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Access to Release Application Framework

Tue Oct 31, 2006 - 11:35 AM EST - By Dieter Bohn


In a press release yesterday, Access announced they intend to release an "application framework" designed to provide "a set of services to install and manage applications, [and] integrate communication between applications." The framework will be released under the Mozilla Public License v1.1, and Access will also release security features under the General Public License v2. They claim the framework will be available by the end of 2006.

The step seems to be part of a larger effort to foster good-will with the open source community. Access claims that they are trying to prevent fragmentation in the Linux smartphone market by working with "industry standards organizations, such as the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum and Open Source Developers Labs (OSDL) to determine how they may adopt the Application Framework." Also of note to Linux fans is that the Access Linux Platform (ALP) will support GTK+, the toolkit behind the popular Gnome graphical user interface.

In any case, the press release provides many details about the application framework - it essentially appears to be the building blocks for a decent smartphone operating system, including:

  • Bundle Manager: provides a unified view of all applications on the system, whether these applications are in main memory or on an extension card. The bundle manager makes it possible to manage and launch different types of applications (Java, native Linux®, Palm OS®) in an intuitive, easy to use way. Bundle Manager hides the complexity and differences of these types of applications and presents the user an easy to use interface, common for all types.
  • Security Policy Framework (SPF): The Security Policy Framework (SPF) controls the security policy for the device. [...]
  • Exchange Manager: handles the exchange of data between applications and between devices. [...]
  • Notification Manager: informs applications of unsolicited events, including incoming calls, messaging, system sleep and network signaling.[...]
  • Application Server: manages an applications’ lifecycle—installation, launch, suspension, resumption and termination.
  • Attention Manager: provides a central clearing house for application-generated events that are displayed to the user. Alerts include incoming calls, SMS, MMS, appointment, incoming email market urgent, user-set target stock price alarms and low battery. [...].
  • Alarm Manager: notifies both active and inactive applications of real-time alarm events (managed by the Attention Manager). [...]
  • Global Settings Services: provides a common API for all applications and services to access user preferences, including fonts and font sizes and system themes.

As previously reported by TreoCentral, ALP will also support a PalmOS compatibility layer known as GHost (Garnet Host). Access also formally dropped the PalmSource name entirely earlier this month while revealing a new logo. They also announced that their NetFront browser will soon be integrated with the Nintendo DS.

In short, Access seems to be making the right noises about the future of the PalmOS, er, make that about "the successor of the PalmOS, ALP". In my personal opinion, it will be less than a year before we see the the PalmOS (as we know it) cease to be installed on new devices. Instead, it will available only in emulation or in a "compatibility layer." I hate to say it (and I'm partly just stirring the pot here), but on this Halloween, the classic PalmOS is on death's door. Very soon, all that will be left of the PalmOS is a GHost. (*duck*)

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