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30,000 Palm apps coming to Nokia webpads

Nov 13, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Some 30,000 applications originally written for the Palm Pilot PDA (personal digital assistant) will soon run on Nokia's Linux-based web tablets. The applications will run on top of a virtual machine (VM) currently being beta tested by Access for Nokia's 770, N800, and N810 Internet tablets.

Nokia 770, N800, and N810 Internet Tablets
(Click each image for device details)

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The Garnet VM beta is available now for download from Access, with registration. It has reportedly achieved “80 percent compatibility,” with wider compatibility expected pending user feedback. Feedback will be gathered via an agent built into the VM, and through an online compatibility survey. One big early bug: sound is not supported on the 770.

A final version of the Garnet VM will ship by year's end — so now's the time to test any Garnet OS (formerly Palm OS) applications of interest, notes Access. The final VM is expected to be available, like the beta, as a free download from the Access website.

Garnet VM, originally developed for Access's own Linux-based Access Linux Platform (ALP) OS, supports both 68K- and ARM-based applications

To install applications on the VM, users copy them to their tablet's removable memory card. After installation, the application can be launched from the VM's launch menu. Users can configure how much of their tablet's RAM will be consumed by the VM, and can also make stack and heap allocations for each application.

Garnet VM screenshots
(Click each image to enlarge)

It appears that multiple VMs can be run side by side, to support more than one Palm OS application at a time. Applications reportedly run in a QVGA-sized (320×240) window — configurable as landscape or portrait — centered in the 800×480 tablets' displays. The VM includes a “HotSynch” feature meant to back up user data to a PC (Macs and Linux are apparently not supported).

Access notes that many of the most popular mobile applications are available for Garnet, including Google Maps, Snappermail, and DateBk5. Available games include Bejeweled, PacMan, and Sudoku. Your editor, meanwhile, hopes that the multi-player, multi-machine Crosswords Scrabble clone will work.

Didier Diaz, SVP of product strategy at Access Systems America (formerly PalmSource) stated, “Access is leveraging our work on the Access Linux Platform [story], which includes Garnet VM as one of three runtime environments along with Java and native Linux. This reinforces the value of Garnet OS-based applications to consumers and will give our loyal developers a larger installed base of devices.”

Ari Virtanen, VP of convergence at Nokia, added, “[This] demonstrates the growing importance of open source mobile operating systems.”


Access's Garnet VM beta for the Nokia 770, N800, and N810 can be downloaded now with registration, here. It can only be installed on tablets upgraded to Nokia's most recent firmware releases. The Nokia tablets' firmware is based on Debian Linux, but does not yet support actual Debian package management. Thus, upgrading completely replaces the filesystem, overwriting any user data or user-installed applications.

A “first impressions” review of the Garnet VM for Nokia's N810 can be found at InternetTabletTalk, here.

Nokia's N800 has been shipping for about a year. Nokia is currently in the final stages of shipping the new keyboard-equipped N810.

Henry Kingman

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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