Posts Tagged ‘palm pre’

Is This the End of Palm?

When Palm was struggling to stay afloat a few years back, former CEO and President Ed Colligan held a top secret meeting with Jon Rubinstein, talking about the future of Palm… An early pioneer of PDAs, smartphones and other mobile devices, Palm had of late, struggled to remain relevant in a fast-changing industry and desperately needed a solution to guarantee their long-term future.

Over the next few weeks, Jon and Ed came up with a game-plan, a game-plan that could change the face of Palm forever and once again “restore innovation”… Palm was to completely re-write their smartphone operating system from the ground up, taking advantage of new technologies and introducing innovative features that were either unheard of or had not been used in mobile telecommunications previously.

In absolute secrecy, Palm spent the next year or so working on their new product, taking into consideration market trends, new technologies and design. And as the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) dawned, word got around that Palm would be “announcing something big”, leaving the industry on the edge-of-their-seat.

Then the moment they’d all been waiting for – the announcement of Palm’s new “webOSsmartphone operating system and the Palm Pre! It was everything the industry had been waiting for, and the first smartphone that could truly take-on the might of Applethis smartphone, could in fact become bigger than the iPhone range!

So what went wrong?

Why am I not holding a Palm Pre in my hand right now, why does Research in Motion (RIM) still sell more smartphones than anyone else (well, technically Nokia holds the number one position, but Nokia handsets are over-priced, over-rated an un-reliable rubbish!) and why is the iPhone still tipped to take the lead in the near future?

This was the handset that could do it all, the handset that was modern, innovative, powerful, forward-looking and reliable… At least on paper.

The first big mistake was with regards to the Sprint deal – like other “key” handsets, Palm sought exclusivity with a network in hope that this network would throw everything at the Palm Pre and try to sell as many as possible… The problem was, Palm chose Sprint, the third-largest network in North America who had recently written-off a $29.76 Billion loss and was struggling to retain customers!

Eventually, Palm was able to secure availability on a second network, Verizon Wireless, however Motorola had recently launched their highly-successful “Droid” handset and this is where Verizon Wireless chose to focus most of their efforts, leaving the superior Palm Pre to collect dust.

Another issue that seems to keep popping-up is with regards to the advertising for Palm’s webOS products… A lot of people seemed to think that there was a problem with the Palm Pre advertisements, particularly those made by Modernista! and for the most part, I disagree.

Sure these ads aren’t as powerful as say, the “I’m a Mac” advertisements, but they aren’t that bad! But, I guess that’s part of the problem – these advertisements are nice to look at, but clearly they’re not enough to make most people say “I have to have that phone!” There’s also the “male factor” – I’ve just being looking-up the various Modernista! advertisements on YouTube and Tamara Hope, the “unknown” actress from many of the Palm Pre advertisements is almost universally condemmed!

Why?

Seriously Palm, sex sells and not only is this chick unattractive, but as many have pointed out, she’s downright creepy!

Yes, it’s not exactly a nice thing to say, but the sad truth is, sex sells and if you’re not going to use sex to sell, then you need something that is catchy, like the “I’m a Mac” advertisements – regardless, the advertisement needs to make people want to buy your product and whilst I don’t think these advertisements are as bad as most people make out, they certain don’t make me want to buy a Palm Pre!

One of the other points I keep hearing is that there is only two handsets have been released…

Palm Pre & Palm Pixi Side-by-Side

Palm Pre & Palm Pixi Side-by-Side

So what? Apple has just one handset on the market in most countries, yet they’re doing just fine!

The biggest issue in my opinion, besides the advertising, is the availability in foreign countries, Australia in particular… Over the course of the last year, so few networks are officially licensed to sell webOS products and AustraliaPalm’s largest market per capita – still does not have a webOS product, nor does it look like we will anytime soon!

Yes, I understand that Palm can’t just “wave a wand” and have their product available in foreign countries, but Australia and most European countries have a very high mobile phone penetration rate (well over 100% in many cases!) and some of the networks in those countries (such as Telstra in Australia) are long-term partners of Palm (Telstra for example, is the only service provider in Australia that still sells Palm products and only recently discontinued the highly successful Palm Centro!), so I find it hard to believe that Palm can’t get the rights to sell its webOS products overseas or is unable to do so for some other reason…

Palm has a powerful brand and an even more powerful operating system – despite what some people are claiming, they can claw their way back to the top! Yes, it won’t be easy, but it can be done… It won’t happen however, unless Palm start taking a long, hard look at the way the webOS products are being marketed – from the countries in which it’s sold, to the advertisements to the pricing.

2010 Will be a very, very long year for Palm, but if they play their cards right, I think they’ll be just fine…