Palm Reading

There’s been a lot of talk the last few days about the newly released Palm Pre and how it stacks up to the iPhone. I think the larger and more important conversation is whether or not the Pre can rescue Palm.

Prior to the iPhone, I had been a loyal Palm devotee going back to the original U.S. Robotics Palm Pilot. Remember those? I have owned almost every iteration of the Palm device since then. That ended with my Treo 750. Once I saw the iPhone, I lept and haven’t looked back. Till today.

I am intrigued by the Pre and what it’s possibilities are. What I’m more interested in however, is whether or not the Pre can save Palm from itself. Palm has long been a rudderless organization with seemingly no leadership or solid vision. They’ve trotted out the same old Palm OS for over 5 years now and have made minimal enhances to their hardware. The Pre represents the first radically different device Palm has introduced in over 10 years. Ultimately I believe that the success or failure of the Pre will be the success or failure of Palm as a company. Palm, along with their investors (Elevation Partners) has sunk an enormous amount of resources into the project.

It will certainly be an interesting case study for future generations. As the Pre hits store shelves and the hands of waiting consumers, how will Palm navigate the initial launch and subsequent highs and lows of the devices life-cycle.

Is the Pre the silver bullet that Palm needed to revitalize the company and return them to prominence in the handheld computing market, or will the Pre simply be a last ditch effort of a dying company as it breathes its last breath.