[CoMoDev] Re: PalmSource DevCon

  • From: "Rick Sands" <Rick@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 20:50:59 -0600

David - You did a good article over at PIC! As usual, there is an amusing
post-discussion too.
And I agree with your views on Gekko and the other annoying users {Gekko,
Voice Of Reason (iPoo), MikeCane, and possibly AdamaBrown}.


-----Original Message-----
From: comodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:comodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of David Beers
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 9:09 AM
To: comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [CoMoDev] PalmSource DevCon

I'm back from my week in San Jose at the PalmSource DevCon.  Whew!  Great
conference, but exhausting!  Informally, there was conversation and
networking with other developers starting at about 7:30 every morning when
people were showing up for breakfast, and after the regular sessions there
were informal presentations until 10:30pm and the lab was open and hopping
until midnight.  I don't think I was the only one to sneak away for a power
nap on occasion to keep my energy level up.  

The conference itself was a two-track affair most of the time (roughly, one
track was business oriented and the other was technical) and with the shift
in PalmSource's emphasis toward smart phones it was hard to skip out on many
of the business sessions, which had good information about how to sell
applications through the wireless carriers and gave a lot of insight into
PalmSource's strategy in the coming years.

I've got a ton of work to catch up on, so I'll save most of my comments for
the June CoMoDev meeting, but here are a few high points:

Palm OS is alive and well running on a Linux microkernel that PalmSource
acquired when they bough China Mobilesoft a few months ago.  Of course it's
a pre-alpha kind of thing, but their progress in just a few months is very
promising.  The Palm OS Cobalt API runs on top of Linux and enables standard
Palm apps to run with a simple recompile on the new system.  All the
built-in PIM apps were running fine as far as I could tell and I was assured
that this was accomplished without changing a single line of code.  I'll
tell you more and what the roadmap looks like at the meeting.

Palm OS Cobalt (OS 6) itself is finally getting on some cool hardware but
still hasn't hit the market.  This is the OS that PalmSource developed on a
microkernel built largely by the BeOS engineers after PalmSource acquired
Be. I got to play with a Cobalt smart phone for a while in the lab one night
and was pretty impressed.  Here are some pictures and comments that I wrote
up on the flight home: http://www.comodev.com/first_cobalt_phone.htm  

Lots of change was coming down during the conference itself.  PalmSource CEO
David Nagel delivered a shocker by resigning the day before the conference,
apparently for personal reasons.  Nice timing.  Interestingly, few people
seemed to care that much, although the PalmSource staff themselves were in
shock for the first day.  Once the conference got rolling it was scarcely a
topic of conversation.  It's hard to get out of the PalmSource people what
happened that their latest OS will have been almost 2 years in making it
onto the market, but I think there's a sense in the developer community that
Nagel made some mistakes and that perhaps it was time for him to go.  The
feeling I got is that PalmSource wants to put the Cobalt debacle behind them
as soon as possible and will focus on Linux almost exclusively now.

There was plenty of other news (like palmOne renewing its license on Palm OS
through 2009 and acquiring the "Palm" brand from PalmSource) but no time to
go into it now.  I think in general the Palm platform is doing better than a
lot of folks give them credit.  PalmOne has had 7 straight quarters of
year-over-year sales growth, and big increases in both volume and margins.
The new LifeDrive device (very cool by the way) looks like it's on its way
to being a hit.  Other Palm OS licensees are doing well, too.  Kyocera has
sold more of its 7135 smart phone than sales of all Microsoft smart phones
combined.  And the platform looks like its well poised in the China market
now.  Still, there's no question that mistakes have been made, competition
is heating up, and there's little margin for error now.

How'd the meeting go last week?


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