We have been tracking the progress of PalmOS based devices and are aware of Palm's recent announcement that they are redirecting all their efforts to their new WebOS based products and de-emphasizing their PalmOS based efforts.
It is important to realize, that regardless of announcements, there are still new PalmOS based units available now and existing PalmOS based units will continue to work for a very long time. There is also a HUGE market of existing PalmOS devices as they are one of the most commonly deployed handheld devices for mobile data collection and dissemination (you'd be surprised how widely used). The platform and hardware under it is very, very sturdy.
We are well connected with the PalmOS developer community and even the most conservative estimates put the time that organizations need to start retiring existing PalmOS based equipment at the 2013-2015 mark. The important point we need to stress is there is no impending end to the software, hardware or operation of that equipment in the near- or mid-term.
That said, we are always looking forward to new directions and technologies.
Please keep in mind that while the Palm Pre bears the Palm name, the underlying software shares absolutely nothing with the venerable PalmOS. Porting StudentsToGo, for example, would be no less than a complete re-write of the application (as would porting to an iPhone or any other platform). Such an effort is extensive and would consume a huge quantity of resources.
To that end, our current explorations are on expanding and extending the MobileWeb product line. You can see it in operation now, and it's a good starting point for our future. We would suggest reviewing this product in detail, and if you notice areas where it does not meet your needs, or where there are usability issues, let us know. Of course, we're pursuing expanding and enhancing MobileWeb already, but the more data points we receive, the better it will be able to meet your needs.
Our current belief is that the future is both wireless and web-based. Between wide-access to WiFi on most campuses, growing access to 3G/EDGE/LTE wide-area wireless (WWAN) and the large and growing selection of devices with support for both, this appears to be the future direction.
We are still researching the next-step on the handheld front and at the moment, do not have specific timelines or feature lists to share (yet). We also have a number of fairly high profile projects in active development at this time. Development and planning continue, but we will not likely have any specific announcements until next year.
Until then, there are some very concrete facts:
- PalmOS is still alive, well and strongly supported
- PalmOS devices are still plentifully available from a variety of sources
- Existing PalmOS based devices will continue to function for many years
- Our future product will be based on modern web-based mobile devices that support Wifi and/or 3G/LTE or other WWAN technologies. They will not require per-device installation and will have at least the same power as Permanent Record (though obviously with a more mobile device oriented interface).
While not all devices may be up to the task of supporting a rich web-based interface, known contenders at this time are: iPhones (and iTouch, for places without WWAN access), Palm Pre (and future Palm WebOS based phones, like the Pixi), Android based phones and, most likely, Windows Mobile based devices running Mobile 6.5 or later. Right now, the state web browsers in devices like the RIM BlackBerry line mean it may not be a good candidate, but this is a fast evolving area and we'll evaluate supported devices again when we are closer to announcement.
We hope this answers your questions, but please do feel free to ask if you have any others. We're open to hearing suggestions and will let you know when we do have a concrete announcement about future handheld SPM access.