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Palm has been falling behind the times. Time was when Palm was the industry leader in handheld devices. It set the standard for ease of use, interactivity and features. Those days are past, but Palm is hoping that its secret multi-year project will get it back to the heady days of industry leading technology bybuilding in new high-tech features available via its new operating system.

Palm has been falling behind cell phone manufacturers as they’ve been integrating new multi-media features into their hand-held devices. The Palm operating system hasn’t seen the types of upgrades it needed, and the company split into Palm and Treo — software and hardware companies. Treo phones, which I use, have been very popular and recentlypalmOne Treo 650 PDA Phone (Unlocked) adopted both Palm and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Although the Windows versions has its problems (power being one of them), it has proven to be very popular, as it can handle newer multimedia applications.

Enter Palm’s secret project.

Palm just announced that it has been secretly developing a Linux operating system platform for the use of our ever-present hand-held devices, and will provide it with full multi-media capabilities. The units will be able to handle audio, video and a host of other functions.

What does it mean to consumers? Palm is saying that they will have three platforms that they official support – Palm OS, Windows CE and Linux – so your favorite version won’t go away. Moving to Linux, however, means that a substantial library of free software will become available and that many commercial applications will be able to move over to your cell phone due to ease of portability and features.

Your cell phone, though, will still be a cell phone, and it should work pretty much just like it does today. The future, however, is pretty promising.

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