Palm was once king of the PDA, but the rise of the smartphone and Windows-powered PDAs led to its crown slipping a long way. But this year the hot-hardware Centro smartphone helped bring Palm more success, and now there's news that Palm really has a new OS on the way, codenamed Nova, and due for unveiling at CES.
Strong rumors were circulating ahead of Palms announcement, fueled largely by an analyst at CL King & Associates who suggested a new OS was on the way and most likely some new hardware too. The new OS would be, he said, Linux-based and sporting a new design user-interface. The new hardware would most likely support HSDPA networks, which Palm currently does not, and that would let it compete with the iPhone and G1.
Palm's announcement hit this morning, confirming a new OS will be revealed at CES, and though the information is sparse, Palm revealed a few interesting facts. The OS, and subsequently new hardware, will aim at middle ground Palm's identified between RIM's business-orientated Blackberrys and Apple's iphone "oriented to fun." Palm thinks it can capture a small share of the market, dominated mostly by Blackberries, and with the iPhone in second place. The OS helps smartphones make more intelligent use of data mined about their users: for example, Nova might know you're due to go on a business trip, and thus email you before you go with weather info pertinent to where you're going.
Apparently Nova may end up on e-reader devices and portable games consoles as well as plain smartphones, which is interesting news: it looks like Palm might be taking more risk than just aiming between Apple and RIM, by also taking a look at markets where Sony and Nintendo rule the roost.