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The secrets of PalmOS according to David Fedor

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David Fedor the Director of Developer Architecture as well as one of the long-time developers at PalmSource Inc., the Palm software division, or, to all intents and purposes, the company that develops, manufactures and markets PalmOS.In an interview with Palminfocenter reveals many aspects unknown on the present and future of the operating system for PDAs. After the introduction of PalmOS 5 for, still, a few enabled PDAs (Sony Cli PEG-NX60, Cli PEG-NX70V and Palm Tungsten T), i.e. with ARM-derived processor of great power. PalmInfoCenter interviewed Fedor and here's a summary. The transition from Motorola "Dragonball 68000" processors to ARM, for PalmOS 5, due to some reasons: power / consumption ratio and reliability / production economy are some of these, ARM also able to vary its offer, with variable benefits and PalmOS licensees can choose what best for their products.The technical relationships between the various partners are so structured within the "PalmOS Ready" program (Intel, Motorola, Texas Instruments, MediaQ and ATI Technologies): the licensees are concerned with developing the DAL – Device Abstraction Layer and the "program" constitutes the HAL – Hardware Abstraction Layer. The fundamental differences between the current processors capable of running PalmOS 5 are that Texas Instrument OMAP (Palm), Intel XScale (Sony) and Motorola Dragonball MX (Garmin) have developed their own derivations of the ARM CPU, each with speed, consumption, costs and other on different levels, all excellent. PalmOS 5 runs absolutely natively on the ARM base, we made this drastic decision because from the 68000 platform we could not ask for more. For PDAs with PalmOS 4 there is no hope of being able to update to PalmOS 5, in the same way as it may not be possible to "ask" a CD player to become a burner. Some features of PalmOS 5 could be introduced in PalmOS 4 but most of them cannot be transformed for PalmOS 4.PACE – Palm Application Compatibility Environment the system that tries to provide compatibility to current applications for different processors from those now considered, and it is not an emulator like the POSE – PalmOS Emulator (for Mac, Win and Linux) that allows applications for 4.x to run exactly like on handhelds, but on computers.

Sony first introduced high resolution screens (much more than a larger area, for example fonts are completely redesigned with a softer image) and to make compatible applications not designed for these screens, from Japan. they asked us to give them news in advance so they could change some codes to make everything compatible. Sony's NX line uses PalmSource-approved APIs, the NR, T and SJ / SL lines (with PalmOS 4.1) use a proprietary system and will not always get support in the future. For those products that have non-standard resolutions (such as HandEra 330 @ 240 x 320, Clie NX / NR @ 320 x 480 and AlphaSmart dana @ 560 x 160) totally different scenario, they have a larger visible area but no technical benefit. Anyway, now that PalmSource is independent of Palm, all licensees are the same and everyone can be “listened to” in the same way by those who make PalmOS, with benefits for everyone. Many of the existing applications can work well without much trouble in PalmOS 5, the ARM platform 50 times more powerful but not all applications need this advantage, of course now all developers know about this possibility and if they will need it they will take advantage of its features. Currently Macromedia Flash is not part of the PalmOS 5 licensees, Sony works together with Macromedia is this good. PalmOS 5.1 already for licensees, was completed around mid 2002: it is not just an update to correct previous bugs, it has not been said that the official numbering remains this, it will be seen at the time of the official presentation. Recently announced the parallel release of PalmOS 4.2 and PalmOS 5.2 in Chinese for the PDA 68k and ARM respectively. It is currently possible to download an emulator for PalmOS. The BeOS components will be modified to integrate them into PalmOS but do not say anything more on this topic.