No Palm OS Cobalt Devices Until 2006?

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palmOne’s president said yesterday that his company won’t commit to releasing models with Palm OS Cobalt next year.

Ed Colligan was speaking to analysts in London when he said this, and a reporter from NewsWireless was there.

Mr. Colligan wasn’t saying that there definitely won’t be any palmOne handhelds or smartphones running Cobalt coming next year; instead, the company refuses to commit to doing so by any particular date.

“Nobody knows when we’ll start the shift to Cobalt, OS 6, or on which devices,” Mr. Colligan said. “For now, we’re saying that we’ve built the functionality we need into the Treo and the Tungsten T5 and there’s no need to confuse developers by switching. I’m not even prepared to commit us to a change next year, or the year after, at this stage.”

Cobalt? What’s That?

Palm OS Cobalt, previously known as Palm OS 6, will finally bring to this operating system many features users have been hoping for, like much more robust support for multi-threading and background processes. It will also be able to run applications written in native ARM code, leading to much better performance.

In addition, Cobalt will have powerful multimedia capabilities and allow handhelds to have up to 256 MB of RAM.

Cobalt was given by PalmSource to licensees at the beginning of this year, but it has yet to appear on any handheld or smartphone. Many people were disappointed when palmOne’s latest handheld, the Tungsten T5, was released running the previous version of the operating system, Palm OS Garnet. palmOne’s latest smartphone, the Treo 650, also runs Garnet.

Concentrating on Other Operating Systems?

Earlier this week, a stock analyst said that palmOne executives had “tacitly admitted” that it is developing a member of its Treo line that will run Windows Mobile for Smartphones, rather than the Palm OS.

palmOne says that this report was based on a misunderstanding, but it also repeated something it has said before: it isn’t totally committed to any single operating system.

If the analyst’s report is true, it’s possible a version of the Treo could be released running the latest version of Windows Mobile before one is released running the latest version of the Palm OS.

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