Hello webOS, RIP Palm OS

In a conference call to investors on Wednesday, Palm CEO Ed Colligan officially announced the end of life for Palm OS (RIP 1996-2009). There will no longer be any new Palm smartphones using Palm OS, instead the focus for them would be on the new webOS and Windows Mobile. You bet there will be many Palm lovers mourning this death.

Looking at the bright side, the new webOS from Palm is generating excitement and hype ever since it was demonstrated on a brand new Palm Pre smartphone at CES in January. Many has called it the closest challenge to Apple iPhone based on the slickness and usability of the webOS.

Palm Pre will also be the first smartphone other than iPhone to feature multitouch capability. Colligan reiterated that Palm is not too concerned about any potential litigation from Apple. Apple was awarded recently for patents covering touch screen and multi-touch user interface. He mentioned that Pre will have an app store and Palm will not control its content like in Apple’s App Store.

Palm Pre is rumored to launch anytime now, starting with Sprint. It will expand to other US carriers in 2010. International launch is also expected. Latest leak specs indicate that it will have MMS and support data tethering (phone-as-modem) via bluetooth or USB. These two are features lacking in iPhone.