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.
Palm, PalmOS, GarnetOS