Rumor: Palm to unveil Nova-powered smartphone

The struggling handset maker is expected to launch its next-generation operating system on a device that features a full QWERTY keyboard.

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Palm is rumored to be launching a smartphone on Thursday that runs Nova, its next-generation operating system, according to a report Sunday on CrunchGear.

The report, which cites "a trusted source," says the device will have a full QWERTY keyboard that will slide under the touch screen.

Palm's next-generation operating system has been delayed several times but is regarded as crucial to the company's chances of regaining a foothold in the mobile-computing market.

Nova, based on Linux, is expected to bring the Palm brand operating system into the modern era of computing. The beginning of Palm's decline as a mobile-computing innovator can be traced to the 2003 decision to separate into two companies, one that developed the operating system (PalmSource) and one that developed the hardware (Palm).

Palm wound up having to nurture the 2004-era Palm OS version into the present day after PalmSource and later Access never produced anything deemed useful; it still runs the Palm Centro.

The company wisely hooked up with Microsoft to release Windows Mobile-based Treos, but has longed to once again design a complete product, hardware and software.

CNET News' Tom Krazit contributed to this report.