PalmSource Announces Another Asian Licensee

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PalmSource has announced that Group Sense PDA Limited (GSPDA) has signed an agreement to license the Palm OS. Under the terms of the agreement, GSPDA will develop and market handhelds for the Asia Pacific region, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore.

GSPDA the third largest seller of handheld computers in Asia and the second largest in China. It’s a subsidiary of Group Sense Limited (GSL). “GSL is an innovator in handheld information devices, including electronic dictionaries, translators and internet-related products, with a marketing network throughout many Asian countries,” said David Nagel, CEO of PalmSource, Inc.

It is not yet known what type of mobile devices GSPDA will use the Palm OS in or when they will be available. Besides conventional PDAs, the company also produces converged products, including wireless handhelds and smartphones. Samson Tam, Chairman and CEO of GSL, would only say, “The flexible nature of Palm OS will allow GSL to create differentiated products for the China market that will expand upon our current capabilities.”

The company is unlikely to be planning to create handhelds exactly like the ones being made by other Asian licensees, like Acer. PalmSource is committed to licencing its operating system to companies that go after different segments of the market, rather than all competing in the same segment.

The company has an ambitious goal. “We plan to attain a 30 to 40 percent share of China’s PDA market in the next two years, making us the industry leader,” Mr. Tam said.

PalmSource in China

This has been a busy week for PalmSource. In addition to this announcement, it also revealed that Legend Group, the largest PC maker in China, has become a Palm OS licensee.

Also, it announced that it’s opening a PalmSource subsidiary in Hong Kong and it has plans for a representative office in Beijing. The company has also signed collaboration agreements with Tsinghua-Solutions in Beijing and Zhong Shan University in Guangzhou to open authorized Palm OS developer training centers.

Several hundred Palm OS developers and partners will be attending the first PalmSource China Developer Forum, to be held December 11 and 12, in Beijing. In addition to introducing PalmSource’s new licensees Legend and GSL, current licensees Acer, Handspring, Samsung, Sony and Symbol, will also be sharing their vision for Palm Powered products in the Chinese market.

PalmSource will also develop localized Palm OS Simplified Chinese operating system versions. Palm OS 4.2 SC will be available in the second quarter of next year, while Palm OS 5.3 SC will be available in the third quarter.

The Palm Solutions Group, the hardware division of Palm Inc., announced today that it will begin selling handhelds in China in the first half of 2003.

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