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SFGate: Palm Needs Nova to Shine

SFGate LogoOminous-sounding "do or die" articles relating to Palm are nothing new or surprising these days. However, coming from the San Francisco Chronicle, a local paper from Palm's home turf, such an article merits further inspection. Written by Ryan Kim, who has covered Palm several times in the past for the Gate, the editorial entitled, "Palm Needs Nova to Shine" offers a few interesting morsels of new information and is overall a worthwhile read as the Palm faithful bide their time prior to Palm's huge CES announcement on Thursday.

First off, the piece reminds us that the "Nova" moniker is still very much a codename; the final release of the OS that appears on shipping devices may be coined something else entirely.

The usual quotes from industry analysts are also offered within the article, with discussion focusing on the moribund Garnet OS describing it as "a geriatric case" and "it hasn't kept pace with the iPhone or (Google) Androids of the world." Another quote, this one from Pablo Ferez-Fernandez of Global Crown Capital simply states: "There's no momentum behind Palm, there's really no room for Palm. If you ask new developers if they want to write for a marginalized company or a company like Apple, the answer is obvious."

Kim's article goes on to state that Nova will indeed replace the current Palm OS Garnet, not co-exist alongside it on low-cost devices such as the Centro as some had speculated with a possible three-prong approach by Palm (Nova, Garnet, Windows Mobile). Palm will continue to ship Windows Mobile-based devices, according to the article, likely due to the "little cost, no risk" involved with rebranded WinMob handsets that are primarily supported by Microsoft and still heavily favored in enterprise/corporate environments.

Hardware-wise, little new info is given in the piece aside from a tantalizing but all-too-brief reference to a possible "larger mobile Internet device" coming later from Palm. This vague description could be referencing anything from an iPhone-style handset to a larger tablet-sized device to a Foleo 2.0 netbook. Another distressing reminder of Palm's laggardly launch cycle is given later in the article when the mid-year 2009 date for new hardware is repeated by Kim. With Palm announcing recently that no new hardware is planned between now and the debut of the new platform, the 1st half of calendar year 2009 is unfortunately shaping up to be a tremendously dry season for Palm fans. Indeed, whatever is announced or shown later this week at CES may quite honestly not be available for purchase until May or June, close to an eternity in the smartphone world.

The SFGate piece concludes with another quote from Perez-Fenandez, reiterating the general consensus that Nova is the company's last chance to recapture their former glory and steal some marketshare from the increasingly bloodthirsty competition: "If they're not able to get handsets out that are appealing to the public, they're really going to have big trouble. The company could literally disappear if they don't do it."

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And shine they may...

kfife @ 1/5/2009 2:48:48 PM # Q
Knowing there may be light at the end of the tunnel, I can wait one more quarter.

I really love my Treo 680 but I would have choosen a different platform if any other platform (iPhone, RIM, G1) gave me the same USEFUL and MATURE applications that I STILL get from my PalmOS right now-despite the incredibly high 'switchign cost'. Show me Natara Bonsai for IPhone!

While accelerometers are neat, and the ease of the app store makes iPhone app installation FINALLY accessible to 'Grandma' AND geeks ('Grandma' never could figure out how to install apps on the PalmOS), there is still no device out there that is a phone combined with what I would consider to be a true PERSONAL INFORMATION MANAGER.

I think of the iPhone as a phone with emphasis on an awesome media player, browser, app installer. I think of the RIM devices as a phone with emphasis on written real-time communication. BUT I THINK OF THE PALM as the one and only device with an emphasis on managing personal information. With it I can create elaborate task outlines using the Bonsai outliner, I can create JOURNALS of the zillions of bits of information I come into contact each day into searchable blob (OR neat hierarchy). I can get all of my my passwords from a single ENCRYPTED LOCAL REPOSITORY on the device (fat chance I'll be pushing my lists of PASSWORDS and bank account numbers up to the 'cloud'), I can get all of my most important information while I am off-net in rural Puxatony, or down in the subway. It's great. Nobody else offers that. Seriously. Nobody else has that... YET.

YES, I AM IN FACT pulling my hair out with desire for a half-decent browser, a WIFI connection on my device that doesn't cause the device to crash (sorry T|X, you kinda sucked that way), and powerful/stable enough platform to make a working and reliable SOFTPHONE a reality, allowing connection to WIFI, 3G, 4G, WiMax... whatever new air interface emerges as the next dominant standard.

Palm doesn't have to be the iPhone. But it does have to mature, and The author is right. This is their last chance. If they don't reinvent themselves this time, my assertions about the Treo and PalmOS will soon stop being true as the newbie's in this space mature, in the niches that palm now excels in.

...and that would be tragic.

RE: And shine they may...
NuShrike @ 1/6/2009 5:53:38 PM # Q
Sounds like you want Windows Mobile.

Even as laggardly in usability as it is, it has non-crashing WiFi, great web browsing with Opera Mobile and Opera Mini, it has a huge library of apps that are almost as old as PalmOS apps, huge selection of hardware, Agendus and the other smart-enough-to-see-writing-on-wall PalmOS emeritus luminaries apps are also available.

Even Tealpoint, a PalmOS hold-out is porting to Windows Mobile now.

It really shouldn't take that much for somebody to port the PalmOS PIM apps to Windows Mobile, or even just use StyleTap's emulator and you're done.

Palm III -> Sony NR610C -> Sony NR70 -> Sony NX80 -> Palm T|X -> HTC Kaiser -> HTC Fuze

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Profound Economic Insight

LiveFaith @ 1/5/2009 3:28:09 PM # Q
**If they're not able to get handsets out that are appealing to the public, they're really going to have big trouble.** SFGate

Now that's some deep economic insight! And they actually pay folks (a lot) to write these things. Mr. Kim should apply over in DC as part of the economic stimulus team. Sounds like he would fit right in. :-)

Pat Horne

RE: Profound Economic Insight
joad @ 1/5/2009 5:44:58 PM # Q
Yeah, the entire article struck me as some sort of cheerleading for the special olympics or something. They could have fit it into the blurbs at the top of page 2.

Maybe it's a testament to Palm's latent viability that the Chron would pimp an article like this on Saturday, then make this sort of "duh" article **front page** news in their Sunday business section.

After all these years, people still care about Palm.... we'll soon see if Palm still cares about Palm.

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A Song For Palm

freakout @ 1/5/2009 4:05:37 PM # Q
Well you're a real tough cookie
With a long history
Of breakin' little hearts
Like the one in me
That's okay
Let's see how you do it
So put up your dukes
Let's get down to it
Hit me with your best shot
Why don't ya hit me with your best shot?
Hit me with your best shot
Fire awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 -> Treo 650 -> Treo 680 -> Centro
RE: A Song For Palm
mikecane @ 1/5/2009 4:53:51 PM # Q
Jesus, people are getting manic here. The crash on Thursday will be hell.

RE: A Song For Palm
SeldomVisitor @ 1/5/2009 5:09:41 PM # Q
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