Next for Palm: Taking to the airwaves

Summary:The company looks to promote its operating system to consumer electronics and cellular handset companies. Will it work?

Palm Computing wants to promote the inclusion of its operating system by consumer electronics and cellular handset companies.

The company on Wednesday took a big step in that direction by inking a licensing deal with Finnish giant Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK).

Mark Bercow, vice president of strategic alliances and platform development at Palm Computing, said the two companies will work together to develop a pen-based smart phone that Nokia will sell worldwide.

"It's not like we're picking them at the exclusion of others, but clearly Nokia is interesting because they're the number one handset maker in the world," he said in an interview.

Palm Computing will receive ownership of any intellectual property created during the development of the new phone, Bercow said. The property will be bundled into a development environment and tool kit within a year. Palm Computing will license these development tools to other would-be smart phone makers.

Nokia, which will market the phone, plans to ship the product within two years. The digital phone will initially appear in North America followed by an overseas rollout. The inclusion of the Palm OS in the phone should eliminate the need for a QWERTY keyboard because users will be able to use the pen-based Graffiti language instead, Bercow said.

No deal with Symbian?
Symbian Plc, which develops and licenses the PSION EPOC operating system, may also be close to a deal with Palm Computing. Then again, it may not.

On Wednesday, the company, which is leading the development of smart phones based on the EPOC operating system, announced Wednesday that it has clinched a deal to license its operating system to Palm Computing.

Palm, however, denied the reports and said it does not yet have an agreement to license Symbian's operating system.

Bercow left open the possibility of "maybe discussing working together. But he said Nokia will use the EPOC kernel in the smart phones and that the Palm OS will run on top of that kernel.

"We are using the EPOC kernel, but nobody's licensing anything -- Nokia already has that," he said. Nokia will utilize the EPOC kernel on the phone. The kernel will control basic functions of the phone and the Palm OS will run on top of it. Palm OS is designed to be kernel independent, Bercow said, adding that it will likely be tweaked to work with other kernels as well.

More products in pipeline
pipeline Along with the Nokia deal, which is a coup for Palm Computing's phone strategy, the handheld computing company has other Palm OS licensees in the offing.

A number of other consumer electronics and cellular handset companies are expected to announce Palm OS licensing agreements -- perhaps as early as next week's Palm Computing developers forum, PalmSource 99.

Indeed, TRG, which makes add-in memory expansion boards for Palm organizers, announced Tuesday it is licensing the Palm OS. The company will announce its first Palm OS product next week.

Palm Computing wants to promote the inclusion of its operating system by consumer electronics and cellular handset companies.

The company on Wednesday took a big step in that direction by inking a licensing deal with Finnish giant Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK).

Mark Bercow, vice president of strategic alliances and platform development at Palm Computing, said the two companies will work together to develop a pen-based smart phone that Nokia will sell worldwide.

"It's not like we're picking them at the exclusion of others, but clearly Nokia is interesting because they're the number one handset maker in the world," he said in an interview.

Palm Computing will receive ownership of any intellectual property created during the development of the new phone, Bercow said. The property will be bundled into a development environment and tool kit within a year. Palm Computing will license these development tools to other would-be smart phone makers.

Nokia, which will market the phone, plans to ship the product within two years. The digital phone will initially appear in North America followed by an overseas rollout. The inclusion of the Palm OS in the phone should eliminate the need for a QWERTY keyboard because users will be able to use the pen-based Graffiti language instead, Bercow said.

No deal with Symbian?
Symbian Plc, which develops and licenses the PSION EPOC operating system, may also be close to a deal with Palm Computing. Then again, it may not.

On Wednesday, the company, which is leading the development of smart phones based on the EPOC operating system, announced Wednesday that it has clinched a deal to license its operating system to Palm Computing.

Palm, however, denied the reports and said it does not yet have an agreement to license Symbian's operating system.

Bercow left open the possibility of "maybe discussing working together. But he said Nokia will use the EPOC kernel in the smart phones and that the Palm OS will run on top of that kernel.

"We are using the EPOC kernel, but nobody's licensing anything -- Nokia already has that," he said. Nokia will utilize the EPOC kernel on the phone. The kernel will control basic functions of the phone and the Palm OS will run on top of it. Palm OS is designed to be kernel independent, Bercow said, adding that it will likely be tweaked to work with other kernels as well.

More products in pipeline
pipeline Along with the Nokia deal, which is a coup for Palm Computing's phone strategy, the handheld computing company has other Palm OS licensees in the offing.

A number of other consumer electronics and cellular handset companies are expected to announce Palm OS licensing agreements -- perhaps as early as next week's Palm Computing developers forum, PalmSource 99.

Indeed, TRG, which makes add-in memory expansion boards for Palm organizers, announced Tuesday it is licensing the Palm OS. The company will announce its first Palm OS product next week.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Mobile OS, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software

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