Fifteen years ago, my favorite wireless phone was a smartphone called Palm. Then as the years passed the Palm was not updated enough, my new favorite wireless phone was a smartphone called Blackberry. Then came the Apple iPhone and Google Android rush which changed the wireless industry overnight. Now after more than a decade, Palm has decided to make a comeback.
However, this new Palm device is not exactly a smartphone. In fact, it’s not really a phone either. So, what exactly is this new device? Think of this new Palm device like a smartwatch in a tiny smartphone case.
Just like the smartwatch lets you use many of your wireless phone features, it is not a replacement for the smartphone. Neither is the Palm.
The Palm re-launch has been talked about for a long time
I’ve been hearing about the re-launch of the next generation Palm smartphone for several years already. This has taken so long, I am not really sure anyone in the marketplace is actually paying any attention any longer.
When Palm was in its heyday, I loved it. It was made by a small group of engineers who made a great device, but had no clue about advertising, marketing or public relations. On a side-note, this is a great example of how even the greatest device is only as great as their marketing mind behind it.
Blackberry was in the market at the same time and they grew to be a very successful smartphone handset maker as well. These two companies, along with Nokia, were the leaders in the wireless handset space at the time.
Then a funny thing happened. Both the Apple iPhone and Google Android hit the marketplace at the end of the 2G era a little over ten years ago. They were simple smartphones at that time. There were no more than a few hundred apps. No big deal at the start.
But Steve Jobs waived his magic Apple wand and created a new super-smartphone marketplace. Google Android jumped in at the same time and the new race was on. This transformed the smartphone from a business device to a consumer device.
Over the next few years both Apple and Google grew rapidly. Apps also grew from a few hundred to more than two-million today. Back then apps were simple games. Today, they help us do everything from monitor our health, call for an Uber or Lyft ride, count our steps, pay for things like a credit card, and so much more.
Palm and Blackberry faded quickly as iPhone and Android took the lead
In this world, both Palm and Blackberry, the industry leaders of yesterday, faded quickly. Blackberry is still around, but they are not the company they once were.
As for Palm, then basically disappeared. Poof. One minute they were there, then they were gone. The only thing that was left was the brand name which just sat on a dusty shelf in the back corner over the last decade.
Then, someone had an idea. They started working on this new Palm and just launched their first product in the last decade. It will be carried on the Verizon Wireless network.
Palm on Verizon Wireless network
Now we have to wait and see whether they can carve out any market share to become viable. At this early stage, I have not used the new device yet, but to tell you the truth, I don’t really have much hope.
After all, Blackberry, which was a much more successful version of Palm, failed in its competition with iPhone and Android.
Palm uses Android OS and that’s good. But it’s a stripped-down version of Android, similar to what Apple does with their Watch.
Will new Palm be success or failure?
So, will the Palm be successful? It could. However, it would have to be thought of and marketed like the Android and Apple Watch. They are not really a big hit either, but they are still in the marketplace trying to grow.
Nokia took us on a similar stroll down memory lane recently when they relaunched their 3310 handsets. wish they would have come up with a more attractive name, don’t you think? Whatever happened to the 3310? Your guess is as good as mine. It was launched to plenty of fanfare, but then the marketing just dried up.
I hate to say it in advance, but that’s the same path I think awaits the new Palm device. While I loved Palm, the growth wave has passed them by a decade ago leaving them treading water at best.
They say it’s not a real smartphone. If so, you will still need a real smartphone like iPhone or Android. If that’s the case, why do you need this Palm device? Well, I guess that’s the same problem the Watches have today. So, there’s hope, maybe, but just as an additional device for some users. Will that be enough?
Will Palm succeed where Blackberry, Nokia and Motorola failed?
The watch lets you carry many of your frequently used smartphone features without pulling the phone out of your pocket. It rides on your wrist. If the Palm has to be held in the hand, tell me, what’s the benefit to the user?
With all that said, I once loved the Palm devices. I just wish they could have kept up with the wireless revolution which re-wrote the history of the entire industry over the last decade.
At this point, I am afraid the growth wave which I often talk about has passed Palm by a decade ago, as it has passed Blackberry, Nokia, Motorola and so many others. The others have tried and failed to breathe life into their business. Unless Palm has other ideas up their sleeves, I fear the same demise for them as well. But let’s hope for the best. Either way, it’s nice to see the Palm brand in the marketplace again.