Palm devices are Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) which run Palm OS.

Palm Pilot was the name of the first generation of personal digital assistants manufactured by Palm Computing in 1996, which is the first device manufactured ever to be introduced to the market as a PDA, so the phrase PDA became a synonym for Palm devices regardless of there brand (palm pilot, handheld,… etc.).


Palm OS is a proprietary, compact operating system to power mobile devices. Designed in 1996 for Palm Computing, Inc.’s new Pilot PDA, it has been implemented on a wide array of mobile devices, including smartphones, wrist watches, handheld gaming consoles, barcode readers and GPS devices.

Palm OS versions below 5.0 run on Motorola/Freescale m68k processors, especially on Freescale DragonBall processors. From version 5.0 onwards, Palm OS runs on ARM architecture-based processors

The key features of the current Palm OS (Garnet 5.4) are:
Simple, single-tasking environment to allow launching of full screen applications with a basic, common GUI set
* Monochrome or color screens with resolutions up to 480×320
* Handwriting recognition input system called Graffiti 2
* HotSync technology for synchronization with desk top computers
* Sound playback and record capabilities
* Simple security model: Device can be locked by password, arbitrary application records can be made private
* TCP/IP network access
* Serial/USB, Infrared, Bluetooth and WiFi connections
* Expansion memory card support (Licensees have implemented: SD, MMC, MS, CF, miniSD)

Included with the OS is also a set of standard applications, with the most relevant ones dedicated for personal information management.

Palm OS licensees decide which applications are included on their Palm OS devices. Licensees can also customize the applications. Below are some of the most common PalmSource applications included with the Palm OS:

P.S the pic. r 4 old versions so don’t get shocked from the colors.

Address book – contacts

The Palm’s Address program stores contact information, keyed by any of several user-definable categories. Entries are displayed and sorted in last name, first name order (this can be changed only to Company, Last Name order). There are five slots for phone or e-mail, each of which may be designated Work, Home, Fax, Other, E-mail, Main, Pager or Mobile (the slot designations cannot be changed).

Starting with the OS version 5.2.1 on Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E a customized version of this application was released, not developed by PalmSource, but by PalmOne, called Contacts.


Blazer is a web browser for Palm handhelds. The versions 1.0 and 2.0 run on Palm OS 3.1 or higher handhelds, but they needed a proxy server which has been shut down, so they can no longer be used. Version 3.0 is used on the Treo 600 smartphone. The current version of Blazer is Blazer 4.5, which is compliant with most major standards. It is generally bundled with newer smartphones and newer Palm devices capable of accessing the Internet.


Calc turns the Palm into a standard 4-function pocket calculator with three shades of purple and blue buttons contrasting with the two red clear buttons. It supports square root and percent keys and has one memory.

It also has an option to display a running history of the calculations, much like the paper-tape calculators that were once common.

Starting in Palm OS v. 5.4 Garnet, the calculator has a menu option to switch to an advanced mode, which features several button layouts that pertain to specific jobs. These modes include: Math, Trig, Finance, Logic, Statistics, Weight/Tmp, Length, Area, and Volume. Date book – calendar

Date Book shows a daily or weekly schedule, or a simple monthly view. The daily schedule has one line per hour, between user-selected begin and end times. Clicking on an empty line creates a new appointment. Empty lines are crowded out by actual appointments, whose start and stop times are shown by default bracketed in the left margin.

An appointment can be heralded by an alarm, any number of minutes, hours or days before it begins. These alarms sound even when the unit is switched off.

Appointments can recur in a specified number of days, weeks, months or years — and can contain notes.

Starting with the OS version 5.2.1 on Tungsten T3, Tungsten E, Palm Inc. released their own version of this application, called Calendar. It allows categorisation of events, as well as coloured categories and featuring a summary screen similar to that found on Windows Mobile devices.

It is possible to export the Palm datebook to the iCalendar format thanks to the KDE program named KPilot, under Linux.


The Expense application allows a user to track common business expenses. No totals are calculated on the Palm. The user must sync with a host computer and view the expense data in a worksheet (templates for Microsoft Excel are supplied). NOTE: Not included on all Palm OS devices.


The HotSync application provides integration with the user’s PC. Usually activated by a press of the physical HotSync button on the Palm’s cradle (a dock station), this application communicates with various conduits on the desktop PC to install software, backup databases, or merge changes made on the PC or the handheld to both devices.

In addition to the conduits provided by the licensee, developers can create their own conduits for integration with other Palm OS applications and desktop products. For example, a time tracking package could provide a conduit to communicate information between Palm OS and Windows executables.

A Backup conduit included with the HotSync software backs up (and restores, if necessary) most of the data on a Palm OS device. This allows users to hard reset their Palm — thus, clearing all of the data — with few noticeable consequences. This also allows users to migrate to new Palm devices of the same Palm OS version, a feature that is helpful to those who lose or damage their device.

Some models of Palm keep their data storage in volatile memory and require constant power to maintain their memory. Although these handhelds attempt to save the contents of memory in low battery situations by not “turning on,” leaving a “dead” handheld for an extended period of time can cause this reserve power to be used up and the contents of storage memory to be lost. Some later Palms use NVRAM or microdrive for storage. Memo pad – memos

The Memo Pad can hold notes of up to 4,000 characters, keyed to user-configurable categories. Memos are ordered in two ways: alphabetically, and manually (which allows the user to choose the order of the memos). Memo Pad is for text, not for drawings. For this reason, text in Memo Pad must be entered using the Graffiti alphabet.

Starting with the OS version 5.2.1 on Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E, PalmOne, Inc. released their own version of this application, called Memos, and the limit has been increased to 32Kb.

Note pad

Drawings go in Note Pad. With neat handwriting, about 10 words will fit on one page; for more text, Memo Pad is the better choice. There are three sizes of pen width, plus an eraser and a background color change feature in some models. It is possible to draw a very simple map.

Note Pad appeared on most Palm PDAs starting with Palm OS 4.0; certain PDAs with previous versions of Palm OS did not include this application, except Palm m100 with OS 3.51.

To do list/tasks

Also referred to as Task list. This is a convenient place to create personal reminders and prioritize the things you have to do. Each To Do List item may also have: a priority, categories (to organize and view items in logical groups), attached Note (to add more description and clarification of the task). To Do List item can be sorted by: due date, priority or category.

Starting with the OS version 5.2.1 on Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E PalmOne, Inc. released their own version of this application, called Tasks, in which alarms may be assigned to tasks, and can be made to repeat.

Palm photos

The original PalmPilots did not include a photo viewer. To fill this gap, in 1997 Art Dahm created Image Viewer III, one of the first and most popular independent consumer applications for Palm. Since then, at least a dozen photo programs have been released for Palm.

As of 2006, most new Palm handhelds include Palm Photos, which creates a digital photo album used to view pictures on a Palm OS device. As with all the other photo programs, photos can be beamed to other mobile devices. Each photo can be labeled and organized into separate photo albums. A slideshow can also be shown for a specific album, and each photo in the album will be shown full screen.

Photos can be edited with the Palm Photos PC software (Windows only), and when the photos are transferred to the handheld they will contain all changes made to the photo.

The Palm Photos software is available in the Zire 71, Tungsten C, Tungsten E, Tungsten T2, Tungsten T3 and several others. Palm Z22 uses a lite version of SplashPhoto.

With Palm OS 5.28 (Zire 72), Palm Photos has been replaced by the Media application, which also manages and displays video files and edits photos.

Voice recording

Some models feature the ability to make voice recordings which are synced using the Voice conduit and can be viewed under Mac OS with the Voice Memo application which is part of the Palm Desktop Suite.

At present, most models do not have Voice Memo capability. This list of Palm products shows which current models have Voice Memo: The Treo 700p, LifeDrive, Tungsten “T”(T2, T3, but not the T5, etc.), and Zire 72 models. Palm’s Treo 700w also includes voice recording, but this device runs Windows Mobile.


Also referred to as Prefs. Preferences works as a second launcher allowing the user to launch program files with the ‘panl’ type. Programs can be changed by switching the ‘appl’ type to ‘panl’ and vice versa. Palm OS contains approximately 15 preference panels by default and new preference panels can be added just like any other application.

Preference panels allow users to manage a number of setting including Graffiti settings, sound settings, text shortcuts, network settings and the system time.


The Security application (which is a panel on newer Palm OS devices) allows users to specify a password needed to display hidden records and unlock the device when locked, as well as setup an automatic lock down time or inactivity threshold. On the PC, only Palm Desktop honors this password but other PC programs can view everything–in other words, all the data protected by this password can be seen by anyone opening the .dat files using a text editor or word processor. While it may be tempting to use this as an excuse to switch to Microsoft Outlook, some people say “password recovery” programs can analzye Outlook .PST files to reveal the password instantly; this is unproven however, and not in everyone’s experience.

When using Palm devices in secure environments there is a primary concern:

* Data on the Palm can be retrieved if the Palm is lost or stolen.

There are many successful applications that can be installed on a Palm OS device. As of August 2005, there are more than 20,000 third-party applications available for the Palm OS platform, which have various licensing types, including open-source, freeware, shareware, and traditional commercial applications.

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