No Linux-Based Smartphones from Palm for at Least a Year?

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The time when Palm, Inc. introduces a smartphone running its new Linux-based operating system may be much farther away than had been previously thought.

This spring, the company announced that it is developing its own operating system that will be based on Linux, but also include important parts of the Garnet OS (formerly Palm OS 5), which is why many refer to it as "Palm OS II".

At the time of its announcement, Palm said devices running this new operating system would debut before the end of this year. In July, though, the company’s CEO said that the introduction of the first model running it wouldn’t happen until 2008.

Many had hoped Ed Colligan meant a spring release, but now the Guardian is reporting being told by Palm that "it will be 12 to 18 months" before a model running Palm OS II is on the market.

Bad news for Palm Fans

The current version of the Palm OS is really showing its age. As an example, devices running don’t allow a user make a voice call and wirelessly access the Internet at the same time. It’s lack of robust multi-tasking capabilities is also a significant limitation.

And now it appears that, in a worst-case scenario, the operating system that’s going to replace it won’t be available until 2009.

Of course, even additional delays of Palm OS II don’t automatically mean the end of Palm as a company. It has been very successful selling Treos running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, to the point where nearly half of all Palm’s smartphones use it.

But the delays in the next generation of the Palm OS mean that its fans will have another year of models running an operating system that first debuted in 2002.

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