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Innovation

Can open source and ads save the Palm OS?

This is a business model from the Seinfeld days, from when the Web was new and you could give away anything subsidizing it through ads. There should be enough money in 3G ads to subsidize both the equipment and some of the service costs.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

One of the most common criticisms of open source a few years ago was that it was just an excuse to dump failed projects for a fast tax write-off, the way you'd take old clothes and toys to Goodwill.

Sometimes this was even true. Open source was often the last quiet act of desperation before a corporate ship sank. But not always.

Which is it this time?

Submitted for your approval. PalmOS, reportedly an also-ran in a smart phone race Apple has won. And word that AdMob has launched an open source software development kid (SDK) for the PalmOS.

Can an ad-supported Palm business model be far behind?

Probably not. AdMob is doing Palm third, having already launched its mobile phone ad network on the Apple and Android platforms.

But consider how cheap smartphone parts are getting. A touchscreen, a case, a couple of chips, some software, and you're done. Now consider the huge market of older phones out there, the giveaway kit carriers would love to replace with higher-use (higher ARPU) 3G ware.

True, this is a business model from the Seinfeld days, from when the Web was new and you could give away anything subsidizing it through ads. (We lose money on every sale but make it up on volume.) But there should be enough money in 3G ads to subsidize both the equipment and some of the service costs.

You won't see Apple or even Google sullying their hands with such a crazy idea, but someone who is fading fast might see it as a lifeline. And God knows Michael Richards (who played Kramer on Seinfeld) could use a comeback vehicle.

Anyone for a Kramerica cell phone powered by Palm?

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