Palm in Linux limbo another 12-18 months

Earlier this month, a post on the official Palm blog credited to CEO Ed Colligan announced the device maker's plans to "cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market." But according to The Guardian, a Linux-based Palm smartphone is still 12 to 18 months from retail release, casting renewed doubt on the company's focus and direction.

"[Putting Linux on our phones] is not just long, complex and expensive, it is also high risk," Palm founder Jeffrey Fogg told The Guardian, while Colligan admitted the Foleo debacle will cost the firm about $10 million. Last week, Palm sold a 25 percent stake for $325 million to private equity company Elevation Partners, while Jon Rubenstein, the former head of Apple's iPod division, will sign on as executive chairman and will collaborate on new device designs.

For the time being, Palm will continue to lean on its Windows Mobile license--Colligan recently told analysts that sales have accelerated to the point where half of Palm's smartphone shipments now operate on the Microsoft platform. In the past year alone, Palm shipped close to 3 million smartphones; with its first Linux-based devices still a year out, Windows "remains a key part of our strategy," Palm said.

For more on Palm's struggles:
- read this Guardian article

Related articles:
Palm's Linux announcement
Palm OS II delayed until 2008
Sprint previews Palm OS-based Centro

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