PalmOne could potentially ape Nokia by moving into the mobile device software licensing space, according to the company’s top executives. Any such move would help to standardize Palm OS smartphones, and the upwards filtering of changes to the OS back to PalmSource could avoid the splintering seen with Symbian.
PalmOne may look to license its smartphone software to mobile handset manufacturers.
PalmOne CEO Todd Bradley has stated that there is nothing precluding us offering our platform [to licensees] over time. The platform in question is essentially the rake of applications and user interface tweaks developed by PalmOne and its recently-absorbed Handspring acquisition for smartphones such as the latest Treo 600.
Features of the Treo 600 include easy access to GSM’s ability to handle six concurrent voice calls and a novel ‘chat’ interface for SMS text messaging that provides a similar experience to instant messaging.
PalmOne has designed these features for maximum ease of use and tight integration between PDA and phone functions, taking the user emphasis away from the complexities of the underlying operating system.
Mr Bradley said these features were considerably more important to the user than the underlying operating system, in PalmOne’s case Palm OS, developed by the newly independent PalmSource.
The part of the Treo 600 that’s Palm OS is really just the core. It’s the application layer that differentiates, said Mr Bradley. I don’t think you could even create a Zire [PalmOne’s low-end PDA] out of the box today.
A move by PalmOne to license its application layer and user interface technology out to other Palm OS licensees would provide a close parallel to smartphone rival Nokia. Nokia has successfully sold a similar mobile device platform based on Symbian OS, known as Series 60, to several other smartphone vendors, including Siemens, Samsung and Sendo.
Such a move would bring a degree of standardization to Palm OS handsets. However, the imperative for Palm OS licensees to filter back changes to the OS back to PalmSource would help avoid the splitting up into variants for which Symbian OS has been criticized.
This article is based on material originally published by Computerwire