Originally Posted by The Phone Diva
Is This Hawkins' Pet Project?
Over the past year or so, Jeff Hawkins, Palm's co-founder, has made several references to his company's plans to create a mysterious third product category that's neither a handheld or smartphone.
Not surprisingly, Engadget's article has created speculation that the Sherlock will be this device.
Of course, it's also entirely possible that this device, if real, will simply be an updated version of one of Palm's current smartphones, especially as this information is supposedly coming from a wireless carrier.
Only time can reveal more information on the Sherlock.
Hints and Suggestions
When asked for details on this mysterious product category during his interview last year with the Portland Business Journal, all Hawkins would say was:
I always think of mobile computing as personal computing. This long-term vision has led us through everything -- first the organizers and now through the smart phone space. It's like everything a personal computer is. Continue down that path. What are the implications of a world where everyone has a super high-speed Internet connection in their pocket and many gigabytes of storage, super-fast processors, audio, visual and multimedia? What are the consequences of that? How will that change computing when you have all that stuff available to you all the time? I try to think into the future. That's how we come up with new products. So I'm not going to tell you what it is, but it's following the consequences of mobile computing.
Software Everyware-David Beers
Sunday, January 28, 2007
The rebirth of the Palm OS brand
I wasn't surprised to see a few shrill articles about the death of the Palm OS this week. The ten-year-old mobile operating system has been "dying" for most of its life in the assessment of the technical media—at least dating back to when the first Pocket PC devices hit the market in 2000. But the original PDA OS still dominates the handheld device market and has in recent years occupied a small but high-profile beachhead on the global smartphone market, thanks to the popularity of the Palm Treo. Still, when its owner ACCESS announced it was renaming the venerable Palm OS Garnet to "Garnet OS" it seemed even to many fair-minded observers to have suffered a humiliating blow.
At the risk of sounding absurdly optimistic in the face of the declining PDA market and the Palm OS's beleaguered status in the tough smartphone market, I am going on record saying that its renaming is actually something of a milestone in the rebirth of the "Palm" brand. To understand why this could be so you need to know a bit of history.
To start with, while ACCESS has been decried for the renaming, it wasn't actually something they had a choice about. In May of 2005 PalmSource sold the right to the previously shared Palm brand to then-PalmOne, and agreed to phase out its use of the name in all its products within four years. PalmOne immediately changed its name back to Palm Inc. and it was only a matter of time before ACCESS—party to the agreement by dint of its acquisition of PalmSource—would begin the process of removing the Palm name from all of its products. When PalmSource was renamed ACCESS last October this was symbolic of the integration of parent and subsidiary, but it was also the first step toward compliance with that two-year old agreement. Changing "Palm OS Garnet" to "Garnet OS" is just the next step. Eventually ACCESS products like Palm Desktop will have to be renamed or replaced as well.
What's more interesting is what the change means for Palm. As has been widely publicized, Palm reacquired from ACCESS the right to use and develop the Garnet OS source code in pretty much any way it choses as long as backward compatibility is maintained, as established by a mutually agreed upon test suite. Less publicized is the fact that Palm is actually exempt from having to use the name Garnet OS in any products it releases with this OS. In explaining this deal with Palm, ACCESS stated:
Under terms of the agreement, we have given Palm the right to use either "Palm OS by ACCESS" or the product's new name... when referring to the operating system licensed with this new agreement.
So from Palm's perspective this renaming exercise by ACCESS would appear to mean next to nothing.
But appearances can be deceiving. As I've mentioned several times before, Palm's reacquistion of the Garnet source code was not just so Palm didn't have to depend on ACCESS to make minor tweaks and bug fixes. The $44M agreement included concessions by ACCESS that give Palm "the right to use Palm OS Garnet in whole, or in part, in any product from Palm and together with any other system technologies." Palm's press release about the agreement was a bit more definite about what this meant:
Palm has secured an expansion of its existing patent license from ACCESS to cover all current and future Palm products, regardless of the underlying operating system. [emphasis mine]
I've gone into some detail in several other posts about the evidence that Palm needed this agreement to enable it to develop it's own Linux-based successor to the Palm OS, apart from that being developed by ACCESS. If I'm right about this, what makes the renaming of Palm OS Garnet so interesting, is that it actually clears the way for Palm to give the name "Palm OS" to its next-generation operating system. Palm owns the brand, it owns its OS, and as of this week no other company will be able to use the name Palm OS.
The Palm brand had become quite a mess in the last few years, what with the ill-fated PalmOne/PalmSource split and the subsequent buyout of PalmSource, but since Ed Colligan took the helm at Palm he's done a great job in putting the brand back together again. More than just the brand, he has hired back many of the original developers of the Palm OS and regained the right to build the next generation of the Palm OS. From where I stand it looks like this project has been under way for at least a couple of years, and I expect we'll be hearing an announcement about a modernized but Garnet-compatible "Palm System 7" (or some such) within the next few months.
Sprint 07 roadmap