Back in Feb 2004, Newswireless confirmed the existence of the Windows Mobile powered Palm Treo. This week such a beast was announced. Now the site is reporting that "Palm engineers have built a Symbian based Treo, and samples have now been seen in the hands of phone company executives." What's stopping them? Surprisingly Nokia laying claim to some "core Symbian code, which Nokia says belongs to Nokia." Ouch.
Of course there are two immediate questions if the above is true (and while that caveat is in force, we've no reason here to doubt the source). Firstly what exactly have Palm signed with Symbian and UIQ to gain access to Symbian OS to allow them to run a testbed version of the OS on a Treo? And secondly, if Symbian OS is as open to new customers as it appears to be, why would Nokia block a new licencee?
Of course Ed Colligan (flanked by Bill Gates) denied that Palm would work with any other Operating Systems beyond Palm OS and Windows Mobile...
I'm not at all surprised that Palm would have a prototype running Symbian they probably have prototypes running Linux as well. I suspect Symbian have a try before you commit yourself option or prehaps had an agrement signed under a NDA. I doubt the rumours about a problem with software ownership are true after all Nokia own the bulk of Symbian and has invested a lot of money in it. Why would they be worried about donating some software to the project or even if they were they would probably be keen to arrange a suitable license.
I'm begining to wonder if Palm signing up to Microsoft may be the best thing for Symbian in the US? A lot of people who use Palm devices do not like Microsoft and may see this latest move as treason. Why would anyone buy a Palm based Treo now with the future of the OS looking so shakey. In that case the only current alternative to Microsoft is to go for Symbian.
If Palm had gone for Symbian rather than Microsoft it may have had the opposite effect with Palm users seeing Symbian as the bad boy for damaging the Palm OS. I can't see that Palm using Symbian would have been a major coo as I dont see Palm lasting for long against the big hardware boys.
Aye, IMHO Palm need to pull something big out of the bag otherwise they will just dwindle into "Another Microsoft Licensee obscurity". What's Palm's current share of the PDA/Smartphone market? 7% or thereabouts IIRC? Be interesting to see what Q4 sales show for them, and more importantly Q1 and Q2 next year.
In actual fact sod it, I'm gonna go right out on a limb here and say that unless there are any other major strategy changes I'd expect their market share to roughly halve by this time next year. People will be unsure of the future of PalmOS and whether it's worth buying one, also many long-term Palm users will be put off my the switch to Microsoft OS as a lot of Palm users strike me as being along the same line as Mac users, who use it partly because it isn't Microsoft.
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Last edited by SwitchBlade; 29-09-2005 at 01:43 AM.