Nevada legalizes handheld gambling
Nevada has passed a new law that enables wireless gambling from handheld devices. The bill permits gambling from public casino areas, including bars, convention rooms, and swimming pools. Not included are hotel rooms, due to concerns about minors using the devices to gamble. Since internet gambling is illegal in the US, the devices will connect to a closed network provided by the casino. Other obvious security concerns neccessitate that the casinos only use devices they supply, such as the iPaq hx2750 demonstration unit pictured here.
While one might think that this would open up entire vistas of potential hacking threats, it’s actually not as dangerous as all that. If no financial data crosses the wireless link, and all the important functions happen on the hotel’s server, then the system should be relatively secure. Relatively.
Opera web browser available for Windows Smartphone
Upstart European web browser Opera is now officially available on the Windows Mobile Smartphone platform. Two preview releases of Opera have been available for almost a year, but the final version hasn’t been available until now. Over 120,000 users downloaded the preview releases, a strikingly large number for such a relatively limited audience.
Alright, Opera, congratulations–you have made your product available on Windows Smartphones. Now, could you please follow though and deliver for PocketPCs as well? And if possible, a Palm version while you’re at it? Or are you going to make me buy a P900 or an HTC Typhoon in order to have a decent mobile browser?
PalmSource puts all eggs in Linux basket
PalmSource has announced that they are officially suspending work on any and all development efforts not directed at their next-next-generation PalmOS platform. Their new platform is supposed to be Linux based, and is PalmSource’s successor to the Cobalt operating system which never materialized. Speaking on the subject of Palm Linux during PalmSource’s conference call last week, interim CEO Patrick McVeigh said “We are delaying all development of products not directly related to this.”
While it’s been an open secret for some time, this gives the official stamp on Palm OS Cobalt’s death certificate. After more than 18 months without a device running it, PalmSource is pulling their support, which effectively kills the platform. Even if a Cobalt device does come to market–the Oswin/GSPDA smartphone seen earlier this year, for instance–there will be little incentive to develop programs to use Cobalt’s capabilities if it’s scheduled to be replaced in 6-12 months.
I’m deeply worried about PalmSource. The entire Linux plan seems like a Hail Mary attempt at cobbling together something that will work. Even assuming that they can do it successfully, and in the timeline that they have laid out–not small assumptions, mind you–it will still be at least another year before we see any kind of new blood in the Palm platform. Probably two years, for actual mid-range and high-end devices to make it to market. That’s already an eternity in this market, and things will only continue to get worse as Palm OS 5 goes up against another two or three Windows Mobile versions, along with whatever other competitors pop up along the way.