Palm’s latest quarter points to a buyout

Poor little Pre.The last quarter’s financial results are in from Palm and things look grim. Everyone expected it. Palm warned us. That doesn’t take the sting out of $22 million in losses and some ugly sales numbers. The company shipped 960,000 phones last quarter, which sounds great until you see that it only sold 400,000 to consumers – 30% less than last quarter. That’s a lot of handsets to be sitting on the stock shelves.

The news almost certainly points to a buyer. Palm’s had nine months of work on WebOS to turn this ship around and it’s just not happening. The longer it lingers in a market where juggernauts like the iPhone and the Droid exist, the worse things are going to get. Palm needs someone to bail it out, the only question remaining is, who?

It could very well be RIM, though I doubt it would pull the trigger. RIM needs a more consumer-friendly platform, which WebOS would offer. There’s also someone like HP, a company that could use a cellular presence. The most likely, though, is probably Google. Google has the cashflow to throw a pile of money at Palm, dissect the company for all the good parts and people, keep development going on the stuff it likes and just scrap the rest. It also has the relationships with wireless providers to get Palm out of the mess its currently in, relying mostly on Sprint, which has its own sales issues, to keep the company alive.

Whoever it is, I’d expect serious discussions to start before the year’s end.

Source: Palm


Palm PDK will boost the WebOS App Catalog

Palm is preparing to launch the WebOS Plug-in Development Kit next week, a developer tool that should have dropped with the Pre. It’s still a great tool, though, one that will supposedly allow developers to port applications from the iPhone OS to WebOS in a matter of days without any performance hangups. You see why this should have been released earlier?

Since the advent of WebOS, Palm’s greatest weakness has been its App Catalog. There just isn’t enough there, mostly because the company didn’t get its developer kit out for months after the Pre launched. That left a lot of people waiting for something good before switching over. In the meantime we’ve seen a new iPhone, two juggernaut Android phones, and a slew of other releases that are much more attractive. The PDK will give the App Catalog a much needed boost, but realistically, it’s probably too late.

I still can’t shake the feeling that Palm should have waited 12 months on the Pre release. It’s not like they’re making significant money off the phone and it’s mostly because of a really poor software experience. I don’t mean WebOS is a bad OS – it’s actually quite the opposite – but without any kind of app support the phone looks archaic next to its competitors.

Source: AllThingsD

Photo from fOTOGLIF


Palm lowers sales expectations

Palm Pre and Pixi.In a release today, Palm announced it was lowering sales expectations for the year due to slower than expected customer adoption of the new WebOS platform. As CEO Jon Rubinstein put things, “driving broad consumer adoption of Palm products is taking longer than we anticipated.”

His wording seems to suggest that the company still thinks consumers will pick Palm, but that it’s going to take more time. I’ve got news, fellas. It ain’t happening. It’s now nearly eight months since the Pre launched, eight months in which the company has failed to build a strong developer base, to say nothing of mediocre sales. We’re just weeks past Palm’s launch with Verizon, about which we’ve heard nothing. That rarely means good things.

Now everyone has just one question in mind – who’s going to buy Palm? The only other possibility would be for the company to develop yet another device, which I highly doubt it has the money to do. We know RIM and Nokia could both use a better platform, and Dell has been making passing attempts the cell phone market for years. None of them have actually expressed interest, though, and I would think only Nokia or RIM would be in a position to really capitalize on that kind of acquisition.

In any case, Palm is in trouble. We’ll see if it can dig itself out by year’s end.

Source: Business Insider


Palm’s still bleeding money at alarming rates

Palm lineup.I’ll start of on a positive note. This is no $500 million dollar hematoma, the likes of which we saw from Palm last year. That’s as good as it gets, though. When you look at the raw numbers, the situation is bad.

For Q2 of fiscal 2010 for Palm, the company sold just 783,000 smartphones, a decrease of 5% from last quarter. Just so you get that, leading up to the holidays and on the heels of the Pixi release, Palm sold fewer smartphones than it did last quarter.

Here’s CEO Jon Rubenstein:

We are continuing to execute strongly against our long-term strategy with the delivery of Palm Pixi, the new carrier launches completed this quarter, and the upcoming opening of Palm’s full developer program. We’re still in the early stages of a long race, and we’re energized by the opportunity to compete in this exciting market.

I hate to be the one to tell you, Jon, but this won’t be a long race at all if you keep losing money and market share. There is no long-term plan. You need to get app development going in a big way. You need to get your devices into the hands of three times as many consumers and hope that half of them like what you sell. You need to have thought of this a year ago, long before the Pre launch.

Unless, of course, your long-term strat is to get bought. That I can actually see happening.

Source: AllThingsD


Facebook for WebOS is as weak as the App Catalog

facebook-palmLike most things involving WebOS and the new Palm devices, the Facebook app for WebOS is underwhelming. Actually, it’s worse than that, considering how far app development has come since the smartphone app craze started. Maybe they should get Joe Hewitt involved? I hear he’s done with that other project he’s been working on.

The problem is just a total lack of features. You get unfiltered news feeds, even if you’ve unselected application updates in your profile, and videos and links pull you out of the app. Sure it’s nice to multitask but to do so unnecessarily is just silly. There’s seemingly no search feature, no way to access events, and clicking another person’s name seems to bring up little more than contact info.

What can you do? Well, you can upload pictures and post status updates and…well that seems to be about it. Another compelling reason to get a Palm Pre.