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Palm Says goodbye to Windows Mobile
Device maker focuses only on webOS
By John Cox

Fri, 09/18/09

Palm is cancelling its reliance on Windows Mobile, which it adopted some years ago in an effort to expand the market for its handheld devices. Windows Mobile has powered the Treo line of Palm handhelds.

Instead, the device maker is raising the stakes on its future but focusing soley and entirely on the webOS operating system introduced earlier this year on the Palm Pre and most recently with the Palm Pixi.

The move is logical one: shortly after unveiling the Pre and the innovative webOS, Palm announced it was scrapping Palm OS, its original proprietary platform.

Just how high the stakes are can be seen in Palm's most recent quarterly financials, with a fourfold increase in its quarterly loss, to $164.5 million, up from $41.9 million a year ago. But adjusted sales at $360.7 million was well above the $298 million expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Losses for its first quarter reached US$164.5 million, compared with a loss of $41.9 million in the same period last year.

Nevertheless, the results beat analyst expectations. Adjusted sales were $360.7 million, better than the $297.7 million anticipated by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Unit sales improved over the prior quarter but are down from a year ago, showing that the Palm Pre, which went on sale via Sprint in June, has not yet made a big impact on the company's fortunes. In the last quarter, Palm shipped 823,000 smartphones, which was 134% more than the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, but still 30% less than the number shipped a year ago.

The Windows Mobile based Treo was targeted at business users. But Palm CEO Jonathan Rubenstein was quoted as saying yesterday that Palm found higher-than-expected enteprise interest in the Palm Pre. The company has been updating webOS with a range of features designed to appeal to business users and IT departments. In July, it added support for additional Exchange Active Sync policies such as remote data wipe and password enforcement.

Palm's decision to abandon Windows Mobile seems a blend of the promise of webOS, which uses a Linux kernel to anchor the open source Webkit rendering and JavaScript engine (the heart of many modern Web browsers) and its Mojo application framework and SDK. The result is that developers can create native webOS applications using JavaScript, CSS and HTML/HTML 5 instead of having to learn more complex development enviroments such as iPhone's Objective C. The platform has won praise from early users.

For Microsoft, Palm's move will put new attention on the upcoming release of a new crop of smartphones based on Windows Mobile 6.5, starting in early October. This OS version offers a modernized user interface and Internet Explorer Mobile 6.0, the first mobile browser from Microsoft that is based on the desktop IE browser engine.

In fact, some are looking ahead to Windows Mobile 7, due out possibly a year from now, as the the make-or-break release for Microsoft to rebuild momentum around its mobile platform. PC World found a Microsoft job listing, seeking developers who can blend social networking features with Windows Mobile. The article speculates that Microsoft is picking up on a trend to fuse mobile devices and their users with an always-on Internet of services and things, creating a more interactive, location- and identity-aware mobile experience.

Source Courtesy: network world.com

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