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Palm joins OS X supporters

The handheld giant releases the trial version of software created specifically to take advantage of Mac OS X's features, such as its Aqua user interface.

Mac OS X can finally speak directly to Palm handhelds.

Palm announced this week the availability of a beta, or trial, version of Palm Desktop software 4.0 for the Mac. The new version is Palm's first created for Apple Computer's Mac OS X, the groundbreaking operating system released in March.

Although older programs for Macs work in the so-called classic environment of Mac OS X, they must be tweaked to take advantage of the operating system's features such as its improved stability and Aqua user interface.

To use the beta software, people must register at Palm's Web site. They then receive an e-mail with instructions for downloading and installing the software.

Some Mac users complained Thursday in online forums that heavy traffic left them unable to download the Palm software or forced them to wait hours for the download to finish.

Palm representatives could not be reached for comment.

The desktop software allows handheld computers running the Palm operating system to connect and exchange data with a compatible Mac.

The Palm program is another step forward in Apple's effort to win wide support for OS X among software developers.

Microsoft last month released an OS X version of its Office software package. America Online followed, offering an OS X version of its Internet access software.

Adobe Systems' expected release next year of an OS X version of its flagship Photoshop photo-editing software is expected to further bolster support for the operating system.