Tag Archives | Palm

Palm’s Spectacular Hail Mary: Pre Smartphone and WebOS Operating System

I’m going to have lots more to say about the demo of Palm’s upcoming Pre smartphone and WebOS that just ended here at CES in Las Vegas in a bit–but for now I’ll just link you to Ryan Block’s coverage at GDGT and share some photos I took. The device looks very impressive and the OS looks exceptional, and neither is an iPhone knockoff. It’s very dangerous to get too excited about a product based on a demo–and Palm is only saying the Pre will ship in the first half of this year (on Sprint). But this is by far the most impressive Palm demo I’ve seen since I first saw the original PalmPilot in 1995. If the Pre lives up to its unveiling today, it’s not hard to imagine being a huge hit and the beginning of a mobile platform that matters as much as the original Palm OS did in its day.

Photos after the jump…

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A Few Details About Palm’s New Phone?

CrunchGear is reporting just enough rumor about the first phone based on Palm’s upcoming “Nova” OS to be tantalizing but unsatisfying: It’ll supposedly have a slide-out keyboard and a software store. And the new OS is said to be “amazing.” I’m looking forward to Thursday’s Palm event at CES, when all–or at least more than nothing, which is what we know for sure now–will be revealed…

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Dear Twitter: Please Don’t Become Palm

palm-twitterDear Twitter,

Got a second?

Almost everybody who folllows my online adventures closely knows I’m a fan of yours. I Tweet up a storm at my own www.twitter.com/harrymccracken feed and there’s also a technologizer one that automatically Tweets every Technologizer story.  When friends tell me they don’t understand you, I evangelize on your behalf. I can’t think of a tech product or service I use every day that I take more pleasure in.

But I’m increasingly concerned about you. Simply put, you seem to be profoundly complacent on multiple fronts. A few examples (all of which plenty of people have pointed out before me)…

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Can Nova Save Palm?

mancallednovaBusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows has a good piece up on Palm’s upcoming next-generation phone operating system, which is code-named “Nova.” The story doesn’t give away any real details on the new platform, other than to confirm that it’ll be unveiled at CES next month. (I’ll be at the event  and will liveblog it here at Technologizer.) But as recent articles about Palm go, it’s surprisingly upbeat, pointing out that Palm product chief Jon Rubenstein was a key player at Apple during that company’s unexpected comeback, and that he’s hired lots of smart folks to pump life back into Palm’s ailing, aging product lineup.

Palm may have gone through extended, public agony trying to come up with an all-new OS for its phones, but it’s effectively clamped down on leaks about its look, feel, and functionality. That sets up its CES launch for one of two likely scenarios: a consensus that Nova is surprisingly good and possibly worth the interminable wait, or one that it’s a disappointing laggard that won’t revive Palm’s fortunes. I’m not betting on any scenario, but as a longtime Palm customer who still feels a twinge of guilt for having abandoned its products, I’d certainly be tickled if reality was closer to the first one.

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Double Whammy of Economy and Apple is Doing Palm In

palmlogoPalm sure is having a rough go of it. For all intents and purposes, the company is getting it from both sides as intense competition from Apple eats into its already lagging market share and the economy worsens. This adds up to a lot of pressure on the company’s bottom line, and whenever that happens you know layoffs are not far behind.

Valleywag is reporting that Palm will layoff about 10 percent of its workforce. The company is confirming that the reports of job losses are correct, however it wouldn’t confirm the number. With about 1,000 employees, this would mean about 100 or so will find themselves out of work really soon if the reports are correct.

I can’t see why they would not be. Look at the company’s stock price. It has taken an absolute beating, falling from a September high of around $8.50 a share in September to $2.24 as of the stock market close Friday. That means the company has lost nearly 75% of its market value in just two months.

Secondly, the market share issue. Just using enterprise market share shows how fast Palm has fallen. In February 2007, the company held about 22 percent of the market, according to ChangeWave Research. Now, it holds only five percent. Compare this to Apple. It has gone from no market share to 22 percent in that same period.

Pretty obvious where Apple is getting its newfound marketshare from, isn’t it?

Add to this that the company is currently undergoing some restructuring under new chairman Jon Rubenstein, and the layoffs do make sense. Of course, these are happening at a horrible time, and its going to be tough for folks handed the pink slips to find comparable work.

Bottom line is it has to be done. The company is quite vulnerable right now, and if it does not act quickly, it could find itself in a whole its not going to be able to dig itself out of.


iPhones: Built Like Tanks, Slippery Like Eels?

iphone4Extended warranty merchant SquareTrade has released a study on iPhone reliability, based on data from folks who have bought warranties for iPhones and other phone models. The news is mostly good, but not entirely so. To summarize:

1) iPhones are significantly less likely to malfunction than BlackBerries or Treos during their first year, with 5.6% of owners reporting trouble (11.9% of BlackBerry owners did, and 16.2% of Treo owners did);

2) SquareTrade’s extrapolation indicates that they’ll also be less likely to have issues during the second year;

3) The most common iPhone problems relate to its touchscreen, followed by software/features and call quality;

4) iPhones are more likely to suffer accidental damage inflicted upon them by their owners, through actions such as being dropped–SquareTrade says it’s an “incredibly slippery” phone.

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The Fuzzy-Wuzzy World of Tech Spy Shots

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Technologizer will be liveblogging the Apple notebook event on 10/14/2008 @ 10am PT. Please join us.]

So Engadget has published a shot of what might be a next-generation MacBook built with an innovative manufacturing process:

The shot has several things in common with most tech-product spy shots:

1) It’s of an unannounced but eagerly-anticipated product;

2) Nobody really knows whether it’s real or not, except, maybe, for the person who leaked it;

3) It’s a horrible photo, one that’s fuzzy and which otherwise just doesn’t show the product in question in a manner that would help anyone judge its veracity.

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The Treo Pro: Finally Offically Official

“With the Treo Pro, Palm Inc…shows it, too, can innovate.” That’s how a Dow Jones story on Palm’s new smartphone starts off…and it’s a jarring, unfair note on which to begin it. Yes, Palm has seen more than its fair share of woes in recent years, many of them self-inflicted. But this is a company with a rich history of innovation–if you were to list the most important and influential mobile gadgets of all time, both the PalmPilot and the original Treo would rank high. Palm surely wants to prove that it can innovate again, but history is not going to look back at this company as an also-ran.

The Treo Pro, which Palm announced today after a couple of false starts, is entirely evolutionary. Pace Dow Jones, but I’m not sure if there’s anything truly innovative at all about it–what it is is a much-needed and overdue refresh of the basic Treo design, which had changed amazingly little since the release of the Treo 600 back in 2003. But a phone doesn’t have to be particularly innovative to be sexy, and the Treo Pro is the first Treo since the 650 that can reasonably be described as sexy…

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