Palm, iPhone miscellanea

A bunch of stuff has transpired in the smartphone world that interests me. First off, I made a certain prediction about what was coming up on Palm’s official blog. I thought they’d post up something about the 700 fiasco and then follow it up with another, as well as writing a short blurb with the nice video Ben Combee did. Well, it took several days but they posted something about the 700 problem and haven’t done anything else, apparently that video (literally the best one I’ve seen on the Foleo, including the ones featuring Hawkins its creator) just wasn’t as newsworthy as Bike-To-Work day. Sigh. Wrong I was, sorry I am.

Then Engadget posted a series about the Foleo and where it was going wrong – part 1 and part 2 of the Foleo imbroglio. Smart writing that shows why they get paid the big bucks and I get paid a few cents.

Most recently they posted this piece on all Palm’s problems and what Palm ought to do. It’s a long list of things that Palm might think about doing to it’s hardware and software lineup – there’s nothing new in that list, nothing surprising, but it is a nice list of all the problems that Palm’s made for itself by doing nothing for the past several years. There’s also PalmInfocenter’s take on it.

I really don’t think there’s any valid pro-palm stance to take anymore, literally every smartphone company is crushing Palm on innovation. The treo is a mess, no significant improvements for years, they took a huge step back with the 700 and embarassingly refuse to rectify the situation. They squander their development resources, both hardware and software on buliding the Foleo instead of evolving their Treo line and now they’re coming out with a non-treo smartphone which on the internet really, genuinely looks awful. These are 180 degrees from the right direction to be moving in.

Read into that palminfocenter’s comments, the ones by freakout. He believes that despite the iPhone’s mad success and user love of it, there is nothing to be learned from the iPhone. Kind of like when Colligan said that he had learned so much about smartphones over the years and the pc guys weren’t going to just walk in. Guess what? They just walked in and they’re eating your lunch.

The iPhone on the other hand continues to improve. Unlike Palm the iPhone has rolled out two updates since it’s relaunch, fixing problems that I didn’t even know I had. The update itself? Completely painless, you barely even know it is happening, the opposite of what Palm makes you do to upgrade it’s Treo’s even aside from when the software upgrade itself bricks your phone.

Interestingly, the iPhone hacking community has been hard at work and now installing custom apps is pretty simple (for the DIY’er, a little more in depth). And they’re actually building some serious things on it, like the Nintendo emulator. The fear that many had with all this was that Apple could, via a software update, really hurt the movement by changing up the game on them. At least so far with 1.0.2 they haven’t.

I think this hacking is amazing for the speed with which they’re moving but also at how they demonstrate the advantage of the iPhone running OSX. This isn’t a completely new development environment – sure there’s new things about it, but OSX skills transfer nicely to the new space – should Apple decide not to disable their ability or indeed embrace it, they have a built in developer base itching to build apps. I think they’ve been suspiciously quiet on the subject and I’m really curious to see what their next move is going to be.

At any rate the difference between Apple and Palm are painfully obvious. Even if you don’t like the iPhone, this is the way you design the customer experience and innovate on your product line.

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