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A Palm Android Phone in 2009?

The sleek and stylish new Palm Treo Pro due out in September appeared to be a saving grace for quickly falling company. But early reviews from Wired and Gizmodo suggest that the appeal may end at appearance. Fortunately Palm is just using the Treo Pro to “stay afloat” while it prepares a miracle phone in 2009 with a completely new OS. Could it be Android?

Google’s Andy Rubin has said repeatedly that one crucially important aspect of Android is that it could save device manufacturer’s up to 20% – savings that can be passed onto consumers. Non-coincidentally, analysts are saying Palm’s problem is their pricing structure: “The iPhone went down to $200; the Samsung Instinct went down to $230,” said Tero Kuittinen of Global Crown Capital, “This is no longer the same phone market we had a year ago.”

ONE year ago… and we’re only TWO years removed from the days that Palm was the American leader in smart phone sales. They have since been replaced by both Research In Motion (BlackBerry) and HTC with Apple and the iPhone right on their heels.

So what could help Palm contend on price immediately? Android.

But price is just one factor. Peter Hoddie – President of mobile software developement company, Kinoma – added,”Operating systems don’t matter to most customers. What matters to them is what they can do. … Why do [people] love iPhone? They love the apps. Why don’t people love Windows Mobile? It’s in fact an amazing operating system … but the apps on top of it? Not so inspired.”

For those not aware, the Palm Treo Pro is actually running Windows Mobile instead of Palm’s proprietary Operating System and the device is set to be manufactured by HTC. Considering this, it doesn’t seem inconceivable that Palm would release an Android enabled phone in 2009. In fact, it would be an incredibly smart move.

It should be noted that Palm recently hired Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple engineer instrumental to the iPod, as its head of product development. And according to the Wired article the ONE thing we know about Palm’s miracle phone for 2009 is that, “it will feature an entirely new platform and new hardware.”

Given all the details, one could easily see how a strategy devised around making the most beautiful and functional handset ever… running Android.

Part of Palm’s storied past has been their proprietary Palm OS and some will argue that there is no way they’ll ditch this competitive advantage for Android. But how long can they keep playing catch up in so many ways… cost, design, 3rd party apps, etc… with so many options out there, they are quickly dropping on the consumer priority list.

Perhaps Palm’s flagship device of 2009 will feature an all new Palm OS. In fact, its more than likely given the nature of corporate egos. But all the evidence says that Palm SHOULD be thinking about Android and FAST. So the question remains… will/when will a Palm sport Android?

What is REALLY funny is that in November of 2007 when Android was first announced, Engadget called for Palm to Assimilate or Die. Palm is NOT in the Open Handset Alliance which is somewhat shocking considering their dire situation and the pieces that fit like a puzzle:

“Suddenly all Palm has to do is develop its own UI for Android, give the system the old Palm fit n’ finish, maybe whip up an emulator layer for previous Palm OS apps, and they instantly reap the all benefits they’ve been after chasing the Palm OS-unicorn. Palm’s most desperate hour could be over; suddenly there’s a light at the end of Palm’s tunnel. In fact, if we didn’t know any better, we’d even fancy Android was created by Andy Rubin and Google to help Palm out — it’s just too perfect a coincidence.”

But Engadget received a written response from Palm, pretty much denying that they would adopt another OS and instead will work on their own OS and incorporate Google services. Endgadget’s Paul Miller than joked that he didn’t want to wait for 1.5 years to be proved wrong… and what do you know… amidst delays of the new Palm OS we’ll be coming up on 1.5 years at the end of Q1 2009 or so, won’t we?

Its that time, Palm. Assimilate or die.

[This post was inspired by Wired.com article from Brian X. Chen found here and includes many of the facts and quotes reported there. Thanks Brian... great article.]




  • TareX

    Have you heard of Palm OS II? The one that has been in development for more than 2 years, postponed time and again? The iphon-ish OS from ex-Apple developers?

    Why is everyone mistaking any news regarding a “new OS” for Android?

  • TareX

    The Engadget article was just saying that instead of wasting time on a new OS, Palm should have joined the Android alliance.

    I can’t believe you’re using this suggestion as a foundation for an article titled, “A Palm Android Phone in 2009″.

    The things people do to get attention.

  • phandroid.com

    The point is they SHOULD release an Android Phone in 2009. The article highlights the reasons WHY they should and aligns some interesting facts.

    A little something called PUNCTUATION can completely alter the purpose/intention/tone of a sentence. Note that the title of this article uses a QUESTION MARK and not a PERIOD or EXCLAMATION MARK. It is posing an interesting idea, not making a statement, and is to be intended as such.

    Maybe you want to re-read the title a few times. And then re-read this quote a few times: “Perhaps Palm’s flagship device of 2009 will feature an all new Palm OS. In fact, its more than likely given the nature of corporate egos. But all the evidence says that Palm SHOULD be thinking about Android and FAST. So the question remains… will/when will a Palm sport Android?”

    Before you clumsily criticize an article perhaps you should take the time to actually read it.

  • TareX

    Nah I’m sorry I think you’re motives were pure attention. Palm OS II -2 years in dev- remains the only thing that would bring back life to Palm. The fact that its developers worked on Apple’s UI hypes it up a lot more.

    I read a lot of blogs linking to Engadget’s Android proposal to Palm…. months ago. None used anything near to “Palm Android phone in 2009?” as a title.

    I guess 100% of the readers would have presumed you had a leak, a whistle-blower, or a tipster at Palm telling you Palm was readying an Android phone, to only find reference to a really old article from engadget.

    You know androidguys is down now (their server can’t handle the traffic), so your site would be most likely getting more hits, and finding that article up there says no good about the site’s legitimacy/credibility for many potential newcomers these next hours.

  • phandroid.com

    You’re wrong… plain and simple. I could go into detail but its tough to have an intelligent discussion with someone who seems to know your own motives better than you do. I’m proud of the body of work here… we cover what we think is worthwhile… we were one of the ONLY sites to call out the whole “android is delayed” rampage as BS while everyone else was busy whoring out linkbait articles and titles.

    Check the record. Grow up.

  • TareX

    I’m sorry if I upset you. But almost every (let’s say 90%) of the Android sites and blogs refuted the delay news once they were outed. Also you can’t be one of the ONLY siteS. You can be one of the very few siteS, if you believe they were few. Again what does this prove, regarding your Palm Android “attempt”?

    I’m just saying I really don’t like twisting news and reports into titles that gain fake hits. It’s like that website everyone deleted from their bookmarks that said HTC was prepping an MID, based on a diplomatic answer to an open question.

    Maybe it’s bothering me more because I was not expecting that from your site, which is one of the better looking Android websites. I’m not usually vocal about cheap shots, I’m sorry to say. Not that I was expecting you to admit it was, but believe it or not, I would have easily ignored it and moved on, but I’d hate to see this Android website “go cheap” if you know what I mean.
    So despite it’s poor delivery, that was just some constructive criticism. So please you grow up and don’t take *that* direction with future writings.

  • phandroid.com

    Your whole POV is based on the false pretext that I engineered a story around a falsified title to trick people into visiting my website. Its only upsetting because its untrue and I do put a lot of work into this site. I select titles that I think are fitting and yes… interesting.

    I still don’t think the title was off based and I’m sorry if you do. That’s all.