Palm to launch first OS 5 product in October

Palm Inc. will have its first product on the market using the new version of the Palm operating system, Palm OS 5, on Oct. 28, according to the chief executive officer (CEO) of Palm's hardware division, Palm Solutions Group.

Palm OS 5, which will be the first software from Palm to run on processors based on a high-speed core from Arm Ltd., will allow software developers to tap into the mobile phone market as well as offer faster clock speeds and enhanced security for handheld users.

"Our first Arm-based OS 5 products will be hitting the market in the fall, beginning Oct. 28. But it is a horse race to see if we have the first product out or if it's Sony (Corp.)," Todd Bradley, CEO of Palm Solutions Group said in an interview with the IDG News Service on Thursday. Sony is a Palm licensee.

Bradley declined to offer details about the product.

Much of the mobile phone market and the Pocket PC from Microsoft Corp. already run on the Arm chip. Palm announced OS 5 earlier this year and in February began demonstrating the OS running on Arm chips from Intel Corp., Motorola Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc.

"Licensees received the code for OS 5 in May. There has been an enormous amount of work around application migration and we've put lots of new features into the devices. Things like Arm, networking applications, Bluetooth cards, a display screen with 320x320 pixels, enabling the products to be part of personal area networks and attachments over and above Graffiti (Palm's handwriting recognition software)," Bradley said.

Palm has promised that its OS 5 will feature an enhanced user interface that will in turn bring increased personalization, security, multimedia and wireless networking, as well as compatibility with existing Palm OS software programs.

Though Palm will attempt to whet consumer's appetites for products using Palm OS 5 with a few products before the end of the year, the major push behind Palm OS 5 will come in 2003 when a variety of products will be released, Bradley said.

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Laura Rohde

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