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Palm delays Linux smartphone

Palm will not ship its Linux smartphone until next year, the company’s chief executive Ed Colligan disclosed during an earnings call.

The maker of the Treo smartphone revealed in April that it is developing a Linux-based operating system for its mobile phones.

Colligan promised at the time that Palm had “system software that we will roll out before the end of the year”.

However, Colligan said in a conference call with financial analysts on Thursday that the software will not reach consumers until next year.

“We will deliver some new smartphone products through the rest of this calendar year on Windows Mobile and Palm OS,” he said. “Products based on the new Linux platform will not [arrive] until some time next year.”

Colligan declined to provide a more detailed roadmap, but did stress that Palm will continue to unveil new devices before the launch of its Linux platform.

Palm’s Linux software will replace Palm OS 5 that appeals primarily to consumers and small business users.

The operating system has not seen any major upgrades since February 2004, when PalmSource released Palm OS 5.4 Garnet. A much delayed update to Palm OS 6 Cobalt was finally cancelled in June 2005.

Enterprises, meanwhile, tend to prefer Windows powered Treo models because they can be integrated more easily with other systems and applications.

After a multi-year exclusive commitment to Palm OS, Palm unveiled its Windows Treo in September 2005. Windows models currently account for nearly half of all Palm’s Treo sales.

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