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Some details emerge about PalmSource's upcoming OS

Wed Jul 19, 2006 - 2:23 PM EDT - By Dieter Bohn

An interview about Access Linux Platform reveals some interesting details.

Ah, PalmSource: its history is a complex and beautiful tapestry of corporate splits, mergers, and operating systems. First it was split off from Palm, then it developed Cobalt, a next-generation Palm Operating system. Then Cobalt seems to have been put out to pasture as PalmSource was purchased by ACCESS of Japan. Then PalmSource, now "An ACCESS Company" announced they're developing a new operating system called Access Linux Platform (ALP) (as reported by Treocentral in February). In all these developments there are a lot of unanswered questions.

Well, in an interview with PalmAddicts, a PalmSource employee talks a little turkey about ALP. Interesting details include:

  • GHost - "Garnet Host Compatibility Layer," i.e. programs written for the currently available PalmOS should, as long as they're "properly written," work in ALP. This shouldn't give you too much pause, though, most PalmOS apps already run in an emulation layer in Garnet right now.
  • Something called "MAX," which is apparently both an "intuitive navigation model" as well as the method for multi-threading the operating system (finally!), allowing for background tasks
  • PalmSource won't comment on future devices, whether they be based on ALP or Cobalt. If you were holding your breath waiting for a Cobalt-based Treo, I'd recommend you exhale. Especially when you read comments like "Our development efforts today are focused on the ACCESS Linux Platform" repeated over and over again. But who knows?

Pulling out juicy information from the official-sounding language is pretty tough, but feel free to go take a look.

Of course, a popular smartphone operating system with a somewhat large and diverse group of licensees using it to develop new devices has just been updated to include native WiFi support, better memory management, and some other little nuggets. Nah, not the PalmOS, it's Symbian. Here's to hoping that the competition will make the next-generation Treo a revolution instead of the evolution we got with the 700p.

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