On Tuesday, Palm released the first official word on their new, Linux-based operating system. Palm’s announcement was a welcome dose of déjà vu.
Back when we started out on Newton, Palm was the new kid on the block. As we watched, it became the dominant player, and Newton began to fade. In February of 1998, Apple pulled the plug on Newton. Fortunately, we’d already begun the migration to Palm, so this just accelerated our actions. However, the loss of a platform is never enjoyable (especially one that was as fun as the Newton was). For the past several years, we’ve watch Palm cede more and more of the market to other operating systems (Windows Mobile and Blackberry, here in the US; Symbian in Europe).
Palm’s ‘new foundation’, however, is pretty much the ‘low fuel’ light for Palm OS as we know it. Sure, the new devices will most likely run OS 5 (Garnet) applications, but all the new, cool features will not be available unless you’re running natively.
So, again, we’ll be making a platform transition. However, this is now a known path for us: after the jump from Newton to Palm, the Palm to Linux switch will be smoother and more predictable. In addition, after shedding the limits that Garnet has imposed upon us, a fresh new OS with a solid core is going to be a breath of fresh air.