Mobile-computing pioneer Palm Inc. and software pioneer Microsoft Corp. today announced a strategic alliance to accelerate the Smartphone market segment with a new device for mobile professionals and businesses. Palm has licensed the Microsoft® Windows Mobile® operating system for an expanded line of Treo™ Smartphones, the first of which will be available on Verizon Wireless’ national wireless broadband network. The news was revealed in a press conference with Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer of Palm; Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft; and Denny Strigl, chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless.
Ed Oswald at BetaNews has more:
Although not yet named, the new Treo will be carried exclusively by Verizon Wireless when it debuts in early 2006. Palm president and CEO Ed Colligan said Verizon would have exclusive access to the phone at least through the middle of next year.
Not many specifications were offered about the new Treo other than the fact it would run Windows Mobile 5.0, include an Intel processor, and support for Verizon’s high-speed EV-DO network. Sources also claim the device will include Bluetooth and 64MB of built-in memory.
The price has not yet been decided, although Colligan said to expect it to be higher than currently available models.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates seemed to admit that Palm did have the upper hand in innovation for the mobile platform for quite awhile. “Palm always did great work. We lusted after the things they did well,” Gates told the audience.
But while Palm has surged to life, the death knell has sounded for Palm OS after Japan-based Access purchased PalmSource and the rights to the Palm OS on September 9 for $324.3 million.
Palm OS suffered as smart phones eclipsed PDAs. More by following the link including pictures.
What’s most intriguing about this partnership, perhaps, is that Microsoft allowed Palm Inc. to tinker with Windows Mobile 5.0, a first. The version of Windows Mobile that Palm will ship in the Treo 700 will feature several unique features not found in the normal version of Windows Mobile 5.0, the companies say. For example, users will be able to dial a phone number by pressing a picture of a contact on the screen.
On feature the Treo 700 won’t have–at first–is the ability to automatically receive email, has been available on RIM Blackberry devices for quite some time. However, Microsoft and Palm say this “push” feature will be added later, after a Microsoft Exchange upgrade that adds that functionality on the server side.
UPDATE (Sept. 27): Concerning RIM and email, here are the talking points from eWeek:
Suzan DelBene, Microsoft Corp.’s vice president of marketing for mobile and embedded devices, said that Research in Motion Ltd.’s popular BlackBerry Enterprise Server is too complicated.
In order for a BlackBerry device to gain access to corporate data behind the firewall, the data must go through a network operations center, as well as through additional middleware, before it reaches the e-mail server.
“What we think is a better solution than that is to make things simpler,” DelBene said.
With the latest versions of Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows Mobile, customers who use both operating systems can get access to their e-mail without any additional software, she said.