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Innovation

Motorola and Palm; will 2009 be designated as a comeback year?

Many of us believed that Palm was on the ropes and getting ready to go down for the count at the end of 2008, but they came out swinging at CES with the announcement of the Pre and WebOS. Motorola was a leader in the mobile phone business for years, but has not done well in the smartphone space and in early 2009 we heard they would be looking to Android in the future. The Motorola DROID is the talk of the town at the moment and the Motorola CLIQ just started selling at T-Mobile this week. Will 2009 go down as the year that Palm and Motorola showed us all they were back and ready to compete?
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

Many of us believed that Palm was on the ropes and getting ready to go down for the count at the end of 2008, but they came out swinging at CES with the announcement of the Pre and WebOS. Motorola was a leader in the mobile phone business for years, but has not done well in the smartphone space and in early 2009 we heard they would be looking to Android in the future. The Motorola DROID is the talk of the town at the moment and the Motorola CLIQ just started selling at T-Mobile this week. Will 2009 go down as the year that Palm and Motorola showed us all they were back and ready to compete?

Palm

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I began my mobile device career with a Palm Pilot 1000 (actually US Robotics then) in early 1997 and they have always had a special place in my heart. Even my online name, palmsolo, reflects my usage of their devices from way back in the day. I still use my Palm Treo Pro and think it is one of the best Windows Mobile devices I have ever used. I was blown away like everyone else with the Palm Pre and WebOS announcements in January and cheered that Palm was back in the game.

However, the Pre and WebOS hasn't really taken off yet and as I posted recently I really wonder if Palm can make it through 2010. I want to see WebOS devices on other carriers and much more development and available applications in the Palm App Catalog, but am not that hopeful.

Motorola

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One of the first mobile phones I used while in the USCG was the Motorola StarTAC. That was one rock solid phone that performed quite well and survived drops and falls. A bit later we saw the highly successful RAZR phone, followed by the huge failure in the Motorola MPx smartphone that was never released. That device could have been hot, but was hampered by an extremely small amount of RAM that killed it before launch. We then saw the launch of the Motorola Q that showed how thin a QWERTY smartphone could be, but the battery life and stability killed enthusiasm for that device. There were some solid Motorola Q models that followed, but I think the issues with the first one kept people from buying these. Motorola then decided to stop releasing Windows Mobile phones.

Motorola kicked off their Android devices with the Motorola CLIQ that has some innovative social networking integration in MotoBLUR. The hot news though surrounds the Motorola DROID on Verizon Wireless that seems to be grabbing lots of attention. Motorola plans to launch many more Android devices in 2010 and will be rolling out devices across carriers so they have the ability to affect more consumers.

2009 closing thoughts

Unless Palm makes moves to roll out on other carriers with their WebOS devices I don't see them making a full comeback. The upcoming Pixi looks like a decent device, but it will be selling at the Palm Centro price of $99 and we saw that this is not the way to profitability and success even with millions of units sold.

Motorola is ending 2009 on a high note and has lots of momentum going into 2010. I do think 2009 will mark the year of Motorola's comeback and look forward to seeing more of their offerings in 2010.

What do you think, will 2009 be the year of the comeback for both of these companies?

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