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Does Palm Need Android?

Thu Oct 2, 2008 - 12:10 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell

I read an interesting article over at Big Tech (via Palm Infocenter) in which the author Jon Fortt talks about "Why Palm needs Android". Fortt talks about how things aren't going well for Palm lately as it gets 80% of its sales via the troubled U.S. market, and that Palm's Treo smartphone has given up market share to the popular BlackBerry. Plus Palm losing profits and their revenues dipping.

Fortt notes that Palm has been promising to launch its own new Linux-based platform which has been delayed, and that Palm already licenses and will contine to license Microsoft's WM for its corporated smartphones.

Fortt says that the smartphone world has changed a great deal since Palm started working on their new OS and that Palm might be better off scrapping the new OS plans and joining Google if Android turns out to be all it's cracked up to be.

Fortt says that there's no longer much reason for Palm to put out its own OS because the old reasons - cool factor, pricing power and influence - don't carry the weight they used to. He says that they've all become reasons for Palm to consider Android.

  • Cool factor: Even though having your own OS can make you stand out, Google allows developers to modify Android in any way they choose, and Palm could probably customize Android with their own look and programs.
  • Price: Since Android is free, Palm could sell lower-cost phones loaded with their software without paying Google.
  • Influence: Fortt says that Palm can make itself indispensible if it adopts someone else's OS. He says that these days, an operating system is often less important than the programs running on it.
    "Rather than spend its limited software resources holding developer conferences and working on software patches, Palm might be better off focusing its engineers on building the next must-have smartphone apps � what contacts and calendar were to the original Palm, what Office is to productivity, and what iTunes is to mobile music. If Palm does it right, it could offer those programs on iPhones, BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile, Android � and make a pretty penny in the process".

Fortt makes several interesting points as to why Palm needs Android. I've just summarized some of what he talked about. Head over to Big Tech and read Fortt's full article.

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