product line before buying PalmSource was mainly limited to the highly successful Netfront browser, as well as some imbedded software that ran on mostly mobile devices. For this reason I would title them a primarily mobile company. Our good friend Jeff Kirvin believes that the Netfront web browser may in fact be on more devices than Firefox, which certainly means that the company is making alot of money somewhere. Obviously they would also need this much money to buy PalmSource for the 300+ million they paid. That said, many people have spoken of Access as having “always wanted an OS”. Being the mobile company that they are, this makes alot of sense, because by buying PalmSource, they dont just give themselves a PDA operating system, but also two different smartphone operating systems, if they decide to pursue Cobalt. I have no doubt they will continue to sell Netfront to PPC owners and manufacturers, because they already dominate this section of the market, and would not want to lose that revenue. Well, Access has their OS, and now the most important thing is that they treat it well.

The current state of PalmSource is not something that most would want to hear. If anyone had looked lately, it would seem that they had taken their focus off of Cobalt, the next generation Os that should succeed Garnet, and put their sights towards Palm on Linux. What this means to the user is precisely nothing. When I say that I dont mean what that sounds like. When I say nothing, I mean that users have not seen a handheld running a new PalmSource OS on any handhelds. We have seen nothing. Its like Willy Wonkas chocolate factory, for many years nothing came out. For a little background, all new versions of the PalmOS since 5.4 have really been developed by Palm inc. Palm INC has taken over development of Garnet entirely, leaving PalmSource in the dust. With the list of PalmSource licensees dwindling (after Sony and Tapwave dropped out), there was very little hope that the company would be able to pull themselves from the hole they were digging.

Onto the future state of the OS (This section should be a little brighter). Access has bought PalmSource, and they have done a couple intelligent things. The first was letting the programmers generally go about their business. They announced publicly that they were going to continue POL (Palm on Linux) development, and they have also said that Cobalt development is not out of the question. With these two OSs being developed, and most importantly backed, we have assurance that we may once again see our favorite OS on a better device someday. If I was Access, I would have them release something to hardware companies in the near future. Either a cleaned up version of Garnet with some new features, or a separate OS such as Cobalt. They really need something to compete with current WM OSs.

Now, to the point of this article, which is essentially that “It really cant hurt”. After seeing what PalmSource currently was doing, and the fact that it seemed they were heading nowhere, I have to come to this conclusion. The acquisition gives them backing by a stabile company, as well as a company with some good programmers who may be able to give better leadership and support. Although some dont like it, I really dont see how this could hurt PalmSource or the Palm community, because frankly, the situation couldnt have been much worse.

What do you think? Direct comments and questions to the comments section.

Recently, PalmSource was aquired by Access Corporation. Now, a spokesman of the new mother company has spoken up over at CNET’s-here is a link to the article:
To cut a long story short, the spokesman did not say much new, but a lot of good stuff. First of all, the PalmOS is not dead! Access will continue working on PalmOS on Linux and even plans to revisit Cobalt in some way or the other.
And, last but not least, Netfront will be integrated into Garnet-whatever that means! So, maybe Access is starting to see the need of current PalmOS device owners and wants to do something against them leaving the platform, which is a good step into the right direction if you ask me! Also, NetFront will be the default browser for Cobalt and POS on Linux. What that means for PalmSource’s current, very nice Cobalt web browser cannot be determined currently. Lets just hope NetFront will be better!
How do you feel after this statement?

PalmSource has been aquired by Access-for an incredible price. Indeed, the rumor mill was hard at work quite some time, but the mentioned company was wrong.
Now this came as a surprise. A software company that produces portable applications purchasing an OS maker? Indeed, it is difficult to see a benefit for Access-unless you look at their software portfolio. The company does more than just NetFront. It also has a ready menu application for interactive handsets. And this is where PalmOS will come in!
Currently, each product needs to be ported from platform to platform for each licencee. Now, Palm OS for Linux allows Access to offer licencees a complete solution. Why get an OS at A, a web browser at B and a game at C, if you can have all the stuff from one vendor. Less compatibility issues, less problems… . PalmSource provides an everywhere OS(which the Linux core of PalmOS makes it-I beleive that porting away from ARM is not really a problem if the Linux kernel already runs on the platform). Access provides communications programs(PalmSource has a few nice preograms for cobalt already, they could be enhanced with Access’s technologies).
So, Access and PalmSource definitely make a good team. Both companies work in the handset sector, and both have their individual licencees. Access has loads of PalmOS experience, so the company already knows the OS they’re buying. Also, the company worked together with Sony while the Clies were going big. Thus, they know a lot about the way the Clie concept was designed. Overall, if PalmOS on Linux ships(I am pretty sure about this), we should be prepared to see Access and PalmSource running fast!
What do you think?

Recently, a defective Psion Revo made it into my hands. I could reanimate it for five minutes and was heavily impressed by its applications(Word even handled Styles). The most interesting feature was the printing support-built right into the OS.
At its time, IR capable printers were rare, thus uses were limited.
Lets now end the time travel. Nowadays, most handhelds have integrated bluetooth or even WLAN. It is very easy to connect to a printer(or a printer share) nowadays-and printing is one of the essential business operations. As handhelds begin to become notebook-replacements, users will want an easy, well-supported printing facility.
Currently, some developers already react to the trend and either gang up with print products that need to be purchased seperately(DocsToGo with Printboy,…) or integrate their own solution(RepliGo). Thus, users can print-if they really want to. However, some problems arise due to this plethora of systems. People wanting to print need to install, purchase and configure many different applications, leading to annoyance. Developers will need to consider the different printing utilities, and eventually redesign their print codes as print helpers get discontinued.
Now compare this to an integrated solution. Developers don’t need to worry about selecting a printing solution, and users only need to configure one application. In addition, driver development can be controlled and regulated at a central location(only one knowledge center for manufacturers), leading to a better driver selection.
It may be more work for PalmSource, but it will pay out on the long run.

Recently, PalmSource announced their quarterly balances which were positive. In addition, a long-waged legal battle(vs. Acer) was won. Everything seems to be perfect-but the Wall Street does not share this view. PalmSource stocks plummeted down seriously, see the chart below for details:
PalmSourceCharttn Acer vs. PalmSource a phyrrus victory
My colleague at 1src accused the traders to hinder business. However, now lets take a look at their balance. The profit wasn’t that bad(2.1 million), and a special income of 2.6 Million USD appears. Without this “donation” from Acer, PalmSource would actually be negative(-0.4 Milion). While Palmsource performed worse last year(-9.1 Milion $), Handheld unit shippings also declined seriously, from 1.3 Million to 1.2 Million units. David Nagel himself announced that he wasn’t too happy with the outcome, and that break-even shall be approximately reached this quarter.
In addition, Acer once was a Palm OS licensee. Few people know that Acer once produced Palm OS handhelds-here are a few handhirn pages about their devices:
Now, let’s have that sink in. Palmsource fought one of its licensees-as if they could breed licences like they breed turtles in Singapore. They may be positive now, but stock exchanges live off expectations and predictions. And when a licensee gets sued, he isn’t all that likely to produce another device with the OS of the suer. Sony already left the ship, now Acer will follow suite. Handspring and Handera are dead-and the remaining companies products aren’t that popular. It looks like PalmSource gets more and more PalmOnes pet-but why did the companies split up in the first place then?
What do you think about this topic?

I took my Information from a German source-Find a few english analyst reports here:

There are new and crazy news-PalmOS and Linux gang up some way or the other! PalmSource today issued the following open letter to the Linux Community:
Now, what should that bring? Wasn’t OS6′s kernel totally rewritten just a few months ago? Lets face it-there is quite a lot of Linux/Unix applications that can now be ported easier, while still not needing the fat X11 implementation and a window manager for dispaying graphics. PalmOS will be a layer on the top of Linux, maybe replacing the X11 and other Linux GUI parts.

In my opinion, the main reason for this port is different, however. The Linux Kernel runs on x86, MIPS,RISC, SPARC,…. CPUs, while the PalmOS is bound to ARM CPU platforms only and will be difficult to port. Now, licensees can use their existing handheld hardware and snatch a Linux kernel for it-and alas, it is Cobalt compatible! The PalmOS layer still contains PACE though, so most 68k applications will work without porting. Native Cobalt apps will need to be recompiled for the Linux PalmOS version, but will then run too!

So, maybe we shall soon experience the PalmOS running on different mobile phones and handhelds-even if they do not support ARM CPU’s. I personally think that Cobalt isn’t widely accepted because it is pretty complicated to design a hardware that can work with it! However, Linux runs everywhere-and so, soon Cobalt shall be there too…

I am as always-looking forward to comments!

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