Palm OS 6 Getting a Name Change

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PalmSource CEO David Nagel has given News.com a sneak peek at a change his company is making to its operating system strategy.

Mr. Nagel announced last fall that PalmSource is working on a special version of Palm OS 5 intended for low-cost smart phones. While Palm OS 6 will be appropriate for handhelds and high-end smart phones, PalmSource says the lower hardware requirements and maturity of Palm OS 5 will make it better suited for less-expensive smart phones.

One of the drawbacks of this plan is some customers might be unwilling to buy a smart phone if they felt it was running an older version of the Palm OS. That’s why Mr. Nagel said today that his company is moving away from numbering its operating systems and the two versions — Palm OS 6 and Palm OS 5 for smart phones — will be given new names that will make it clear that they have both recently been updated. He did not reveal what the new names will be.

Update: The name for one of the sessions at next week’s PalmSource developers conference may have given one of the new names away. The session is entitled “Palm OS Cobalt Technical Introduction” and will be about what would have been called Palm OS 6. There isn’t anything to indicate what the version for low-end smartphones will be.

Additional details are expected at the developers conference, where Mr. Nagel will be giving one of the keynote addresses.

An Important Potential Market

Most experts agree that the market for smart phones is potentially much larger than the one for handhelds, and PalmSource has been working hard to get its operating system on as many smart phones as possible.

It has already had some success in this area, as there are already quite a few Palm Powered mobile phones on the market, including palmOne’s Treo 600 and several devices from Samsung.

Thanks to Craig Bowers for the tip.

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