Wednesday, March 1, 2006

PalmSource clarifies our coverage of Palm OS and ALP


By David Gewirtz

Over the past few weeks, we've been covering the changes in the Palm OS and its apparent eventual migration into something called ALP. As is always the case when trying to understand something new and relatively poorly documented, we got some of our facts wrong.

Fortunately, we've gotten some excellent clarification on ALP from two PalmSource executives who would know: Maureen O'Connell, Senior Director, Corporate Communications and David "Lefty" Schlesinger, Director, Core Tools and Technologies.

"It's not particularly our intention that MAX 'inherit much of the traditional look and feel of the Palm OS'..."

These two comments provide some excellent clues about what we might expect in the future from PalmSource.

Clarications from Maureen O'Connell, Senior Director, Corporate Communications

In your recently published article, "The future of the Palm platform: rosy or uncertain," you claimed it had been confirmed that the ACCESS Linux Platform is based "on Wind River's Platform For Consumer Devices, Linux Edition."

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that the ACCESS Linux Platform, recently announced by ACCESS Co., Ltd., and its wholly-owned subsidiary, PalmSource, has been designed to be kernel agnostic and does not rely on unique features of any specific Linux distribution. It is based on a standard version 2.6.12 (and above) kernel.

We will provide a reference kernel implementation, and expect licensees to integrate their kernel of choice, to better accommodate hardware designs, silicon selection and other business arrangements.

Aside from that issue, I wanted to mention that it's not particularly our intention that MAX "inherit much of the traditional look and feel of the Palm OS" -- while this paradigm works fine on PDA-like devices with touchscreens, it's not as effective on more "phone like" devices -- MAX is intended to address both effectively.

As our press release (at says:

MAX [is an] an innovative application framework designed by ACCESS and PalmSource to deliver an intuitive, easy-to-use user experience and user interface for smartphones and mobile devices. MAX will seamlessly support the concurrent operation of multiple applications and tasks. It will also provide easy access to background tasks. Designed to deliver a predictable and intuitive navigation model for both one- and two-handed user interface schemes, the MAX framework offers the flexibility to support five-way navigation and two dedicated keys, as well as touch-screen and stylus input mechanisms.