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Plans to Invest in Palm's OS
$20-million deal gives the consumer
electronics firm a 6% stake and boosts the
hand-held maker's plan to spin off the
Corp. on Tuesday agreed
to invest $20 million in the
Palm Inc. unit that makes the leading
operating system for hand-held computers,
boosting Palm's plans to split into two
The deal gives Sony a 6% stake in
PalmSource. The consumer electronics
powerhouse is the first outside investor
in the unit. Palm has been struggling amid
lackluster demand for hand-helds, and Sony
has a vested interest in sustaining the
platform, which powers its line of Clie
For Milpitas, Calif.-based Palm, the
relationship could bolster the audio and
video capabilities of its operating
system, which is under attack by Microsoft
Corp.'s rival Pocket PC. Once the leader
in hand-held organizers, Palm in the
second quarter fell behind Hewlett-Packard
Co., which uses Pocket PC.
"Sony has such a wonderful reputation for
innovation, we could not have asked for a
better partner or investor," PalmSource
Chief Executive David Nagel said.
Sony has licensed Palm's operating system
since 1999 and its Clie organizers have
about 10% of the market. New Clie models
record video, play music and browse the
Internet with a wireless connection using
Palm's latest software version, OS5.
PalmSource started seeking investors
several months ago for its spinoff from
Palm. Palm decided last year to split its
hardware and operating systems businesses
into independent companies to boost
software sales to computer makers hesitant
to license an operating system from a
Sony's investment gives Palm more freedom
to decide how it wants to conduct the
spinoff, which it expects to complete
early next year, Nagel said. Palm is
leaning against an initial public offering
because of the weak market.
The companies already have separated
physically. PalmSource now operates from
offices in Sunnyvale, Calif.
James Faucette, an analyst with Pacific
Crest Securities in Portland, Ore., said
the Sony investment was not unexpected.
Faucette said the expanded collaboration
would help Sony develop products that
interact with each other. Faucette has a
neutral stance on Palm and doesn't own any
of its shares.
Palm software also powers Handspring,
Samsung and Kyocera "smart phones," which
combine features of mobile phones and
personal digital assistants.
Palm last week said it plans a 1-for-20
reverse stock split as it prepared for the
spinoff. The company's stock will begin
trading Oct. 15 on a reverse-split
Palm shares rose 6 cents to 67 cents on
Nasdaq. The shares have fallen 61% over
the last year. Sony's American depositary
receipts rose $1.15 to $41.48 on the New
York Stock Exchange.
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Invented the Wireless Telephone:
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and patented the Wireless Telephone
and related voice radio transmission
apparatus in 1892, 1898 and1908
respectively. Marconi patented his Dit Dah
spark telegraphy transmitter in 1897.
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a Smart Phone and .... What are some of
the other names used to describe the
handheld "wireless telephone" that can
receive and broadcast "radio
Masson used to say he'd sell
no wine before its
should've given this advice to the makers
of the first cell phone-organizer to
incorporate Microsoft Corp.'s Pocket PC
2002 Phone Edition.
a burgundy opened before its rough edges
have mellowed, this handset is too young
bad, because the T-Mobile Pocket PC
phone--offered in the United States by
VoiceStream Wireless--is a great
the kinks worked out, I'm sure it'll make
a fine, albeit expensive, choice for
people like me who'd prefer to combine
cell phone with personal
$500 device contains the same features as
the hand-held computers from Compaq or
Toshiba, such as Microsoft's Outlook
personal organizer and e-mail software,
along with other offerings including MSN
Messenger, Windows Media Player, Word and
the gadget also sports a stubby antenna
poking out of one end, used by the cell
phone, which integrates with Outlook's
means that if you sync the device with
your PC, not only do you get all your
contacts' phone numbers and e-mail
addresses, but you also can use the device
to call or send e-mail without having to
punch keys on the color touch
few other "communicators" or "smart
phones" already have emerged, the
best-known being Handspring Inc.'s Treo,
which runs the Palm operating system.
Nokia, Audiovox Corp. and Kyocera Corp.
also sell such devices.
T-Mobile (named after the wireless brand
of VoiceStream's German parent Deutsche
Telekom) is the first to hit the market
that incorporates Microsoft's Pocket PC
Phone Edition operating system. The Thera,
from Audiovox, uses a Pocket PC version
not specifically designed for wireless
the T-Mobile hand-held, the Internet
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most Pocket PC devices comes into its
sat on my deck and surfed the BBC's Web
site--the faster-loading text-only
version--and was surprised at how quickly
the stories popped up.
phone also has SMS, or Short Message
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catching on in the United States. It lets
you fire off short messages to similarly
equipped cell phones, even providing
popular mobile phone one-liners such as
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for T-Mobile and Microsoft, the device
failed to do these tasks about as often as
it completed them.
phone uses VoiceStream's GSM service,
which in New York, anyway, suffers from
reliability problems. The browser relies
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network, theoretically able to download
Web pages at a speed comparable to a home
me, only the BBC site operated smoothly.
My connections to Yahoo, Hotmail,
Salon.com and Amazon.com proved
it appears Microsoft hasn't gotten the
phone functions fully integrated with its
Pocket PC software.
a few days of testing, Outlook's contacts
database stopped working, blocking me from
making calls or sending e-mail unless I
could remember the number.
so many features bundled into a gadget the
size of a cigarette pack, I'm sure it's an
enormous task to get them all working in
harmony. And the problems with the
cellular and wireless connectivity can't
really be blamed on the device.
I suspect many early buyers of the
T-Mobile smart phone will treat it like a
bottle of under-aged wine. They'll send it
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