Palm used to be one of the leaders in smartphones with the Palm Treo line and was the go to device for those who didn't want a BlackBerry. We heard that they were announcing something at CES 2009 and just about every analyst was predicting Palm needed to show something compelling since they appeared to be floundering in the smartphone market with low margin Palm Centro devices being their best seller. While at CES in January Palm stole the show with their Palm Pre and WebOS announcements that had Palm fans breathing a sigh of relief that their favorite smartphone company was back in the game. We then did not see the Palm Pre become available until June and applications just recently started making their way in larger numbers to the Palm App Catalog. As we get to the close of 2009, we again start to wonder if Palm can make it through another year in the smartphone market with shares down 20% in October and just two WebOS devices being available on a single US carrier with limited release on overseas carriers. Palm started off 2009 with a bang, but is limping to the finish line at the end of the year and it leaves me wondering if they can make it all the way through 2010.
The Palm Pre is a decent device that I did enjoy using for the most part. However, the quality was sub-par compared to the devices available from other manufacturers. The Pixi is coming soon to join the Pre on Sprint, but we don't see people flocking to Sprint just to get the Pre like we do with AT&T and the iPhone. The most exciting smartphone platform at the moment is Google Android and they now have or soon will have devices on T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. In my opinion, the HTC Hero on Sprint is a more compelling device than the Palm Pre on the same carrier due to its rock solid hardware, availability of thousands of applications, and user experiences that match and even exceed what we see on the Palm Pre.
There have been no announcements of any WebOS devices coming out on other carriers, with rumors that Verizon may get the Palm Pre in 2010. Unless a new Palm Pre model is brought to Verizon it will be a year old device that may be a tough sell with some very compelling and powerful Google Android devices available soon on Verizon. I personally do not have a lot of confidence in Palm getting past 2010 without rolling out updated WebOS devices on other carriers. Do you think Palm can continue and succeed with the WebOS?