“With all eyes on Palm Executive Chairman Jon Rubinstein and his senior management team in 2008, here are some New Year’s resolutions the company might take under consideration.
Closing the Books on 2007
2007 was a tough year for Palm. Earnings were down for two consecutive quarters. The Treo 755p failed to meet the target delivery date for the crucial holiday shopping season for carrier partner Verizon Wireless. The Foleo mobile companion was cancelled just weeks before it was due to begin shipping. No new handheld PDAs were shipped. And Palm CEO Ed Colligan suggested that the new Linux-based operating system, “Palm OS II” as I call it, would not appear on devices until 2009.
There have been a few successes for Palm. The new Centro smartphone has been a hit. Currently available only from Sprint and in black onyx and ruby red, there are rumors of the imminent release of a new pink Centro on Sprint and the launch of a white GSM Centro on AT&T Wireless. And Palm sold about 27% of the company to private equity firm Elevation Partners.
Looking Ahead to 2008
This New Year, Palm should consider the following resolutions:
1. Drive “Palm OS II” to completion
The single largest liability for Palm right now is the age of its Palm OS 5 operating system. The current code base that powers the Treo 680, 755p, and Centro was never really intended to power smartphones. The new Linux operating system needs to be completed this year and certified by Palm’s major wireless carrier partners.
Some of the features that customers will be looking for in Palm OS II include:
• a true multitasking operating system (voice and data at the same time)
• an updated modular user interface that still preserves Palm’s ease of use
• robust file management tools that will interact with other Palm devices
• robust web browser and email client
• support for multiple active wireless radios (cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi)”