Palm's announced event at this year's Consumer Electronics Show will bring about both its overhauled Nova operating system and a new smartphone to match, according to sources tipping off BusinessWeek. Few details are available for what will appear at the January 8th gathering, though the OS is already known to switch to a Linux-based platform that will run legacy apps in emulation. The magazine also backs company statements which have noted the phone would start a new model line using Nova that would sit in between the basic Centro and professional Treo.
Elevation Partners financier Roger McNamee, whose firm is helping support Palm, has publicly said the mystery phone is unlike "anything on the market."
Nova and the new smartphone are both considered essential to Palm's survival. The company has been posting regular losses and is believed to have as little as a year and a half of cash on hand if its current performance continues. The company has recently obtained permission to take on debt that may let it either run for longer or else invest more heavily in development.
Palm has enjoyed a relative resurgence in popularity with the Centro, which is one of the least expensive smartphones available, but has had little success in revitalizing its fortunes at the more lucrative high end despite the launches of the redesigned Treo 800w and Treo Pro; the new phone is expected to generate the first fruit from Palm's hiring of former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein, who has reshuffled Palm's engineering and is thought to have influenced the cosmetic design of current Palm phones.