Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Good News for PalmOS Fans

For a while it looked like Palm had turned its back on PalmOS, the operating system which had powered its PDAs and smartphones for year. And to a certain extent they have but the situation may not be as dire as die-hard PalmOS fans had thought.

With the latest version of webOS, version 2.0, Palm has removed the PalmOS ROM from the phone which is the actual code which the Classic PalmOS emulator uses to run PalmOS apps on webOS phones like the Palm Pre and Pixi. It was a serious enough problem that MotionApps, the company which makes Classic essentially threw in the towel and stopped selling Classic. But it turns out that with a little digging and command line hacking, that the PalmOS ROM can be installed on a phone with webOS 2.0.

Two interesting points come out of this development. One, longtime PalmOS users who have already purchased Classic will be able to continue using once they upgrade to webOS 2.0 devices like the Pre 2 or after their older devices are automatically upgraded to webOS 2. The other interesting point is that since the PalmOS ROM is clearly separate from the Classic emulator, then creating a PalmOS emulator for webOS might be a lot easier than people realize. Even if MotionApps stopped selling Classic, it should be possible for someone else (perhaps even Palm themselves) to create an emulator for PalmOS apps.

While I wouldn't expect to see a lot of PalmOS emulators coming out any time soon, it's an interesting thing to note that since Palm is putting out the PalmOS ROM themselves through their webOS Doctor software, it should help keep PalmOS die hards going while they search for webOS equivalents to their beloved PalmOS apps.

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