PalmSource ships web browser

PalmSource, the software licensing business of Palm, Inc., has provided licensees with a web browser compatible with the latest version of its operating system. The browser supports HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0, Dynamic HTML, cHTML, DOM Level 1 and Level 2, CSS, and ECMA Script. Users can toggle JavaScript and image downloads to improve performance over mobile networks.

PalmSource worked with Access, the Japanese company which supplies browsing technology for the majority of i-Mode handsets, to develop the browser for its ARM-compliant platform. It operates without a proxy server, unlike Palm’s previous web clipping technology, and is intended to display both traditional web-sites and content optimised for mobile devices. Licensees have already received the standard components of Palm OS 5 and are expected to announce new devices in the near future.

“We have seen a rapid growth in the number of mobile internet users and believe that with improved web browsing capability, we will attract an even larger audience for wireless handhelds and smart phones,” said Steve Sakoman, chief product officer of PalmSource, Inc. “Our new proxy-less browser takes advantage of the performance of the ARM processor and leverages market-proven technology from ACCESS to bring a new level of browsing functionality to Palm OS 5 users.”


PalmSource is finally addressing the connectivity weaknesses in its operating system. Microsoft and Symbian have had advanced browsers integrated into their OS for some time; even Handspring, a Palm licensee, has its own browser technology through its acquisition of BlueLark’s Blazer.

Palm OS is supported by a vibrant developer community, which has flourished because Palm has not sought to compete with it by bolting more and more features onto the OS. However, browsing, e-mail, SMS and wireless connectivity are now considered basic requirements in any mobile OS and PalmSource has realised it must offer these capabilities.

Access, little known outside Japan, has an impressive product which is used on tens of millions of i-Mode handsets. Licensing in this sort of advanced feature set and proven stability is a smart move which will ensure OS 5 licensees can create devices with mobile internet capabilities equal to that of the Pocket PC OEMs.

Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.

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