WSJ on the Rubinstein Influence at Palm
A new Wall Street Journal article has just appeared to confirm the job cuts at Palm while shedding some light on the slew of problems facing the beleaguered mobile computing firm. The piece is definitely a must-read for both fans and critics of Palm as it reveals that the long-sluggish handheld manufacturer is finally attempting to mount a serious attempt to regain lost market share.
Dated December 13th, "Apple's 'Podfather' Now Aims to Revive a Wilting Palm" is written by Pui-Wing Tam. The piece offers some interesting insight into the final days of the Centro's development cycle as well as the sweeping changes occurring these days at Palm Inc. According to the WSJ, Jon Rubinstein, just recently arrived at Palm, wasted no time in making his presence felt. He requested several late-stage running changes be made to the device and ordered Palm employees to work more closely with the device's ODM partner. The WSJ piece then goes on to state that the Centro shipped to Sprint a month earlier than expected and has been the recipient of some of the strongest reviews of any Palm product in recent memory.
Palm has weathered a series of buggy products, distressing financial news, layoffs, product launch delays, and public questioning of the company's ability to continue as an independent entity in today's crowded wireless marketplace. But the WSJ article is the first widely-available report of Mr. Rubinstein's (or rather, the "Podfather") initial efforts to stem the losses at Palm and revamp the company's engineering efforts.
A further tantalizing tidbit mentioned in the article is the possibility of a Palm-branded 12-key phone that could either be a larger-screened iPhone-style variant from Palm or a lower-end "feature phone" as has long been rumored to be in the pipeline from Palm. The long-criticized Foleo subnotebook is briefly mentioned by the WSJ as a direct casualty of Rubinstein's revamping efforts.
2008 looks to largely be a transitional year for Palm, as Mr. Rubinstein continues to work his magic amidst only a handful of rumored products expected to launch in the first half and the WSJ piece unfortunately does not give any hints as to what Palm's next product will be, nor when the first device crafted entirely under the guidance of Rubinstein is likely to hit the market.