Access promises new Linux/Palm hybrid

Access, the company that purchased PalmSource last year, has pledged to release a software developer's kit for the Access Linux Platform (ALP) by the end of 2006, hoping to alleviate some of the concerns over the future Palm applications.

The ALP uses a Linux kernel, Access' NetFront browser, and tried-and-true Palm applications such as HotSync and Palm Desktop, Access and PalmSource said in a release from the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona. PalmSource had started the process of converting the Palm OS to a Linux kernel before the Access aquisition was announced last September, but it doesn't look like devices will appear with the new OS until at least early 2007.

ALP was designed with smart phones in mind, but the company hopes it will attract more users than Cobalt, the version of Palm OS that was also supposed to be designed with smart phones in mind. Cobalt never attracted any licensees; Palm added its own code to Garnet, a Palm OS designed for personal digital assistants, in order to support voice calling on its Treo devices. PalmSource-developed telephony software will be used in ALP, Access said.

Current Palm users should be able to use existing applications with ALP devices. "ALP has been designed to ensure that properly written Palm OS 68k applications will run unchanged," the companies said in their release.

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