Palm Must Survive
By Hervé St-Louis
April 12, 2010 - 19:20
Palm, the Sunnyvale company that created the personal digital assistant (pda) and the smartphone is in trouble. Palm's association with Verizon was not successful and the employees at Verizon just don't want people to buy Palm Pres and Pixis. They keep discouraging them and telling them to buy Motorola Droids instead.
Palm itself made a bunch of errors which I blame on the company's size. With about 1000 employees, they have overstretched their capabilities to the max. When the Palm Pre came out in June 2009, the software development kit (SDK) wasn't ready. They also launched on Sprint and Bell, not the best partners to have in the mobile world. Then they had the creepy lady ad campaign which spook people more than it inspired them to buy Palm Pre phones. When the Pixi came out, Sprint asked Palm to remove the wi-fi features. Don't ask. The Pixi is too small even though many people say its keyboard is better than a Blackberry phone.
Palm is out of cash and hurting with loads of inventory unsold. The Palm Pre to my opinion is the best mobile phone because it runs webOS, the best mobile operating system on the market.
Palm says it's considering many options for it survival. It's considering licensing webOS, it's considering another cash injection and finally, it's also willing to be bought by another company with deeper pockets.
Favourites include Google, HTC, Motorola, BLackBerry, Lenovo and Cisco.
With Google, the webOS would probably be chopped off and added in bits to Android, Google's mobile operating system. Android just isn't there yet. It can't play video games, like the Palm Pre, it's not polished, it doesn't have the best user interface. Google, I've read probably has always been jealous of Palm's webOS and probably wished they had invented it. If Google gets Palm, they should just ditch Android and use webOS. They copuld still make all the apps work easily. Google Chrome was Google's answer to webOS, but it still doesn't have the internal consistency and beauty of Palm's mobile operating system.
if Taiwan-based HTC buys webOS, it will be a loss for America. HTC would probably do well with webOS, but its chief motivation for Palm is probably the extensive patents portfolio Palm has created over the years which have thus far shield Palm from law suits from Apple.
Motorola is too poor to buy Palm.
BlackBerry could do it, but they are too slow to act and change their act while facing a sinking ship. Would BlackBerry do Palm justice and make it work. Would BlackBerry swallow its pride and put webOS on its next generation devices?
I don't know much about Lenovo. I know they are from mainland China and they bought the ThinkPad division from IBM a few years ago. They seem to do well with that.
Finally there's Cisco. Cisco is the same company that fought Apple in 2007 over the trade-mark "iPhone." At the time the companies settled out of court and Apple was allowed to use the iPhone trade-mark. The companies, at the time had announced that it was very unlikely that they would both operate in the same space eventually. But it's been written that the iPod Touch is now competing with the Flip, the small digital camera popularized by Cisco. Cisco has lots of money, more than Apple, more than Google. if someone can do something with Palm, they are the ones.
I would like to see Cisco take over Palm, if Palm is no longer viable. It's a match made in heaven with a serious backing for Palm and an opportunity to wow people and the market. Since Cisco has been reported as being in talks already, I'm crossing my fingers on that one.
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