Sunday, June 14, 2009

Palm's Options

There's been a lot of talk about the Pre and how it is Sprint and Palm's hope to collectively gain marketshares in their respective market strike a blow against their competitors.

By all estimates, Palm sold about 55,000 Pre before they ran out of stock.  Before Apple's WWDC keynote when new iPhones were introduced and due to go on sale on June 19th.  Still Pom will have nearly two weeks all itself (assuming the $100 price drop of the iPhone 3G doesn't stunt demand for the Pre).

Still, Palm faces an onslaught of competition beyond the iPhone as other mobile device makers gear up for their summer lineup.  I'm talking about Storm 2 and G2 (G1 is likely to continue to be available, with a price drop being likely).  Windows Mobile 6.5 should also get into the mix with great momentum (however, any excitement is likely confined to WM loyalists until WM 7 comes out in 2010).  Though I've only been able to find one phone, ATT and Samsung's Jack (for $99 with contract).  It'll ship with 6.1 but upgradable to 6.5.

There will be a lot of debates about Palm's future and what path they should take.  I think mobile warriors all over should pay close attention as this may change the mobile landscape, how mobile providers operate, and pace of innovation and 4G network deployment.

There are facts and developments at Palm that you should know about:

  • Jon Rubinstein has been appointed the CEO of Palm.  He's likely to bring further Apple-like changes to the company.  This might compel Apple to double its effort to innovate the iPhone platform to try and put more distance between the iPhone OS and the Pre WebOS, which many bloggers and tech watchers determined to be the closest challenge to the iPhone (Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile dominates the market in terms of marketshare).
  • Palm has many former Apple engineers who helped with the Pre development.  Rumblings of poaching from Cupertino exist but there is no way to affirm or deny this fact.
  • Palm engineers are offering advice to the new executive team.
  • Palm is likely to be availabe on other networks in 2010.  Verizon first.  Perhaps there may be GSM models in the works for ATT.
  • You'll read blogs about Palm buyouts, Palm's options, and more whether Pre's success will continue as it faces newer and updated mobile devices and smartphones.
  • Windows Mobile 7 should be available in the first half of 2010.  By then, the WebOS will be at least six months old.
  • Palm has expressed interest in expanding the WebOS beyond the Pre.  No firm statement beyond a vague comment has come from Palm.  There is speculation about the WebOS in the Centro while others have offered suggestions along the line of licensing WebOS to third party phone makers.
Fierce Wireless has offered a simple post on Palm's options.  Simple being the operative word since the same applies to RIM and Apple except Palm isn't in as strong a position.  Onxo will start a series of how Palm should deal with its future, who might be interested in a buyout, and the likely competitions Palm will face.

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