This has been a rumor on the net for months now, after several unsubstantiated leaks from various sources, but these latest photos and movie clips seem to indicate this is probably the real deal. Obviously, until it's announced or a product is released, nothing is a sure thing — but this surely seems like a done deal to me.
The larger question is, what does it mean? Well, it's not a great sign for Palm OS in my opinion, when Palm Inc., the largest, most visible (and some might argue most significant) licensee of the Palm OS appears to be on the verge of licensing Windows Mobile.
Yes, Palm, Inc. has also agreed to license Palm OS, and if a Treo 670 really appears, it would only expand the market share of Palm, Inc. However on a deeper level, for Palm, the pioneer of Palm OS to add its arch-rival's OS as an option, it's got to be perceived as a big psychological and PR hit against Palm OS.
Factor in the lack of any Palm OS 6 (Cobalt) device from Palm, Inc. or anyone else for that matter, and Palm Inc's insistence on sticking with a heavily modified Palm OS 5 (Garnet), this is a disturbing trend for Palm OS. Until some kind of device appears running Palm OS 6 on Linux, I sense a fading of Palm OS.
With the fading of Palm OS, I sense an ascendency of Windows Mobile. Palm OS may still have followers, but at what point to buyers choose the package that most resembles their Windows box? Do most consumers even know or care what OS a Treo runs, besides hard-core geeks?
As a Palm OS fan, it seems there has been a stream of negative news following PalmSource DevCon. First, Tapwave announces the end of the Zodiac, followed by The Great Purge of PalmSource, a quiet end to Euro DevCon this fall, Tapwave seeming to totally collapse and now a pretty convincing sighting of a Windows Mobile Treo 670.
The Palm OS of old is changing fast. PDAs are stagnant and the mobile phone, both smartphone and semi-smartphone are rising. Unconnected PDAs are a niche item, getting even nicheier, wireless phones are replacing them.
I'm going to guess that Palm OS's future lies in smartphones and semi-smart phones and the shrinking niche of the old-style PDA, but that it will not look anything like it has 'til now. Times are changing...