Palm's next-generation operating system, OS 5, which uses the ARM (Advanced RISC Machines)-compliant OMAP (Open Multimedia Applications Platform) family of processors from Texas Instruments, will be unveiled at PalmSource the week of February 4 in the US.
Several sources in contact with ARN said they were both pleased with some of the new features and disappointed at what it still lacks. Palm officials declined to comment.
Three significant improvements include the ability to use multi-tasking and multi-threading in applications, improved performance using OS 5 with the faster processor, and compatibility with current applications.
On the negative side, Palm will not leverage the multimedia capabilities of its recently purchased Be operating system, meaning such things as MP3 will not be available. Perhaps most aggravating to Palm users is news that utilities written by third parties to expand the capabilities of the current OS, so-called Hacks, will not be supported in OS 5. For example, it is a Hack utility that allows users to touch the title bar and get a dropdown menu.
However, OS 5 will give Palm some enterprise-level capabilities, a source said. Faster performance will also mean that when executing a function on the Palm, the user will not have to wait, sometimes as much as 10 seconds, to regain control of the handheld. Backward compatibility will be addressed in OS 5 by running the older OS in emulation mode.