Page Two

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2002-07-31 Print this article Print

: Should Handspring Switch to Penguin Power?"> The Agenda Computing VR3 may no longer boast a living parent company (the Agenda Computing Web site has sat static for more than a year now), but the VR3 does enjoy an enthusiastic user and development community. Anyway, Palm is in the midst of a major platform shift with Palm OS 5, and its not clear how many Palm OS developers are planning to migrate themselves and their projects to the new platform—membership in the "Palm Economy" could well mean considerably less two years from now than it does today.
Handspring could cash in on open-source cachet (see: IBM), and in return, the open-source handheld device community would gain a home at a high-profile handheld device firm. Also, Handspring could open source all of the software it develops for its device platform—after all, the more of a standard that a Handspring-led handheld platform can become, the better itd be for Handspring.
An open-source Handspring wouldnt risk the self-cannibalization that Netscape did or that Real Networks might do—remember, Handspring sells hardware. Itd take a lot of work, to be sure, but once smart phones from Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson, and every other mobile phone and device heavyweight in the business begin to proliferate, Handsprings impressively early-to-market Treo devices will have a tough time standing out in the crowd. A move to open source may be what determines whether Handspring becomes a mobile computing powerhouse or an outmoded also-ran. ´ What do you think? Does Handspring need to embrace open source in order to survive? Give me a (virtual) yell at

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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