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Palm is Dead (and Personal Finance Links)

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I've been very bullish on Palm phones in this space and in person. I have found that multitasking adds so much to the smartphone experience. You can't currently get that out of the box with the Apple IPhone. Google's Android devices allow for that, but from what I've read on Lifehacker, Google doesn't keep the phone's OS updated and in sync. Specifically they said:

"...those looking to buy and enjoy an Android smartphone for any length of time are in the dark as to what's coming next, on which carrier, and how long they'll have to wait for an upgrade"”if it ever happens. Right now, the G1"”only one year and four months old"”is running Android 1.6, and looks like it may stay that way forever."

Android phones don't have that strong link between the operating system and the hardware. You may remember that Microsoft (via Windows Mobile) and Palm (remember their Sony PDAs) tried the model of an open OS and I don't there was one major success. I believe that Apple showed it's best to tie the hardware to the somewhere so you don't have three companies (carrier, hardware developer, software developer) all mixing things up.

Palm came along and gave people the best of both worlds... a physical keyboard, an open application market-place, changable battery, multitasking, availability on multiple carriers, and a strong tie between the hardware and software where your phone actually gets better through numerous updates. Palm has just one problem... no one knows about their phones. Lifehacker also mentioned recently that people tend to choose the most popular phone, not necessarily the best phone. Palm has to change that. How they do that, I simply don't know. They've made some poor advertising choices in the past, but even now that they've righted the ship, it doesn't seem to be getting good sales.

It seems like more and more people are gravitating to the IPhone or Droid devices. That has caused Palm to revise their earning estimates downward. Their stock in the last 18 months has moved from around $1 to $18 and back down to about $5.50. Earlier today, I decided to go long on Palm with a small amount of play money. I'm a sucker for the underdog when they have solid technology. Before following me, I warn you that I also invested in AMD a long time ago thinking that they could split the marketshare with Intel since their chips were just about as fast and much cheaper.

I was further convinced of Palm's death on a recent trip to Barnes and Nobles. There were at least 30 books on iPhone development, a few for Android development, and not a single book on the shelf for Palm WebOS development. So while I wallow in my future stock market losses, check out these personal finance links:

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Posted on March 15, 2010.

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11 Responses to “Palm is Dead (and Personal Finance Links)”

  1. Hate to tell you, but the palm has been dead a long time. Whether they have a superior platform or not they don’t seem to have traction in the marketplace.

  2. Jeff C says:

    I disagree with Lifehacker’s take on Android. Read the comments and you will find that most people do as well. I own two Sprint Hero’s and three Samsung Moment’s and I like the phones and have no issues. I cant speak for the Palm, when I looked at my smart phone options I preferred Android. I liked the IPhones but who can afford five of them let alone the overpriced AT&T plans?
    Not me.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I definitely like the Android devices. I should have mentioned that I’m long Google too (but I invested before Android made any kind of splash).

      Why did you prefer Android over Palm? I’m just curious. I think everyone I know with Androids, didn’t even look at Palm because they didn’t know it was an option. (Then again, I don’t know many people on Sprint and Palm weBOS is new to Verizon).

  3. I don’t see ANY Palm advertising around here. That certainly can’t help business.

    • Lazy Man says:

      They did a good amount of television at the Olympics and they seem to have bought up several Washington D.C. metro stations (completely… as in every ad)

  4. I love my palm pixi. I have hard four palm phones and one blackberry. I dropped the blakcberry after a year and begged sprint to let me have a palm again. They are fun, easy to use, mix business and pleasure even better than the iphone. I hope they stick around because I am a palmer for life!

  5. Mike G says:

    As both an AMD and PALM investor and a sucker for the underdog, I know exactly your line of thinking. But I ask all the naysayers about PALM, lets flashback to the late 90’s with a company in a very similar situation:

    There was a company who was a huge market leader and virtually founded their whole industry. They rested on their laurels and the industry they once owned as the innovation leader now had them as a fractional bit company hemorrhaging money and ceding market share. Their product was out of date, inadequate, under-performing and analysts were calling their death knell. A major competitor’s CEO even said the best thing for the shareholders would be to liquidate the assets and sell the company. So what did they do, they buckled down, threw out their legacy products, cleaned house the executive leadership, started brand new and slowly crawled back to be a market leader.

    This company was AAPL. We all know the pc v. mac wars. Mac OS X is probably as revolutionary a break from Mac OS 9 as WebOS is to PalmOS. Michael Dell said they should be liquidated. Apple focused everything on making Macs simple and above all profitable. Got rid of the clones, cut product lines, got rid of the newton. They didn’t need huge marketshare, they went for mindshare. And once their core market was intact, they moved into the consumer product company we know now. But remember how close to death they were.

    And trust me, with AAPL at $200/share, I am laughing all the way to the bank. I hope to be w/ PALM too. Can the Pre replicate what the iMac did for Apple?

    • Lazy Man says:

      I hope you are right there, Mike G. The difference, as I see it, is that the iMac and iPods seems to be near-instant successes, were people looked at the product and said, “Wow, I really need to have one of those.” I don’t get people saying that about Palm products. I think Palm needs commercials a like the Iphone. Something that shows someone in a passanger seat searching for a restaurant on an OpenTable application, booking a reservation, starting the navigation application to the restaurant, all while the music application is playing. Maybe the person can Tweet their plans too.

  6. The iMac actually had to convince some people that the lack of a floppy was a feature, not a defect. Remember the old days?

  7. Hmmm. Advertising really make big difference. But it’s still the users who decide. And remember, there are lot of kinds of users in the world. A businessman may not find a palm very helpful, but for it’s customers, it may. Tech companies should really take their best efforts to fill people’s fast facing requirements. Technology is innovation.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Actually Palm has gone out of their way to make sure that Palm suits most business needs. It is actually better with my work’s Exchange server than my Outlook is. Sad that Palm can out-Microsoft, Microsoft.

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