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PalmSource Shifting Its Focus to Market for 'Smart' Phones

February 10, 2004|From Associated Press

PalmSource Inc., a maker of operating systems for hand-held computers, is shifting gears as the market for "smart" phones grows and the one for simpler personal digital assistants shrinks.

The company's new strategy, to focus more on devices that handle both voice and data communications -- as rivals Nokia Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have already done -- is due to be unveiled at its developer conference in San Jose today.

"We've been a player in this space for a long time, and we're making it official now that it's a key market for us," PalmSource Chief Executive Dave Nagel said. "We're going to go after it with every weapon that we have."

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company makes the Palm operating system and licenses it to makers of digital assistants and their newer smart-phone cousins, which combine computing and cellphone functions.

PalmSource was spun off in October from the hardware division that makes Palm-branded devices, now called PalmOne Inc.

Previously, PalmSource's approach has been to stop development of an older operating system as it moved on to an upgrade. But now, the company says it will adopt a "dual-version strategy," developing a new operating system aimed for the smart-phone market while keeping the older Palm operating system -- previously known as Palm OS 5 and being renamed Palm Garnet -- available for other gadgets.

"Two versions of the same platform will allow us to go after a broader swath of the market than we could do with either alone," Nagel said.

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