Palm Wakes Up to the Connected World
By Eric Lin, Wed Nov 19 08:30:00 GMT 2003

A few months back, as Palm changed its name to Palm0ne, they also acquired Handspring. It wasn't so much to reunite Palm's founders as it was an easy way for Palm to acquire a well designed PDA Phone. However because PalmSource, the OS side of the company, allows each of their licensees to totally customize the OS, they have never had a clear phone strategy. Today PalmSource announced their MobileWorld initiative, a step towards a connected device strategy from the OS side of Palm.

Traditionally Palm OS developers create applications under the assumption that the only connectivity a device will have is to a PC during hotsync. However more devices with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and even telephony are launching. This doesn't just affect the capabilities of Palm applications, but also the installation as well. The new MobileWorld initiative is aimed at moving developers to a connected mentality and into connected devices.

MobileWorld, much like Microsoft's Mobile2Market, creates a way for developers to test and deliver applications to connected devices. When an application is approved, it will join an online catalog of applications that can be purchased and delivered over the air. The catalog can then, in turn, be licensed to manufacturers and carriers to deliver applications to their end users.

PalmSource traditionally allows each of their licensees to customize the OS, delivering the base OS then remaining in the background. Now that PalmSource is its own company, is their play for some spotlight? Could tighter control over the OS be another move? We expect if PalmSource begins working closely with carriers, that they will have to tighten up standardization and control over the OS in addition to delivering a catalog.