Monday, March 28, 2005

CLOSE FRIEND ON LIFE SUPPORT

Gotcha, didn't I? I'm talking about the PalmOS and how it no longer seems to be a platform for innovation. Time was, back in the .boom heyday, that all sorts of new and exciting ideas were brewing in the PDA space dominated by the elegant Palm Operating System and supporting devices. Heck, even as recently as last year us Palm devotees had Sony cranking out cool gadgets and add-ons as well as such nifty tools as WiFi SDIO cards. Even my trusty old recently recommissioned Handspring Visor has a GPS springboard module and an MP3 springboard. (Springboard?) Now what have we got? the Treo. Yeah, it's great, but I don't see a whole lot of innovative software or applications being developed for it. Also, the keyboard is really small. Where's the innovation? How come Palm can only seem to run with an idea that RIM comes up with first? The new Blackberry 7100s have THE form factor I want. Make a PalmOS phone for $300 with that feature set & a bundled JVM and  I'd snap one up. Not some overpriced doodad that will cost you a month's salary of you drop it. The networked apps being developed for phone platforms seem to be leaving Palm behind. In fairness, it's also a market thingie. Palm is being squeezed between supporting a platform for ISV's and getting in the way of the revenue streams of the wireless providers who are subsidizing their phones. It's a tough break, I'll admit, but it still doesn't make me happy.

I'm not sure  where PalmSource (the makers of PalmOS) come out in all this. Their market is being fragmented and they don't have a value proposition. Games? Tapwave's Zodiac is cool, but if you want games, get a PSP. Phones? Treo? natch, get a Blackberry. What's left? barcode scanners?

I fear that my long-term replacement for my dearly departed Clie will be...nothing. <frown>

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