Since the first Palm Pilot, handhelds running the Palm OS have communicated with desktop computers via HotSync, its self-developed method of information synchronization. Today comes word that this will soon come to an end.
The problem with HotSync is it’s proprietary software. Some large companies who might be thinking of standardizing on Palm OS handhelds or smartphones would have to make significant changes to their middleware in order to allow these devices to communicate with their information databases.
This is also in line with PalmSource’s plan to move the Palm OS to being based on Linux, an open source operating system, rather than its own proprietary microkernal.
PalmSource didn’t give a timetable for when the switch to SyncML is going to be made, but it’s most likely going to happen with Palm OS for Linux, which isn’t expected to be released for some time.
Good for Mac Users
Last year, PalmSource set off a storm of protest by announcing that the latest version of its operating system, Palm OS Cobalt, would not come with synchronization software for the Macintosh.
With the switch from HotSync to SyncML, it would be relatively easy for third-party developers to create Palm OS synchronization software for virtually any platform, like Max OS X, the various Linux versions, etc.
Interestingly, PalmSource’s switch to an open standard for synchronization comes at a time when some companies are starting to use a proprietary one. Recently, both palmOne and Nokia have licensed the ActiveSync protocol, which allows their products to synchronize with Microsoft Exchange Server.
Thanks to gfunkmagic for the tip.