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RealTime IT News

Palm Ships New Handheld OS

With revenues falling and its market dominance in jeopardy, Palm on Monday begun shipping its new operating system to PDA hardware vendors, touting the new Palm OS 5 as a faster, more secure platform.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm, facing intense competition from the likes of Microsoft and Handspring, said the OS 5 platform would accommodate richer audio and graphics and would let users play back and record digital audio using higher-resolution screens.

The upgrade also expands Palm's support for wireless networking and would offer long battery life and modest hardware requirements. Among the new features, Palm said the platform would provide an enhanced user interface -- Icons and fonts enhanced to support high-resolution displays and to provide greater readability.

It would provide heightened security by offering strong data-encryption services and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) services for more secure email, web browsing and online transactions, Palm said.

The company said multimedia users would get support for high-density screens, which translate into richer multimedia experiences on Palm OS 5 devices. On the wireless side, the OS would support WAN and Bluetooth standards in addition to 802.11b for connections to wireless Local Area Networks.

Palm OS 5, which now ships to licensees and developers, would maintain compatibility with today's Palm OS based software and Palm Powered hardware, the company said.

Palm OS 5 will bring the flexibility, innovation and ease of use of Palm OS to a new generation of mobile devices through powerful ARM-compliant processors. Licensees can now choose from a full range of processors, starting with the ARM 7 CPU and scaling to the highest-performance ARM chips from Intel, Motorola and Texas Instruments, effectively broadening the market," Palm said.

"Our goal is to introduce the industry's best ARM-based handheld this fall. With the power of Palm OS 5, Palm handhelds can deliver a richer multimedia and wireless experience while preserving the size, weight and battery life users count on," said Todd Bradley, president and CEO of Palm's Solutions Group.

For Palm, which has given up ground to competitors in the handheld space, the announcement comes as slowing sales forced the company to issue a warning that it would miss quarterly earnings projections.