The Sound of One Palm Clapping

Posted by Zealot on Jun 15, 2008

closeThis post was published 6 years 8 months 16 days ago which may make its actuality or expire date not be valid anymore. This site is not responsible for any misunderstanding.

As most pundits tell us this has been the “Year of the iPhone” with reportedly the “Year of the 3G iPhone” just now beginning, it is easy to forget that other operating systems besides the iPhone and it’s arch rival Windows Mobile still exist. For one thing, the best selling phone software by an enormous margin is still Symbian. Think of it as the iPod of phones…market share from here till Christmas. In addition, the company which arguably created the first modern “do it all workhorse” smartphone, Palm, is still in there slugging.

palm_centro_rainbow GI Sure, Palm is being drubbed silly due to the fact it hasn’t released a new OS update since what seems like 1956, but Treos are still a fixture on lots of conference room tables…but according to a recent article on DailyTech, Treos are not what is keeping the company afloat at the moment, nor what actually INCREASED it’s market share by 5 percent this year to 13 percent of the global smartphone market according to IDC as quoted by DailyTech.

The humble 99 buck Centro, the Eee of smartphones, has been the last defense of a former market leader. Since it’s debut in October of last year, more then one million have been sold (making it the fastest seller in Palm history) and the company is expecting to sell 2 million total in 2008.

I think they will make it. The Centro is a great entry level smartphone. Small, cute, Treo style QWERTY keyboard, with just enough bang for the buck and carried bya trifecta of AT&T, Sprint AND Verizon…what’s not to like? Sure it’s old OS, 64MB Internal memory, fashion colors and no WiFi makes this phone an object of scorn for power users…but most of the world isn’t made up of powerusers. The Centro takes advantage of a simple OS, a great screen, a quality keyboard and the vast, unstoppable allure of endless third party Palm apps (Like Apple’s App Store x20) to be the perfect phone for one million people and counting.

Palm is currently focusing all it’s R&D on a make or break new OS slated for debut in 2009. I left the Palm camp for WinMo when I got tired of waiting for the long expected new OS, Cobalt…which ended up as vapourwear. If the operating system finally released next year is as innovative as I know Palm can be, I quite likely will find myself with a new Treo in my future….or maybe a Centro for Power Users. To be honest, it will feel like coming home.

Zealot (839 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook

By day a department manager and writer for a major network device night Zealot stalks the mean magnetic streets, striking fear into the hearts of bandwidth abusers and theme park mascots. Zealot has been involved with mobile devices for more than a decade now, starting off with dumb phones, moving to PDAs and then to smartphones, notebooks and netbooks with the odd PMP thrown in. Most of his mobile time currently is spent on a Treo Pro, Zune HD, Thinkpad T61, HP Mini 311, iPod Touch 3G, iPad 16G or a Hackintoshed Compaq Mini 704. He proudly groks the Geek community and considers himself a Neo Maxi Zune Dweebie (thanks Wil Wheaton!).


  • marianne

    I must say that I’m one of those former Palm fans who is thoroughly disappointed with Palm’s lack of innovation and recent products. Why is it going to take them until 2009 to put out their new OS? With all the effort that’s going into this, it had better be good. And, for the love of God, make it stable! My Treo 680 and Treo 600 were absolutely terrible – with hardly any 3rd party applications on them, they crashed regularly and I felt like I could never rely on them when I needed them most. My iPhone, Apple’s *first* attempt at a phone, is 10 times more stable than my Treo 680 was. I hope John Rubinstein is teaching Palm R&D a few lessons he learned at Apple…

  • the undude

    a new os from palm would be just the beginning of the work palm needs to execute flawlessly. add to the list excellent design, compelling price-points and some way to encourage isvs to develop awesome applications on the new platform

  • Zealot

    Flawless execution is certainly going to be a must. They will need to win back retailers who feel burned by them and show they deserve shelf space.

    Hardware design has never been their problem, and I would not be surprised if they were not already looking to port the new OS into third party devices.

    As for encouraging developers to create Apps, Palm’s greatest strength has always been the loyalty and fervor of their development community. They are STILL putting out great apps for Garnet, as old as it is. If Palm puts out the OS, the devs will come.

  • doogald

    I think that there are two markets for smartphone users – the geek crowd like us, who care about which technologies and OSes are offered, and a far higher non-technical market which cares more about price, basic functionality, ease of use – and looking cool.

    A successful POS smartphone at a low price point, even with an aging OS, shows that it’s possible to succeed so long as you demonstrate good value to consumers. The only possible problem that POS may face is an inevitable increase in functionality of basic, “non-smart” mobile phones. If the manufacturers can figure out how to make them easy to use, the Centro may not look so desirable.

  • Steven James

    With Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Linux, and MacOS (iPhone) I highly doubt that Palm could have anything further to offer in the small-device operating system. They would be better off concentrating their efforts on UI and hardware design, as well as leveraging their well-known name in the business device market. The iPhone has only just added enterprise support, and at a fairly high cost. Marketing their experience and history would work well for Palm, I think.

  • Zealot

    I agree completely that there must be more they can do with the trust the business community has in Palm. Now that early indications is that iPhone 3G is not cutting much more ice in the business community then the first iPhone did, there may be a window of opportunity. Perhaps there is some market to be taken back from Symbian or Blackberry.

    Looking around my office, Smartphone wise, I would say we are 70 percent Symbian, 25 percent WinMo (mainly HTC) and a few iPhones and Blackberries scattered about. Of those users, I can’t think of any that are devoted to Symbian, where as the WinMo or other OS users tend to be dedicated to their brand. Perhaps Symbian is a nut that Palm’s business rep can crack a bit.

  • the undude

    I agree with Steven James 100%.


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