updated 11:50 am EDT, Wed October 3, 2007
Palm Struggles With New OS
Palm's first major mobile OS release in years has been pushed back even further, the company's chief Ed Colligan has revealed to the press. While it continues to base the new Centro and other smartphones on the Palm OS, the anticipated Linux-based version of the software is not set to launch with a shipping phone until late 2008 -- several months later than planned and the first significant change to the OS since 5.4. Palm OS 5 was originally released in 2002 but has received only minor feature upgrades since then to support new displays and other technology.
The delay underscores Palm's difficulties in competing with the iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry devices, both of which have outperformed Palm and contributed to the Treo maker's recent quarterly loss, which was the first in years. Palm has argued that a Linux-based device would let it easily update the interface and new features while providing an emulation layer to run legacy Palm software until users had transitioned to the newer platform. The company's use of Windows Mobile for some of its phones has been seen as a stopgap measure meant to keep up with competitors until a new in-house OS could be released.
Palm also recently struck a deal that brought former Apple engineer Jon Rubenstein to the company's Board in an attempt to revtalize the design of the Treo and other phones, which have increasingly been criticized for remaining bulky in the face of thinner and lighter competitors.