The recent months have been dark days indeed for the Palm OS, especially for its spiritual successor, codenamed Access Linux Platform (ALP
). Palm is letting its license to the oft-delayed OS expire this December
, and we haven't heard of too many device manufacturers stepping in its place. The good news is that Access-owned PalmSource hasn't been just sitting around a doing nothing, and they recently hosted a one day mini-conference at LinuxWorld to show off their wares so far. Apparently the core OS is fairly completed, and PalmSource is mainly working on the bundled applications that will ship with the OS. Classic Palm OS emulation is said to work perfectly well, even with the requirement by the OS to scale those 320 x 320 native applications to ALP's preferred QVGA touchscreen resolution. There were plenty of Haier
N60 flip-phones on hand running the chosen res, along with a few prototypes with VGA screens and a keyboard -- a good sign of things to come. Unfortunately, the only pics allowed were of the developer tools running a virtualized version of ALP in Ubuntu -- a boon to developers, but no device-based eye candy for us. The biggest enhancement so far is multitasking afforded by the Linux base, though sexy features in the NetFront browser, new HotSync interoperability standards, and a newfound return to Palm OS looks of yore seem quite popular as well. In fact, with the OS's ability to be skinned with SVG graphics, Palm could conceivably make a branded version of the OS that would be quite familiar to old users, and dub it the Palm OS 6 we've always wanted. PalmSource says they're still on track to deliver the OS to licensees at the end of the year, with the first ALP products finally emerging next spring.