Palm, Web OS and deadly exclusivity

Posted by & filed under Technology.

I feel sorry for Palm.
Palm had a perfect opportunity to become a new trendsetter, and move a ton of their new phones. Fresh new neat looking OS? Check. Nice hardware? Check. Hype and plenty of customers, hungry for something, anything new from Palm? Check.
Analysts were quite happy too. It looked like Palm had a real chance to come back, kick some Apple iPhone’s booty (well, not major, but at least Pre didn’t look like an antiquated phone), make tons of cash and attract new customers.
Except then they went with Sprint as an exclusive carrier. And it wasn’t just a “one-two months” exclusive deal but quite a prolonged contract with, I presume, no way out. At first, it was good. Users liked it. Sprint network, though much smaller than Verizon or ATT, nevertheless, sufficiently expansive. But… Sprint is still carrier number 3, and CDMA. Which means sales potential was limited.
I think as soon as Palm saw that users were ready to buy new Pre, they should have expanded like crazy. GSM version should have been made available in couple months, pumping up new OS, allowing ATT and T-Mobile and European carriers to offer nifty new gadget.
But instead Palm just enjoyed a little bit of sunshine and pretty much stopped. Developer program was delayed and suspiciously looked like first revision of the iPhone’s (remember that “you can do anything through web” mantra, that evaporated from Apple once the “real” SDK became available?). I think all of that added dead weight to the chance of true revival of Palm.
Ideas were great, but complacency and exclusivity stifled this chance.
I suppose Palm couldn’t really predict that Google’s Android is going to explode and attract so much attention. They should have been the “iPhone Alternative” on Verizon’s great network, but due to exclusivity, HTC and Motorola managed to woo users with new Android devices and even introduction of Plus versions of their phones didn’t boost sales by much.

Sadly, their options are now limited, just like cash on hand. I wonder if Palm will attempt to make a new Android device (just like it tried to make Windows Mobile phones), or at least tries to take over the category of cheapest smartphones.
Good luck, Palm. And try not to limit the choice of carrier next time, if there is next time.

One Response to “Palm, Web OS and deadly exclusivity”

Leave a Reply