We know that Palm is working on a new Linux-based operating system, often referred to as "Palm OS II" or "Palm OS Nova." We also know that Palm is working on new hardware form factors for their Treo smartphone line. It has also become generally accepted that we will have to wait until this time next year before we will be able to get our hands on Palm's new products running the new operating system until 2009. Or will we?
While reading an article on AppleInsider about the impact to both Research In Motion and Palm, there is a short statement from an industry analyst that may hint at a new device from Palm, possibly a new Treo, before the end of 2008. Ya, I said before the end of 2008. The following is a quote from the AppleInsider article:
"Palm's new Centro smartphone is also characterized as a stopgap measure to tide users over until a real, Linux-based Treo replacement is available near the end of 2008. It sells for as little as $99 but isn't seen as capable of holding its own against either the iPhone or other rivals for the next few quarters. Most customers are attracted to the Centro for its price rather than its feature set, a situation the Needham researcher says is likely to change once prices drop."
This is the second time in as many months that I've seen mention of a new Palm product becoming available before the end of the year that is not one of the rumored devices I've been following.
It is important that we not get ahead of ourselves here. Before smartphones can go on sale in the US, the wireless carrier needs to certify each device before they will allow it to be connected to their network. It is also widely expected that Palm will need to deliver new smartphones to the networks up to six months in advance of it going on sale. Could this analyst simply be confused by what will happen by year's end? Did he really mean that the carriers will get new Palm devices for testing, or did he really mean that new devices running the new OS be on sale by the end of 2008? It is hard to tell, but it would sure be some welcomed news for the Palm OS user community if a new device and operating system became available in time for the holidays. And I'm sure Palm wouldn't mind a little sales boost in December either.
Fact or fiction? I'll leave that for you to decide.