Palm is now officially dead as HP reorganizes its Palm business units into a WebOS Global Business Unit. HP’s Stephen DeWitt will replace former WebOS CEO Jon Rubinstein. The latter will move to become Senior Vice President in the Personal Systems Group. Whatever.
A sad moment, although WebOS didn’t live up to my expectations and I basically haven’t been using a ‘real Palm’ device after replacing my Handspring Treo 650 by – in the end – an iPhone. However, for me Palm was the first company that got the PDA thingy right. It greatly helped to improve my productivity and without Palm, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
It’s not that the (now) bulky Pilot was the first organizer I tried. Hell no. I went from several ‘smart calculators’ to Atari Portfolio (remember that one?) to Apple Newton and lots of stuff in between. Every device/OS had some good points, but none where as usable as that first Pilot. The OS was good, the hardware okay, but what made the difference was the mass of applications that were created for it. Built in calendar not good enough? There was an App or extension for that. You wanted offline browsing? No problem, there was an App for that. PalmOS partnered nicely with your desktop to become a real extension … a replacement even. When hooking up to Yahoo mail, it was possible to sync lots of stuff to ‘the cloud’ that you could access through any browser. I’m talking 2000 folks. Remarkable if you think about it: Palm and Yahoo had it all. They let it catch dust, until Apple picked it up and improved the concept to what it is today. For me the Palm experience peaked in the V series: a metal organizer (Apple even borrowed that), with a great leather pouch that doubled as a wallet. That little machine really changed the way I worked and ruled my life for the better part of 4 years.
But now Palm is officially dead. Inevitable as the vibe left the company years ago. Hope for glory resurfaced after the first demo of WebOS in january 2009, but was trashed with those first dreamy commercials. Palm could have stand a chance if they had focussed on productivity and real life. Kingdoms they so mighty ruled before. They choose dreams instead. Noble, but fruitless.
Sweet dreams my friend. I’ll always cherish our moments.