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Operating Systems

Samsung phones first to use Palm OS 5

The South Korean consumer-electronics company becomes the first to use the latest version of the Palm operating system, adding it to the stable of OSes at its disposal.

PalmSource announced Thursday at the CeBit trade show in Hannover, Germany, that South Korean consumer-electronics maker Samsung will be the first phone maker to use the latest version of the Palm operating system.

Samsung's Mobile Information Terminal SGH-i500 will run on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular networks and use version 5 of the Palm OS. Samsung has risen to one of the top positions in the handset market, using a strategy of developing advanced handsets for cell phones.

The SGH-i500 has a clamshell design with a 16-bit color liquid crystal display and a built-in digital camera. The device comes with an ARM-compliant processor and a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) 2.0 browser.

A Samsung representative said the device will not be immediately available in the United States, but that it will be released in Europe this year. A CDMA version of the phone, called SPH-i500, will be launched in the United States in the second quarter through Sprint. Pricing of the device has not been determined, the representative said.

Samsung is licensing many of the major operating systems for smart phones, including Microsoft's Smartphone 2002 OS, the Symbian OS and the Palm OS. The company is covering all the bases in case one of the operating systems grabs the lead in the market.

Operating systems from Symbian, PalmSource and Microsoft combine the functions of a cell phone and a personal digital assistant. The resulting "smart phones" are beginning to trickle into the world's wireless market.

In related news from CeBit, Research In Motion announced two new BlackBerry models for customers in Europe, the 6210 and 6220. As previously reported, the 6200 devices will run on GSM networks. The devices feature a smaller design than previous generations, as well as increased memory and support for wireless e-mail synchronization. The Java-based devices also support phone, SMS (Short Message Service), browser and organizer capabilities. RIM demonstrated prototypes of the 6200 devices at the annual 3GSM World Congress cellular industry conference in Cannes, France, in late February.