Sony and Palm Computing, a unit of 3Com, have announced a deal to develop a new version of the PalmOS for use in handheld consumer electronics products.
Initially, Palm will add support for Sony's Memory Stick portable memory card system and its companion data-exchange technology to the existing PalmOS. For its part, Sony will implement the PalmOS into a new range of products beyond the type of electronic organisers that its system is currently used with.
Sony said the new devices are expected to include mobile wireless-enabled audiovisual or IT consumer-electronics products.
The two have even bigger plans, however. Sony and Palm will work to develop a new version of the PalmOS that will include much more support for audiovisual and consumer-electronics products including many major Sony AV technologies. The new operating system will also be licensed to third parties for use in their own products.
By combining its strengths in portable entertainment products and increasing experience in computing and telecommunications, Sony is moving towards network-based entertainment products like the upcoming MP3 Walkman and the Vaio MusicClip, which was announced at Comdex yesterday.
For Palm, the deal potentially widens the user base of its PalmOS far beyond the handheld organisers. For Sony, it means that basic support for many of the company's proprietary technologies will be built into a new operating system, thus widening the potential user base for the systems beyond Sony to the companies that license the OS.
The deal is the first step in establishing a new consumer-electronics platform for accessing a broad range of wireless-based services and content, said Kunitake Ando, president and chief operating officer of Sony's Personal IT Network Company, in a statement.