Editor's Corner

Palm licenses Garnet
The big news this week is that Palm has agreed to pay Japan's ACCESS Corporation $44 million for a perpetual license to Garnet, the version of Palm OS that runs on the Treo 700p and other PDAs/smartphones.

The announcement is good for Palm because it gives the company free reign to improve Garnet and add features for future Treos regardless of what happens to ALP, the next-generation, Linux-based OS. In an August FEC filing, Palm worried that delays to ACCESS' ALP could affect future Palm device releases. Unfettered access to Garnet is one easy way for Palm to manage risk and plan for the future. It's part of a larger effort that includes Windows Mobile-powered Treos. It's rumored that at one point Palm even considered a Symbian-powered Treo.

The Garnet deal also bodes well for Palm's massive developer community and die hard Palm fans, who have been wary of switching to a new OS, even if, like ALP, it promises backward compatibility. Of course, change is inevitable and some analysts (myself included) have wondered how much longer Palm can keep the aging Garnet OS alive, license or not. Garnet analyst Ken Dulaney, for example, expects Garnet to be dead within five years. Let's hope something better is out by then. - Eli