Palm’s Slow Slide to Extinction?

Posted by Keith McMillan

January 24, 2008 | 2 Comments

When I set up Adept Technologies, I needed to set up my own cell phone account.  So naturally I had to decide what type of phone or smartphone to get.  I bought a Palm Treo 755p, with service through Sprint.  Some of you are probably cringing already, but I’ve been telling friends since I bought it that it’ll be the last Palm I own. Not because I don’t like them, but I do think that Palm’s lost it’s edge. With the reports today that Palm is going to be closing it’s retail stores by the end of the month, I’m more certain than ever that this is true.

What happened to Palm? I’ve been a user of PalmOS devices for the better part of the last 10 years. I’ve carried a Palm V, a Palm Vx, a Treo 600, 650 and now a 755. For much of that time, there was a certain cache involved with having a Palm device.  I still recall the breathless reviews of the first Treo 600’s as “the thing to have”.

But Blackberry came along, and the iPhone, and the Nokia n95’s and soon there’ll Android, and I think Palm just failed to keep up. And the tech community believes in keeping to the Code, that’s for sure. Fall behind and you get left behind.

And to make matters worse, there’s the choice of Sprint as well for my service. *sigh*

I had misgivings right from the start about buying a Palm for this go-around. The primary reason I didn’t choose something like a shiny new Crackberry, like my friends have, was my familiarity with the Palm, and all the software that I already had after a decade of using them. Things like: a cryptographically secure password management tool (STRIP) with an established database of all the passwords I use; and time tracking software (with it’s share of annoying bugs, I grant you), that I’ve used for years to keep track of client billable hours.

So I went ahead and got the Palm. But it wasn’t that warm, giddy feeling I’ve learned to associate with new technology purchases. It was more melancholy, and I knew as I bought it, that it was the last Palm-powered device that I’d likely own. It felt in a way like Autumn, when you know that the days will soon be frigid and short, and you want to hold on as long as you can to what you have now.

Palm may manage to pull it off with a new OS (if they ever manage to ship it), but I’m not counting on it. And while the tech community is fickle, and might line up behind a new Palm OS (if they ever manage to ship it), Palm’s base of support continues to erode as the new devices attract all the neophiles. That new OS will have to be pretty good…

Anyone have a recommendation on what to get next?


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2008-01-24 12:10:44

[…] Read the rest of this great post here […]

2008-02-13 10:16:39

[…] mentioned Android briefly once before, when talking about Palm’s decline, but here’s a quick […]

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