Palm OS 5 poised for June launch

PalmSource, the Palm subsidiary formed to handle the company's personal digital assistant operating system and associated...

PalmSource, the Palm subsidiary formed to handle the company's personal digital assistant operating system and associated software, expects to ship the final version of its Palm OS 5 operating system in June, a senior executive has announced.

"We have been working with our licensees for quite a while and they have got releases of Palm OS 5 since last year," said Steve Sakoman, chief technology officer of PalmSource, at a news conference.

Both Sakoman and PalmSource chief executive officer David Nagel declined to comment on when the first hardware based on the new operating system would hit the market.

Palm OS 5 offers several improvements that include support for microprocessors with ARM cores.

"The principal feature of Palm OS 5 is that it is the first Palm operating system that runs on the ARM family of RISC [reduced instruction set computer] microprocessors which are anywhere from two to 30 times faster than the existing 68K microprocessors that Palm OS today runs on," said Nagel.

"This new family of processors is very important because it begins to open up the platform to innovation in ways not really possible before, such as multimedia and very high-speed wireless and other types of networking."

The latest OS also supports higher-resolution screens with 320x320 pixels supported in the beta release alongside 160x160 pixels, said Sakoman. But PalmSource also supplies customers with a software-development kit that allows them to design products with different resolutions.

This is a key advantage the system has over its competitors, said Nagel, who added that the stricter limits imposed by Microsoft on its Pocket PC platform customers had turned those devices into little more than clones of each other.

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