It has been quite a couple of years for Palm, that grand old man of handheld technology. The Pilot glory days long forgotten, they were written off as dead for ages. Then iPod creator Jon Rubinstein came over from Apple, they jettisoned the Treo line and the PalmOS to create webOS and the Palm Pre which took the tech world by storm…at least for a couple weeks.
For a little while everyone in the tech world seemed convinced that the Palm Pre had at least a chance at slowing Apple’s iPhone down when it was released about a year and a half ago…but that didn’t last too long. Almost immediately it was heavily discounted as Sprint panicked, then both the Pre and it’s follow up, the Pixi, were viewed ultimately as disappointments, despite the fact that webOS seemed to be a winner. Since then, Palm had slowly been lapsing back into unimportance….but despite being purchased by HP that slide may yet be reversed again.
Now it has been two months since former archenemy HP purchased the remains of Palm for just over a billion dollars. A few days ago Palm’s shareholders met and agreed to accept the deal amid a whole sea of Vice Presidents and top designers jumping ship before the Hewlett-Packard types started showing up and stealing their parking spaces. Blood in the water?
The deal will finalize on Thursday, Jul1st…and there is one very interesting fact that emerged from the Palm shareholders meeting. Jon Rubinstein, the Palm CEO that had been due to face the music over the failure of the Pre before the sale, and who many people assumed would be on his way out anyway if HP were simply buying the company to gut it for the webOS, isn;t leaving.
In fact, not only is Rubinstein staying but he is heading up the newly reorganized mobile products division for HP. Rumbles at the shareholders meeting indicated that Rubinstein and his new division already had an ambitious roadmap being planned, built around the webOS. Think about it, a whole range of iPaq Tablets and handhelds designed with an iPod/Palm Pre sensibility, running webOS. Could Palm’s best days still be yet to come? Who could have seen this one coming a year ago?
The tech world sure is strange….I can’t wait to see what happens next.