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Palm to PalmOne and back again

It all started in 2003 when Palm Inc. announced their plans to acquire a handheld computing manufacturer called Handspring in the fall of that year. The strategy to divide their software and hardware divisions into two separate entities seemed good at the time, this would allow PalmOne to focus on handheld computer hardware (like the Zire, Tungsten and Treo) and some software solutions and leave PalmSource to deal with the lackluster platform Palm OS.

At that time, Palm claimed the move was to make their brand understood in the marketplace, Ken Wirt, Palm Solutions senior vice president and head of sales and marketing said the concept of “One” in the new name was supposed to be compelling and a powerful addition to the instant brand recognition and identity of the Palm name. To me it sounds as though the Palm execs were taken over by a bunch of brand and marketing hoopla, maybe someone told them that their name was not strong enough, what they really needed to hear was that the Palm OS platform sucks, from a consumer perspective of course.

The corporate market couldn’t have asked for more; with one of the best suite of applications for contact management, task managing and calendars out there, regardless, people needed more; networking, multimedia, communications and navigation features. This is why Pocket PC devices took the lead, they had what the Palm OS had, and then some.

Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer believes that the future of personal computing is “mobile computing,” I couldn’t agree with Ed more. Palm aims to deliver superior hardware and software solutions so that they can continue to set the bar in the industry. This became evident, especially with their recent release of the LifeDrive, it’s almost like one device to cover all the corners they missed in the past.

Their interest in Linux and the purchase of a huge chunk in China MobileSoft Limited, a large Linux-based device developer shows that this is not the old Palm anymore. They want to change, stay ahead and be innovative, it’s quite easy to see what the market needs, and what people actually want, but can Palm deliver to get back on top?

About Fabrizio Pilato

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