PCMag Editorial: Palm's Future is Not Rosy
PC Magazine has posted an interesting new article to their website on the past, present, and potentially grim future of Palm Inc. Sascha Segan, an online columnist for PC Mag, has written a superbly hard-hitting superb piece that admonishes Palm for not only the Foleo cancellation debacle, but for the company's general inability to deliver compelling new products year after year. Segan offers similar advice to Palm as found in the recent Engadget open letter to Palm and Ed Colligan, "Palm needs to set some deadlines, announce them, and stick to them. They need to suck up the tech community's disbelief for a while, and re-earn its respect by delivering big new ideas on time."
Mr. Segan's editorial piece goes on to say that Palm as a company is trapped in a 2004-era timewarp and is "…churning out incremental improvements to their 2004-era Treo 650 and regurgitating the same tired promises about a new operating system that we've been hearing since January of '04. Their standalone PDA line hasn't had any kind of refresh since 2005." A later comment in the piece describes Palm’s upcoming Centro miniature-sized, entry level smartphone as "…once again, old wine in a new bottle." Additional fingers within the article are pointed at the general malaise enveloping the formerly robust Palm 3rd party software market via a link to this telling report from May.
The mood of the piece is not entirely negative, as Segan applauds Palm for the overall concepts behind the doomed Foleo Mobile Phone Companion and the failed LifeDrive Mobile Manager. Both devices, Segan argues, were fine designs in theory that suffered from poor execution and botched hardware design.
In what is Segan's final and perhaps most prescient comment of all, he likens the fate of Palm in 2007 to the miserable fortunes of Apple in 1998 at the time of Steve Jobs' return to the fold. If Palm is be brought back from the bring by a heaven-sent savior, that individual will most likely have to come from outside the company, as the two long-time figureheads of Palm, Jeff Hawkins and Ed Colligan, are the architects of the failed Foleo and Palm's questionable Treo-exclusive strategy.