Android and Palm

Android has been out for a couple of weeks now and appears to be getting decent reviews. PC and Mac desktop syncing will be key for its continued development and for wider spread adoption for powerusers as will a vibrant 3rd party software programme. These are probably the two most important things it needs to thrive and develop.

Android phone
All this leads on to the inevitable comparisons with our beloved Palm and the not quite yet forthcoming Nova operating system. The widespread belief is that Palm's new o/s is a dead duck and that by the time it finally surfaces it will be too late. That may yet turn out to be the case but personally I think the success or otherwise of Android will have an influence in the next 6-12 months.

Look at it this way, if Android can make a fist of it, from scratch with a zero customer base and distinct lack of 3rd party apps on day one then that augurs well for the new Palm Nova as they will be coming to market with a potentially still large customer base and huge benefit of an existing 3rd party software system. Although a lot of customers have departed for other current o/s devices they have done so with heavy hearts and I don't think it would take much to win them back. These people, like those still using Treo's, have a big collection of palm based software and there is still a biggish 3rd party application software development eco-system in place. Palm won't be coming to market, like Google, with zero customer base but from a position of relative, albeit, rapidly diminishing strength. Look how many ex-Palm users flit between different devices, from win mob to symbian then over to Blackberry/iPhone and then back to win mob and the procedure, almost nomadic in nature, repeats itself. It's what has happened to me and no doubt others too.

In addition, these people have left Palm not because the o/s is is awful but rather through a lack of up to date hardware specs on Treo devices, a factor that will clearly be resolved next year.

A year ago, many said that there was no more room in the marketplace for another new player but Apple and the iPhone showed that if you have the customer base and a good product then you can gain sales at someone else's expense. Even if Android turns out to a lame duck Palm still has a chance, in my view. If they were a brand new company with no previous smartphone experience it might be a different matter completely but the fact is they are not.


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