March 24, 2007

Is Palm Getting Palmed Off?

Treo owners take note: Palm is contending with rumors of a buyer for their aging platform. This is nothing new, yet this time around, the latest round of rumors have an unusual amount of detail per -- "It's crunch time for Palm".

Critics are quick to cite that the Palm OS has not been updated in years, still mired in Palm OS 5 (n/k/a Garnet OS). Palm recently retired the LifeDrive, their foray into the hard-drive based media player/organizer market, and seem to be relying on the Treo as their cash cow. To be fair, Palm has been incorporating the Windows Mobile OS in newer Treo devices. But how far can it carry them? The Treo product itself is relatively old, and the design has not changed substantially since September 2003 with the Treo 600, per Gartner.

"...that's a bad thing in a fast-moving industry like this where we've moved to thinner and cheaper devices. The Treo is looking fat, heavy and expensive." -- Todd Kort, Gartner analyst
To get a good view of where the smartphone market is headed, one just needs to glance at the svelte Motorola Q Phone, the Samsung Blackjack, and of course, the eye-popping Apple iPhone. The iPhone is even equipped with a rotation sensor to automatically switch its display from portrait to landscape, and a proximity sensor to turn off the display and disable accidental screen touches when it's next to your ear. Nice touches.

While the Treo is a fine device and still useful, it needs to overcome a strong "last year's model" showing. Perhaps getting bought up wouldn't be such a bad thing, if it will infuse more resources into updating the platform.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard