Before the end of this year, Palm will present a new Linux-based platform for its smartphones. The company says it will run the Palm OS on top of a Linux kernel, allowing improved performance and stability of its handhels and smartphones.
However, Palm assures it will continue to develop smartphones with the Windows Mobile operating system.
By continuing to develop applications on both tracks, Palm will extend its ongoing transition from selling PDAs to smartphones, Colligan said at the company's annual analyst and investor day in New York. The event was also Webcast.
Since Palm developed the original PalmPilot handheld organizer in 1996, the company has come to rely heavily on the Treo smartphone as its top seller, available as the 700w (running Windows), 700p (running Palm OS), and other models. Compared to handheld sales, Palm has increased its smartphone revenue from 28 percent in the third quarter of 2004 to 86 percent in the third fiscal quarter of 2007, Colligan said.
Palm does not intend to license the new Linux-based platform to other handheld vendors but will use it to upgrade the Palm OS, allowing it to handle simultaneous voice and data traffic while preserving its instant-on and instant application-switching abilities, Colligan said.
Those changes will allow Palm to continue a trend of increasing its sales to consumers and small business users, as revenue from enterprise buyers continues to drop off, said Brodie Keast, the company's senior vice president for marketing. Palm is forecasting that revenue generated by enterprise buyers will drop from 50 percent in 2006 to 30 percent in 2009, as the company's share of revenue from small-business buyers rises from 20 percent to 30 percent and revenue from consumers increases from 30 percent to 40 percent.