Palm updates its core software

Palm OS retains its current 5.2.1 version number, but incorporates a number of enhancements that make it more competitive with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC.

The enhanced OS incorporates what Palm calls a Status Bar, an always-present toolbar which provides one-tap access to key features. These include in-application menus, the Application Launcher screen and extras like Bluetooth. The device in the Palm stable currently taking advantage of this feature is the new high-resolution-screened Tungsten T3, which has a software-driven Graffiti area. The Status Bar is present even when the Graffiti area is not, and can be used to invoke one of the Tungsten T3’s standout features -- flipping the screen into landscape format.


The new Tungsten T3 features the Status Bar, which provides easy access to key features.
Changes to Palm OS’s core PIM functionality that affect the Date Book, Contacts, Notes and Memo applications include: -- a new agenda view that looks very much like Microsoft’s Today screen, and summarises future appointments, tasks and unread messages; -- support for colour-coding of Calendar entries; -- improvements to the Calendar that allow users to beam multiple appointments with a single command, schedule events that run over midnight and view the location of appointments; -- new contact fields that allow for multiple contact addresses, more phone numbers and email addresses per contact, instant messaging ID information, Web site addresses and birthday information; -- the ability to set up repeating tasks and alarms so that both appointments and regular activities are catered for; -- an expansion of the 4KB size limit on both memos and notes, with both now lifted to 32KB. The updated OS appears on the Tungsten T3 and the Tungsten E, both of which were announced on 1 October. Palm has stated that it does not plan to offer a ROM upgrade for older devices in its stable. In addition, an agreement with IBM has led to Palm making the Java Virtual Machine available for free download. This should open the door to a new army of developers -- some 3 million people according to Palm -- and vastly increase the range of software available to Palm owners. The Java Virtual Machine will run on OS 4.1 and OS 5.x devices, although it will work best with faster processors.

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