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Handhelds Operating Systems Software Hardware

Palm Pulls the Plug On Palm OS 300

BobB-nw writes to tell us that Palm has decided to kill their PalmOS operating system and is instead betting their future on a still mostly unknown Palm webOS. Very little is known about the new Palm webOS, but it will supposedly support HTML5 and enable a local data store so that applications can be used both online and off. All of this is rolled into a Linux framework with a message bus based on JSON. Will be interesting to see where they take it.
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Palm Pulls the Plug On Palm OS

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  • About damn time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:47PM (#26829265) Journal

    Worst. API. Ever. EVAR!

    Bad enough that they renamed standard library functions. They also changed the order of arguments to those functions.

    Windows PocketPC, meanwhile, was programmable using the same languages and toolchain as regular Windows.

  • by Doctor Faustus ( 127273 ) <Slashdot@NOspam.WilliamCleveland.Org> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:51PM (#26829337) Homepage

    Is this going to be a brand-new start? Didn't they buy Be a few years ago to build their new OS versions around BeOS?

  • Isn't JSON insecure? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:52PM (#26829349) Journal

    I may be wrong but I thought you only use JSON when you're passing messages between trusted sources.

    Is that perception incorrect?

  • by Dripdry ( 1062282 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:56PM (#26829423) Journal

    Is it just me, or has Palm fallen flat on its face every time they have something that could be big (except when they debuted the palm pilot)?
    They used to have so much caché, but every time I hear what sounds like good news it just vanishes.
    Why do people keep supporting this company if they can't get their act together? Do they offer a magical pony with every purchase that no one is telling me about?

  • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skater ( 41976 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:01PM (#26829501) Homepage Journal
    I still use my Sony Clie SJ-20 that I bought about 5.5 years ago... I think it has Palm OS 3.0 or 3.1 on it. Works great for what I use it for; I don't carry a laptop or a smart phone. But, yeah, it's a dead platform.
  • Too late (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:08PM (#26829637)

    They had their chance when they bought all of the rights to BeOS. They could have taken the kernel and a few components and built a new OS on top of that, back before Blackberry and Apple were huge players in this market. Now, this comes along as a me-too product that will probably have very poor performance (a web-based approach on hardware too slow to run something like a V8 or Gecko-style JS engine?!)

    Worst of all for Palm, they could have released most of the code to BeOS under the GPL, let others develop it, and that would have had the effect of crushing a lot of their competition from Microsoft.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:09PM (#26829641)

    Some of the IP they bought from Be might have worked its way into Cobalt, i.e. Palm OS 6, but that's definitely dead.

    Cobalt:Copland::webOS:OS X

  • by bockelboy ( 824282 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:09PM (#26829643)


    Which is why all my doctor friends are now ecstatic that most of those applications are on the iPhone.

    Apple FTW!

  • This is awful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laing ( 303349 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:11PM (#26829671)
    I started with WinCE (on a Casiopia) and stayed through 2 revisions despite the crashes, slowness, and rapid battery drain. I switched to a Palm III (clone actually - TRG Pro) and have had 3 Palm devices since then (currently a Centro). I prefer Palm's calendar and contact database to the alternatives. My Palm currently has about nine thousand contacts in the database. Am I going to be able to use the WebOS when there's no wireless data connectivity? I don't think so. Can Palm ensure the security of my data while using WebOS? I don't think so. What happened to the rumored port of PalmOS to Linux? I've been waiting for that for 3 years now. Since they are abandoning the platform, is it for sale? Are they going to open source it? I would not like to see it die.
  • Re:This is awful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:23PM (#26829799)

    Am I going to be able to use the WebOS when there's no wireless data connectivity? I don't think so.

    According to TFA []:

    According to Palm's website and some early development partners, webOS supports HTML5, enabling a local data store, so applications and data are available offline, and a file system.

    And the palm developer site: []

    Leverage the local storage capabilities of HTML5 so that data is available even when users are offline

    I'm sure Palm intends WebOS to still work when there is no connectivity. Whether or not they implement this properly is another question, of course. Can anyone comment on how well the "local storage capabilities of HTML5" work?

  • by LDoggg_ ( 659725 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:26PM (#26829857) Homepage
    I was one of those people saying it wouldn't be enough. And I still do think it's not enough for some things.

    Making a 3D game and using hardware openGL acceleration is tough to do in with HTML5 :)

    I just meant that it's a nice option to have to build some applications. It also allows to make things somewhat cross platform with PhoneGap ( [] ) because things like GPS and motion sensors are already abstracted and the implementation to another webkit device wouldn't be difficult.
  • by Thag ( 8436 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:37PM (#26830033) Homepage

    I am using a Zodiac 2 now, and have a TX in storage if the Zod dies, but I am wondering what options exist for moving/using my data on other platforms?

    I know Access has sold their ALP platform to a couple companies, it's on at least one digital camera, too. They also put out a PalmOS compatible layer for the Nokia internet tablets.

    I think there is a company that emulates the basic built-in apps on WinCE and iPhone/iPod Touch. Haven't heard great things about that.

    Are there other options out there?

  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) * <> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:02PM (#26831301) Homepage

    ipod touch, surely. Phones are banned in pretty much all hospitals.

  • by DECS ( 891519 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:15PM (#26831543) Homepage Journal

    No they bought the BeOS company. The engineers largely fled, with many of them going to Apple, including Newton guy Steve Sakoman and DominicGiampaolo, the engineer behind BeOS' metadata file system who ended up designing Apple's Spotlight metadata search architecture for example.

    The Egregious Incompetence of Palm []

    Interestingly, Palm followed all of the armchair advice that pundits offered for Apple, with completely disastrous results:

    â License its OS to other hardware makers
    â Copy Microsoft's Windows strategies
    â Compete directly against Microsoft in IT markets
    â Split into hardware and software companies
    â Buy Be, Inc. for its BeOS
    â Adopt the Linux kernel
    â License Windows from Microsoft

    What Palm is doing with WebOS is taking WebKit and making essentially a Dashboard-oriented PDA, where apps are just HTML+ JavaScript widgets. That allows Palm to claim that it is "multitasking" while not actually running any real significant applications. That's a pretty decent strategy for Palm, but sure isn't the iPhone Killer that the media has made it out to be.

    Palm Pre: The Emperor's New Phone []
    Why Apple's Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm Pre []

  • by DECS ( 891519 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:35PM (#26836177) Homepage Journal

    You use a lot a slashdot buzzwords (although you forgot to use "sockpuppet"), but your post is completely retarded. First off, what FUD is there to spread about the history of BeOS? There is no fear in death. What "lies" are involved in factually recounting the failure in Palm's past, or describing its future plans (which have nothing to do with BeOS)?

    Next time you want to take a shot at leveling an argument, have a point and the argue it with facts and rational thoughts, don't just fling baseless accusations linked together with emotionalist rhetoric. The world already has one to many Bill O'Reileys.

    And for the record, I've never been on Apple's payroll or served as a consultant of any kind for the company. That's what a shill is.

    Stick to using words where you understand their definition.

  • Re:amazing stupidity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:55PM (#26836493) Homepage

    I still don't have a replacement for the PalmOS application together with the antenna to measure the DECT field strength in the environment. I'm using it all the time to plan a DECT roll out and to define the mount points for the DECT base stations.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:56PM (#26836509) Journal

    Making a 3D game and using hardware openGL acceleration is tough to do in with HTML5 :)

    Today, probably. Tomorrow, not so much. From HTML5 draft, section on the CANVAS element:

    "A future version of this specification will probably define a 3d context (probably based on the OpenGL ES API)." []

    So it looks like DN4E will be written in JavaScript.

  • Re:About damn time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Elrond, Duke of URL ( 2657 ) <> on Friday February 13, 2009 @01:21AM (#26839579) Homepage

    That's a bit harsh now, no? It's not a great API, but I've seen worse.

    I've been a Palm OS developer for some nine years now, primarily working on Weasel Reader ( []), so I've watched as it grew, changed, and finally died over the years.

    Early on, the OS was really great. It knew what its target hardware was and who its target audience was and it served them both quite well. Very useful and very low powered devices. The battery on my devices would last for weeks. I could even read on my Clie SJ-20 with the backlight on for a surprisingly large number of hours.

    But, Palm's failure can only be blamed on itself. They owned the market and they let it slip away. Along with stupid business decisions, one of the biggest problems was that Palm OS failed to grow and mature like it should have. Palm OS 5.0 was the biggest update after 3.x and it was already way behind the times. They also managed to slap all of their FOSS developers in the face at the same time. OS 5 made it much harder to develop under anything but Windows.

    And now the grand new thing is WebOS. There's still an enormous number of Palm apps out there in the wild. Useful apps that require very little from the host platform, yet WebOS has no manner of emulation for them.

    I'm still subscribed to the palm-dev mailing list, the traffic of which has, not surprisingly, dropped off dramatically. One of the most recent threads was just a lot of old hands saying goodbye. Considering the longevity of this community, you'd think Palm might pay some attention, but no. As best as anybody can tell, nobody on the list was ever contacted by Palm for the WebOS beta, nor has anybody from Palm even dropped by just to promote the thing. This is the complete opposite of the Android dev mailing list which is crawling with people from Google who are more than happy to give useful answers and feedback.

    Palm lost me as a developer a long time ago and if it hadn't been for maintenance of Weasel Reader I would have stopped already. Why would I follow them now? Certainly, devs writing commercial and shareware apps will need to evaluate the situation as it pertains to their business, but what about FOSS authors? One of the best things about the Palm platform was the large number of quality FOSS apps developed by a community that Palm never helped and sometimes even hindered. For the time being, it looks like a lot of the FOSS people will be moving over to Android.

Reactor error - core dumped!