Group Sense PDA Launches Second PalmSource Phone

The Register's John Lettice points out one of the coolest new devices at GSM World in Cannes, and touches on Symbian's recent market picture.

CANNES, France (special to—Group Sense PDA, a PalmSource licensee, announced Tuesday at the 3GSM World Congress here its second PalmSource phone: the Xplore G88. This follows up last years Xplore G18 and is a multifeature smartphone running Palm OS 4.1.2.

It has a a built-in 320-by-240 digital camera with zoom, 16MB RAM, a 22MB Flash Internal Memory Card with WAP/e-mail/Java support and a push-out keyboard like the Nokia 7650, but is a lot smaller and lighter.

Key to this announcement is that the product is a PalmSource smartphone (as opposed to a PalmSource PDA with built-in cellular) and is a high-spec device that networks can put under their own badge and sell in high volumes.

High volumes for smartphones, that is. A useful reality check to keep by you in Cannes is the knowledge that although Symbian has apparently won the smartphone war so far, its total sold licences are dwarfed by the total size of the phone market. In smartphones, PalmSource frequently suffers from the "too little, too late" tag. PalmSources business development vice president, Albert Chu, declined to share market figures during the companys quiet period.

"We believe that the new G88 demonstrates GSPDAs continued track record to bring innovative and easy-to-use Palm-powered smartphones to market," said PalmSource President and CEO David Nagel. "GSPDA is not only an innovator in Palm-powered smartphone design, they also embrace their development efforts with a cutting-edge time to market approach."

GSPDA, as the company name might imply, started in PDAs and does a great deal of business in mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. In addition to PDAs and phones, it is active in education, entertainment, data storage and communications.

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At recent presentations, Nagel has speculated that a wireless MP3 player could be a killer category. The notion of a wireless iPod as the "next big thing" could make a deal of sense. Wireless MP3 is something that GSPDA is looking at, and although it declined to confirm that theres a project in the works, it conceded that its reasonable to speculate that it is working on devices in this category.