HP is buying Palm

HP has been on a buying spree.  They bought 3Com, and now they have just purchased a former 3Com company, Palm Corp. for $1.2 billion.

The article I linked talks about what HP could do with Palm’s webOS for mobile devices, including using it in netbooks and tablet devices.

What it doesn’t talk about is Palm’s patent portfolio, which could be worth the price of the sale alone.

Abandoned technology

As my readers know, I was a big PDA user. Mostly Palm devices, several of which I still have in good working order, including a Palm i705 and a Palm LifeDrive.  The LifeDrive was a really slick bit of technology with a three Gig hard drive, a SD slot, and both WiFi and Bluetooth support.   I still use it now and then and have a lot of legacy data still stored on it.   All that data is synced to my desktop running XP, and I have some desktop apps to get at the data stored in third party software.  BrainForest for example, a good data organizational tool that was developed for the Palm platform.

Recently I upgraded my laptop to Window 7 (32bit).  This was full, format the drive install. So I started the process of installing the applications on the freshly wiped and loaded system.  Everything went fine until I loaded the Palm Desktop software and tried to synch the LifeDrive.

Windows 7, has been really good at recognizing stuff that gets plugged into it, turned up its nose at my LifeDrive.  I visited the Palm site and it’s seems that they have written off their PDA line.  Not a bad business decision, since the future is in Smart Phones, but I need to get that data exported and accessible before I upgrade my desktop to Windows 7.

Palm’s story is that the software for the desktop and the PDA drivers are now owned by a separate company and it up to them to provide support for Windows 7.   Next step would be to try synching with my LINUX system.  I know there is Palm PDA support in multiple LINUX apps.

Details on Palm’s new OS

The OS is called WebOS and is LINUX based. Applications will be written in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.  The SDK should be interesting when it comes out.

The new Palm Pre, due out in the first half of this year, has some really nice features.  These include a Replaceable battery, and a MicroUSB connector for charging, with USB 2.0 support. This is on top of the standards, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, various sensors, a sharp screen.

The biggest stopping block to the Pre being a game changer is having it locked to the Sprint network.  As soon as it becomes available on other networks, it could be a interesting challenge to the iPhone.

The Palm Pre

Palm has announced their new smartphone, the Pre.   It’s not out yet, but it does look interesting.  Big color screen, a slide out physical keyboard, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, calendar/email synch, accelerometer, 3 Megapixil camera, 8 Gig RAM, USB connector and support for additional add on memory.  

It looks like Palm is stepping up the plate in challenging the iPhone and phones using Google’s Android OS.   It will be interesting to see how the OS holds up under actual use and the application support.  Palm has a very deep application pool to draw from.  How compatible this OS is with the API for the old OS will effect how much of that application pool the Pre can draw from.

Palm’s new OS

Palm has been working on a new OS for the past four years, code named Nova.  The rumor is that it will be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2009.

A Palm executive makes an interesting observation in BusinessWeek, “The next 10 years is all about the transition from notebooks to mobile computing.”

Palm’s strategy is to not go over the business market (dominated by Blackberry devices) or the high end “strong mobile media experience” (where the iPhone rules), but the “fat middle of the market” of users who want a mobile Internet device/Phone, but don’t need/want to watch movies on a tiny screen.

It sounds like a good plan, except for one fly in the ointment.  That is the same market space Google is going after with their Android OS.

Keeping Palm in the game

Palm, the PDA inovator, now considered a “smarphone” company, has received $100 Million investment.  It’s from the venture-capital firm Elevation Partners.

Palm’s Centro smart phone has done well, but they need something to compete with the iPhone and the upcoming gPhones.

Palm Treo Pro is out.

The Palm Treo Pro has been announced. Currently only with the overly complex WinCE decended Microsoft OS.