As I keep thinking about the Palm Pre and Palm Web OS announcement and looking at the stunning image gallery I can't help but think about all of those millions of Palm OS fans and developers wondering about the future of the current Palm OS. Palm is definitely moving fully into the cloud with the Palm Pre as they focused on their Web OS and never showed any desktop syncing capability. This means we have pretty much seen the end of any non-phone mobile devices from Palm, and pretty much everyone else now as well. What about all the money people have sunk into Palm OS 5 applications? Does the Palm Pre and Web OS support legacy Palm applications?
This question was asked of Palm VP Stephane Maes, by Ina Fried at CNET, and Stephane stated that these applications will not run natively on this new Linux-based OS, but that "we anticipate there will be solutions to do so." Could one of those solutions actually have ties back to Palm's history? The Garnet VM emulator is available now for Nokia's Linux-based Internet Tablets and the company that develops the software, ACCESS, purchased the Palm OS from Palm a few years ago. Maybe Palm is working on a deal with ACCESS to get something like the Garnet Virtual Machine onto the Palm Pre.
If you were able to run your existing Palm OS applications in a virtual environment, would that satisfy your needs? I think as we move forward in the mobile space, there comes a time when a clean break must also be made to progress to the next level. Microsoft and Apple have done this in the past with Windows, Pocket PC (remember SH3 and MIPS app), and the Mac OS. With the focus on the cloud in the new Palm Web OS this seems like the perfect time for a clean break from the old Palm OS. Are you prepared to make a break from your Palm OS applications? It is either than or eventually die on the vine, right?