Palm OS (Garnet OS)

Palm OS (also known as Garnet OS) is a discontinued mobile operating system initially developed by Palm, Inc., for personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 1996. Palm OS was designed for ease of use with a touchscreen-based graphical user interface. It is provided with a suite of basic applications for personal information management. Later versions of the OS have been extended to support smartphones. Several other licensees have manufactured devices powered by Palm OS.

Following Palm's purchase of the Palm trademark, the currently licensed version from ACCESS was renamed Garnet OS. In 2007, ACCESS introduced the successor to Garnet OS, called Access Linux Platform and in 2009, the main licensee of Palm OS, Palm, Inc., switched from Palm OS to webOS for their forthcoming devices.

Palm OS was a proprietary mobile operating system. Designed in 1996 for Palm Computing, Inc.'s new Pilot PDA, it has been implemented on a wide array of mobile devices, including smartphones, wrist watches, handheld gaming consoles, barcode readers and GPS devices.

Palm OS versions earlier than 5.0 run on Motorola/Freescale DragonBall processors. From version 5.0 onwards, Palm OS runs on ARM architecture-based processors.

The key features of the current Palm OS Garnet are:

  • Simple, single-tasking environment to allow launching of full screen applications with a basic, common GUI set
  • Monochrome or color screens with resolutions up to 480x320 pixel
  • Handwriting recognition input system called Graffiti 2
  • HotSync technology for data synchronization with desktop computers
  • Sound playback and record capabilities
  • Simple security model: Device can be locked by password, arbitrary application records can be made private
  • TCP/IP network access
  • Serial port/USB, infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections
  • Expansion memory card support
  • Defined standard data format for personal information management applications to store calendar, address, task and note entries, accessible by third-party applications.

Included with the OS is also a set of standard applications, with the most relevant ones for the four mentioned PIM operations.

Related glossaries: