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Is Pre Palm’s last hurrah?

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Last week at the CES, Palm launched its Pre touchscreen phone to rave reviews. One of the reviews was by Newsweek which profiled Palm’s executive chairman and ex-Apple engineer Jon Rubenstein. The article talks about how Rubenstein joined the company in 2007, cut projects and products and focused the company on its freshly minted Pre and the new operating system WebOS. The operating system is certainly a game changer for Palm, whether it will be for the rest of the industry remains to be seen. Palm is already struggling even before the economy got worse. It has announced layoffs, though it is still hiring new talent. It has mediocre products out on the market that are struggling to generate significant revenue. As Newsweek points out, it needed a $100 million investment just last month from its sugar-daddy investor Elevation Partners, who have now invested $325 million in the company. Elevation clearly sees value in the company, but how long can it afford to sink money in it without visible results? I believe sooner or later Palm will reach a familiar crossroad, having to decide whether it wants to be a device company or a software company. Clearly the Pre and Web OS has bought some time for Palm. However, based on initial reviews, it clearly does not have an iPhone like market anticipation. It will definitely get some short term revenue gain. But, has it come too late to the software party in an already crowded field and more importantly, how are the developers to react? Palm has tried to make it easy for the developers but  will they be willing to adopt yet another platform and deal with the headaches of porting their applications again?

However, the bigger question still remains: Is Pre and WebOs the last hurrah for Palm? Can it survive in a cut-throat, splintered market competing against several deep-pocketed players in this economy? What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below. Just keep in mind, no flaming or cursing.

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Written by dvdand

January 13, 2009 at 7:39 am

Posted in Palm

Tagged with , ,

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