in Blogging

R.I.P. Palm

Come on, admit it: we all knew the Pre would not save Palm, didn’t we?

I mean, I must have bought/used Palm’s complete product line back in the 90s, but they really lost me with the Treo. They dropped the ball a few years ago when the competition started to do ‘proper’ USB, synced to Outlook without 3rd party software. Turning to Windows Mobile made Palm into e “me too” company, so I didn’t even take notice of their new stuff anymore.

Had the Pre come out before the iPhone it might have had a chance. Not that it’s technically necessarily worse, but it has lost the fight for developers before it even hit the market. The type of developer that is attracted by making money fast will certainly aim for the iPhone. Open source developers are much better off developing for Android, which also has a well established marketplace.

So, what would make anyone develop for the Pre? That’s a question I find hard to answer.

The marketplace seems to agree – this is what the Wall Street Journal writes:

“As we mentioned in our press release, our softer than expected performance is due to slower than expected customer adoption of our products, which in turn has prompted our U.S. carrier partners to put additional orders on hold for the time being.”

This means that the carriers have unsold inventory and will not buy any more devices from Palm. This happens at a time where the iPad will soon be here and new Android devices are appearing in the store any other week.

From a consumer side I can’t see a lot of buzz for the Pre either. O2 has TV spots in germany, but I have yet to see someone I know use a Pre.

OK, who wants to disagree…?

UPDATE 2010-03-22: Seems like I have a point: http://www.mondaynote.com/2010/03/21/who-will-buy-palm/

Leave a Reply

  1. OK, I'll give it a shot:

    While Palm is clearly on the rocks, reports of its death are highly exaggerated.

    I would first argue that the present incarnation of Palm has little to do with the Palm of the past, so drawing conclusions based upon your likes or dislikes of the Treo are not going to be of much predictive value for the present situation. I say that because Palm basically made a really bold move with the Pre. It recognized what many people had been saying about Palm's legacy weighing it down. So it broke with the past and produced a device that with two important characteristics: 1) It jumped to the forefront of present technology, and in doing so, 2) make the device incompatible with its previous offerings.

    I can't tell you if Palm will survive or not. Superior technology is often not the determining factor in the success of a company. One look at Microsoft should make that clear. That said, however, the Pre is a remarkable device. In many people's opinions, mine included, WebOS bests the iPhone at its own game. And my personal opinion is that had Palm NOT come out with the Pre, it would be far worse off than it is today. So in that sense, the Pre gamble has already paid off: Palm is still alive.

    I believe what Robert McNamee said is true: there is room for Palm in the world. It doesn't have to sell better than an iPhone in order for Palm to do well. A lot depends upon Palm's ability to manage its image. The Pre hardware is not spectacular, but it is good. WebOS IS spectacular. I've given up using my iPhone because I find Palm's software far more comfortable to work with in a business setting (I don't care much about games). I really need to have mail, web, calendar, and contacts all running at the same time, just as I do on my desktop system (imagine trying to get business done on your desktop/laptop computer and only being able to run one program at a time… it would be unusable, and that's the way it is with a handheld device, too).

    So my conclusion is that Palm has avoided one bullet, and now has some promising material to work with.

    Lets see what Palm does. Palm is down, but not out.

  2. OK, I'll give it a shot:

    While Palm is clearly on the rocks, reports of its death are highly exaggerated.

    I would first argue that the present incarnation of Palm has little to do with the Palm of the past, so drawing conclusions based upon your likes or dislikes of the Treo are not going to be of much predictive value for the present situation. I say that because Palm basically made a really bold move with the Pre. It recognized what many people had been saying about Palm's legacy weighing it down. So it broke with the past and produced a device that with two important characteristics: 1) It jumped to the forefront of present technology, and in doing so, 2) make the device incompatible with its previous offerings.

    I can't tell you if Palm will survive or not. Superior technology is often not the determining factor in the success of a company. One look at Microsoft should make that clear. That said, however, the Pre is a remarkable device. In many people's opinions, mine included, WebOS bests the iPhone at its own game. And my personal opinion is that had Palm NOT come out with the Pre, it would be far worse off than it is today. So in that sense, the Pre gamble has already paid off: Palm is still alive.

    I believe what Roger McNamee said is true: there is room for Palm in the world. It doesn't have to sell better than an iPhone in order for Palm to do well. A lot depends upon Palm's ability to manage its image. The Pre hardware is not spectacular, but it is good. WebOS IS spectacular. I've given up using my iPhone because I find Palm's software far more comfortable to work with in a business setting (I don't care much about games). I really need to have mail, web, calendar, and contacts all running at the same time, just as I do on my desktop system (imagine trying to get business done on your desktop/laptop computer and only being able to run one program at a time… it would be unusable, and that's the way it is with a handheld device, too).

    So my conclusion is that Palm has avoided one bullet, and now has some promising material to work with.

    Lets see what Palm does. Palm is down, but not out.