Is Palm’s Last Hope To Build A Tablet? Um, No.

Perhaps, Palm could reverse its fortunes and regain its former glory if it went back to its PDA roots and developed a tablet PC to compete with the iPad?

Palm is bleeding. Last quarter’s results were a disaster, and even more recently an analyst cut the price target to $0, leading to a pummeling of the stock, down nearly 30%.

Add to that the fact Palm couldn’t even get the hardware of the original Pre right at a time when they had good press and solid financial backing. Yet now it’s being suggested their “last hope” is to design and bring to market a completely new product? That’s not going to happen.

Palm’s real “last hope” is almost certainly to sell. If not the entire company, than at least the webOS and their patent portfolio.

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Google Voice Über Alles: You Left the iPhone For This?

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Edible Apple has a good piece about those apparently ditching their iPhones because of the Google Voice app issue.

The posts from Michael Arrington and Steven Frank smack (in my opinion) of a “grass is greener” mentality. Even more-so, they smack of a case where it’s sometimes human nature to not miss an opportunity to feel morally superior to something.

For Arrington’s piece there’s also a great refutation here. I believe it’s safe for anyone to predict he’ll be back with the iPhone eventually. And his reason for returning will be as easily found as his reason for leaving, which of course will make another sensationalist blog post. Wanna bet?

Mr. Frank’s piece is more thoughtful and, unlike Arrington, one can’t help think he believes in what he’s doing. Unfortunately, I don’t think that makes it any less misguided. What I especially can’t understand is why Frank states that by moving to Palm’s Pre his conscience will be clear. How?

Frank is moving to support a company hacking its way into Apple’s iTunes by deliberately misusing the USB Vendor ID. This is a cheap tactic, and while I don’t expect Pre owners to leave Palm in droves as a result, I fail to see how jumping on board after leaving Apple for ethical reasons makes any sense at all. Indeed, as a developer I would expect Frank to find Palm’s unauthorized use of someone else’s software particularly vile.

Further, I believe that taking actions committed by a company personally is way too much anthropomorphizing. When a company kicks butt, I don’t walk around like I had a hand in it, or am somehow responsible. Well, guess what? The same also goes for any mistakes they might make. I’m no more “embarrassed” at alleged transgressions than I am “proud” of any successes.

To me, the bottom line is we’ll never find that one, shining company in all of this. Not just because such a company does not exist, but also because we could never all agree on what constitutes a “shining company” in the first place. When I look at Apple’s App Store, I see an overwhelming amount of “good” that, for now at least, easily beats any “bad”.

Palm’s Mojo SDK is Now Available!

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Good for Palm. According to the official Palm Blog, the WebOS SDK (dubbed Mojo) is now available to “all interested app developers”.

From all the press I’ve read on the Pre the WebOS is very promising, yet the device needs two things:

  • Better hardware. The build quality is unimpressive and the keyboard cheap.
  • Apps, apps, and more apps. Only about 30 or so available.

There’s nothing that can be done about the first item for early adopters. The Pre they bought is the Pre they get. However, one can hope Pre has listened and future devices will be better.

As for the second, very little could be done until the SDK was available, and no one knew for sure when that would be. It is indeed good news that’s it’s here, and any interested Pre developers no longer have to wait.

It remains to be seen how developers will react to the SDK, and if it will be well-received. I await feedback from the development community with interest. Meanwhile, here’s a post with some initial “quick and dirty” comments on it.

Apple (Rightly) Stops Palm Pre iTunes Syncing

NoPreSyncThe latest release of iTunes (8.2.1) puts an end to the Palm Pre’s syncing with iTunes. Some have expressed surprise, but it was an obvious and proper move on Apple’s part.

I wrote about this issue on two separate occasions, and believed it was clear that Apple needed to address the exposure Palm was taking advantage of.

In the first article I pointed out that:

it has everything to do with denying Palm a seat at the table to which they’re not entitled. Let the Pre use the old iTunes API, if possible, as others have, but not appear as an iPod. I don’t see why Apple should stand idly by while a third party walks in and acts as an equal member of the iPod/iTunes system.

In the second article I mentioned another reason for which I felt Apple should take action:

In other words, forget the Pre, or even Palm. There’s an exposure for iTunes here that could have BlackBerrys, LGs, Nokias, etc. all passing themselves off as iPods. Again, the obvious question to me is that, having learned there’s this hole in iTunes, Apple should take steps to close it.

In both articles I said there would be many who complain about it if Apple put an end to this, and that’s already begun. But the reality is Apple didn’t build the iPod/iTunes environment for others to trick their way into using. Apple isn’t putting a stop to seamless syncing, Palm and other manufacturers are free to write that functionality for their own devices, just as Apple wrote it for their own. Or Palm could team up with a third-party to distribute something “official” (current Pre users may want to consider these solutions).

Just because Apple has a huge head start (it’s called foresight and vision) doesn’t mean potential competitiors get to use their work for free. The whole point of competition is to build something better, not trick your way into offering someone else’s work.

TAB – The Truth About Software Keyboards

Harry McCracken at Technologizer wrote a nice piece about the virtues of hardware keyboards on smartphones.

I think one reason a keyboard argument even exists is because when competing in a given market you have to tag a competitor’s hot product with a “missing feature,” and then provide that feature. (How many manufacturers claimed FM radio and replaceable batteries were glaring omissions from the iPod, only to find adding it to their devices made no difference?)…

Read the rest of this article on theAppleBlog >>