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/

Mobile OS winners: iPhone, Palm WebOS, Android

At least that’s what Aral Balkan thinks, and I’m tempted to agree.


“WTF?” I hear you say – what about all those years of Symbian and Windows Mobile dominating the market?

Well, these are great operating systems, and they deserve a lot of credit. But from *today’s* perspective, they bet on the wrong horse.

What makes the iPhone, WebOS and Android different are three main things:

  • As stupid as it sounds, the fact that you could only buy the phones with a data plan finally proved the point that connected devices are far more usable as non-connected devices. Yes, you could use all those other smartphones online as well, but people only seriously started doing this (in numbers) when they were ‘forced’ to buy proper data plans.
  • Having many more users with ONLINE smartphones paved the way to app stores and mobile consumption of online services. They also had proper browsers that you could really use on the go for the first time (don’t give me Opera Mobile now – please….).
  • The three mobile operating systems above were designed with ONLINE in mind, and they only make sense in online scenarios. This point is made very well every time I leave the country and can not afford the rip-off data roaming rates, which turns my great iPhone 3GS into a quite bulky iPod that can’t even do GPS without data.

Now the next step is affordable data roaming. I’m pretty sure this will happen over the next few years.

The first step towards this may be – strangely enough – that Amazon started selling the Kindle (US version) in the rest of the world. I heard someone from the US say yesterday that he’d be buying an international Kindle in the US (!) to use it on international trips.

If that kind of madness doesn’t trigger innovation nothing will.

Ewan’s garage (…) sale

My favourite scotsman is moving houses once again (he failed to explain me why the UK housing market works so strangely) and needs to get rid of some stuff. As he’s been a gadget reviewer and general geek for quite some time, there’s some interesting stuff to be had:

“* Two Palm Organisers
* Two Psion Organisers
* An air hockey table game
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer Top Trumps
* A couple of MP3 players
* Light up yo-yo’s, star jacks and electronic dice
* A bundle of classic Sci-Fi posters
* A rubber band ball (3-4″ diameter)
* A Sony Mavica Digital Camera
* I’ve 5 massive boxes of VHS videos and another 2 boxes the same size of audio cassettes. I know there’s good stuff in there, but I can’t write it all down.
* And much much more…”

So, go read his post and find out how you can participate!