Symbol Technologies Inc confirmed it will take final orders for its Palm OS mobile phones in North America at the end of this year.
The company already stopped supplying its Palm handhelds in Europe in the middle of the year, because they did not comply with RoHS, the European standard that prohibits the shipment of electronics containing certain hazardous substances, said Chuck Dourlet, VP of product marketing in Symbol’s mobile computing division.
We’re phasing out the products because of the RoHS transition, Dourlet said, noting that several components of its Palm products were no longer compliant with the standard.
Rather than keep it live elsewhere, we made a strategic decision to discontinue the remaining Palm line, the ruggardized SPT1550 and SPT1800 handhelds, in North America, he said.
Dourlet also noted that the future of the Palm OS was uncertain. Of course, Access Co Ltd now owns Palm’s OS, following its acquisition of Palmsource Inc in September last year, and has moved the higher levels of Palm OS to a Linux kernel, called the Access Linux Platform, or ALP.
It’s not a question of supporting Palm, it’s the OS fundamentally taking a different direction with Access, Dourlet said. Really it becomes a question around what the OS may or may not be.
While ALP is one of the more serious competitors in the Linux phone software market, Symbol currently has no plans to launch Linux-based handhelds, but it is something we would consider like any other OS, Dourlet said.
Symbol currently has Windows CE .net, and Windows Mobile 5.0 Premium and Phone Edition devices. While Dourlet said the company would consider launching a Smart Phone handheld, it currently has no such device.
He declined to say whether or not a Smart phone device was on Symbol’s roadmap, citing company policy not to pre-announce products. Symbol would deploy Smart Phone where appropriate – driven by form factor and target applications and usage model, Dourlet said.
While San Jose, California-based Symbol will discontinue its Palm products, the company will service them through 2011.
Palm products represent a small, but undisclosed, percentage of Symbol customers in North America.