Comments on: Palm's Fading Lifeline Editorial

BusinessWeek's "Technology & You" section has posted a new editorial entitled "Palm's Fading LifeLine". The editorial, written by Stephen H. Wildstrom, is quite a hard-hitting examination of the recent fumbles of Palm amidst increasingly fierce smartphone competition.

The piece claims that the recently launched Centro smartphone, despite generally positive reviews, is nothing more than a cut-down version of the Treo 755p. Wildstrom makes a particular point to note the size constraints of the Centro's screen, battery, and keyboard. The article ultimately concludes that the recent lackluster efforts of the pioneering PDA company might be too little, too late, especially after being compounded by the resource drain brought about by the now-cancelled Foleo Mobile Companion.

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'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'

pmjoe @ 10/23/2007 5:47:25 PM # Q
I always thought hobbits' hands and feet were considered disproportionately large relative to the size of their bodies (in human terms anyhow).

As far as the OS goes, no news here. When Garnet came out in June of 2002, it was a "go between" fro Palm OS 4 and the "next" Palm OS. So far, Palm's plan is to finally come through at the end of 2008, six and a half years later. In contrast Apple's, "go between" OS 9 was only available for about 3 years, and OS X for the desktop became available only about 2 years after OS 9's release (only about a year between the release of Windows ME, another "go between", and XP).

If Apple would've waited six and a half years, until mid-2006 to release OS X, they would've been dead too. Apple probably could've developed the iPhone/iPod touch twice in the time Palm has wasted.

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
LiveFaith @ 10/23/2007 7:56:53 PM # Q
Nice thots. Two points:

#1 We will probably NEVER see another "Palm OS" from Palm. "Eighteen months" in a statement from these folks can best be interpreted as "In 18 months if everything inside the company worked absolutely flawless and we actually survive without being taken over by then". Not hopeful.

#2 The Mac OS is just a wee bit more robust than Palm OS. Just a wee bit. It's hard to even justify the comparison.

Pat Horne

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
DrewT3 @ 10/24/2007 10:20:45 AM # Q
Palm has some similarities to Apple in the '90s. If I recall correctly, Apple's System 7 was originally supposed to be a modern OS with multitasking, to compete with the upcoming Windows 95. It was only after years of bungling and delays that Jobs came in and brought in NextStep. It was then two more years before the consumer saw OSX. It is amazing that Apple survived the 90s, and they had the leadership and vision of Jobs to carry them out.

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
DrewT3 @ 10/24/2007 10:44:57 AM # Q
I couldn't resist going to Wikipedia for the Apple details. Copeland, or System 8 was supposed to be Apple's modern OS. It was started in '94 and delayed for a few years before being killed entirely. What they finally released as System 8 was just a gussied up System 7, which was just awful.
OS X came out for desktop users in 2001. So Apple spent about 7 years trying to get a modern OS to replace the 80s vintage System 7. I conclude that Palm will be fine as long as they can get a genius frontman with a reality distortion field who can bring an aready working OS to the company. This year.

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
mikecane @ 10/24/2007 1:50:47 PM # Q
You apparently missed the bit that Copland was under the same person who fekked-up Cobalt...

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
DrewT3 @ 10/24/2007 2:59:56 PM # Q
I did miss that. Any truth to it? Google just turned up a bunch of articles from 2004 talking about how Palm needs to hurry up with a modern OS and not blow it like Apple did with Copland.

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
hkklife @ 10/24/2007 3:06:10 PM # Q
Gekko......give the man a link or two showing the link between the Nagelated Cobalt and the Nagelated Copland!

Ah, heck, I'll do it:

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
mikecane @ 10/25/2007 2:10:47 PM # Q
>>>I did miss that. Any truth to it?

Oh. My. God.

RE: 'keyboard ... designed for hobbits'
atrizzah @ 10/25/2007 4:35:06 PM # Q
Wow. Didn't know that. That explains everything.

Peace Out
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mikecane @ 10/23/2007 5:56:33 PM # Q
Colligan resigns (he's actually fired)

iPhone Death Star upgrade arrives

Asus demos ALP OS-running $99 handhelds

Centro does not save Palm

RE: Predictions
SeldomVisitor @ 10/23/2007 6:44:37 PM # Q
Yeah, and those $99 ASUS handhelds are PRE-contract-reduction.

RE: Predictions
hkklife @ 10/23/2007 7:18:53 PM # Q

-Palm EOLs the PDA line in Q1 '08

-Palm does not release a *new* device of ANY kind (a possible quad-band 500v for the USA or a GSM Centro/Treo690 does not count) until the Treo 800w for Verizon in Q1 '08.

-The Treo 800w is finally released and is Palm's best WM offering yet but it's sadly too little, too late. And it is priced extraordinarily high in comparison to what the 3G, 2nd gen iPhones are offering. POS purists lament the lack of any new Palm OS-based devices in '08.

-Colligan steps down from day-to-day activities. Hawkins remains mysteriously in the shadows and is not heard from again after the Fooleo folly.

-Palm begins to circle the wagons and pretty much aligns their fortunes with Vodafone/Orange/Sprint/AT&T and begin to shun unlocked handset users. Due to growing consumer indifference over Palm's ho-hum products, Palm's new management are doing everything possible to cozy up to the carriers and stay on good terms with 'em

-Palm makes a big proclamation sometime around midyear '08 that the iPhone is indeed a mighty competitor but they have a slew of large-screened, media-savvy Treos in the works that'll be out by the holidays

-Palm is acquired by a fiesty up & coming company looking for an easy entry into the US wireless biz. Think someone like Garmin, TomTom, Google, Access, Lenovo, Haier, or a similar firm

-None of Palm iPhone-beating handsets (or PLinux) are ever released (at least under the current regime)

-The GPhone is released mid '08, underperforms enormously in its first iteration, but then comes back with a vengence the 2nd time around

-After Palm crumbles/fades away, Access releases Garnet IP to the open source community in 2009. All sorts of wonderful things start to happen and the PIC faithful are left smacking their heads yet again

-A huge market emerges for OS-agnostic ("roll yer own") cheap Chinese PDAs with big screens, wobbly build quality, and gobs of memory as well as quality 2nd-hand Palm PDAs. Cheap PMP/GPS/PDA/VOIP combo units with high capacity hard drives are the hot new item in early '09 after Apple decides to take the iPhone line all-flash.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Predictions
SeldomVisitor @ 10/23/2007 7:21:53 PM # Q
> ...with high capacity hard drives...

Hard drives are so yesterday.

RE: Predictions
hkklife @ 10/23/2007 11:37:18 PM # Q
Bah, for the right kind of media-centric device (ie not a phone or a PDA), a high capacity HD is essential. Until I can have 60 or 80+gb of affordable flash on a device, I'll stick with something like the 160GB iPod Classic. Best bang for the buck (storage-wise) anywhere for a pocketable device.

P.S. It's interesting to hear an, ahem, "old timer" criticizing hard drives. It seems like just recently when you were proclaiming a 600mhz PIII running Linux as "plenty" fast enough! :-)

P.P.S. I think the killer app (at least on the desktop) is going to be the flash/magnetic hard drive hybrids that Samsung et al. are touting. Supposedly the driver situation isn't up to par yet but I think that in the kinda-long term this will end up being the best compromise between capacity, speed, and affordability.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Predictions
SeldomVisitor @ 10/24/2007 7:09:03 AM # Q
Say what!?

I always adopt the fastest/biggest thang I can get, for whatever "thang" represents.

That 600MHz PIII is a =discard= that occurred when I got my NEXT rocket (the one I'm typing on right now - 2.4GHz P4) - now running Ubuntu (thus it's "good enough"). But it was/is totally insufficient compared to this rocket - for example, any FLASH on a web page slows it to a crawl and attempting to visit Engadget freezes it totally, requiring reboot (PIC is a problem as well on occasion due to its sometimes-multiple-per-page flash ads).

The same thing applies to disk drives - because I =am= an Olde Farte I started out with home computing with a homebuilt 4MHz-z80-based computer (a rocket for its time) that originally had NO disk drives, just a self-written-and-burned-in PROM-based program that allowed me to enter machine code (yup - octal digits in this case) representing whatever program I wanted to run (using a HeathKit H-19 terminal across a serial connection). I upgraded that machine to two external 8" floppy drives and was a Happy Camper for quite some time.

Ever since I "went commercial", however, the biggest bang I could get for the buck was my "main" machine.


I eagerly look forward to not hearing any disk drives spin up when I power on. The capacity and speed of some of the solid-state devices is rapidly approaching what I actually use on this rocket (out of about 200GBytes per drive I'm actually only using about 50GBytes, and a lot of that is raw video that easily could be burned onto DVD since it is read-only data).

Hard drives, like z80 processors, are So Yesterday. Time to move on.

RE: Predictions
twrock @ 10/24/2007 7:43:18 AM # Q
-After Palm crumbles/fades away, Access releases Garnet IP to the open source community in 2009. All sorts of wonderful things start to happen and the PIC faithful are left smacking their heads yet again

You silly little dreamer. :)

The iPhone SDK announcement was huge IMO. The ASUS announcement is just another in a long sting of companies that are going to pick Palm to pieces in the Linux handheld/smartphone world because Palm waited too long to make this happen.

If somehow Palm survives to release some wonderful Linux powered, Garnet "compatible", Palm OSII devices that actually sell well enough to keep the company in business, it will be the comeback of the decade. My best wishes, Palm, but you guys are in really deep at the moment.

Well, maybe it's time for me to go ahead with a digitizer replacement for my TX and see if I can hang on until someone releases an ALPOS device or find some way of replacing my Palm apps on another system.

Thinking about Vista? Think again:
Want an alternative? Try this: or

RE: Predictions
mikecane @ 10/24/2007 8:29:59 AM # Q
I still think there's a market for a credit-card size PalmOS device ala the old Rex.

But Palm couldn't price it higher than what it'd be worth: $50-$99.

(Hell, if the TX went to $99, I'd probably get one...)

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Free My Phone

ggeoffre @ 10/23/2007 9:43:07 PM # Q
Another good read, but not specifically targeting Palm, is the following:

Free My Phone

Cellphone carriers tell us what phones we can use, and what software and services can be offered on those phones. Consumers deserve better.

October 22, 2007

It is more directed at the cell phone industry as a whole, rather than just one PDA manufacture.

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dear apologists of days gone by...

Gekko @ 10/23/2007 10:41:22 PM # Q
Reply to this comment

typical journalist

ddb+ @ 10/24/2007 12:31:54 AM # Q
No doubt that a few years ago this guy was calling Steve Jobs an idiot for introducing the Nano.

That's why some people go on to become billionaires while other remain journalists.

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so bored...

xpan @ 10/24/2007 1:29:50 AM # Q
I am freaking bored of those articles, about Palm and her imminent death, since the introduction of T5...

"home is where my computer is..."

RE: so bored...
hhfs @ 10/24/2007 3:41:04 AM # Q
I agree! Thats why a while back I suggested changing the name of PIC to Palm Death Watch. It would be much more exciting to count up the blunders, canceled products, days since a Palm OS revision, maybe call the sight screen hum. Kinda like a flat liner sound when someone dies. Or the annoying screen hum that plagued half of of the products that Palm sold. Make it a satire site, the days for the enthusiasts of Palm have long since past.
RE: so bored...
xpan @ 10/24/2007 5:23:00 AM # Q
good for you! Go ahead and do so.

"" is not registered, yet!

"home is where my computer is..."

RE: so bored...
SeldomVisitor @ 10/24/2007 7:12:42 AM # Q
> ...It would be much more exciting to count up the blunders, canceled
> products, days since a Palm OS revision...

Certainly would be an easy site to generate content for!

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Yeah, we've heard it all before

MythicFox @ 10/24/2007 2:56:19 AM # Q
The problem is, everything that can be said has been said. And because everyone's gone to smartphones, the market of a dedicated device that does most of the work of a laptop but still fits in a jacket pocket has all but vanished.

RE: Yeah, we've heard it all before
mikecane @ 10/24/2007 8:28:39 AM # Q
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doomed at PalmOS 5

tompi @ 10/24/2007 10:11:43 AM # Q
Palm should have started with Linux development around 2000 and PalmOS 5 should have been a multi-tasking, Linux-based OS. Deployment would have been easy with the move to ARM. After they missed that opportunity, they were doomed.

Fortunately, we can get PalmOS emulators for Windows Mobile and Symbian...

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Fade to black if they're not part of this

SeldomVisitor @ 10/31/2007 4:01:30 PM # Q
RE: Fade to black if they're not part of this
SeldomVisitor @ 11/4/2007 10:55:10 AM # Q
Maybe we'll find out tomorrow at 11AM whether PALM is...uh...competing against everyone in the world...alone.

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