August 23, 2007

Not long after my two-part column offering a more moderate pespective on the Foleo, a few of my favorite Engadget editors penned an open letter to Palm that received a chorus of amens from the community and rightly so. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in Palm’s management who doesn’t understand the software opportunity and the sad fate of the original Palm OS through its long period of misguided development and subsequent neglect amidst a dizzying series of management changes. And, yes, the Treo needs to slim down. But a slim Treo is only table stakes as a number of strong competitors (Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Apple) have slim smartphones. My Blackberry 8800 is not noticeably thicker than the T-Mobile Dash either.

So, while the open letter raises a lot of issues that Palm needs to address, following its advice is not going to allow Palm to move ahead and differentiate. It would be like telling Nintendo in the GameCube days that they needed to support HDTV because Sony and Microsoft were going to in their next generation or telling Apple that they needed to switch to Intel processors before they had introduced the iMac and titanium PowerBooks.

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