back to article Palm's new OS not dead, just going Nova

Palm is struggling valiantly on - it will have a new OS next year, codenamed Nova, and the Folio is very much still breathing. That's according to Palm's CEO Ed Colligan who spoke to Australian Personal Computer Magazine at the local launch of the company's Centro handheld. With typical Australian candour the magazine posed …


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  1. Kenny Millar

    Why don't they...

    ...just license Mac OS X as used on the iPhone/iPod Touch?

    Mine is the one with the flame retardant finish.

  2. Rob Griggs-Taylor

    What's the plan?

    The comparison to Apple may be on the right lines (remember BeOS? Shades of Access there...) but the difference is that Jobs came back to Apple with a grand plan. Palm don't seem to have that yet, unless they're being as secretive as Apple usually are.

    I'm a Palm fan - have owned at least nine of their devices from a V to a T|X via Treo 180/600/650/680 and currently using an old Zire as a stopgap until 3G iPhone arrives.

    Until they invent something that makes the users life easier, then the gradual decline will continue. Like the iPod, iMac, iPhone - all things that in some way had existed before but Apple made them compelling to use and own. Go PALM!! You can do it...

  3. John F


    Palm's story is just one long, tedious list of missed opportunities. I doubt they've held onto enough talented people to deliver anything good now.

    I guess I'm just a bitter ex-fan...

  4. Rob Haswell


    This is great news. I'm still hopelessly in love with my Treo 680, it's just such a functional interface, and snappy compared to the Windows Mobile devices. Keep going Palm!

  5. RichyS
    Paris Hilton

    Something doesn't add up

    15 million customers, and 50 million devices?

    That's a lot of devices gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. And you can add my old Handspring something-or-other to that list...

    Paris, 'cos she knows all about drawers.

  6. Nigel Wright

    It's still an elegant organiser o/s

    I use both WIndows Mobile and Palm devices - time and time again I come back to Palm because it works well. Palm's current o/s is still an easy to use, reliable and elegant o/s ideally suited to organiser functions. However, it's not a phone o/s, it has the wrong GUI for phone use and it doesn't multi-task. Mind you, all the same can be said about WIndows Mobile (and it's neither elegant, simple or reliable!).

    Palm need to break with legacy and develop anew - a task fraught with difficulty given the demanding constraints of a mobile o/s and, one which so far Microsoft has made a hash of with its vast resources.

  7. cropchops

    BeOS ?

    Didn't they buy BeOS to put on them a while back, what happened there?

  8. Roddy
    Thumb Down

    My last Palm

    I think it's all too late for Palm and they've lost the plot.

    I was a Palm fan, right from my first Palm III, until now. Now I have Treo 680 because I always fancied a palm that could make phone calls. Alas, I got a phone that can emulate some of the things my Palm III could could do 10+ years ago.

    It can't multitask.

    Half the time if I'm using it when there's an incoming phone call, it gets it's knickers in a twist and won't let me answer.

    Sometimes if I'm not using it and there's an incoming phone call it won't put the 'unlock screen' button on the screen so I can't unlock the screen and answer the call. (top tip 1 : don't rely on it as a phone, always carry a real phone as well)

    Sometimes, applications don't seem to clear properly so despite looking 'off' it's munching the battery to oblivion and will just kill it overnight. With no 'process monitor' it's impossible to tell when it's going to do this until you wake up with a dead phone (top tip 2 : don't rely on using it for an alarm clock when travelling).

    Even if you do spot that it is happening the only way to clear the rouge process is to take the damn battery out and force a reboot.

    When it has killed the battery, it doesn't use a single 'standard connector' so your chances of borrowing one to charge it up are nill.

    Don't get me started on what a missed opportunity not putting wifi in it was.

    I soooo wish I'd bought a Nokia n800 instead and just had 2 devices that work instead of one that doesn't.

    This is definitely my last Palm.

  9. Chris Miller

    My Treo 680

    Is my fourth 'Palm Pilot' (my first one is labelled 'US Robotics' and has 512K memory) and my second Palm phone. I've got over 30 third party apps on it and I've never experienced any of Roddy's problems. It automatically unlocks itself when there's an incoming call and the battery life, while not brilliant, is good for at least a few days.

    It remains the closest that I've come across to being a single pocket-sized device that will act as a phone, PDA, sync with your PC and run tens of thousands of third party apps.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    it’s a brand that’s globally recognised

    ... as a total piece of shit. And I know whereof I speak, having owned half a dozen, from the Vx to the Tungsten.

    Roddy forgot "the touchscreen loses its calibration so badly, you can't select the calibration app" - I had Palm send me no fewer than FOUR Tungstens under warranty with that problem.

    That's why I have a Nokia N800 now.

  11. Andy Moore
    Black Helicopters

    Keep Going

    From a Palm Pilot to my latest Centro via IIIc Tunsgten C 650 680 and now Centro.

    Everything really good until the Centro which had the odd problem with customer names that had an umlaout in but other than that a much better phone than the 650 or 680.

    Come on Palm, whilst you still have a loyal customer base get cracking and start competing hard against the iphone and the Blackberry (Both of which I am eyeing just in case Palm give up)

    Black Helicopter because I am sure MS and Nokia are conspiring to ruin Palm :-)

  12. ratfox

    My treo phone...

    Works well. My biggest complaint is that I need to recharge it often.

    I admit, I use few applications. The fact it works as a phone and a PDA is enough to make me happy. Like most users, I have little need for multitasking. I love the fact it groups SMSs by contacts, like MSN messenger, rather than displaying everything in chronological order.

    I believe the worst problem with Palm OS is that it is such a bitch to code on.

  13. Daniel B.

    The Palm

    ... was my first "true" PDA. The first PalmPilot, that is ... the one that was made by US Robotics. It was fairly decent for its time, and it had the original Graffiti writing system (I was never able to use the Graffiti2 version). The only drawback was that it used AAA batteries, which meant I had to change batteries every 1-2 weeks. Ironically this is why I got the thing in the first place, as my dad couldn't be arsed with changing batteries.

    Mine lasted a lot, until a friend accidentally smashed the screen, and I was left without a PDA. By then, the device had been with me for 5 years, and had a total life of about 8 years.

    PalmOS is pretty nice for a PDA, but it may need an overhaul for smartphones. On that area, I'd say RIM's got the upper hand.

  14. Sean Nevin


    I don't know what happened to other peoples Palm stuff, but I bought a Treo 600 about four years ago and haven't turned it off or had to reset it once. Ever.

    I was prepared to get a Folio, but when that didn't turn out I got an Eee instead.

    Palm really does make great stuff, and I hope that they can get their act together and keep competing, as there's nothing like quality competition to keep everyone else on their toes.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    I still like my T3

    I have always liked to have two devices, one PDA and one phone. My Tungsten T3 is as solid as a rock, and runs my navigation and several astronomy apps beautifully. For phones I just want them to do the phone work and little else. I can then take a call and use the Palm to take notes comfortably.

    Palm do seem to have lost the plot a bit, because none of the models after the T3 has been tempting to me at all. Both the T5 and T|X are clearly slower than the T3 in navigation apps.

  16. Adrian Esdaile
    Gates Horns

    Palm 3e & T2

    I loved the Palm 3e (the clear-case one) - 3 months on a pair of AAAs! The T2 was a trusty little companion until it's Li-Ion battery went to dead-battery land. Since then I've had two different lacklustre WM devices (Toshiba something, and DellX51V, both a bit pants, really).

    The Foleo looked absolutely fantasic until Palm shot themselves in the foot, head, arse, face, nose and nethers. Then I went out and bought an eeePC - granted it's not pocket-size, but it does what I wanted from a PDA.

    Laughing Bill, because he's laughing at YOU, Palm!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Bad support

    Palm lost me, a faithful customer (since Palm IIIx) when they failed to release a driver for x64. Vista64 (beta and release) has been out for maybe two years now, what gives?

    I could work around the ancient OS with no multitasking (it's no fun waiting for reloads when you need to switch between Versamail and Netfront). The crippleware browser was barely bearable. I was even willing to put up with hex editing/weeding out of corrupted records in Palm databases by hand on my Treo.

    But no sync=no go. Sure there are workarounds, but it needs to work out of the box (or with a simple update download). I don't have much faith in a company that cannot release a simple USB driver for a major OS in two whole years.

    In retrospect I feel as soon as Sony jumped off the PalmOS ship, all development on the platform stagnated.

    I've gone over to the dark side, using a HTC Touch now. It's slow and WM6 is fiddly to use, but it works. If the Jesus phone could (without the many half-cooked hacks) sync decently and carry around documents and ebooks I might have considered it too.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck palm, what about Psion?

    The Psion organiser was miles better than anything Palm ever made, so why did Psion leave the marketplace? I think Palm is dead and buried, especially if Google's Android is anywhere as good as they say it is.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT geek leaders

    maybe if palm had a bunch of people raving about their OS as much as apple had, they would be even bigger than Apple.

    That is what they really miss: the technorati converting the masses

  20. Anonymous Coward

    O ye Palm Faithful

    Actually Palm used to have quite a congregation of ardent and vocal supporters. They just got fed up with their prayers not being answered.

  21. Nigel Wright

    Psion? Aye. Brilliant!

    But they treated customers with contempt and did little development work themselves. Customers wanted colour screens, bluetooth etc. Psion steadfastly refused to give them it. A shame really cos the o/s was fantastic and by far the best - amazing multi-tasking capabilities and speed on modest hardware. But it wasn't an organiser - it was a mini-computer. It's a shame that Symbian has done its best to ruin that P990i is a pile of junk.

  22. Nexox Enigma

    They've had plenty of time

    The Palm OS used to be excellent. But that was back in the days when I had a Palm Vx (8mb of internal memory - it was amazing,) and now it is just completely lacking. Pretty much everything they've added feels like a hack (Color, a tcp stack that can only do 4 simultaneous connections, music which plays in the background...) and the OS just wasn't what it used to me. I really think that my T|X was the best thing on the market when I purchased it a couple years back, but that's just because nobody could manage to make a PDA OS that didn't suck, and Palm's still sucked the least.

    My T|X is almost the exact size of a Nokia N810, and roughly the same price. And the Nokia has a beautiful and highly functional Linux distro on there, which works so superbly. Palm obviously could have done what Nokia did - it had the hardware and the customers long ago, they just made some stupid-as-hell choices and blew it completely. Oh well.

  23. OffBeatMammal

    PalmOS was great...

    .... but then Palm decided it didn't need improving because it was perfect and let it stagnate while they put a lot of effort into the hardware.

    Then then woke up and realised that Windows Mobile was a better platform and now they're selling devices again.

    Now for some reason they think they can get back into the hardware market when there are new versions of WinMo coming, Android, iPhone and others are really showing some innovation in the market...

    I'd like them to see how far they can push the hardware platform as it seems to be where their real skills lie... and they have some neat fit'n'finish polish on WinMo but that's different to building a whole OS from scratch (again!)

  24. Graham Lockley


    i loved (all three)of my Palm IIIe 's, nothing came close to 'em for sheer portable use. I can be a bit clumsy, thats why there were three. Sad to see such a great idea/product slowly decline, shades of Amiga corp here. I've got a mono Zire lying around somewhere, maybe its time to try and rekindle the love affair.

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