SAN FRANCISCO—Palm Inc. formally announced at the CTIA WIRELESS I.T. & Entertainment show here Monday the companys first cell phone based on Microsoft Windows Mobile software, rather than its own operating system, which powered previous Treos.
Unlike Palm-based Treos, the new smart phone will not be compatible with Apple Macintosh computers or the Linux operating system.
This move was seen by some analysts as a marketing-driven one, an attempt by Palm to leverage Microsofts substantial advertising muscle. Other analysts said that by fielding a Windows Mobile-based Treo, Palm could make inroads in corporate IT purchases.
Windows Mobile 5.0, previously called Windows CE and other names, currently trails far behind Symbian in market share of operating systems for so-called smart phones, which combine cell phone, Web browsing, e-mail and PDA functionality.
“Weve been working on it for a number of years,” said Palm President and CEO Ed Colligan, who sat onstage with Verizon President and CEO Denny Strigl and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.
“Things have changed,” Colligan said. “Palm is no longer in the underlying operating system business,” he said, noting that Palm and Microsoft had long been competitors in the smart phone and PDA market.
“Sure, we expect some people will switch [from Palm-based Treos],” Colligan said. However, Colligan stressed that he saw the new Treo as expanding Palms market.