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What Happened To Palm?

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the tides-of-fortune dept.

Communications 305

Ian Lamont writes "Palm's fourth quarter results came out a few days ago, and they were not pretty: Palm reported losses of 40 cents per share, for a quarterly loss of $43.4 million. It's the fourth straight quarter of losses, and it's clear that the company is not faring well in the rapidly evolving smartphone market. The Treo line is lagging after seven years, and while the Centro has done well, it's not well enough to compete with the likes of the iPhone 3G and RIM's surging BlackBerry line. New competition is on the horizon, with developers and manufacturers working on the Google Android platform and the recent news that Symbian is being open-sourced. What happened to Palm? What can the company do to effectively compete in the mobile market, and turn its fortunes around?"

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My story... (5, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984115)

I bought my Palm T|X, direct from Palm, within 24 hours of when they first became available. I ordered it direct so that Palm would get all the margin (profit) from the order. I do this when I am trying to support a company. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this. They got more money from my orders than they would have if I had bought from, say,

I ordered it overnight on Wednesday afternoon; they sat on the order until Friday, and so I received it Monday, basically five days after I had ordered it instead of one. Annoying, but it was new, they were probably overwhelmed with orders, etc., so I just grumbled a bit. The TX itself, well, it was fantastic. A little thing here or there wasn't perfect, but overall, this was the PDA I'd been waiting for. WiFi, Bluetooth, beautiful display, music and video playback, used almost all my software from my long in the tooth M505 Palm... the TX is fantastic. Really.

Considering that I was so happy with the T|X, I decided to get one for my sweetheart as well (she's also a long-time Palm/PDA user.) So, I ordered it on October 18th. We received it on October 19th. Much better. Unfortunately, this is where the happy tone of the story fades out.

Her TX would refuse to connect to any WiFi node without taking about ten tries. Then it would connect. Once connected, it was fine. But connecting could literally take five minutes of poking and prodding it. This was clearly no good (heck, PDAs are supposed to be convenient, aren't they?) So I called Palm. They kept me on the phone for about 40 minutes (I timed it. Total cost to me, $46.60 via AT&T) I spoke to Cody in support. In 40 minutes, he verified, apparently by following a support script, what I had clearly described to him in the first 30 seconds: This T|X was not connecting properly. Yes, I kept my temper and stayed polite. I know this game.

So he tells me, now I have to call the Palm store. So I do - toll free. I tell them what Cody told me, and I give them the service request number he supplied for my issue. They take it, tell me it will be 24-48 hours and then they will issue (by email) an RMA. This new fellow also explains that the procedure continues such that if they accept the RMA (verify the problem on receipt of the unit) then Palm will refund to my card.

I object: I ask, "Why refund? I want it replaced -- this is a gift!" They say there is no other option, and this is to "protect them from fraud." I ask them how, exactly, giving me my $300 back protects them more than giving me a working T|X... but this only angers the person on the phone, who tells me he isn't going to explain company policy to me. Imagine that. So I thank him for his time (no, really, I did, and I remain polite as well) and I hang up.

So, 48 hours pass, no RMA email. (Definitely -- I kept every email while waiting for the RMA, so no spam filtering, nothing. Man, was that annoying!) So I call them again. This guy tells me that it takes 2-5 days to issue an RMA and the previous person "didn't know what they were talking about." Uh-huh.

So I wait. Five days pass. No RMA. So I call them again. It's October 24th now. They say they'll send it out after 5 pm, specifically telling me these emails are batched all at once. 5pm rolls around... no RMA. 9pm... midnight...

So the next morning, I call them again, only this time I call technical support back at the toll number. (Total time, 20 minutes, Total cost to me, $23.30 via AT&T -- we're now at $69.00 expended on toll calls to Palm support.) We're still sitting on this busted T|X, and no RMA. I'm not happy at all. My sweetheart is dissapointed, to say the least. But I remained polite. The fellow on the phone (Chris, employee number 72485) allowed as to how he could escalate the issue, and fax me the RMA. He did, and we got it, wonder of wonders, and so now we have this RMA. It's a UPS ground return to Palm. Gritting my teeth, I hand it off to UPS and wait.

On November 3rd, I receive an email(!) from Palm saying that they have received the package. On November 7th, my credit card reflects the purchase price of the T|X and ground shipping have been credited to my account. I'm not going to argue about it. No sir.

I turned right around and ordered a new TX from... not Palm, no sir... from I ordered it overnight. At a $30 discount. It got here overnight, and it works fine. So now we have two working T|Xs, and a lifelong committment to never, ever, purchase anything direct from Palm again. Not hardware, not software, not anything. Don't say I didn't warn you. True and stone-accurate story, every word of it. October 18th to November 8th, 21 days, three full weeks of purest annoyance, deceit and/or misinformation, and poor response.

For the record, the T|X with the bad WiFi was serial number PN70U975V3M8 and had a MAC of 000B6C4C8E05. If you end up with this unit, and it has trouble connecting, then they've just foisted the thing off on you with the same problem I gave it back to them with, sans repairs. I wouldn't put it past them, though I admit I'm just being cynical and suspicious because I feel we were treated so poorly. They may have great hardware, but whoever designed the deal-with-the-public policies for the company should be dismissed with prejudice.

Would I buy a phone from them? No. I probably would have bought another PDA, only because we have a lot invested in PDA software, and my T|X is still in use to this day. But they want to make phones now. Oh well.

Re:My story... (1)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984181)

I hate my Treo. It is the fourth one I have had, they keep on breaking. It is company issued or I would not use it at all.

The browser is terrible and the O/S so unstable that Opera won't supply an alternative. The managers who accepted that code must have an IQ less than my shoe size.

I hate my Treo, sooner Palm goes out of business the better.

Re:My story... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984849)

I'm staying anonymous for soon to be obvous reasons.

A few years back I did QA work as a contractor on Palm products. While I didn't work on the Folio, I was in the same room as thjose who did.

When I first saw that thing my question was, "What's the point?"

The product I worked on went gold and my contract ended. I hate Treo's in ways you will never know. You have no idea how much fun it is to run through the same sequence of QA tests over and over again.

Three members of my team ended up hospitalized with serious and in one case life threatening illnesses. (All fully recovered)

The sooner Palm goes under the better.

Re:My story... (1)

CodeArtisan (795142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984907)

You have no idea how much fun it is to run through the same sequence of QA tests over and over again.

You have no idea how much smarter it is to have your QA tests automated and have them run overnight.

Re:My story... (4, Insightful)

signingis (158683) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984187)

Why on earth are you paying $1/min for your cell phone coverage?

Re:My story... (4, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984301)

Why on earth are you paying $1/min for your cell phone coverage?

Knowing Palm, support was a 1-900 number.

Re:My story... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984407)

My thought exactly. Can Palm really do overnight delivery to Antarctica now?

Re:My story... (5, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984199)

I can tell you've been thinking a lot about this. How do you really feel? ;-)

Re:My story... (3, Informative)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984359)

You might try a Nokia N8x0. It has a genuine Garnet (e.g, Palm 5) emulator, and runs all of the software I've tried on it quite well. However, you can't set your user ID (I know, what a stupid restriction), and you can only sync the PIM via wifi.

But it's a sweet tablet in its own right. Oh, and yes - it runs Linux. :-)

Re:My story... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984403)

I have a T|X and it's the last Palm product I will ever buy. Totally buggy "browser". Their desktop application hasn't been updated since 1994 and basically doesn't work under OS X (fortunately there is Missing Sync). My T|X has had a non functioning power button (won't turn off) since day 1. I've tried twice to get an RMA and just gave up both times. Since the thing actually works, all I'm doing is missing some battery life.

The only reason I keep it is because of a few medical databases that are critical to me and the fact that Windows Mobile just absolutely sucks. I'm just hoping that Epocrates manages to port their application to the iPhone so I can go round and round with AT&T (again). Oh, and that His Steveness blesses the iPhone with cut and paste.

It's really sad just how few decent options exist in the PDA world.

I think I'll go look for a Pony.

Re:My story... (4, Interesting)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984589)

I've owned Palm gear since .. oh around the time the original palm3x came out. Bought it from CompUSA - loved that device for about a year.

Got a good lead on a VX - and scored one. Very awesome; although the lack of being able to use aaa batteries was somewhat dissapointing, it seemed to hold a good charge. Even up until a year ago when I got rid of the unit.

Did everything with this machine. GPS, kept my contacts, even had about 15 minutes every morning where I would manually sync my business calendar with the one in the Palm to stay on top of things. Truly this machine was the best PDA I've ever had.

Fast forward to .. oh 3 years ago? When the T|X came out, told my wife that I wanted one for Christmas. And I got it! Played with that thing for about a month, using it to watch videos at the gym and playing music at work. For data entry and screen visibility, this device was awesome.

My gripes?
1. The audio out on the device is noisy with low impedance headphones. This drives my tinnitus up the wall. Constant "hisssssssssss" regardless of the volume level. This is either a product of cramming an audio amp next to the screen or just a crappy amp.
2. Screen squeal. No lie, this thing emits a vile, harsh sound from the screen anytime that it is on. It's not that noticable, but again - I have slight tinnitus in my left ear, and it makes my left ear go absolutely nuts. I believe it is in the same sound spectrum as a TV flyback - because they both do this to me. Anyways, 2 RMAs later, and they state that this problem is expected with this kind of display technology and they're not going to fix it. This seems to affect every one of their devices - go into your local staples/office max/whatever and find their Palm section (if they still have one.) If you turn them on, you're guaranteed to hear the squeal - my wife was giving me shit for not using my gift she got me, and I then walked her by the Palm section. She didn't berate me any more after that.
3. Had to RMA for failing power button. This happened about 2 months into the device, and really drove me nuts. This exact same issue happened with my Palm Vx late in life. They did fix this properly, and to this day the power button works.

I no longer use the device and it sits on my shelf due to the screen squeal. I also bought an MP3 player that plays videos (granted, on a much smaller screen) so I no longer need this one at the gym. It also doesn't accept SDHC cards (DOH!!!)

Now, my thoughts as to why they're doing bad in the market:

1. They don't fix clearly obvious issues with the device (#1 and #2 above)
2. My work laptop now has wireless access every place that I go in my company. This gives my laptop the ability to be my "pda" even though it isn't as convenient.
3. With #2 being true for a lot of people, there's just no market for a small portable repository of address books and calendars for the masses. Note - there are probably some niche areas where a PDA comes in handy, but in my line of work (Network/Voice Design) I just don't have a need.
4. Same as above, I still see a PDA and a phone combo as a niche device. Blackberry and Apple are getting this area right - by integrating with popular mail types (Exchange, Lotus Notes) that companies use to keep their employees abreast of things. I'm not sure how Palm still does this, but back in the day it was some convoluted connector that runs on your local PC. Not too handy if the laptop is sitting in the off position in your laptop bag.

Re:My story... (1)

Jay L (74152) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984789)

I think all flat-screen backlights squeal - well, at least the non-LED ones. I am not a hardware guy, by any means, but I think the backlights are the rough equivalent of fluorescent lights, and the squeal is the rough equivalent of the ballast.

I had this problem with an LCD monitor for a recording studio. Luckily, the vendor (Wide USA) was marketing that display for medical uses, so they were eager to exchange it for me, no charge. If it were a consumer monitor, I'm sure I'd have been SOL. They don't make the glass themselves, so they may not have much control over the noise factor, other than by pushing back to their vendor. I got the impression that it's a common lot-to-lot variation, just as some transformers will hum on noisy power and some won't.

Come to think of it, every backlit digital watch I've had squealed too - at least since the introduction of Indiglo-style backlights. I think the older ones didn't.

Re:My story... (2, Interesting)

monopole (44023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984865)

Had Palms since the original Visor.

Same here, the power button on my T|X failed after a few months, sync failed later, and other bits afterwards. No amount of hard resets will fix it.

My friend had the touchscreen fail twice.

Neither of will ever buy Palm again.

Went over to the Nokia n800, not as clean a solution, bulkier, but it works and has a true Debian distro.

Re:My story... (-1, Offtopic)

superphreak (785821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984437)

I know we're talking Palm here, but my girlfriend's laptop (IMB/Lenovo) has been in for repairs for over a month now. Send it out May 19. Was expecting a pretty quick turnaround. After all, Dell replaced my motherboard and got me my laptop back in about 2 days (overnight DHL both ways, they paid.)

Not so fast. Literally. The box was overnight DHL. Nice. Good start. We sent it out. After about a week, we called. "We don't have the part." Ok, fine... we'll wait. What else can we do?

Another week later, they tell us, "Oh, we just ordered the part that she needs." Hello? You're kidding, right?

Well, it's been over a month now, and I'm still not sure why we haven't received the laptop. Right now, I'd be ecstatic if they offered us the money back. I'd take it and run. Customer disservice at its finest. My gf was supposed to be able to talk to a manager (as if that would do any good), but as her call was being transferred, it got disconnected. Huh. Funny how that works. Finally, a manager did call her (a few weeks later) and told her that if it takes "much longer" they'll just send her the laptop (unrepair) and send someone to repair it. How is that going to be any faster???

Re:My story... (3, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984511)

They kept me on the phone for about 40 minutes (I timed it. Total cost to me, $46.60 via AT&T)

Wow, you have a _horrible_ long distance plan. Who pays $1.17/minute for long distance?

Re:My story... (2, Interesting)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984611)

It's a Palm user. Had he bought a Nokia with built-in SIP/VOIP client he would be able to call any US number for 1 pence a minute (that's 2 dollar cents). That's what it costs me with my VOIP provider - and there's a bloody ocean in between.

Re:My story... (3, Informative)

klossner (733867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984535)

You don't buy phones from Palm, you buy them from the cell phone provider, who provides the service. I'm very happy with my Treo 755p. It needed service -- dust somehow get between the glass and the LCD. The Sprint store five miles from my house swapped in a new screen while I waited.

500 voice minutes, unlimited text and internet data, $30/month with the SERO plan [] .

After my T|X died... (2, Interesting)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984571)

...I tried to find a Palm that didn't suck, since I needed one for certain medical software. (Emulators for Nokia or other devices are just far too slow, and can't turn on and off instantly.) I used my old Sony SJ33 until I finally came to the conclusion that all of the new Palm devices are garbage. Anything built since they moved to NVFS [] is a buggy unstable timebomb. My solution was to buy a refurbished Tungsten C from these guys [] , which was much faster than my T|X and perfectly stable. It's worthless for the internet, but as a PDA I like it (and the price) so much that I bought an extra one, just in case I drop it or something.

Re:My story... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984613)

Looks like you've discovered (painfully) the truth about Palm.

Products are usually good, customer service is NONEXISTENT. Buy one, and then pray it never breaks.

Re:My story... (-1, Offtopic)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984623)

I'm sorry, feel free to mod me down for this since it's OT, but:

"I bought my Palm T|X, direct from Palm, within 24 hours of when they first became available."

"So, 48 hours pass"

"So I wait. Five days pass."

"So the next morning, I call them again"

"I ordered it overnight."

Yes, bad customer service etc. But for fracks sake, relax. If you don't get your phone within no time at all, so what? Phones will only make your life more hectic. Go look at some nice flowers instead. Go out to the countryside and meet some nice horses! Have a nice cup of tea with your neighbour! Relax. Your post makes me feel happy about quitting my job so that I get more time to relax and do stuff I want to do, but at the same time I feel really bad about people like you who are obvously suffering from the 0-day lifestyle. [] (or something, I'm not associalted with them, I just think it's really wrong to get worked up about a gizmo that doesn't arrive right this minute!!!111 (and also: absolutely no offense intended)

Re:My story... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984695)

You may not have intended offense, but don't be surprised if someone clocks you in the nose if this is how you act in real life.

Re:My story... (4, Insightful)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984823)

Seriously. I used to have a 'really' free schedule too, and while it's tempting to keep bringing it up...people don't like it. It's a bit like walking up to someone without legs, and uninvited telling them about how much you love the feel of grass between your toes as you take a walk in the park. Usually the people with jobs that take up a lot of their lives are aware that it sucks, are doing it for a reason(need to support their family), and are usually not thrilled with the situation but are trying as hard as they can to keep up with it.

Re:My story... (2)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984885)

Ok. Reality for most people is sad, but point taken.
It really sucks that we live in a world where most people have to be "slaves".

Re:My story... (3, Funny)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984857)

All this time I thought there was something wrong with me. Then I find out you're out there spouting this stuff and you point out there's a whole movement?

Christ, I guess it's kind of appropriate that it should have started nearly ten years ago and I'm only just now finding out about it.

Re:My story... (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984887)

Phones will only make your life more hectic.

Mine doesn't. Only a handful of people have my number. I use my phone to stay in contact with a few close friends. My phone makes my life less hectic, and I can maintain friendships that I couldn't otherwise.

Your mistake (5, Insightful)

ghjm (8918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984803)

was in assuming that ordering direct from Palm was better from their point of view. It isn't. Manufacturers don't specialize in logistics, distribution or warehousing, all of which are complex problem spaces that require significant skill to execute correctly. In fact, many manufacturers are so inefficient in these areas that it actually costs them more to sell you a unit than for you to buy it through distribution, margins and all. It also costs them far more to attempt to diagnose and support a problem than to accept a large batch of returns from a major distributor.

Just buy the thing locally from a retailer with a no-questions-asked return policy, and if there's anything wrong with it that you think might be a hardware defect, return it and try another one. This would have saved you $100 in phone calls (though why the hell are you paying over a dollar a minute for long distance?) and would have saved Palm several hundred dollars in support costs.


Re:My story... (1)

LS1 Brains (1054672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984821)

What kind of dufus pays over a dollar a minute, from any corner of this globe, to make a (non 1-900) call in this day and age? One that also can't add apparently, because $46.60 + $23.30 != $69.00 .. Even rounding off that last dime makes it $70.00 :)

Palm has a standard US number, charges $15 for a support call, or charges nothing if you are in the first 90 days (which it sounds it was).

Either your story embellishes a bit, or we're not getting the real story. Sorry you had issues with your unit, but c'mon man...

In regards to the article - Palm who? I'm waiting for my iPhone 3G ;)

Re:My story... (1)

LinuxDon (925232) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984839)

This also reflects my experiences with Palm support, it was horrible. I vowed never to purchase a Palm device again. And since I mostly decide on the purchasing policy within the company, they've lost quite a few sales.

It's absolutely no surprise to me that Palm isn't doing well financially, customers demand proper support or they'll stop purchasing products from the company in question.

Re:My story... (1)

Kibblet (754565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984841)

Mine isn't working, my TX, it was always a headache to deal with but now it's just dead, dead, dead. I don't want a fancy phone. I want a PDA. I'm pretty upset that I spent all that money for NOTHING. "It's probably your power cable. Buy a new one." Nice one.

Re:My story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984843)

Should've given up on Palm and bought her an iPhone. She would've been grateful. Very grateful. Trust me.

No. I mean really grateful.

They lost focus (2, Interesting)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984185)

Between all the division splitting , they lost their focus. The sole idea of scrapping the palm os development and start to focus on windows mobile must tell you something.

Their current devices were fine for five years ago, but not now.

Re:They lost focus (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984311)

What happened is that they brought in the guy from Pepsi as their CEO. You know, a product that is basically a commodity, and only differentiates itself from its competitors through advertising and marketing.

He stopped R&D and tanked the product. Palm stagnated for five years, stopped innovating, and fell behind (in expectations and competition).

By the time they axed him, they lost their lead in the market, and the hearts and minds of their customers, and all of their engineering spirit and talent.

That's what happened to Palm.

Re:They lost focus (1)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984521)

Not only did they lose focus, but their founder and insiders have no hope.

I used to be a sizable shareholder in PALM, dating back to the old US Robotics days. I made a small bit of money overall, but got out when it was clear also to me that they were doing *nothing* as far as I could tell. I think the final straw for me was when they had a big press release for the release of their new and COMPLETELY UGLY orange logo. Weren't they supposed to be a technology company?

The death of palm is really a shame. Take a look at this: []

Not pretty.

Re:They lost focus (1)

cexshun (770970) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984711)

Personally, I think the problem is that the PalmOS platform runs just as Windows 3.1 ran. Need to upgrade the interface with the times. Replaced my PalmTX with a Windows Mobile Smartphone and absolutely love it. Also, I know this isn't necessarily restricted to Palm, but every Palm I've had has had unacceptable digitizer drift at about the 1 year mark, right when the warranty expires. And a new digitizer costs as much as a new unit. My old HP Jornadas never had drift issues. Time will tell on my smartphone.

The future caught up (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984189)

Palm OS was brilliant at running PDA-style apps. However, that's not the direction portable computing was going, and Palm never did much to address the future. When every other platform was moving into media, Palm was proud of its third-party support calendars with more buttons.

And don't get me started about the Graffiti 2 debacle ("Easy to learn, even if you'll never get faster!"). Instead of working out a deal to keep using Jot and its trickier-but-faster strokes, they switched to that two-stroke abomination that instantly cut power users' data entry speed in half. Way to save a penny, Palm!

Re:The future caught up (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984703)

Yes, the also lost the MHz war with WinCE. WinCE was such a hog for CPU and memory that all of the devices needed atleast 4x the CPU speed and RAM just to make something similar in function. People on slashdot whined and complained how the Palm had only a 25MHz dragonball when you could get a "much faster" 100+MHz Compaq or something. Too bad for Palm because the WinCE device would last for about a day on L-Ion rechargeable, and the Palm would be fine for a week or two on a couple of AAA batteries.

PalmOS was brilliantly efficient as a PDA OS. But then the world changed and people want to play MP3s and now watch YouTube on their PDA.

Update the interface already! (5, Insightful)

fonik (776566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984191)

Their hardware is solid. They just need to release an OS that is more capable than Windows 3.1.

Re:Update the interface already! (2, Insightful)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984413)

Seriously. I saw one in Staples the other week and it looked like the same stuff they were selling back in 2002-2003.

Re:Update the interface already! (3, Informative)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984657)

It IS the same stuff they were selling in 2002-2003. Or at least it's near identical to the T5 from 2004. The T|X has been around close to 3 years at this point with no changes, and as far as I can tell it has had only minimal support sense. Palm hasn't so much as even patched in new bluetooth phone profiles!

Re:Update the interface already! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984427)

that's just the kind of thing a nigger would say. are you a nigger? because you sound like a nigger.

Re:Update the interface already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984455)

Tell that to my Palm TX, who's power button broke just 3 days after the 1 year warranty. I've seen instructions on how to take the bastard apart and clean the button (apparently dirt clogs the contacts) but I haven't had the ambition yet.

Re:Update the interface already! (0)

eclectro (227083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984583)

They could always release something great like BeOS and open source it. Oh..wait..

Re:Update the interface already! (3, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984799)

Is the hardware really that good? I thought they hadn't been updating hardware significantly for the past few years. Seems like they should either get some better hardware together or drop the price some more.

But also, their software was great for the time it was introduced... what... 10 years ago? They've been hopping between OS upgrades like Duke Nukem Forever has been hopping between game engines. They need to commit to one and build the fricken thing. It makes me sad that BeOS wasn't bought by someone with the ability to do anything with it.

They need to open their platform. (1, Troll)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984195)

Palm has a massive problem, and that problem is, a Palm Pilot is really only good for one thing, and that's what it was good for in the '90s.

They've got a pretty strict monopoly on stuff for the Palm, and they'll charge you for anything. There's nothing free in the world of the Palm.

The biggest problem with that is, there's nothing particularly good in the world of the Palm either.

If the company wants to gain back the market share it's been consistently losing, they need to truly open their product up, and give open source and independant developers the tools they need to make utilities that will make people like me want to buy their product. I've got a Tungsten E, and I can't use it for anything. The hardware is fine, but there's no software to do what I want to do with it.

Until then, they're going to get raped by the PocketPC, because it has a more open platform, and the Blackberry, because it does the few things anyone cares about better.

Re:They need to open their platform. (2, Informative)

klossner (733867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984599)

You're confusing Palm with some other PDA. The platform is wide open -- here [] are the documents. The Internet is lousy with Palm software [] , some commercial and some free. My Treo has applications from ten different sources, including an excellent free HP-42 emulator [] .

Palm has been busy.... (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984209)

Buying and selling their own name to themselves for 6 years. Leave palm alone. Just leave them alone. Can't you.

Way back, Palm was not the only company making PDAs. They succeed because all the applications that were developed for them. Is anyone writing apps for the palm? Palm does not even know if it's Palm OS or WindowsCE.

Rim was the next palm because they went the next step and integrated the back office into the thing with secure push e-mail and other apps.

The iphone iswhat is next. It's not the touch screens per se. It's the fast processor and great IDE that will lead to the next generation of apps. If you saw the keynote you know I'm not blowing smoke: They showed a full blown medical imaging application ported to the iphone in less than a man week.

    The touchscreens main virtues are it's large area on a small device, and it's morhpability to the application. This is the next step. This is why for example Rim will be next to die after Palm. Look to Nokia and Android to actually compete against the I phone.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (1)

fonik (776566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984267)

The iPhone SDK is not exactly the most awesome thing since sliced bread. The interface is easy to program, but you can only run one third party app at a time.

Want to make a chat application? Have an ssh session running in the background? Have the wifi card work as a wireless router with an internet connection through the cellphone service? Nope, sorry. The hardware can do it, but it's not part of Steve Job's vision.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984383)

Jailbreak. Just because it's not part of steve's vision doesn't mean it won't happen on his hardware/software platform via third-parties.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (5, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984441)

Want to make a chat application? Have an ssh session running in the background? Have the wifi card work as a wireless router with an internet connection through the cellphone service? Nope, sorry. The hardware can do it, but it's not part of Steve Job's vision.

You clearly did not watch the Keynote. They ridiculed this idea for mobile computing. Backround apps are the death of your battery. Do you really want to be dicking with task managers on a mobile device to find out what's using up your resources? And then there's apps that want persistent connections. Apple finessed that by giving away push notification server available to all developers.

In the future your persistent connection (e.g the ssh connection) will be running on a server not on the iphone. The display might be on the iphone but the ssh session you are monitoring won't be on the iphone. You can stop and start this display app, just like it were a VNC connection or a unix "Screen" connection without affecting the ssh operation.

Yes they have chat too. Yes Jobs said they will allow wifi phone service.

You really ought to watch the keynote since you are quite mistaken in your information.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (1)

fonik (776566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984561)

If dicking around with a task manager means that I have internet always available for every wifi device I happen to have within 100 feet, then yes. It seems like a good tradeoff.

The point is that I'd rather have that choice.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (1)

fonik (776566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984635)

Although, I do see your point. I'm looking for customization and functionality over ease of use and efficiency. Their target customer is not me.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984655)

Do you really want to be dicking with task managers on a mobile device to find out what's using up your resources?

Yes, god damn it! Give me the choice, at least! If you want simple computing, fine, but why should the device be forcibly limited using code signing? Have a little switch somewhere that lets me load any software I want onto the thing, then I can hack around the limits I don't want. But instead I'm only allowed to load Apple-approved code onto the device, crippling it far beyond what the hardware would otherwise allow.

And then there's apps that want persistent connections. Apple finessed that by giving away push notification server available to all developers.

Yeah, those are great for the two or three classes of applications that can actually use that technique. They're total crap for background music playing or maintaining an ssh connection or any of a dozen other tasks that maintaining a real persistent connection would be useful for.

You really ought to watch the keynote since you are quite mistaken in your information.

I can't speak for the other guy, but I watched it live. The iPhone is great hardware and a great OS but it's completely crippled by artificial restrictions.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984779)

you are not their customer.

the SDK/IDE (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984399)

The reason I think RIM will linger and then die is that they don't have the economic resources to compete with the iphone. They'll linger because they are damn good at what they do do. Bussinesses like them for the present better than iphones. the iphone killer app has yet to be written. And then there's the exclusive carrier contracts. But over time they won't beable to keep up with the application dev and versatility of the iphone.

Nokia has the cash flow to try and fail four or five times from scratch against the iphone. They have the engineering chops to compete on performance. And if their first few attempts fail, the worst that happens is they lose the high end phone market till they come up with something to rival the iphone.

Android the ability to compete with the iphone on apps and speed of software innovation. It can be backed by the google cloud and that may possibly turnout to be better than the apple cloud (though apple would just switch over if that were the case, but it would erase an apple exclusive advantage).

Android + samsung can produce both awseome hardware and software at affordable prices and with substantial cash flow to back it till it catches on.

But Apple still has a killer advantage: OSX and platform integration. OSX means people can write Hub apps for the apple desktops and then have companion mobile apps for the iphone. You won't have to re-write your code or support two platforms. Or have compatibility libs. Heck you won't even have to have two IDEs: Xcode does it all. So both from the developer and consumer point of view apple is much more fascile and seamless.

Apple recently bought a low power chip maker so the horse power and battery lifr in these is going to keep getting better. Since apple will always be able to more tightly couple the OS and hardware, they are going to get every drop of power out of this thing. It used to be that it was the communication hardware that ate the batteries. Presumably nokia's better at that but with the new generation it's the computing and screen display power. Things like background service will eat your battery. Apple thus may have the better hardware strategy as well as the better software strategy.

But can they ship 100,000,000 phones per year? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984709)


What would you write your apps for? Someone who does ship those kinds of numbers on a routine basis or... Sorry, no, it's a no-brainer.


Re:But can they ship 100,000,000 phones per year? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984837)

Would you buy an app that runs on both your computer and your phone over one that does not? as an end user i'd be more tempted by having the dual function.

For low demand apps, perhaps running them in the cloud over a browser interface will suffice. But some, like games and medical imaging are better on local hardware.

So it's up in the air between android and Apple.

Re:Palm has been busy.... (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984449)

Buying and selling their own name to themselves for 6 years.

Don't forget selling their OS, writing a new one from scratch, shelving it, buying back the old one, then rewriting it again, all the while promising "It's gonna be Linux!" Color me unimpressed. []

The answer is simple (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984229)

Windows CE

What (4, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984263)

RIM happened, then Apple happened.

Obsolete software (5, Insightful)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984271)

Shipping an obsolete OS is what killed Palm. I stopped caring about them in 2005 when I realized that they were never going to ship any hardware with Palm OS 6. I don't know whether Palm OS 6 would have generated more success than Palm OS 5, but lo and behold, it's 2008, and they're still shipping an OS that lacks multitasking support and dates back to 2002. It's no surprise, then, that they are failing in an industry that is rife with competition from more modern software.

It's not just that they didn't innovate (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984817)

Personally, I don't care about multitasking. What I care about is that both their OS and hardware went from rock-solid stable to flaky and bug-ridden. I bought a refurbished Tungsten C that was built 5 years ago because it's much more reliable than anything they make now. It's also faster. This is something that was made in 2003, and it's better than what they make now.

Re:Obsolete software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984893)

Like the slick multitasking OS of the iphone?

Palm has failed to innovate (3, Insightful)

djblair (464047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984303)

Palm once led the PDA market. Their PalmOS platform was revolutionary in the 90's because it was flexible, fostered good battery life and most importantly was easy to use. When Palm moved into the smartphone market, they did very little to revamp their aging operating system. Rather, Palm tacked on advanced wireless functionality their platform couldn't really handle. They are losing to Apple and RIM because these companies designed their hardware and software from the ground up for rock-solid email and voice communication.

Market Share Shrank (1)

tonyray (215820) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984305)

Palm's market share shrank about 75% because they are losing out to other OS's, including Microsoft Mobile which grew quite impressively last year. RIM's market share has been pretty constant. Linux is also growing - at least enough to be more than a line on the pie chart now. Android isn't even a blip at the moment and has nothing to do with Palm's problems.

I hate my treo (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984313)

I have a 700p, using "Good" Exchange-push mail. It is slow, cramped, flaky, clunky, and slow. Did I mention that it's too fucking slow?

Palm needs hardware fast enough so that I'm never waiting for mail to process, apps to switch, or anything like that. When 3-4 days of mail is processing, the damned thing is unusable for way too long.

I don't care whose fault it is, I just hate how slowwwww the damn thing is.

He's dead Jim (4, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984349)

What happened to Palm? What can the company do to effectively compete in the mobile market, and turn its fortunes around?"

Not a thing. Stick a fork in them, they're done.

Re:He's dead Jim (2, Funny)

dunnius (1298159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984475)

Things are getting a bit hairy at Palm!

nowhere to hide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984375)

Palm was never wanted to be one of the big guys. I base that on their actions. In their company motto or press releases they might have given the impression that they were going to move in new directions, but after the initial palm pilots it was generally more of the same.

Had they wanted to make an "iphone", before apple ever knew apple could make phones, they they would have. They succeded in a time when gizmos for geeks were cool. Palm, or whatever they are called now, missed the boat thing, and now its time for the chariot to swing low.

this is how you can save yourselves, palm. (5, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984401)

Make a phone that is aimed at business users.

remember blackberry? the old one? the one that ONLY did email?

That little device with its tiny niche' market rocketed RIM to the company that they currently are. Unfortunately RIM has completely lost sight of what used to make them so incredible. The market needs a new paradigm for business phones. there used to be nextel, and the blackberry 7520 (which i said they could have when they pried it from my cold, dead fingers) but sprint is basically flusing nextel down the toilets. they're hoping to phase out the network and poach the users onto sprint.

This is all another story...

The point is that there is definetely a group of consumers out there who don't WANT a phone with an MP3 player, a camera, lots and lots of bright, shiny surfaces, tiny buttons, etc. etc. we don't want phones that we designed for the 15-20 female market. We don't.

Lets look at something like the blackberry 7520 (the phone that i had up until yesterday) to the blackberry curve (which i have now had for about 24 hours).

The 7520 (which was an astounding success, btw) was big. really big. But we LIKED that about it. It was rugged, I would routinely chuck it across the office to demonstrate to the non-believers why it was so amazing. Its size also allowed it to have BIG keys...ones that you could type on. The screen was recessed, it NEVER got scratched, ever.
This is the type of thing that business users want....functionality.

Now lets look at the curve:
the buttons are f*cking tiny. You can't type with your thumbs, you have to use your fingernails. I can only assume that this is because the phone was designed for 8 year old girls. The dropped the scroll wheel on the side that made the old blackberries have such a (in my mind) LEGENDARY interface. Honestly that was one of the best interfaces i have EVER used. They dropped it for a stupid trackball that, while pretty, is all but useless unless you use two hands to operate the phone.

Okay...rant rant rant rant...i hate the new blackberry, but this is my point:

A market (that used to be dominated by RIM) has been abandoned. there is a sizable gap that needs to be filled, and this is Palm's opportunity to start turning a profit again.

If you dont' belive me about the 7520, ask anybody that owned one. Most of the people that did still keep it (with the service turned off if they have to) as an organizer. It was just THAT good, and there currently is nothing on the market that offers the same level of functionality.

Re:this is how you can save yourselves, palm. (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984545)

...but sprint is basically flusing nextel down the toilets. they're hoping to phase out the network and poach the users onto sprint.

As someone who has been watching Sprint for years I can tell you your assertion is patently false. Sprint is not trying to kill Nextel.

Sprint continues to do everything they can to shoot themselves in the foot. They acquired Nextel in large part to protect their foot (like a shield) and keep them afloat (cell phone company floaties and a mixed metaphor!).

Sprint isn't killing Nextel, they are going down themselves and Nextel is being dragged with them.

More on-topic, Palm's problem is clear. The OS today is clearly based on the original OS from ~1996. We owned one of those (with the US Robotics name and all). It was a nice device. But while everyone else moved on (and Windows CE/Mobile/PDA/whatever it is now) pushed many new capabilities into the devices. Palm continued to ignore everything (to the point that Handspring was formed) but still things haven't changed. The company ran themselves into the ground.

How do they fix it? No idea. They need a new OS. Not the one they've been promising for 5 years, something new, and good. But at this point, you have to beat Apple (ha!), Microsoft (plenty of investment), RIM (took what could have been Palm's market), plus every other cell phone company.

Frankly, I think they're gone. It's just time. I don't know if anyone could bring it back.

Re:this is how you can save yourselves, palm. (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984575)

As someone who has been watching Sprint for years I can tell you your assertion is patently false. Sprint is not trying to kill Nextel.

it sure seems that way. Every time i would call our rep for more phones i would have to sit through them trying to get me to switch to sprint. they have also done almost nothing as far as bettering their service in my market (phoenix), which is why we finally dropped them.

Re:this is how you can save yourselves, palm. (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984745)

Sprint has been trying to get Nextel customers to switch over. There are rumors they are going to try to spin Nextel back off now.

They are trying to get those customers, but what I wanted to point out was it Sprint kills what they touch. If they had left Nextel alone, they'd have still found a way to kill it. Sprint is going down, and doing anything they can to stay up. Grabbing at Nextel is part of that (although it didn't start out quite like that). Sprint would have driven you off either way.

At this point, I don't hold it against Sprint. I wouldn't if I were you either. They aren't mean, they're just rather incompetent. They are killing themselves. Their size is the only reason they've survived the last 2-3 years

Sprint isn't trying to kill Nextel, they're trying to kill themselves (and succeeding).

A sad but familiar story (5, Insightful)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984415)

Palm suffers from the same fatal illness that has killed so many once-promising companies - totally inept management.

From their board minutes: "Let's make a Linux OS! No, wait, let's buy BeOS and use that! Great, it works, now let's not ship any products that run it! Now let's announce another Linux OS! Now let's announce an UMPC with a different, incompatible Linux OS than the first one - I mean, second one. Now on shipping day, let's cancel the UMPC and "commit" to the first Linux OS! Let's write an emulator that runs on another company's tablet, and give it away for free - but not ship a product of our own that runs it! And in the meantime, to keep our customers entertained, let's keep selling the Palm name to ourselves over and over again!"

Didn't these guys used to run Atari?

Stuck in the 90s (1)

poptix_work (79063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984425)

I use overpriced phones for work, I used to love my PalmOS devices (ohhh, how shiny my Visor Prism was..) but then other PDA devices came along that actually supported multitasking and I never looked back.

  This may seem excessive to some, but I will routinely handle trouble tickets on my phone (currently a company supplied Blackberry Curve). This involves 'tabbing' between e-mail, a web browser (for customer information), and an ssh client (to resolve their issue). On Palm devices applications in the background are suspended and the ssh session drops. It's really not a problem for most applications, but in a web enabled world dropping all your TCP connections every time you tab to another app is silly.

  Palm seems to have decided that they were going to drop PalmOS and make hardware for Windows Mobile, but it turns out they suck at making hardware that really stands out (my last Palm branded device, a Treo 700w, sucked for how heavy, bulky, and poorly built it was.. two exchanges for various hardware issues and it was finally retired when the speaker failed).

  Before anyone says 'lol, use a laptop', my blackberry handles this just fine, and it's difficult to lug around a laptop while you're playing an 18 hole disc golf course. Mobility++

Quite simple (5, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984447)

Palm is the new Amiga. They both had great devices that were ahead or the best of their era, but then decided to sit on their butts and stop innovating.

That's what happened.

and the sad part is... (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984713)

You know, the sad part about that comment is that the Amiga was actually multi-tasking...

Re:Quite simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984791)

First, I don't think you know what was the problem with the Amiga. Although the A2000 was not interesting, the A3000 was fantastic. Commodore never stopped innovating.

Second, Psion was the new Amiga, not Palm. Palm was not even an Atari. At best, Palm was a Mac (I'm talking about the 1990 Mac).

customer service? (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984487)

What happened is they started with a good product and nonexistent customer support, and they just rested on their laurels instead of building their customer loyalty through good service. Now better products have come out, and products with actual customer service have entred the market. What happens after that is only natural.

If you have a problem with your palm pilot, your only hope is to find a forum where some other unfortunate soul has ran into the same thing and managed to figure out how to fix it, and was generous enough to share their experience. Either that or you'll find 35 threads of others having the same issue and nobody has figured out how to fix it.

Yes I own a palm pilot. Right now my screen refuses to re-calibrate the stylus (no it's not a "screen wedgie") so I have to press 1/8" below wherever I want to click, and there's evidently no way to fix it short of replacing it. Lucky me.

My experience (0, Troll)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984489)

In the fall of 2002, I decided that I needed some form of a PDA to allow me to take a few notes and manage a calendar. I obtained one of the inexpensive Palms. (Its name began with a Z, although I can't remember the exact name.)

The Palm was very basic, and it did what I needed it to do. It even charged from the USB port, so I put the power brick away and forgot about it. I was happy!

After 4-5 months, it stopped working. I was tired of carrying two devices. Ultimately, I replaced the Palm and my cell phone with a very basic cell phone that had the same features as the Palm.

Needless to say, my experience with Palm is that their devices are unreliable and easily duplicated by inexpensive phones. Today, the iPhone does everything that I wanted a basic Palm for, is more reliable, and takes up less space in my pockets!

What happened to palm? (1)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984501)

They refused to innovate where they needed to. Palm OS was interesting when I first saw it, what? 10 or more years ago? Sure, the phones got more and more advanced, but it's roughly akin to Apple's refusal to leave OS8 and OS9 behind and advance to a modern OS. All the legacy users will drag you down when you can't pull any more new users in because your phones' software was written when Java was considered new. Innovate or die happened to Palm. If they can come out with a new OS they might stand a chance. I for one will never touch one of their phones again until they do.

Failed to Jump to Linux (3, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984505)

In 2004, Palm planned to convert [] PalmOS into nothing but a GUI and backwards compatibility API layer, replacing the OS with Linux. Lots of Palm software assets and licenses were transferred among Palm, China MobileSoft, and the Japanese "Access" mobile SW company [] over the next year or two.

By now, we should be able to get smartphones with easy Web access, the thousands of little PalmOS apps, and all the Linux apps, all upgradable at a "tap" over the air or USB from the Internet. But it never happened. Instead, Palm put out a couple of different models of Treo, which were excellent phones when released, but rapidly eclipsed by more frequent updated releases of Symbian and Windows phones.

I bet what happened was that just announcing a PalmOS/Linux smartphone earned its execs and directors a lot of money, money changed hands in the endless spinoffs/acquisitions/mergers, but no one ever paid a team to convert the phone to Linux or PalmOS as a layer on top of it.

Another good question is why I can't just install Linux on any of the new phones with HW compatible with it, and keep my telephone service contract. That should be easy by now, and shouldn't require Palm to do it.

Palm - The PDA That Time Forgot (5, Insightful)

darkPHi3er (215047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984517)

This thread is peculiar timing for me, as i just spent the last few days resurrecting my Visor Prism for a Head-to-Head with my Dell Axim x51v and my AT&T Tilt...

The long and short of the comparsion? Palm never confronted Wince and its Descendants...

My early Palm's, the III's and the V's, were SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE EARLY WINCE PDA'S...

Good screens, GREAT battery life, and once you got the hang of could fly on
entry. The Wince recognizer STILL isn't quite as good as the early Palm.

The Palms were soooo much better that Palm had the market essentially all to itself. For the FIRST FEW YEARS.

But then, Palm failed to grow, Palm failed to innovate (How old is Garnet?)... ....and each generation of Windows PDA got slowly and slightly better.

So, i remember attending the MS PDC in Denver ('97) and spending over 8 (F******) hours, working on my Compaq Companion (rebranded Casio Cassiopeia), getting the modem and Pocket Outlook and Pocket Explorer working over a 9600 baud connection. If the "windows" in my 16th story hotel room had opened, the Companion would have taken a Unscheduled Flight.

OTOH, my x51v (with a Stowaway BT Folding KB) has around 90% the ESSENTIAL functionality of my current laptops, and the x51v is a 3-year old PDA.

YES, the battery life on the Axim sucks, Yes, the Windows Mobile 5 Pocket apps are still a little underpowered and slightly flaky.

However, in raw functionality, my TX has less power than my x51v, Garnet is flakier than WM5, and i have to go to a bunch of 3rd party apps to get equivalent functionality with the Axim.

The TX's battery life is not all that much better, and the display screen isn't half as good.

ON THE BLACKBERRY SIDE; email on the Treo 700, though way better then my Treo 180, is still a relative PIA, compared to the Idiot Simple usage of a Blackberry.

And though i vastly prefer my Curve2 to my old Pearl, both of them had equivalent basic functionality to the Treo 700 in line-of-business apps, such as contacts and appointments.

Internet access on the BB is just a little behind the best of the 3G/4G phones. Display is also slightly-to-moderately behind, but has been catching up.

So, Palm got beat by cellphones on voice and Internet connectivity. Palm got beat by Wince on applications deployment and display. Palm got slaughtered by RIM on email functionality. Palm (along with everyone else) GOT MASS MURDERED BY Apple on multimedia delivery, which will only get worse with the 3G iPhone.

And both LG and Samsung, gigantic industrial conglomerates with HUGE MONEY, are lining up to play whack-a-mole with the iPhone. They may not succeed, but they WILL deliver many more powerful cellular devices to further eclipse the Palm line.

I STILL LOVE MY PRISM, but it's SOOO Olde Skul...

Palm SHOULD HAVE become the "iPhone", but they got fat and lazy with a dedicated user base.

Then once they fell behing they didn't have the: talent, vision or resources to catch up.

Palm -- "The PDA That Time Forgot"

I don't understand either (2, Insightful)

guanxi (216397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984525)

Palm's demise was common wisdom when it was still dominant in the marketplace, and I never understood why. Even today, the several-year-old OS is better than Blackberry at everything but e-mail, and better than Windows Mobile at everything (I switched from Palm to Windows for a few years and just switched back; what a relief and pleasure to not be fighting my phone all the time).

I understand the OS can't multitask, but they've had plenty of time to correct that. I suspect it's too complicated for most consumers, and does not provided features needed by corporate IT for management, support and integration. But they've had plenty of time to correct that, too.

I'm sorry to see it die off. I love my Treo 755p. It's incredibly efficient, very reliable and, for my needs, highly functional.

Fantasy (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984527)

It sounds like there were spending too much time fantasizing about their profits, 'cause it sounds like things are getting pretty hairy over there...

They lost their best people to Handspring (2, Interesting)

m0nkyman (7101) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984531)

What happened is they lost their best people to Handspring. From that point on it's been all downhill.

It's the Apps... (1, Interesting)

Xyverz (144945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984533)

I've been a PalmOS user since 2000, when I procured my IIIc. I loved all my Palms except the 650. The 650 was nice, but crashed way too much for my likings. I now have a 680 that works much better and is a lot more stable.

There are two reasons I haven't bought an iPhone yet: PocketQuicken (by Landware) and PalmFuelLog (search google for the page). Once those apps are available for the iPhone, I'll drop my Treo like a hot potato. WinCE and Blackberry are right out - don't like the interface, don't like most of the hardware (especially in Blackberry's case).

Yes, you heard it here first. The only reason Palm is still around is because people have become attached to their applications and there ain't any replacements just quite yet.

*whine* To the good folks at Landware: Get crackin'!! I want an iPhone dammit. Your app is preventing this from happening. */whine*

arrogance and greed (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984581)

What happened to Palm is arrogance and greed.

They should have switched to Linux as their primary platform around 2000, putting a PalmOS emulator on top of it and working with the open source community. This is no 20/20 hindsight, I was saying the same thing back then.

But they wanted to own it all and develop it all themselves.

What can the company do to effectively compete in the mobile market, and turn its fortunes around?"

Join Android or Limo. Even if the market were still receptive to another platform, Palm doesn't have the buzz or developers to pull it off.

The three things that is killing palm (2, Interesting)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984633)

1) Spinning off the Palm software division. One of the reasons Palm worked so well was that it's hardware and software were tightly integrated. Removing that integration turned them into just another PDA/Smartphone manufacturer with nothing different to offer. Add to that a hardware third party (the only reason they split in the first place) that basically imploded and a buyout of the software division, and you got a disaster on your hands.

2) Axing off Hotsync Server. I had more execs wanting this function than I could count just so their secretaries could update their calendars on the fly. So when they couldn't get it because Palm decided it wasn't important enough, they switched to Outlook, since Exchange could share calendars over the network. Add to that the frustration of getting a Palm to sync with Outlook without duplicating something and you got a recipe to can your palm with something that syncs right, like Windows mobile or RIM.

3) Switching from Dragonball to Xscale. My Kyocera 6035 smartphone is over 6 years old. Personally, I usually get 7 days use out of my phone before I have to recharge it, and thats with a 6 year old battery. New it used to go for 2-3 weeks with moderate usage. Show me a Palm phone that could get 3-5 days without a charge out of the box. The Dragonball processors were not the fastest chips out there, but were unbeatable in the energy usage department. When Palm switched, the devices got fatter, bigger, and sucked battery life like water, All without offering a big benefit vs older Palms. I guess you now got more memory and more functionality available but what difference does it make to the exec that just using it for his calendar and contacts? All he knows is that his palm's battery lasts 1/4 of the amount of time of his old m515 and is twice as thick. So he tosses the palm to his secretary and goes out and gets that blackberry that everyone is talking about.

I have Owned various Palms For Approx. 5 Years (1)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984647)

I currently own a Palm Tungsten T3(my previous PDA was a Palm m550) and until a year 1/2 ago was genuinely useful.
It did everything I wanted; play music, read pdfs, various programming options and browse the Internet with my mobile phone. There are/were many useful applications for it, Office software, font anti-aliasing software(way before Pocket PCs could do it) and even a Java VM (no longer downloadable because Palm discontinued it - this could have made it much more useful - mind you the implementation is extremely dated).

These days it's just a pain in the backside. I had to buy a new mobile phone and I cannot get my Palm T3 linked to my mobile - considering they both support Bluetooth my T3 just generates an Exception and crashes (I've looked for ways round it and none of them work).

My problem is that the OS is severely limited now. The memory structure is segmented (limited to 64k blocks?), you can't even task switch applications let alone multi-task - when you start an application the previous has to exit first.

The most *important* limitation my T3 has is that it is limited to 1GB sd cards!

On the other hand it fully backward compatible with old Palm-based software via it's emulator.

If Palm continued to update the OS (even for the TX) I would still use it but unfortunately this is yet another bad management decision by Palm.

Most Palm systems are based round an ARM processor and more than capable CPU, for just look at the Nokia n800 series or the Zaurus line of PDAs.

As far as I am concerned Palm just don't exist as a credible PDA company their management seem to lack any common-sense , business acumen or any experience.

There is still hope via the linux4palm project - but support is still immature, if they can complete support for the T3 then I will switch, beyond that my T3 days are coming to an end.

It's sad - Palm had a golden opportunity to really lead the PDA industry and in the early years were innovators but unfortunately the company will disappear.

My next PDA is going to be an open-source one. Whether it's Symbian or a Linux derivative that way I can stay in control of the technology.

Nothing Happened, That's What. (1)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984651)

I've been a Palm user for many years (Palm II) and I can tell you they haven't done anything for a long time. My Treo600 was pretty nice for its day. The 650 became nice plus bluetooth. The new Centro became nice plus bluetooth minus weight at the expense of screen size at that has to be the meat of it.

How much has the palm device has changed over the past few years. I haven't seen much of anything new since the treo600. How many years has that been without any significant innovation. The Centro is a sad testament to Palm moving backwards. Sure, it's smaller and lighter but so is the screen. Look at the iphone. The screen is huge but it is smaller and lighter than the treos too.

What happened to Palm? Whoever was in charge of innovation died! If not physically, then surely spiritually.

Come to think of it, wasn't the treo from another company (Handspring)? Didn't Palm absorb them to create the coolest stuff they have had to offer over the last few years anyway?
When is the last time Palm did anything cool?

Palm didn't keep control of its desktop software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984667)

I bought a Sony Clie, which was a "Palm device". However, when Apple introduced a new rev of OS X, the Palm Desktop which was compatible with the Clie was incompatible with the newest rev of OS X. So I updated Palm Desktop to a newer version, which was sort of compatible with OS X, but which destroyed much of my data on my Clie when I attempted to sync the Clie with my laptop, and the Clie was 100% incompatible with this new rev of Palm Desktop. If it hadn't caused me so much trouble, it would all have been rather hilarious.

And then, Sony withdrew from the US Palm market and withdrew
all support. Nice move, Sony. It was no surprise to me when I learned about the rootkit fiasco which came later; in fact I expect more such behavior from Sony, who have assumed a high position in my personal pantheon of "worst companies ever".

I will never buy anything from Palm or from Sony, and I advise many different clients to avoid these two companies at all costs.

Oh, and like the first poster said, Palm's support was among the worst I have ever experienced in dealing with ANY company.

It's all enough to make me wish a special corner of hell exists for companies which behave in such reprehensible ways ( there should of course be room for Billy Gates in that corner ).

Palm, death by management (2, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984681)

First PDA was an M130, amazing piece of hardware with an amazing price point for the mobile market. I was sorely disappointed when it went tits up. Bought another, died again for unspecified reasons. But I was hooked at that point and got a Tungsten E. Far more durable, in part I attribute this to the optional clamshell protective case. Pretty screen, interesting software options, but doomed due to Palm's lackluster embrace of the wireless world. The whole Palm/PalmOne branding fiasco, lack of focus on product lines that actually fit market needs, and other douchebaggery ceded too much market share to other smartphones. Palm should have beaten Apple to the iPhone years ago, PDA's are supposed to be their fucking core competency! Blackberry beat them to it even earlier.

I got a Berry 7250 with my last job and the PDA became sorely neglected. The office integration was slick and I did all of my contact management/scheduling/note crap in there, plus email, etc. For casual entertainment, the internet was more than sufficient for browsing news sites, message boards, etc. The PDA was relegated to ebook reader. I like the idea of carrying reading material with me for whenever there's unanticipated downtime.

Lost the Berry when I switched jobs. Don't really feel the lack of the berry since the new position has different responsibilities, less mobile tech support and stuff, more desk-bound. PDA is back doing service as primary downtime reading device. The iPhone has a certain lure, especially with the big price break/performance increase, but I'm trying to avoid picking one up just on gee-whiz factor alone.

What I really liked about Palm and PalmOS is that there was a real PC mentality. "Hey, it's your hardware, do whatever the hell you want with it." Early palm adopters were very hacking-oriented and they came up with uses for the device the designers never anticipated. I loved the docs2go program with the ability to sync down a copy of a word doc and edit it on the palm. The IR keyboard turned it into a proper cheap-ass laptop and was pretty much in a class of its own until the ultra-lowend laptops started coming out recently. The thing that pissed me off about all the other portable devices, even the berry, is that they're less hacker-friendly. I've yet to see a berry ebook reader or even a means of uploading a text file to it. Emails truncate anything too large, same goes for putting large amounts of text in outlook notes. Adobe never wrote an acrobat reader for it like they did with palm.

I'm still not sure how much of a walled garden the iPhone is going to be. From the sounds of it, it'll be more open than typical American cell phones but less open than the pc's we've all come to know and love. I'm interested in seeing how it develops. I'm just very sad that Palm so thoroughly suicided itself. We'd probably be five years ahead of where we are know if they had their shit together.

Lots of problems (2, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984725)

1) They haven't bothered to significantly upgrade their technology in years. Their development cycles are too slow and they've been milking their platforms as cash cows for too long with too little improvement.

2) PalmOS was clearly a dead end years ago and their Windows based systems basically outsource the crown jewels (the software) to Microsoft.

3) Treos were nifty at first but they've stagnated compared to the competition. Palm missed the idea that email is a killer app and never developed the backend infrastructure RIM did.

4) They don't have the financial resources or scale to compete long term with Nokia, RIM or Apple. And they have no defensible or must-have products to compensate.

5) Their "strategy" has been insane. There is no focus to the company. No vision. They buy technology and never use it. They break the company up for no clear reason and then put it back together.

1995 (1)

Orleron (835910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984739)

Nothin' has been alright since.. Newton, and Pilot... Way before Blackberry there was Palm III and CE... And stylus-controlled LCD Our own kids in high school They tell us that we're uncool. Because we're still preoccupied with 1995

Give over to Apple (1)

DavidApi (136128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984749)

To be honest, I would recommend to the Board of Palm that they sell the whole company to Apple. Apple would make the most of whatever is valuable in Palm (employees, technology etc), and the Palm people can become involved in the most exciting developments in mobile devices (again). I'm sure that's what the people at Palm would love.

Palm and Java (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984757)

To the best of my knowledge, there are only two current phones that don't support Java : the iPhone and the Centro.

I'm not suggesting that Java is the most important feature of the phone, but that Java is so common that not including it on your phone is kinda flipping a finger at developers and users.

Apple can get away with anything and people will find ways to still love it, but Palm?

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23984763)

The platform is not completely open, and the software hasn't changed much since the company began.

Palm made every mistake that Apple was told to (5, Insightful)

kazrak (31860) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984765)

Every mistake that the pundits wanted Apple to make, Palm tried.

They licensed out their OS. Then, because the licensees were complaining about Palm's unfair advantage, they split into separate hardware and software companies. They even bought Be, which everyone said Apple should have done instead of buying NeXT.

So what happened?

Well, the software side (PalmSource) came out with a fancy new OS based on the BeOS stuff they bought. And...the licensees all said "We'll get to it."

So PalmSource said, "Oh, and the 6.1 version will be even better!" So the licensees (including PalmOne, the hardware side) said, "Great! Tell us when it's ready."

So PalmSource panicked and said, ", great! Um...hey...we'll make our next OS based on Linux!" And the licensees said, "Oh, okay, we'll wait for that one then."

And so, without planning to, they committed the one fatal error when you're up against Microsoft - they stood still. Microsoft can't catch a moving target, but stand still and they'll run you over. The PDA market dried up and all the licensees bailed. PalmSource got sold off to a Linux company. PalmOne decided to make a Linux OS of their own, and it'll be ready Real Soon Now.

They're being left in the dust (1)

angelfly (746018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984859)

The problem with Palm is they can't adapt. They're always behind and the market is moving too fast for them to catch up.

Find niches (0, Troll)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23984899)

Palm need to stop doing whatever it is that they are regularly losing $40m doing. This may seem obvious, but their management don't seem to have realised it.

Accept that your OS (or microsoft's) will not be better than OS X on iPhone, and even if it was, you would not get 1/4m people to dl at your sdk and/or have costs below that of open source options.

Accept that you cannot make an iPhone/blackberry killer, because the goalposts move faster than you can. Accept that you are no longer a profitable player in the massmarket smartphone market, and get out of the massmarket and into niches. Now.

Palm could have easily made an N-Gage killer, let's face it, it practically killed itself, and it's basic idea is sound, just the execution sucked. What about NOT chasing after ever smaller phones, and targetting people willing to have a phone the same size as they had 5 years back but with unique features? Palm could be the only company (afaik) shipping a specialist 10-12 megapixel cameraphone today if they had spotted the niche. They could have 160Gb hard-drive MP3 player phone, they could have a phone that records decent quality video to a tiny hard drive, they could have got into bed with the open moko people, or gone to Sony and rescued the PSP with phone capabilities, or made a book-sized PDA with a big enough qwerty keyboard for older folks (or just big fingered) people to use, that last one would have cost nearly nothing to make, just house the exisiting internals in a bigger box with the same cheap screens the OLPC people use.

The other option is to stop, sack everyone, and split the remaining cash between the shareholders. If I had Palm shares, I'd be asking why they didn't do that 4 quarters ago.

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