Palm Inc. is set to bolster its operating system and is working with several companies to improve its wireless capabilities and in turn transform its handheld devices into electronic wallets.
Groupe Ingenico and VeriFone Inc., the latter a division of Hewlett-Packard Co., are working with Palm, of Santa Clara, Calif., on a secure e-wallet application.
Groupe Ingenico and VeriFone Inc., the latter a division of Hewlett-Packard Co., are working with Palm, of Santa Clara, Calif., on a secure e-wallet application. Visa International plans to offer the application to its customers, and sources close to Palm report that deals with MasterCard International Inc. and American Express Co. are in the works.
"Next holiday season, we believe youll be able to use your Palm to beam your way through the checkout line," said Palm CEO Carl Yankowski in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show here last week.
Yankowski demonstrated a purchase using a Palm device—entering a Personal Identification Number into the device and then submitting credit card information via the Palm infrared port.
The application will enable customers to track credit card information automatically, Yankowski said. Palm plans to create applications that integrate the e-wallet with a users checkbook, he added.
Also due later this year is the next Palm OS—Version 4.0—which will support telephony, expansion slots and 16-bit color. Palm plans to offer Secure Digital expansion modules in the spring, Yankowski said. Sources close to the company said to expect a color version of Palm V later this year.
In addition, Palm officials introduced a new operating system licensee. Garmin Ltd., which specializes in Global Positioning Systems, will use the operating system in location-enabled handhelds that should be out early next year, officials said.
On the wireless side, Palm plans to go beyond the Palm.Net offering for the Palm VII, which runs on BellSouth Wireless Data LPs Mobitex paging network and tends to be slow. Sprint PCS Group and Palm have announced plans to develop and market products that run Palm OS over Sprints wireless network.
The plans in the first half of this year call for Palm-based PCS phones that integrate voice and data and in the second half for products based on Code Division Multiple Access.
The companies also plan to introduce early this year a modem that attaches to the Palm III and Palm V, enabling either to link to the PCS network.
The Palm VII is Palms only product that includes integrated wireless capabilities.