Archive for the ‘Palm’ Category

HP’s split means they never learned from Palm’s biggest mistake

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Hold on, Palm’s operating system, being split into two different branches of the company – hardware and software – all so that it should be easier for the parent company to licence the OS to other manufacturers and thus create a thriving ecosystem of devices.

Where have I heard that before? Oh yes… Palm, Inc.

David Chernicoff asks if HP just did a New Coke with WebOS? In a word, no.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Suddenly the HP tablets are everywhere; an instant user base has sprung up, dwarfing the base of any other tablet than the iPad.  HP seems to be wavering on the hard line that the tablet business was done with. Yet with this supposed fire sale, HP has done what no other non-Apple tab let vendor has been able to accomplish; jump start the sales and market for a new tablet device and operating system.

The Coca-Cola Company didn’t plan New Coke as a master plan to boost market share, Coca Cola didn’t announce they were stopping sugary water for everyone, and they didn’t sell the drink at a crippling loss for market share. If Pepsi started selling cola at five cents a can to get market share, then perhaps there’s a tenuous link to the cola wars of the eighties, but until then…

…once more, with emphasis: Let. WebOS. Die.

What could happen to WebOS now?

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

So you have a competent smartphone operating system, an engineering team that, with the right inducement, could stay with the OS, and a rather fluid market looking for options. What will HP do with WebOS next? Let’s have some pointless speculative fun over the next few paragraphs.

Facebook buys the whole operation.

Probably a long shot, and built on the speculation that Zuckerberg and co. are working on a Facebook phone. They certainly have some raw data (via Three in the UK), and acquiring a bundle of software engineers, an OS that is built on HTML5 and web technologies, with (you assume) a working relationship with hardware manufacturers. the question remains whether Facebook could sell better than HP, but they’d be in a far better place to monetise the handsets through Facebook Credits, advertising, and the whole social graph. Chances on this one? Low but at least it would make sense.

The patents go on Ebay

Most likely the jewels will be hawked around – there are a bundle of patents available to the highest bidder, various tranches of IP, and I’d expect the Linked In profiles of all the Engineer to be up to date. Broken up is the most likely fate.

Christmas comes early for the open source movement

Yes Android is open (Go  Andy!), but a people are finding out, there’ a lot of kinks along that road. So what if HP decided to go for a scorched earth? Engineering time would need to be found to clean up the code and make it suitable for public consumption, but imagine if WebOS was suddenly available to everyone. Android is closely tied to the Google ecosystem so could never be 100% open, Symbian is out there, but Nokia has kept back a lot of the more useful applications. There is no ‘build it youself’ OS out there.

It’s a very very low chance, but it would be just another crazy step in the smartphone world over the last few weeks and months.

David Potter’s chequebook opens up 20 years later

Back in the mid-nineties Palm had a number of options to it – it sold and went with 3Com, but one option would have been to be bought by Psion. And while that company has had an even rougher time of it, it’s still around, making PDAs for Enterprise as Psion Teklogic. Specialising in lower volume runs, could they swing in and take WebOS and build up a  boutique range of smartphones? (Hey I did say these would be fun!)

HTC become the primary licencee

To my mind this is a strong contender. With problems in the house of Android and Google hitching Motorola to their side, the major Andoird players need to check their cupboards. Yes they could swing to Windows Phone ,but Nokia’s the big player there. Samsung do have a reserve option in Bada, ZTE are churning out low cost handsets so won’t be that worried about any high end device dominance… but what does HTC have? Exactly. If they’re careful they can avoid burning a bridge with Google, but if HTC want to move up from simple box shifting, then WebOS could be one strategy.

What will really happen?

Who knows. I suspect the answer will be not much. The last thing HP need is another company making a success of WebOS when they didn’t. That could be muted if it was a simple licencee program and a sucessful partner, but that has a lot of support needs and I don’t think HP are moving in that direction. expect lots of noise, some smart ideas never followed through on, and no more WebOS devices.

Microsoft pushes hard to grab third place with smartphone developers

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

HP’s shakedown of WebOS, and the potential disaster of Google/Motorola shows that nothing stays still in the mobile market. Given the focus on apps, making sure you have the developer mindshare is supremely important. it’;s one of the things WebOS nearly got right.

Anyway, in a world where Apple is the defacto chocie, and Android is the “better have the other side of the coin” arguably there is just one more space in the brain. The question now is if this will be Windows Phone, RIM, Bada, Series 40, Meego, or something else. Microsoft really want it to be them, and it’s no surprise they’re making a public bid to WebOS developers to get them hardware and tools at minimal cost.

Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, phones, dev tools, and training, etc.,

Fat, reactive, and exactly the reaction every company should have made (and that includes Nokia, who’ll get the benefit of these new apps, but not the name recognition). Microsoft, in it to win it.

Unlike HP.

HP ready to licence WebOS, is "the Palm OS" set to repeat history?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Follow through the chain of thought here. HP buy up a promising mobile operating system from a small company with "Palm" in their name. They get ready to use it in a device or two, but are also ready to licence it to other manufacturers.

Other handset manufacturers think this is nice, but would rather HP don’t know what they had planned for a new product (eg Samsung. Speculation but does that sounds a fun idea?). So HP set up a chinese wall between the WebOS software engineers and the WebOS hardware engineers. Which becomes two separate departments. Which work independently inside HP and both could easily be spun out as separate companies.

And of course everyone will work nicely together and there won’t be any conflict and they’ll be able to shift 275,000 WebOS enabled devices every day. Why didn’t anyone think of doing it this way before?


I wonder if anyone in HP has read Piloting Palm: The Inside Story…?

This Is An Ex-Operating System

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

PalmOS is dead. That’s Ed Colligan’s assertion, and given he’s Da Man at Palm, I think we can call that case closed (yes Centro’s will still be sold, but no new models. From here on in you can go Windows Mobile or webOS – so make sure you hold the shift key down on the right letters.

To be honest this doesn’t surprise me. If handspring had bit the bullet when it was formed all those years ago and started with a blank page rather than licence PalmOS back from 3com, they wouldn’t have hit the dead end they did with Garnet.

Palm as a company now is a start-up. The name has history, but it runs a licensed OS and is now debuting its own; backed up by VC money; and hoping the sales of the pre will get them through to the next device. Can they do it? I hope so, to be honest, because the market needs more serious players to keep challenging everyone else.

Further Thoughts on the Palm Pre; Still Doesn’t Look Enough

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Following on from yesterday’s snap thoughts on the launch of the Palm Pre, the big question is going to be how well it sells. I suspect not as much as many are hoping. From Peter Kafka on All Things Digital:

[The new Palm Pre could] try to take market share by coming in significantly lower than the $200 or so Apple wants for its iPhone. But when I ran that theory by Palm CEO Ed Colligan, he looked at me liked I’d peed on his rug. “Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product,” he asked, then walked away.

If you listen very carefully, you can head Colligan ringing Palm’s cloister bell. The Palm Pre is going to come out into a crowded market space. As well as a maturing iPhone platform (with an App Store, video capability and a market leading MP3 player and interface) and RIM Blackberry portfolio (still sexy and has the Enterprise market), the Pre is also going to be up against the Nokia N97 and a Finnish marketing machine that seems to finally understand the need to focus on America

Handing the Pre probably the highest ticket price is going to give people a moment of re-consideration in the shop. The original price point was fixed at the design stage of $299. “The right handheld would have to be affordable , Anything over $300 would move it out of impulse buy range,” wrote Jeff Hawkins in his design brief.

Has Colligan been as ruthless as he was in those days, when he would ask “does this feature sell one more unit?” There are a lot of features on the Palm Pre, and many of them appear to be there because other popular handsets already have them, yet there are very few innovations on this “significantly better product.”

The one new thing is the idea of the PIM apps all working with multiple data sources to present a synergy of data and information. Pulling information from the various soups of data out there to present in a unified form has been tried on a consumer machine before… the Apple Newton.

You may think there’s an awful lot of ex-Apple employees in the new Palm, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

What I’m seeing this morning is a split on roughly geographic boundaries. The Europeans are looking at the Pre and going “yes, and?” while the American’s seem to be caught in an almost Jobsian Distortion field. A field that is slowly being punctured as people step back and look at Palm’s business model and burn rate of VC cash from Elevation Partners.

Yes, Palm are back at the smartphone poker table, but they’re playing with a pair of fives in the hole, and the assumption must be that everyone else is likely to have a stronger hand.

Not Your Father’s Palm – Impressions of the Palm Pre

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

So at CES today, Palm unveiled their new phone, the Palm Pre. This is a tough time for Palm, they’ve not had luck with their recent devices and software. The assumption is that this device had to hit it out of the park for Palm to survive the recession.

Form the initial looks, I think it’s going to struggle. There’s nothing especially new in the smartphone space here. The screen is 320×480 in portrait mode; it’s running on EV-DO for data 9so it’s effectively US only), it has a multi-touch screen that has support for ‘gestures’; a Qwerty keyboard slides out the bottom; GPS and accelerometers; 8gb storage…

If the game was to produce something new, Palm failed. If they planned to match devices like the iPhone the Nokia 5800, and the HTC touch, then they equalled their expectations. Nothing here was actually new to the smartphone world – just new from Palm. Given the timescale since their last phone that did something different, pretty much anything modern on the Pre would be seen as a bold new step for Palm.

Ed Colligan and the presentation team spent a lot of time in the one hour session at the Venetian in Las Vegas talking about the history of Palm before introducing the device. That’s worrying, because with a new device you want to spend time looking forward. Perhaps Colligan wanted to reach back to Palm’s initial DNA to position this device… but the market is not going to measure this against how revolutionary the Pilot 1000 was for it’s day, but against the current devices.

Spec wise the Palm Pre is middle of the road when compared to other similar devices. It has some nice UI features that were presented well (there’s a surprise), but from what I’m seeing online, in snap judgements people are saying Palm were great, so this must be them back. That may prove true eventually, but past performance is no guide to future success.

The big test will come when it reaches the public. Via Sprint. Which is not going doing well with the US bloggers. let’s just hope that Palm actually ship this one out the door.