Do you need multi-tasking in a mobile device?

The Palm OS has long been knocked for its lack of true multi-tasking and one recent article states that this is a reason that Palm is slipping in handheld shipments. Multi-tasking is great for power users, but do every day users really need to multi-task?
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
I was hunting for some news in the mobile community and stumbled across an article titled, Palm OS--not the best for the multitasker, and thought it would be a good article to read and discuss a bit. I started out with Palm devices and after bouncing around for a couple more years I settled primarily on the Treo 650 for over a year, before going back to a S60 smartphone. The Palm OS does support some multitasking, but it is primarily left up to software developers to maximize that functionality. For example, you can listen to music with Pocket Tunes while running another application. However, one reason I gave up on the Palm OS as my primary device is that I wanted a more robust multitasking experience. I wanted to check my email, copy and paste from the web browser into an Office or text document, all while listening to music. I also used to love Palm devices because of their stability, but I have actually experienced more random resets with my old Treo 650 than I do with S60 or Windows Mobile devices. The Palm OS is pretty simplistic and actually hasn't changed a whole lot from the first Palm OS device back in 1996. I still find Palm OS devices snappier than most other devices in switching between applications, except for the Palm LifeDrive.

The article also gives some statistics on first quarter 2006 handheld shipments with Palm OS devices falling behind most of the other major contenders. I am still a bit amazed that the Palm OS appears to have slipped so far so fast and hope the future version of the ALP keeps the Palm OS competitive with other handheld operating systems.
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