Can Palm and WebOS make it through 2010?

Can Palm and WebOS make it through 2010?

Summary: Palm stole the spotlight at CES 2009 with the announcement of their Palm Pre and WebOS operating system and Palm fans rejoiced. It hasn't been as successful in 2009 as was hoped and in October their stock was down again, 20%, with limited Palm Pre availability and slow rollout of applications. 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?


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?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones

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  • Belgian customer lost

    In January this year, I planned on becoming a palm pr? user asap, as I was truly enthusiastic about the device.
    I have waited for the device to become available in Belgium ... and waited ... and waited...
    So my conclusion: Palm doesn't want me as a customer.
    That's why I finally went for Blackberry ... and I am very happy...
  • but, but

    it was the jesus phone! the seond coming. the first real
    iphone killer!
  • Quality is job 2

    The physical quality of the device really disappoints, I
    agree. The plastic covering and the overtly small keys were
    really a turn off...enough so that I didn't spend 2 minutes
    using the interface. WebOS may be good, but no enough
    to spend money dealing with THAT hardware.

    I'm sure I'm like a lot of people in that I'd like to see Palm
    succeed enough to insure that Apple doesn't dominate
    (this from an iPhone user) to become apathetic nor
    Android which results in dozens of different interfaces
    from dozens of mfr. that confuses everyone...

    ...but I'm not counting on it.

  • RE: Can Palm and WebOS make it through 2010?

    Considering the Verizon DROID: No.
  • RE: Can Palm and WebOS make it through 2010?

    Given the Verizon DROID: No.
    • How come it let you double post? (nt)

  • No market for Palm...

    Fortunately, the market is big enough to support multiple
    players, but Palm's role will be marginalized. In short, there
    is no real market for Palm. Palm used to be the alternative
    to RIM, but the market is shifting. RIM still has the lock on
    enterprise clients. Apple has the consumer app / multimedia
    market. WinMo is losing the "generic OS for hardware
    makers incapable of writing their own" market. Where does
    Palm fit it? I predict they'll remain on life support through
    the next year. Beyond that, who knows?
  • lack of basic features & hardware design issues

    There is always room for a good smartphone. The problem is the palm pre isn't. The pre doesn't have a niche. The biggest issue is a lack of basic features that were included on every Palm device since the beginning of time. The calendar app is horrible. Palm focus seems to be cloud solutions. Everything is too focused on 3rd parties. You want to sync your contacts and add calendar events use google. You want to sync movies/music use itunes (until they block it). You want to sync memos/tasks etc use missing sync which will cost you $40 bucks. the list goes on.
    • plenty of great features & hardware design

      There's a reason why the number of people who demand and plan to buy the Palm Pre in the UK dwarfed the demand for the iPhone. The Palm Pre is an awesome smartphone compared to the iPhone. Just as the Droid commercial ad pointed out... iDon't have a real keyboard, iDon't have true multitasking, iDon't have intercheangeble batteries, iDon't take pictures in the dark, and the list goes on. Even the Motorola Droid is on the right page with the Palm Pre while the iPhone has fallen behind in terms of hardware and features.

      If you haven't used a Palm Pre, FYI: In addition to Google, Calendars and Contacts also syncs with MS Exchange and Facebook and merges your data together.

      Also, Palm Pre syncs with Media Player for your songs (not just iTunes). It plugs in as a removable USB drive so you can also transfer all the movies and songs you want.

      While everyone else charges for talking turn-by-turn GPS navigation, Palm Pre provides it for free through Telenav. And if you can't tether your smartphone to your laptop for internet access..Palm Pre will as a WiFi Router - and that's multiple tethering!

      Apparently, you don't own a Palm Pre and have don't realize all the features you're missing.

  • hardware is a big problem

    i've had the pre since launch and the hardware is subpar. the simple act of sliding the phone open takes a good couple of days to get used to because of the design is clam shaped. also there is a loose usb door that feels like its going to break at any moment. while the gesture area is a neat idea sometimes it isn't responsive during heavy use. they should have included a dpad like the vast majority of smartphones. the screen is too small to move the cursor during long typed messages.
  • Sorry to disappoint you, but yes.

    You're obviously not a Palm fan, based on your comments about other phones. The critics have already compared most of the phones you talk about to the Pre and it has come out ahead.

    Obviously, I AM a Palm fan with a Pre. Aside from battery life, I've never been happier with a smartphone. I've owned windows mobile and palm devices. The hardware you keep complaining about has been rock solid for me. The software has some bugs but is generally solid. It's an iphone with a keyboard as far as I'm concerned.

    If you think Palm will die before 2010 ends, I would be highly surprised. The stock has doubled since the pre came out and they'll release on other carriers in early 2010.
    • another Pre fan

      I have to agree - other than battery life, I don't think I could be happier with my Pre.

      I keep reading this BS about the hardware quality - at first impression, I agree the sliding mechanism feels a little 'off' but after several months of heavy, heavy use - I haven't had any problem, and it shows virtually no wear what so ever.

      As for the App store - I am MUCH happier with a few dozen good apps, rather than having to wade through tens of thousands of pieces of crap.
  • Where are the WebOS apps?!!??!

    I'm a 10 year Palm user now moving to Android on HTC. I'm hoping Sprint comes through VERY quickly with this or a comparable Android device or I'm going to Verizon.

    Palm was THE pda/smartphone application provider! Their list of Palm OS apps was legendary!! There LITERALLY was an app for everything, well before the iPhone! I know, cause I had a Handspring Visor Prism, Handspring Visor Edge, Sony Clie and then Palm Centro. I've been use Palm OS devices for over 10 years and it's the apps and focus on simple functionality that kept Palm users happy.

    Now Palm seems intent on driving away developers. There are dozens of stories of developers leaving due to the problems in getting their WebOS apps posted to the catalog. Too bad cause thats what would've saved Palm. I was actually waiting for the Pixi, but looking at the apps catalog convinced me to move. Too many developers can't post their apps and Palm is not responding. Sorry to leave Palm but they left me and other customers long ago.

    Goodbye Palm, it was a great ride. I'll miss you. I'll always have my memories. Rest in peace.
    • Developers driven away?

      I'm always surprised when I read stories that are unsubstantiated. At the PreCentral community, Palm, and WebOS are under constant watch by users and developers. If the story about the dozens of developers pushed aside was true, I would have read about it there.

      The only case I know of a developers complaining was the one that used undocumented API which was against the terms because they are not yet supported by Palm and then cried wolf because Palm did not make an exception. Well, within hours of crying wolf, a Palm developer rep had already contacted him AND the community and tried to help him even though he was using an API he has agreed when he signed on not to use.

      And about that API, it worked with the music player of the Palm which is still undergoing changes. That's why Palm didn't want people to use it. It's not finalized and letting people use an unsupported API can cause problem for users.

      Please corroborate your stories with real facts before propagating lies about people and companies on the Web.
  • Palm and Windows Mobile are both dead

    I said this a year ago, and it is still true: if palm wanted to survive into the next decade, they should have joined the Android coalition. Instead they went off into the weeds with this WebOS thing. It's a shame, really. Palm + Android would have been brilliant.

    R.I.P. Palm