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PalmSource Debuts Cobalt 6.1

New York — PalmSource announced its latest operating system called Cobalt 6.1, which is designed to better position the company in the smartphone arena by offering built-in BlackBerry mail access.

PalmSource chief competitive officer Michael Mace said, “We want to do for wireless and smartphones what we did for handhelds: to focus on what users need the most and simplify those things… The aim is to make it brain-dead simple to use.”

He added that PalmSource will not abandon the other PDA segments.

PalmSource said traditional handheld sales would remain relatively flat through 2005, according to estimates from IDC, Framingham, Mass., while smartphone and wireless devices will double in market size between 2003 and 2005.

To that end, the company is pushing better wireless and telephony integration in the new Cobalt 6.1, claiming that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are now each easier to set up and better designed to work together.Both are now also built-in to the OS.Cobalt also supports removable batteries, so the unit automatically backs up all data and settings when the batteries are removed.

The new OS has a BlackBerry client for always-on e-mail and a new built-in Web browser that allows the user to scale Web pages to the screen size of their particular device and to view multiple Web sites (without having to exit a site in order to view the next site).

Other new standard OS features include one-handed navigation, VGA support and switching from landscape to portrait display modes.

Cobalt 6.1 is expected to be included in devices early next year.