Sony Commits to Palm OS 6

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After Sony announced that it was developing a handheld version of its PlayStation game console, which won’t run the Palm OS, there was some speculation that Sony would drop the Clie line of handhelds and the operating system that they use. A Sony executive has now made clear this won’t happen any time soon, if at all.

Speaking at a conference yesterday, Masanobu Yoshida, president of Sony’s handheld unit, said that PalmSource’s development of Palm OS 6 was progressing well and his company intends to release devices running this operating system next year, according to ZDNet Japan.

PalmSource is expected to finish work on Palm OS 6 and turn it over to its licensees, including Sony, at the end of this year. New products running it aren’t expected until several months later.

The Playstation Portable won’t be available until late 2004. At this point, it appears this device won’t be competition for most handhelds, as it will be entirely focused on games, and won’t be able to keep track of a user’s personal information, run business-related applications, etc.

Keeping Up a Fast Pace

Mr. Yoshida also pointed out that Sony has released twenty-four New Handhelds over the past couple of years, averaging about one a month. He said his company intends to keep up that pace in the future. As handhelds running Palm OS 6 aren’t expected for about six months, clearly Sony has plans for more Clies running Palm OS 5, though Mr. Yoshida didn’t give any details about them.

He was speaking at a business conference and Mr. Yoshida said future Clies would have more that business users are looking for. Until now, most of Sony’s handhelds have been focused on entertainment uses.

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