Saturday, October 20, 2007

Palm's Fading Lifeline

Not a good sign when a company's anticipatory eulogy appears in BusinessWeek... 

The sad tale of how Palm got into such a pickle is too complicated for this column. But the company made its own problems much worse by devoting scarce resources to the development of a laptop-like Treo "companion" called Foleo. The project was killed in September, just a couple of weeks before the expected launch. Partly as a consequence, Palm now says a new version of its software, based on the solid and modern Linux operating system, will not be available until the end of next year.
Why does this matter? Because for all its faults, Palm still offers the simplest and most intuitive user interface and the best integration between PDA and phone functions of any smartphone. That includes Apple's (AAPL ) iPhone, which has a great Web browser but lacks a simple way to look up contacts. The disappearance of Palm OS phones would be a real loss. In the end, however, a great user interface does consumers no good if its underlying platform is unsound.

Palm's Fading Lifeline

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