Big name chip companies Intel, Texas Instruments and Motorola have signed a heavyweight pact to help Palm port its core technology to the ARM platform.
The big three said on Tuesday that they had joined the newly created Palm OS Ready programme, which the handheld maker has started in the hope of attracting new vendors into the fledgling market.
Palm has acknowledged for more than a year that it needs to move its operating system to ARM to give its handhelds the megahertz kick necessary to create multimedia applications which can compete with Microsoft-based devices using the same chip.
Palm acknowledges that it and its licensees have lost customers to products such as Compaq's iPaq which can offer more sophisticated applications because of ARM's power.
The result of the new agreements will be that Palm licensees, which include Handspring and Sony, will be able to choose ARM chips from any of the three manufacturers.
The company hopes to attract more licensees which will create application-specific devices to take advantage of the extra power that ARM brings to the wireless arena.
Handheld devices based on ARM are not expected until next year. Today's Palm devices use Motorola's Dragonball chip, which was originally developed for the mobile telephony market.
Analysts saw this a good move by Palm in an increasingly competitive market.
"It should both shorten the time to market for device makers and expand the total number of copies of Palm OS in use. More copies of an operating system in use translates to a bigger market for application vendors," said Al Gillen, an analyst at research company IDC.
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