Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Mar 2010 14:16 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Palm. It's that big clunky part of your hand that doesn't get any of the attention - the fingers, the thumb especially, get all the glory. Just think, however, what your hands would be like if you didn't have palms, and your fingers just grew straight out of your wrist. Doesn't look so hot now, does it? Well, Palm is supposedly about to go under, if you were to believe the reports. Update: Palm has just announced that the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will become available on AT&T in the coming months.
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Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26


Palm's value proposition against android, iPhone, and Windows phone... is not differentiated enough as to provide an unique reason to exist. And that is something very very very hard to overcome, esp. when you are a company in life support. Going against players which are orders of magnitude and are flushed with cash, with a similar product is simply suicidal.

There is nothing that Palm's products offers that is not matched by its competing platforms. Other than multitasking, which is an answer to a question that the market did not really ask.


What about openness? (no app catalogue lock in, the device is user hackable, etc)
What about the lower barrier for app development? (Javascript as opposed to ObjectC)
What about the fact that unlike Android and WM/WP, Palm control the whole process - hardware to software?

Let's also not forget the power of negative branding:
* Many people are pushed away from Apple because they're heavy handed control borders on despotism
* Many people are turned away from Microsoft because WM has an appalling UI and MS have a bad public image
* and many people are scared of Google because of privacy concerns

Palm could have / should have played up to the fact that they're just as experienced in the mobile market as the big boys (HTC, Apple, MS, etc) while still being a small enough that they're not branded with the same "evil brush" as the industry giants.

So Palm and webOS did / does have a lot going for it despite they're obvious shortcomings.

Reply Parent Score: 4

JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Openness: funny, oddly enough, that's precisely why Apple's iPhone platform is doing so well: it isn't too open for the majority of customers. This is also, apparently, not a show-stopper for professional (or would-be professional) developers. based on the number of readily available apps that everyone can find, if they have the patience to sort through the mountains of stuff, admittedly most of it of limited functionality, but hey, it's the customers that decide that thing. Sure, Apple gets 30% of gross for their part in the transaction, but have you seriously looked at what it takes to run your own purchase site? Have you looked at what other online stores charge? What about the PR needed to direct people to your intended site?

Second: seriously, Objective-C (only someone that's not a serious legit developer would call it ObjectC) is not nearly the "Barrier to entry" you think it is: the language itself isn't all that hard to learn, unless you can't learn other C-based (and, admittedly, a bit of SmallTalkish syntax) languages (of which JavaScript is a scripting castrated language with ducktyping) where for Objective-C, for the native frameworks, sure, you need to learn the native GUI frameworks, but how is this really any different than the frameworks in JavaScript you need to learn to do WebOS apps? Not only that, but unlike JavaScript which is interpreted, Objective-C is compiled and runs at native speeds: sure, it may not be as fast as old ANSI C or C++, but it blows JavaScript out of the water for speed. Oh, and you can also fully use C/C++ libraries that are well-tested and FAST with little trouble: what can you do that is comparable in JavaScript? Now, to cover the other angle of Microsoft in the similar vein, you can also move those C/C++ libs you can use for the iPhone between the WM 6.x and before and reuse most of that, while you need to reinvent things if you want to use JavaScript and WebOS, and if you're talking about the upcoming Windows Mobile 7 (or whatever Microsoft renames things to, as they're good at that!) that uses C#, which... Mono C# is available for the iPhone, and people right now are developing and selling iPhone apps that use it, so, there will be a huge amount of cross-pollination of code possible between those platforms, leaving JavaScript... a red-headed bastard son stepchild mutation of indeterminate value for aiming at, all coupled with the factor that unless Palm manages to make many more connections with carriers, makes it an expensive proposition to develop for anyone that does it for profit.

Now, you can point at all the negative publicity Microsoft has and Apple has, but really: what percentage of the non-tech geek crowd gives a rat's rear on average? Very few people make any solid efforts to do serious research before they buy a phone: they go to their nearby store, find one that somehow looks attractive to them, perhaps has the checklist of features on it they want, they maybe check the sound quality, and usually purchase something with less than an hour's thought into it: this is a large portion of the market, where they also often choose purely on price. Sure, a number actually research things out that aren't truly technogeek people: often they'll go for the prettier system that they can understand readily, and doesn't cost a fortune. Really, us techheads are the minority of the market, and both Apple and Microsoft know that. Now, despite all the negative publicity both Apple and Microsoft get amongst tech people, most non-tech people know little or nothing of all that, and Microsoft has logically decided, based on the iPhone's success, to borrow the same proven concepts: a simple-to-use-and-find AppStore with a simple-to-use GUI on a system that purposely doesn't (at least now) throw in the complication of having (or being able to) manage multiple third-party applications. Sure, a lot of tech people won't care for that, but, again, they're a small portion of the buying public: they aren't vitally important for sales.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Sure, a lot of tech people won't care for that, but, again, they're a small portion of the buying public: they aren't vitally important for sales.


While you're surely right on that, you might want to remember who Apple owes it to that they're doing so well now. Hint: it wasn't the average public.

Geeks stuck with Apple through the dark ages. Geeks promoted the "new" Apple (by lack of a better term) to non-geeks. If geeks start to discourage their social circle from buying Apple gear, then the effect may very well turn around.

Not saying that that's happening - just pointing out that just because geeks are a small group, that doesn't mean they aren't influential.

Edited 2010-03-22 21:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Openness: funny, oddly enough, that's precisely why Apple's iPhone platform is doing so well: it isn't too open for the majority of customers.

Nope. The iPhone is doing so well because it appears to be an open platform (ie it's sold as having all of the stuff people want).
The fact that it's actually closed or open in the true sense is completely irrelevant for most people


This is also, apparently, not a show-stopper for professional (or would-be professional) developers.

Tell that to the number professional developers that have had their previously approved apps pulled, updates randomly rejected and even whole new apps rejected based on double standards.

There's plenty of disgruntled iPhone developers making a lot of noise about how Apple's closed ecosystem is a deal breaker for them.

However I don't really want to get into a detailed discussion about the iPhone as it inevitably ends up a religious war rather than a civilised conversation (plus this topic is about Palm and webOS, NOT Apple/iPhone)


Second: seriously, Objective-C (only someone that's not a serious legit developer would call it ObjectC)

Thank you for the correction but please don't be an asshole about it. Mistakes happen - even from "serious legit developers"

Objective-C is not nearly the "Barrier to entry" you think it is:

All I said was Javascript is a lower barrier to entry - which it is.
I'm not trying to argue anything more than that.

Not only that, but unlike JavaScript which is interpreted, Objective-C is compiled and runs at native speeds: sure, it may not be as fast as old ANSI C or C++, but it blows JavaScript out of the water for speed

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Javascript is compiled on webOS (much like it is on some desktop browsers). So while it isn't C++ fast, it's still a huge step up from interpreted execution

Now, you can point at all the negative publicity Microsoft has and Apple has, but really: what percentage of the non-tech geek crowd gives a rat's rear on average?

Hence my point that Palm could have promoted the "underdog" act more.
I guess a bit like how the "I'm a Mac" commercials were promoting all the negative aspects of Windows that most of the "non-tech geek crowd" wouldn't have given a rat's arse about otherwise.


The rest of your post is pretty much just echoing comments I've made in the past - which leads me to believe that you've read my comments expecting it to be some kind of pro-Palm fanboy BS and then formed a disproportionate retort.

Reply Parent Score: 3

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

All of those value propositions are geared towards the extremely idealistic nerd contingent. And that is a veeeeeery tiny sector of the market.


Trying to compete with giants, to develop products which require a lot of monetary investment, to target to a market segment which is like less than 1% of the market on a good day... is just a recipe for disaster.

As I said, the main problem for Palm is that none of their offerings can answer the simple question of "why should they exist."

Reply Parent Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

All of those value propositions are geared towards the extremely idealistic nerd contingent. And that is a veeeeeery tiny sector of the market.


Trying to compete with giants, to develop products which require a lot of monetary investment, to target to a market segment which is like less than 1% of the market on a good day... is just a recipe for disaster.

As I said, the main problem for Palm is that none of their offerings can answer the simple question of "why should they exist."


But then by that logic Google should never have built Android.
Or Apple should never have built the iPhone.

And let's not forget that the 3 biggest names in this discussion (Apple, Microsoft and Google) are still at least 3rd from the top stop (behind Nokia and RIM).

And let's also not forget that phones are not like computers in that someone will be expected to hold on to their device for several years. It's pretty common for mobile handsets to change every 18 months.

So I think there is definitely still room for competition

Reply Parent Score: 3