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PALM - An Open or Closed Case...

Fri Jan 2, 2009 - 3:04 PM EST - By Annie Latham

In a previous post, it was mentioned how the Fool's Tim Beyers felt handwriting recognition would be something Palm could include in Nova that would leapfrog what others are offering. His write-up was quite positive and somewhere along the line, he may have been accused of being "Pollyanna-ish," because his follow-up post titled "How Palm Could Lose Everything" took a more sobering look at Palm and its potential.

Nova - Open or Closed?

According to Beyers, closed systems (like those offered by Nokia, Apple and Research in Motion) are "crushing" open systems (think anyone offering Windows Mobile or Android).

In particular, he noted that "Palm uses an open environment," and "Investors haven't been well served by that choice" because the wireless carriers like closed systems better.

He believes that Palm should take a clue from Steve Jobs (how he "closed" the Mac OS platform in 1997), and do the same with Nova. Hey, with Jon Rubenstein, the former Apple-ite who has been involved with closed systems since 1990 at the helm, this is a reasonable possibility.

Software? Hardware? Both?

Will Nova alone "save" Palm? Probably not. As history has also proven, the "whole product" matters the most.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that what Palm announces next week is "a closed system," which is "self-contained and elegantly designed." Not only would that be grand, but also it would do wonders to restore faith in a company that was a pioneer in the handheld space all those years ago.

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