Sunday, June 17, 2007

Repeat After Me (Again): Palm is DEAD!

Palm as a PDA company that is.

Personally, I find it really difficult to write this piece considering that I've been a Palm user since I got my grubby little hands on an original 3Com Palm III. Since that time, I moved on to higher-spec'ed, higher priced units until the my last Palm-branded PDA -- the ever-reliable Tungsten T. After the Tungsten T (IMO, the best PDA Palm has produced), I moved on further to a convergence device, the Treo 650.

When I first heard the phrase "Palm is dead" I laughed the snot off my nose because the mere thought of the venerable Palm as dying is preposterous! Its nearest rival (then called Windows CE) is a buggy piece of software that crashes like a car driven by a blind person. But as years went by without seeing any significant improvement in the PalmOS, I started to slowly believe that Palm is indeed heading towards a certain death.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago: There was a rumor that Palm is working on a "super-secret" project that was anticipated to be another killer-device. Well, I was one of the people who got excited when they announced the Foleo -- and that excitement lasted for three full minutes -- and then reality struck me: What the frak is this? If Palm released the Foleo three years earlier, it would have been THE killer device but to come up with a dinky little laptop (ok, its a SmartPhone companion!) running a flavor of the newfangled PalmOS that is based on Linux at this time is well, totally underwhelming.

The final nail in the coffin is the announcement of Foleo-like products (Asus' Eee PC and Via's Nanobook). Although the Via Nanobook is priced almost the same as the Foleo, it seems more functional and users may have more "bang for the buck" for it. The Eee PC, on the other hand, is less expensive and despite its lack of BlueTooth, is pound for pound, a better choice than the Foleo.

The last rumor that came out of Palm is that they are set to release another SmartPhone -- the Gandolf. Another underwhelming offering from Palm if you ask me and I don't think Gandolf will even make a blip in the market radars once it gets released.

So is Palm truly dead? Not yet but I personally think that it is now experiencing a slow, excruciating and painful death as of this moment.

This post is inspired by a PWiT article written by Jason De Villa.