The company is unveiling at its developer conference a strategy that focuses more on devices that handle both voice and data communications.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)PalmSource Inc., a maker of operating
systems for handheld computers, is shifting gears as the market for
so-called smartphones grows and the one for simpler personal
digital assistants shrinks.
The companys new strategy, to focus more on devices that handle
both voice and data communicationsas rivals Nokia Corp. and
Microsoft Corp. have already donewas being unveiled at its
developer conference here Tuesday.
"Weve been a player in this space for a long time, and were
making it official now that its a key market for us," PalmSource
chief executive Dave Nagel said in an interview. "Were going to
go after it with every weapon that we have."
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company makes the Palm operating
system and licenses it to makers of digital assistants and their
newer smartphone cousins, which combine computing and cell phone
functions. PalmSource was spun off last October from the hardware
division that makes Palm-branded devices, now called palmOne Inc.
Until Tuesday, PalmSources approach would be to stop
development of an older operating system as it moved on to an
But now, PalmSource says it will adopt a "dual-version
strategy," developing a new operating system aimed for the
smartphone market while keeping the older Palm operating systempreviously known as Palm OS 5 and being renamed Tuesday as Palm
Garnetavailable for other gadgets.
"Two versions of the same platform will allow us to go after a
broader swath of the market than we could do with either, alone,"
Palms newest operating system, called Cobalt, which recently
began shipping to device manufacturers, already includes major
upgrades for multitasking and security, but will be further
improved with telephone features, Nagel said.
PalmSource cannot afford to let the growing smartphone market
slip by, analysts say. Sales of handheld computers without phone
functions slipped 18 percent in 2003, according to market research
Already, cell phone giant Nokia Corp., with its majority stake
in the Symbian phone-operating system, holds about 65 percent of
the smartphone market, said IDC analyst Alex Slawsby. (Nokias
stake in Symbian, a mobile device software consortium, more than
doubled to 63 percent after its Monday buyout of Psion PLCs
And though IDC found that PalmSource edged Microsoft in 2003
with 14 percent of the smartphone market, compared to Microsofts
12 percent, Slawsby expects Microsoft to surge ahead in 2004
because Microsoft has commitments from two of the top three cell
phone makers, Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
Smartphone licensees signed on with PalmSource include palmOnes
Treo line, Samsung and Kyocera Corp.