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Palm Pre: From the ashes comes their saviour? June 8, 2009

Posted by fredillies in Gadgets n Gizmos.

palm-pre-1Amid the buzz of the launch of the Palm Pre and Apple’s WWDC this week, I’m reminded of Steve Jobs’ historic introduction of the iPhone back in 2007.  Jobs took centre stage with that breakthrough device, and set the bar so high that it would be difficult for anyone to even get close for a long while. Shortly thereafter, in what is surely one the biggest let-downs in the history of product announcements, Palm’s Jeff Hawkins announced the FOLEO which he had hyped an exciting new product category.  That announcement was followed by a loud thud (market and industry reaction).  A few months later Palm CEO Ed Colligan cancelled the Foleo project before it was even released.  (Would they have even sold a single one??)  When the Foleo was announced, I figured that was the death knell for Palm…. which had experienced a long slide from innovator to dinosaur.

Fast forward to today.  Palm’s Pre is an elegant device with an all-new OS, with a UI, software and industrial design that is Apple-class.  So how did Palm get from the depths to the point where they could release this kind of contender? Well, for starters they hired Jon Rubenstein, former Apple executive (the PodFather”).  The rest of the story involved THROWING OUT the Palm product roadmap and starting from scratch.  Check out the second video on Walt Mossberg’s recent post about the Pre.  Not too many CEOs would be willing to go to those lengths… do you know any?  (that said, when you’re already on the skids you need to do something dramatic 😉

It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can steal back any of the buzz at WWDC or with a suspected Jobs appearance later this month….



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