Palm have been a company in recent years that have been under a lot of pressure to produce a product to re-establish them at the head of the Smartphone market. Of course, they now have the iPhone to contend with as well as a strong line-up of Android powered devices. Palm were looking to be in some trouble and appeared to be unable to produce a product good enough to really steal much of the limelight away from Apple or HTC among others.
Palm’s troubles seemed to start around the announcement of the Foleo which was seen as a failure of a product at the time. It was intended to be a small and basic laptop that connected wirelessly to a palm treo phone to provide business travellers with a larger screen and full keyboard for using to type emails quickly, have fast access to the web and for writing long documents. If it had been released and not cancelled, it would have been seen as the first real netbook type device. A category that has exploded in popularity in the years since.
Last year, the Palm Pre was deemed by many as Palm’s return to form and a device that could finally hold a candle to the iPhone and other similar devices. While the OS has received much praise and the phone noted as solid by many, they have struggled to sell large enough quantities of the device to really impact the market in a big way. One reason for this may be Palm’s decision to sign an exclusive deal with the Sprint network in the US which isn’t the biggest and is apparently struggling to keep subscribers.
Because of the struggling sales, Palm also had trouble finding developers to create apps for their WebOS platform when iPhone OS and Android had much bigger audiences to go after. Palm as made a mistake in not making the OS APIs available from the start. This may have also been a contributing factor in them falling behind Android and iPhone further.
However, now that they have financial stability after being bought by a huge company like HP, they are free to innovate and produce hopefully their best products to date. What HP has planned for palm is not yet known but they will surely keep the brand going and want to integrate it into the HP line of products well.
The future now looks bright for the company and I hope they really start to blow us all away with what they come up with next. HP certainly wouldn’t have spent 1.6 billion dollars on them if they didn’t think they were capable of great things.