Fifteen years ago, the device that singlehandedly created the PDA market, and also probably did the most to start the e-book ball rolling, was the humble Palm Pilot. It was truly a marvel for its time—which is why it is so sad to see Palm floundering today, an also-ran in the smartphone market behind Apple and Android-powered devices.
Palm’s stock prices hit a 52-week low on Friday after a lackluster earnings announcement, and analysts have downgraded their opinion of the stock to “sell”—with two analysts even lowering their price target to $0 (meaning that they think Palm’s stock prices will eventually hit that amount).
Gizmodo, who comes right out and says “You’d Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now,” lays the blame largely at the feet of Palm’s lack of development partners, noting the new Palm device only has 2,000 apps available as opposed to Android’s 30,000 and iPhone’s 150,000. The devices are nifty, but simply do not have the same appeal as competing devices.
Engadget goes farther, listing an extremely comprehensive litany of mistakes Palm made in releasing and marketing the Pre, such as announcing the device significantly earlier than they were able to release it (so that all the excitement had died away by the launch date) and a lackluster ad campaign. It makes some suggestions for things Palm could do to try to pull out of it.
The question is, can anything save Palm now that the iPhone and Android are so well-entrenched—and now that everybody is going gaga over the iPad tablet?
Update: Ars Technica has another great Palm post-mortem.