Thursday, August 11, 2005

Making the Case for Windows on Palm Devices

Sure to stoke the rumor flames about a Windows Mobile version of the Palm Treo, CNET interviews Palm Chief Financial Officer Andrew Brow, who said "building a Treo that runs on the mobile version of Windows might help the company woo corporate customers who have been reticent to buy its Palm OS-based gadgets." Brown likened Palm to being "Switzerland" and thus open to using other operating systems on the company's futue devices.

With rampant rumor mongering about an upcoming Treo 670 running Windows Mobile, Charles Golvin, at Forrester Research, said that "if the photos of a Windows Treo product making the rounds are authentic, the product should be reasonably close to shipping to carriers and could be in consumers' hands by the end of this year."

IDC analyst Kevin Burden chimed in saying "a move to offer a Windows Mobile-based Treo is somewhat expected, given that even PalmSource appears to be headed in new directions." Citing news of proting the Palm OS to run on top of Linux and a recent deal with MontaVista Software, Burden added, "They are becoming less beholden to the PalmOS themselves. If PalmSource itself doesn't have this unbreakable loyalty, why should Palm?"

Burden opined that the bigger challenge for Palm will be having "the resources to develop and support products for multiple operating systems." In the end, Burden thought that Palm may feel they have no option but to offer a Windows Treo due to Microsoft's "latest moves to improve wireless e-mail on mobile devices."

"I just don't think Palm wants to be left out of that," Burden said.

Amazingly, the weakest link of my Audiovox SMT5600 Windows Smartphone is the poor syncronization between the device and Outlook. My old Treo 180 handled it a whole lot better. If Microsoft can improve integration between their own products then a Windows Treo could definitely boost Palm's enterprise efforts...