Palm testing a new OS?

new Palm logo

BargainPDA is pretty quick to disclaim this as a "completely unsubstantiated rumor", but supposedly Palm, Inc. is getting close to sending some developers beta-testing units of a new Palm handheld that'll be running on a new operating system that isn't Palm OS 5. The only problem? Their source doesn't seem to know what new OS that might be, but assuming this is actually reliable info there are really only three options: Palm OS Cobalt, the new Linux-based version of the Palm OS, and Windows Mobile.

True or not, the whole situation points to the OS dilemma Palm finds itself in. They can't stick with Palm OS 5 (Garnet) forever, at least not if they want to stay competitive, since Garnet is definitely starting to show its age. For whatever reason, Palm OS 6 (Cobalt) has never really floated their boat, and there has been a fair amount of speculation that they might not wait around for PalmSource to port the Palm OS to Linux, and instead switch to Windows Mobile (there are more than a few people who'd love to see a Windows Mobile-powered Treo). Sooner or later Palm is going to have to bite the bullet, whether it's resurrecting Cobalt (which seems unlikely), moving to Windows Mobile, or somehow getting PalmSource to hyperspeed development of the new Linux OS.