palmOne May Help Others Develop Smart Phones

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Though palmOne recently spun off into a separate company its division that develops the Palm OS, it may get back into the software licensing business. palmOne is considering licensing to other companies the software it has developed to make Palm OS devices into better smart phones.

palmOne logo Several companies are already using the Palm OS in smart phones. However, this operating system was primarily designed to be used in handhelds and adding phone functionality isn’t a trivial job. According to Datamonitor, palmOne, which has developed several wireless devices over the years, is considering offering its expertise to other smart phone makers… for a price, of course.

As part of creating models like the Treo 600 and the Tungsten W, palmOne has put together a collection of user interface improvements and smart phone-related software applications that it believes add significantly to the usability of its devices. If the company was to licence these to other companies, the advantages would be two-fold. One, it would be a source of revenue for palmOne. Two, it would be good for the platform, as it would mean that more smart phones running the Palm OS would work similarly, and standardization is important to big companies that buy large numbers of handhelds.

This doesn’t mean palmOne would be in the business of licencing the full Palm OS. The right to do that is exclusively owned by PalmSource. palmOne would just licence the smart phone-related improvements it has made.

And any company who licenced this would really just be paying to get it early. All Palm OS licensees are required to give PalmSource access to improvements they make to the operating system so they can be added to future versions of the Palm OS.

Thanks to Gaurav for the tip.

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