Sunday, August 28, 2005

Why PalmSource had to cut the line on garnet

PalmSource recently announced the halting of all PalmOS Garnet/Cobalt based development efforts. Immediately, users and analysts began to bicker about how PalmSource has just become irrelevant,... ! This is true at the first glance-but not if you look at it in a detailled fashion.
Palm OS Cobalt never made it out to the licencees-not because it isnt finished(runs in the Simulator well enough)-but rather because Garnet did almost everything needed. Now look at Microsoft. When Windows 98 was introduced, it didnt really do much more than Windows 95 OSR2 or OSR3. We already had FAT32, USB, the new IE desktop,... . However, it caught on really fast because Microsoft tried to end 95 sales!
PalmSource nwas in a similar situation with Cobalt-but it didnt take the same steps! If PalmSource had stopped licencing Garnet for new device projects, licencees would automatically force-move to Cobalt, developers and eventually users would follow. PalmOne would never have gone so far in their Garnet pimping mania, the LifeDrive would run Cobalt and could multitask in a true way! Developers would be rid of the segmentation problem(I beleive this is one of the main reasons why many opensource projects port over to PocketPC but not to Palm OS) and could create true ARM applications without the 68k glue!
Now, it looks as if PalmSource finally learned the lesson. Licencees wont move on their own, you gotta force-move them if you want progress. With Garnet and Cobalt development discontinued, new hardware/software protocols will simply not work with Garnet or Cobalt anymore. Licencees wanting to use these technologies to create devices capable of competing with PocketPC's will have to use PalmOS for Linux-or do all the dirtwork themselves.
So, PalmSource is not becoming irrelevant if you ask me. Instead, it is finally learning from its past... .

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds really reasonable and it is SAD to see that palmsource realized this so late!!! They should be a bit more agressive, in many ways, as they have to compete against an agressive opponent: MS. Well, hope they get the turnaround. But with palmLinux so far in the future (heard it was not scheduled for before 2007) and most garnet-licenses running for much longer (palm´s is running till 2009 isn´t it?) the change might come tooo late. I actually thought about a change of platforms. But on the other hand that would cost too much-software-wise...I spent too much on palmOS software to change in the near future :-)

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT about this:
http://brighthand.com/article/GSPDA_to_Make_First_Cobalt_Smartphone

Anyone an idea when it will be out?

6:01 PM  
Blogger Steven Fisher said...

Another low-quality filler article on Tamspalm. How exactly do you think PalmSource is forcing Palm to move to Cobalt?

Palm has been doing their own development on Garnet since the split. This changes nothing for them. When Palm moves from Garnet, it will be at their choosing not PalmSource's.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
I beleive POL is much farthere than PalmSource says it is. There is an old saying from a Lockhead employee if I am right:
If you can talk about it, there is at least a working prototype!
About the cobalt smartphone-don't ask me when it comes!
And last but not least to Steven:
I am sorry that you dislike this article. However, it was just an idea I had at night because I was wondering why M$ manages to get licencees upgrading to essentially every crap they produce while PalmSource's licencees stick to expanding old stuff themselves.
Best regards
Tam Hanna

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea!
One of the big problem of palmOS is actually its enormous backward compatibility. I wouldn´t mind a bis step forward in the direction of a new palmOS that is not 100% compatible with all the old devices that are around. Of course this should be in cooperation with developers, so that all major software categories are represented with compatible software at release (e.g. email, browser, office...the basic stuff)

5:29 PM  
Blogger Steven Fisher said...

Well, just speculation, but MS probably has licensees contractually obligated to keep somewhat up-to-date to receive discount pricing.

Whereas PalmSource is trying to charge licensees more to stay up-to-date.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
I beleive the backward compatibility is what saved our hides for quite some time now. Intel got big by Bug for Bug compatibility(quoted!!!). People have huge investments into PalmOS software, thats what binds them to the platform!
To Steven: its obvious that that doesnt work, isnt it. Palmsource really gotta do something here. I beleive that they oughtta have seen the mistake in their ways when Handera jumped ship...
Best regards
Tam Hanna

10:14 PM  
Blogger Steven Fisher said...

PalmSource really has one significant licensee now: Palm. And they've already signed a contract for give years. So PalmSource probably doesn't have much (if any) leverage.

10:17 PM  
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8:10 AM  

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