BusinessWeek on Palm's Secret Weapon
This is shaping up to be quite a banner week for Palm and Pre-related pieces from mainstream media outlets. A new editorial has just been posted by BusinessWeek. Entitled "Palm's Secret Weapon for the Pre", the piece is written by Peter Burrows and takes a long, hard look at the optimistic outlook some mobile software developers are casting upon Palm's next-generation platform.
The piece makes for a nice read, especially for those who may have not been intently following every twist and turn of Palm-related news since the January unveiling of the Pre and WebOS. Much like last year's piece by the same author that essentially confirmed the appearance of Nova/WebOS at CES, comparisons are again made between the beleaguered Palm of today and the crumbling Apple that Rubinstein joined in 1996.
While the piece is overall a bit short on technical details, eschewing terms such as "SDK" and discussing any nitty-gritty hardware specs of the Pre, it offers a nice primer to the non-techie crowd of the relative strengths on paper of WebOS and the Pre as compared to Palm's smartphone competitors with their older, less-optimized mobile OSes. Some nice historical examples from Palm's golden days of ruling the handheld roost are also tossed in for comparison purposes, such as the 70,000 registered developers for earlier versions of the Palm OS back in 2000, the same time as their fabled IPO and arguably the beginning of the end of Palm's handheld dominance.
A nice historical summary is given not only by the usual retelling of Palm's decline alongside the iPhone's rise to prominence in the mobile smart device landscape but also to the infusion of new talent into Palm from Jon Rubinstein and Mike Bell. Indeed, the opening paragraph starts off with the opinion of internet radio service Pandora's CTO Tom Conrad's skepticism over Palm's future prior to his first encounter with Palm's new WebOS. In fact, many of the software developers quoted or mentioned within the article are already onboard for WebOS development such as Pandora, Dataviz, and Handmark. These companies, alongside Facebook, MobiTV, Chapura and others will be familiar to anyone who watched the Palm CES launch event or read Tim Carrol's "Partners in Pre Crime" series.
While the article ultimately contains no new bits of info, it is still a worthwhile read. The usual pressing questions such as Pre's release date, actual device pricing and what portion of each app sale developers' will actually receive are all mentioned. The BusinessWeek piece is also highly reminiscent of the recent Wall Street Journal article in that it takes a rather critical view of Palm's continued string of partnerships with Sprint, with the Pre's lack of availability on any other network or carrier called into question by Burrows. Another aspect unfortunately not addressed is any speculation on what Palm has in the works to follow the Pre as far as any future Palm WebOS devices are concerned.