In an addendum to the earlier story that Palm had started to look for potential suitors to purchase the company, Reuters reports the company is looking at other options. These include raising much needed capital and perhaps licensing webOS. Goldman and Qatalyst appear to be looking at all three options. It was just a few weeks ago that Palm indicated it’s plans were to go it alone and that bad timing was to blame for sales shortfalls. Rubinstein reasoned that the Palm Pre Plus poor sales numbers were due to bad timing.
“I’m bummed out too, by things like not taking off at Verizon. One of the analysts on our earnings call asked if we had launched when Droid launched, and Droid launched when [we] launched at Verizon, would the story have been opposite? I said I think we have a better product than Droid, and customers would have been happier with it.”
Right now, many are blaming Palm’s misfortunes on hardware, which has specifications in line with Apple’s iPhone 3GS. Form factor? Perhaps, but Palm hasn’t seemed interested in creating a slab phone with a soft-touch keyboard. Touchscreen phones with QWERTY keyboards was going to be their niche. Not to mention, it’s certainly no easy task to create a great on-screen keyboard.Putting webOS on an HTC EVO is not going to miraculously fix what ails Palm. Palm’s webOS, while certainly one of the more elegant operating systems, is far from perfect. One could argue that the huge number of third party patches proves out that point. At last check, there were over 300 patches for the webOS devices. Despite great hardware, it doesn’t feel as fast as competing phones. Is that a problem solved by throwing more hardware specs or doing some serious optimization of the OS. The overclocking patch was wildly popular, but also generated a warning from Palm that it wasn’t recommended. What’s needed is speed without the fear that your device might burst into flames. (Note: It’s never happened, but it would be nice to get a speed increase without fear of negatively impacting your phone)
Regardless of what happens, for Palm devices to be successful, those in control need to focus on improving hardware and software fronts. Marketing has been a convenient fall guy for Palm, but devices help sell devices. Don’t blame it all on creepy Palm girl. In the end, the best device should win out. Depending on which road the company chooses, let’s just hope Palm stays in the game.