PalmSource Inc has launched a major offensive on the Chinese-language PDA market with the announcement of two local licensees, a new system development partner and other initiatives designed to raise its profile in the relatively Palm-free country.
New Palm OS licensees include Legend Group Ltd, China’s top PC manufacturer, and Group Sense (International) Ltd (GSL), the third largest seller of PDAs in Asia. Both will use the simplified Chinese version of Palm OS on which PalmSource is accelerating development, and is already used in the region by Acer Inc.
PalmSource president and CEO David Nagel is targeting a 20% market share. PalmSource’s efforts will be bolstered by a partnership with Portable Innovation Technology (PiTech), the first Palm OS System Development Partner.
PiTech will work with PalmSource to provide hardware manufacturers with a one-stop shop for hardware design, OS customization, driver development, component sourcing, and assembly.
Further assisting its Chinese labors, PalmSource, the operating system arm of Milpitas, California-based Palm Inc, has opened a subsidiary in Hong Kong and will work with Tsinghua-Solutions and Zhung Shan University to train Palm OS developers.
China represents one of the greatest untapped markets for PDA manufacturers. Analyst firm International Data Corp expects Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) sales of handheld devices, including PDAs and smart phones to grow at a compound annual rate of around 36.5% between now and 2006.
China is currently the largest single market for handhelds in the region, accounting for 68.5% of sales in 2001, mainly from local manufacturers.