Owner of PalmOS changes name to GarnetOS

Access announced today that it was renaming the PalmOS operating system for mobile devices (latest version being PalmOS 6) to "GarnetOS." The company is going to market the OS and devices that use it under the new slogan "Access Powered," replacing the former "Palm Powered" branding. "Palm" was what people have always known, few know "Garnet", and it isn't clear whether Access plans to promote Garnet. If you're confused, stop reading now. If you're keen to know the naming history, read on.

Palm, a subsidiary of 3Com, originally owned both the Palm hardware trademarks and PalmOS. In August 2003, Palm Inc. separated from 3Com into the hardware company called PalmOne and the operating system company called PalmSource. PalmSource then changed its name to Access Systems, selling the rights to the "Palm" name back to Palm, Inc. PalmOne then became Palm, Inc. again. In all the confusion over name changes and licensing rights, devices running Windows Mobile (then known as Windows CE) became more and more popular. Palm helped again with the confusion by introducing the Treo 700, a Windows Mobile handheld. Access Systems, in the meantime, decided to shift focus over to a new operating system that would be based on Linux and run old PalmOS applications in emulation. PalmOS 6, codenamed "Garnet," found itself all ready to go but with no hardware companies (not even Palm) wanting to use it on a mobile device.

The companies involved seem to have skipped the lesson regarding the importance of product branding.

News source: Ars Technica

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7 Comments

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Jugalator said,
It could be because the Palm products has been seen as not modern, and a "dying" breed, things like these.

True. However, consider this situation:

1. A brand new PalmOS is released. It kicks major butt. Press goes: "Palm is back! OMG Windows and Blackberry killer!" People go: "Buy!"
2. GarnetOS is released. It kicks major butt, but the press goes: "Remember that Palm company? Apparently, they've rebranded." People go: "Ok. Move on."
Seems like they are trying to shrug off the stale image by rebranding; instead, they should be focusing on features.

Having said all that, I still have a warm place in my heart for PalmOS, and still think it's a great peice of software, it just needs another boost.

That reminds me of Borland. Several years ago, it was a giant company. Thn they changed their name to Inprise, at a time when their had already some "difficulties" with their software.
But from the moment they changed their name, their sales dropped. Now, Inprise has been forgotten by a lot of people.
They changed their name back to Borland, now, but I think it's too late now.

It wouldn't surprise me that Access rebrand GarnetOS back into PalmOS within a few years...