Palm is preparing to ship a specially developed Linux version for its Treo smartphones later this year, the company's chief executive Ed Colligan said at a meeting with financial analysts in New York.
The software currently doesn't have a name, but is simply referred to as Palm Operating System on a Linux core. It will replace the current Palm OS 5 that is better known by its 'Garnet' code name.
The Linux platform has been under development for "a number of years," said Colligan.
"We think that it's critical that we own our own platform and some of our key technologies. We have system software that we will roll out before the end of the year that will allow us to take the Palm operating systems forward and and modernize it."
The Linux based operating system will support existing Palm OS applications while allowing the company to further evolve its system software. The new platform for instance will allow for simultaneous voice and data traffic, features faster application switching and will build out support for online applications.
Palm until today has been quiet about its future plans for its Palm OS based devices. Although the device maker has always said that it is committed to the Palm OS platform, rumours about a potential platform were fuelled by the 2005 unveiling of a Windows powered Treo.
Palm first created the Palm OS software in 1996 as an open platform that was licenced out to third party device manufacturers. The licensing plan yielded only a few clients. After some initial success, Windows in 2004 surpassed it as the world's top ranking mobile operating system.
The software group was eventually spun off into a company called PalmSource, which was subsequently acquired by Access of Japan. The latter is currently working on a Linux based smart phone operating systems of its own.
Linux phones have been avialable for some years now, although the software mainly has been limited to low end phones for Asian markets.
Palm last December purchased a perpetual license for the Garnet operating system.
Colligan said that the company won't license its new Linux operating system. The company also will continue development of its Windows based smartphones for the enterprise market.
A spokesperson for the company declined any further comment on the company's Linux plans.
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