Reflecting on last week, there’s a lot for Palm faithfuls to talk about. First we learned that several smartphone top dogs were vying to purchase Palm, including Apple, Research In Motion and Google. With all of the speculation about Palm’s future just a few short months ago and the simultaneous “phew” that many exhaled on news of HP’s plans, it looks like regardless of how things shook out, there was considerable interest in Palm and that it certainly would have had a future in the smartphone market. All of this interest also shows that Palm, and webOS particularly, have recognized value that will hopefully finally translate with consumers through the new support of HP. In my opinion, new market share success for Palm will all come down to the hardware of the next generation webOS smartphones, as well as marketing and distribution. Palm has the operating system and HP has the retail prowess, but I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see how it all unfolds, which hopefully will not be much longer.
Last week then shockingly closed with unexpected publicity from an unlikely source, Apple. At Friday’s iPhone 4 press conference, Steve Jobs stated “we're pretty good at making software...other people are good at it too, like Palm...”.
The news of Apple’s warm fuzzies for Palm got even more interesting when Steve Wozniak offered yet another compliment to Palm. In a separate interview by another source, when asked about ways to to improve data network reliability on the iPhone 4, Woz actually suggested getting a Palm.
"If you can afford it, carry a second Verizon phone for backup. Another option is to carry a Verizon mifi and rely on Skype on your iPhone. I have used this mifi technique to rescue my own, and others', iPhones on occasion. If you buy a Verizon Palm Pre, you get free mifi on it so that is possible the best 'compromise' solution, to carry a Verizon Palm Pre along with your AT&T iPhone 4." [Source: Mifieurope]
Unable to really believe the above quote, I read it over and over countless times. Now I can’t knock the iPhone, it is truly revolutionary. But how can it be that an Apple co-founder uses something other than an iPhone? Obviously the iPhone is his primary smartphone, but the fact that he admits to needing and using a backup - and a Pre Plus at that! - is outrageous. For those of us that don’t have the luxury of carrying multiple phones and plans and others like myself, who can’t really stuff one more thing into our already overloaded diaper-carry-everything bag, is the iPhone 4 really the answer to which smartphone to purchase?
So, in the midst of Antennagate, one of the biggest scandals to shake (or maybe just rumble) the iPhone empire, Apple offers not one but two strong compliments to the competition. While I am beyond pleased by this turn of events, I just can’t comprehend it. Does Apple genuinely appreciate Palm and actually feel comfortable enough to say it like it is? Are they maybe trying to somehow knock other big competitors by only referring to Palm? Or does Apple not even see Palm as a threat, so much so that the Steves can just throw out compounding compliments before millions of viewers and consumers all while the iPhone 4’s future hangs in the balance? Am I being a cynic or am I just missing something?
Either way, any publicity is good publicity and getting kudos from Apple is about as good as it gets. Maybe I am just too skeptical and Palm is like the little brother Apple never had. As I have been saying since I purchased my Pre Plus, Palm clearly has something significant to add to the smartphone world. Techies see it, other smartphone companies see it, and now Apple confirms it. So when will the consumers out there catch on?