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Palm to unveil OS 5 in February

Palm plans to unveil the newest version of its operating system, OS 5, at PalmSource in early February.

Sources in the development community have expressed delight with some new features, and disappointment at what OS 5 still lacks.

Three significant improvements include the ability to use multitasking and multithreading in applications, improved performance using OS 5 with the faster processor, and compatibility with current applications.

On the negative side, Palm will not leverage the multimedia capabilities of the recently purchased Be operating system. This means that features such as MP3 support will not be available.

However, perhaps the most aggravating news for Palm users - also called Hacks - is news that some utilities written by third party developers will not be supported in OS 5.

"We were told that every single Hack will not work in the future," said a developer.

However, OS 5 will give Palm some enterprise-level capabilities, a source said.

"The multithreaded features will allow the development of peer-to-peer, wireless applications for data conferencing," the developer said.

"Some of the old programs will run faster, some will run slower, and some won't run at all," said another developer. By deploying an ARM-compliant processor, the new OS will also give Palm the ability to gain a foothold in the mobile phone market.

Developers said users would see Palm devices running OS 5 in the third quarter.

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