Palm To Release 32-Bit OS with BeOS Code in 2002

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Ever since Be Inc. (Nasdaq: BEOS) announced that it intended to sell its assets to Palm (Nasdaq: PALM), industry analysts have speculated how the struggling company might leverage its newly acquired assets to help the company grow. Many assumed that Palm wanted to purchase Be for its BeIA Internet appliance software so that it could be incorporated into the Palm OS. This left many BeOS supporters very upset, feeling that the company was ignoring the most significant asset from the purchase found within the BeOS operating system. However, it appears as though the BeOS wasn’t overlooked after all. According to a report in SD Times, Palm intends to use BeOS code for a new 32-bit Palm OS operating system to be released in the second half of 2002. SD Times reported that David Nagel, president and CEO of Palm’s newly formed Platform Solutions Group, said that with the acquisition of the BeOS operating system, the company is on the way to adopting a 32-bit operating system to compete with Microsoft. Team Players Although Palm recently said it would reduce its current workforce by a net of approximately 250 employees and contractors, those cuts come after accounting for the hiring of additional people with skill sets to match the future needs of Palm’s Solutions and Platform Solutions groups. The company said that with the completed acquisition of certain Be assets, for example, the Platform Group was able to recruit 45 software engineers and support staff in November. Those employees will be working to “enhance its future OS roadmap and improve internal development processes,” it said. Apparently that work includes the use of the BeOS assets. Finer Points According to the SD Times report, Nagel said that the new OS will have support for ARM 7 processors, incorporate extensive multithreading and multitasking capabilities, and offer improved security. Advanced security seems to be one of the upcoming OSes finer points. If all goes as planned, Palm will have an operating system for a palmtop devices in the next year that will be even more technically advanced than the desktop OSes most of us have been using for the last few years. Perfect Timing Considering the fact that Gartner Group research indicates 90 percent of worldwide professionals and telecommuters will adopt Wireless Data products by 2005, the revitalized OS couldn’t have come at a better time. BeOS advocates and the rest of us can expect great things from Palm in the coming months.

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