Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Why Cobalt will come soon

Recently, many Palm OS market commentators state that most existing licencees will not switch to Cobalt so soon. Many enthusiasts were unhapy due to this anouncement, and indeed, the commentators are wrong IMHO.
The reason why I am so sure that Cobalt will hit the market very soon can be seen at the top of this post-external memory cards! The current VFS manager has been critizised much and for many diverse reasons-but few people considered that it runs a FAT16 file system and cannot accept more than one partiton per medium. You might remeber FAT16 from Windows 95 times, it does not suport partitions of more than 2GB. And since our VFSmanager does not suppot more than one partition per medium-2GB is the top that one can go.
And this is where my argumentation kicks in. Palm Os licencees will soon want their handhelds to support more than measly 2GB memory cards, and the development of microdrives will also lead to harddisks in handhelds on a long term. Harddisks will probably be partitioned-and here we are, at the core of the problem!
As mentioned above, the current VFS manager is extremely limited, and the file system library interface that allows to add new filesystems is said to be removed in Cobalt. Thus, a licencee investing into a FAT32 library is basically investing into a dead system-into a corpse. Also, new peripherals will get cobalt drivers only-so, a licencee will need to switch eventually if he wants to keep his handhelds competitive.
What do you feel? Will Cobalt ever make it into our hands?

9 Comments:

Anonymous Steven Fisher said...

Thus, a licencee investing into a FAT32 library is basically investing into a dead system-into a corpse.

This is only true if you assume the licensee will EVER change to Cobalt.

Let's use Apple as an analogy. A lot of development went into both "blue" (System) and "red" (Copeland) development paths. In the end, the red development math was (for the most part) completely discarded. Oh, there were a few things that got rolled in to blue, but not many. In the end, a third development path -- yellow -- was chosen.

What kind of pressure is PalmSource going to apply to apply to PalmOne to adopt Cobalt? Reduced license fees? No, licensing fees are supposedly going up. Management pressure? They're different companies. Cancelling the license somehow? PalmOne can go to Windows instead.

PalmOne will go to Cobalt when they feel like it and not before. And when they feel like it just might be "never."

10:35 PM  
Blogger Brad Green said...

This argument can extend to other desirable parts of the system, such as the onboard memory controller, which limits the amount of RAM. Its also just going to have to happen sometime. Microsoft just came out with a new OS for WM devices, and Palm has to compete, so I agree, we will be seeing Cobalt sometime soon.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Steven Fisher said...

Indeed, and we've seen PalmOne making major changes to other parts of the OS. For instance, PalmOne's Calendar looks almost nothing like PalmSource's Datebook. Is PalmOne really going to port all those changes to the Cobalt built-ins?

The more advanced PalmOne's Garnet gets, the further off a transition to Cobalt is. FAT32 is a good example... PalmOne didn't need to spend all the resources to extend Garnet with that functionality if a speedy transition to Cobalt was expected some time this year.

Oh, sure, Garnet will break some time for PalmOne. I just don't see any particular reason to expect Cobalt instead of something else.

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came here through Palm Addict and I also noticed within something 1src posted on the Palm Addict site, it said "Tam Hanna thinks memory cards will drive current PDA makers to adopt Cobalt. I explain why he's wrong"

http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/2005/03/1src_podcast_16.html

11:57 AM  
Anonymous CroCo said...

As I posted on 1src.com:
there is a rumor about a palmOne sporting a 4GB microdrive. IF the rumor holds true, then the new palmOne device will be most probably running OS6. BUT 1st of April is coming up. And with any good rumor, only time will tell:-)

Here ist the link to my 1src post:
http://www.1src.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83385

3:32 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
I already saw the podcast, and do not want to comment it any further. Part of it is a 1:1 copy of my article(VFS manager), other stuff is plain wrong(like the thing about how the 4GB card won't work at all-ever heard about partitioning) and other stuff is not what I think.
However, the whole story is based on spculation-and everyone speculates differently! Actually, Jeff has an interesting view! I am very happy to have TamsPalm featured in a Podcast!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Nathan Black said...

Not even close. VFS managers from the beginning allowed you to develop file systems - even if it was true that you couldn't access more than 4GB, you could just write a new file system driver. That's the whole point of VFS - to abstract over the various file systems. Check out the VFS & Expansion architectures on the palmos.com site

The only thing dead is Cobalt - stillborn, actually. PalmSource is dead too unless the produce a miricle with their Palm/Linux.

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