The Stuff Is Flying. Palm Sites Let It Out After Engadget’s Open Letter To Palm

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(Last edited Aug 24, 2007)

First of all, I’d like to give a BIG THANKS to Palm Organized for linking to and embedding my video review/tutorial on the TraxItAll software program for the Palm on his website. LINK.

As usual, a BIG THANKS goes to Sammy of Palm Addicts for mentioning us on the front page.

And, another BIG THANKS to Alex Mathews of Treobits also for adding us to their front page news.

And THANK YOU to all the other sites that linked to us via Treobits and Palm Addicts. Thanks a lot!

(Edited 12:00am)

Looks like Ed Colligan, the CEO of Palm has provided a short reply on the official Palm blog here to Engadget’s Open Letter editorial. Interesting how quick of a response you get from Palm when you’re the “big guys” like Engadget. Considering I’m such a small fry blogger, it’s not surprising that I didn’t get any response PERIOD even now and I doubt I ever will. Sigh.

It is a good step that Palm is addressing the open letters. But unlike many of the positive responses from the PDA community including Engadget, Mobilitysite, etc, I am very skeptical that anything will change. Palm may be “listening” but are they going to “act” on it? This is not the first time that Palm has officially addressed an “open letter”.

Back in November 2006 when Treocentral forum member, Bob-C wrote an open letter to Ed Colligan. And Ed Colligan provided a response back on Dec 13. More info can be found here.

So, have we seen much changes since then? Hardly. The Palm Treo 700p users are STILL dealing with the Treo 700p MR update issues. Actually, Palm recently had to pull all the updates from its website. Certainly gives you a lot of confidence about their ability and transparency, doesn’t it?

Again, this isn’t the first time I’ve read, heard and seen Ed give the usual PR talk, to make us all hopeful that things are going well and there’s Wi-Fi coming for the Treos, exciting times ahead, etc. Basically, as far as I’m concerned, this is just the usual “talk” to shut us up and buy some more time for a while. I am getting quite tired of hearing the talk. Talk is cheap. You can say all the things we want to hear but it means nothing if there’s nothing to show for. And we’ve been hearing it for years. Now it’s time for action. I’ll believe it when I see it. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. I am hoping but my gut tells me it’s the same old thing. I hope I’m wrong.

(Added 9:00am)

Thank goodness that I’m *NOT* the only one who’s skeptical about Ed’s response. Woke up and found at least two bloggers who share the same skepticism about Palm that I had. Previously, the night before, all I read from various bloggers were positive response to Ed’s reply. It was like suddenly, because Ed says it’s okay that everything *will* be fine. The ship’s not sinking. (I believe they said that when the Titanic sank too). Well, if Ed’s the captain and he says it’s okay, then it *must* be okay. Er, I think we may need another captain.

For the other few different reactions, please check out jkontherun and #comments. Thanks for linking to us, #comments!

(Added 9:36am)

And another good response from Treonauts.

Treocentral has posted their own reaction and recalled back to the earlier open letter at their site(which I’ve already mentioned previously) to re-fresh most people’s memory and get a better idea of what has happened (or not) since then.

You can always expect an *interesting* response from Mike Cane.

Thankfully, it is now looking that the skeptics are coming out with their responses. Whew!

I’ve been trying so hard to hold back from writing about this. REALLY! I’ve already spent too much time (silly me) writing my 4 part ‘Dawn of a new Palm’ editorial (which someone found way too lengthy to go through. Sorry ’bout that) back at the beginning of the year (or, really, the end of last year 2006) about my thoughts and rants about Palm and where it’s going and hope to shake things up and see some changes happening. Well, it is now near the end of August and what does Palm have to show for so far? We now have more minor “enhancements” to the Treo line. Note that I term them enhancements since no one in their right mind can really call them “upgrades” once they look at the specs. The only way that any company can pull these off the way they did is mainly due to the loyal, and almost cult-like following of diehard Palm fans that won’t try to look outside the Palm bubble. I admit that I was once in that camp and it got me so motivated that I started this blog back in October 2005. If you go back and read what I wrote then, you can practically see me gushing with excitement over Palm and why I thought they were better than ahem, the competition. I have since changed my views and become more “balanced” (I am hoping) in my perspective of things.

What has happened since then? Well, nothing, at least from Palm’s end. Suddenly, development in their devices stopped. Instead of concentrating on innovative ideas and new products, they’re stuck on improving the Treo line (which isn’t a bad thing except that it’s all they focus on now). The community has not seen any new standalone devices or anything that doesn’t resemble the Treo form factor since 2004. They slapped the EOL (End of Life) tag on their promising LifeDrive line (I still say they should have tried to improve it) and just closed shop (at least in development and research) up until now.

Wait. Let me correct myself here again, they were concentrating on the super secretive “Foleo” line. Don’t get me started on *that one* again. I’ve already written my views of it here. Anyway, as a consumer and Palm enthusiast, it is *so* frustrating when I’m trying so hard to help promote something for a company and just watch the company just sit around and do nothing on their own. It’s hard to stay positive about a product or company when they aren’t moving or even trying, if only superficially. I’ve done my Flash simulations/demonstrations. I’ve done my video reviews. I’ve contacted or tried to contact Palm with requests to help promote their products (thankfully I got some support from Environics in Canada. Thanks, Environics!). But I received nothing from Palm. No response or replies. I had to wrangle with Palm to be an affiliate and that took quite a long time, but I am thankful to be an affiliate. (Maybe I should shut up now or risk getting kicked out?). Regardless, they consider me (and they rightfully should) a small bug on the wall that isn’t worth their time. But that’s okay. What bugs me so much is that the company has so much potential to get themselves back in the game but yet they don’t even try to lift a finger. Or maybe they aren’t approaching it the right and smart way. Get the marketing geniuses from Apple and see how they can change things in a big hurry.

So where am I going with this? It’s about time that the Palm community as a whole, especially Palm Inc, takes a real hard look at what is happening, what has happened or NOT happened in the past few years. Let’s face it. Those who have been ringing the death knells of Palm are getting their wish. And it seems that even Palm Inc isn’t doing much to dispell those rumors. They haven’t come up with any new form factor devices. Okay the Gandolf and Centro when they come out may be something interesting but it took them how long to come up with this? Back a few years ago, we could expect new models out in April and October, like clockwork. Now, we just get another Treo with a new number.

What do they have to show for ever since 2004 when they released the last standalone Palm device, the TX? Well, there’s the GSM Treo 680, the Windows Mobile Treo 750, the CDMA Treo 755p. Are they significant upgrade devices? Hell no! Other than offering a bit more RAM and maybe better camera resolution and some software enhancements, there is no reason why anyone who owns a Treo 650 would feel persuaded to buy a new Treo. I certainly am not. And forget about the standalone Palms. The last one was the TX and obviously, Palm isn’t going to make any more. Even Jeff and Ed has said so in previous interviews. What does that leave the rest of the Palm users? Either buy the newer Treos or go back to paper organizers or migrate over to the Windows Mobile or just get another “smarter” cellphone. Practically everybody else makes their phones much smarter and sexier nowadays. Hey, it’s 2007! Everyone has upgraded, well, everyone except Palm. Sigh.

Before I get back into the whole frustrated Palm user/owner rant (and I am already there, I know), this editorial is really about how suddenly, after a pretty big gadget enthusiast site like Engadget has finally done the Palm bashing via an open letter editorial called: Dear Palm: It’s Time For An Intervention that now everyone else in the industry is jumping on the bandwagon. That’s not a bad thing, as long as we try to be constructive about it and find new ideas or ways that can help improve Palm. Constructive criticism can be very helpful. Simply ranting about something isn’t going to change anything. It only makes both parties angry and resentful. Great, now you’ve got both sides not talking to each other.

It’s hard not to notice when the big guns of gadget blogs finally slam mighty Palm and obviously, the entire community is abuzz over this. The stuff is flying, like I said and it’s hitting everyone and everywhere. Everyone is now getting the cat out of the bag, and supporting what Engadget has said. Forums are discussing that article. Palm and gadget blogs are discussing that article and most of them are in agreement with what’s been said. I’m sure a lot of us are gadget Palm loving sheltered people that live and breathe the Palm and gadget news. But, I’m also sure that some of them are regular consumers that aren’t necessarily ‘in’ to the whole Palm and gadget scene. So, can so many of us be ‘wrong’ to want the same features and things in a Palm device? It’s not like we suddenly decided we wanted Wi-Fi in our Treos or want more RAM. We’ve been saying that for years. I personally don’t need a slim smartphone. I just want Wi-Fi and it’s gotta be “g” at least if not “n”. It’s so laughable that even Wi-Fi capable Palms can mostly support 802.11b with WEP. Enough said. And, I want to have the pandora’s box called NVFS to be thrown back in the box and throw away the key, never to be re-visited again. That silly idea caused so much more grief and problems than it solved (ie. losing data when the battery is dead). With non-NVFS devices, I simply drain the battery or disconnect the battery and the memory is wiped out. Now, it’s not as simple. And there’s so much instability problems caused by DBCache and trying to run Tom Tom or Blazer that you have to reset once in a while or it will do it for you unexpectedly. Argh! I don’t want to get into that.

Anyway, back to the topic. Regarding the Engadget editorial, many blogs are either they’re simply discussing the article or they are adding in their own opinions (just like me). Here are some that I enjoyed reading:

Do a search and you should come up with a number of reactions to that Engadget article.

I’ve found the following articles quite interesting since it addresses Palm and its official blog and what is wrong with Palm. Again, you know it’s from old diehard Palm fans who are a bit, let’s say, disillusioned about what Palm has become.

As well, many of the popular Palm forums has brought up references to that Engadget article with quite interesting discussions. Here are a few links to some of those:

And don’t forget the comments to the submission at Digg which are always interesting to read:

I’m not sorry for Palm. They deserved this. They should have seen this coming, a long time ago. I wasn’t the only blogger or website to rant about my frustration about their complacency. Now the stuff has hit the fan. Will they react? Who knows? The pessimist in me thinks that nothing will change but deep down inside, there’s always a glimmer of hope (the Palm fan in me is wishing and praying). And I really hope that Palm will listen and really think about what they are doing wrong and especially what they are not doing right.

For me personally, the other shoe dropped with respect to Palm was when they finally announced the hugely anticipated “secret project” of Jeff Hawkins, the mastermind. And what did I find out? It was a smartphone companion, relying on the smartphone to do a lot of the work for it. The Foleo as it’s called is really mainly offering a bigger screen and full sized keyboard. Most of work will rely on the Treo. And the price is about the same as a regular laptop that can do much more. Huh? Why am I paying the same amount of money for something inferior to a laptop AND it needs a smartphone to function to its full potential? If I already have a smartphone, why do I need a dumb companion? Why not ditch the dumb campanion and make the smartphone smarter? Now, there’s an idea!

Regardless of how Palm expects this Foleo to be a small market niche product, how silly can they be to market something that isn’t going to appeal to the mass market? Huh? Explain me the reasoning? If Jeff wants something that will work for him, just make it for him exclusively. Jeez. Don’t waste the time, and money on something that isn’t going to propel Palm back to the top. If they aren’t going to make much money out of this niche line, what’s the point? Are they that silly to waste money on a money losing project, just to claim that they did it? Come on, we’re not kids anymore and don’t need to ‘prove’ anything. Or, at least, I’ve long abandoned that silly idea.

Or, maybe this Foleo line will be successful, (and I’ve been wrong before) just like the Palm Pilot, which originally wasn’t expected to do well either. Maybe luck may strike twice? I don’t know. I do wish that Palm will do well, I seriously and honestly do!

All I’m asking for is that Palm not abandon the Palm community that is obviously expecting various things from them, which the Engadget editorial has clearly pointed out and many Palm enthusiast forums, blogs including mine, has stressed over and over again (Wi-Fi at least!). I am really hoping (fingers crossed) that Palm will truly take the Engadget editorial as well as the many blogs that reference it seriously as a BIG FLASHING SIGN that maybe they need to re-think their strategy and approach. They have ramped up the marketing compared to years ago (ie. palmthing, etc), and but there’s only so much that marketing can do if you don’t have the decent products to sell. I will keep and safeguard my beloved Zire 71, Tungsten T3 (just got it) and my Treo 650 and still use them. Don’t get me wrong, they work great and I love them but I want something more as time goes on. How many people do you see using the old Kodak cameras of the early 1900’s?

If you check out the various Palm forums, you will find AT LEAST ONE THREAD if not tons about what Palm loyalists and users want in a device. I’ve personally read and come across way too many to count. And what do you know? The same things keep cropping up over and over again, regardless of how old the thread is, which forum you’re visiting, etc. The people may be different, but there seems to be a consensus about what they want. And yet, Palm has not addressed these “wishes” of the one faithful community that has stood by them all these years. Here’s the latest and which I personally think is one worth checking out:

If you ask me, I think that something needs to be done at the top and I mean the VERY TOP. We’ve had the same management for so many years and there hasn’t been really much to show for. Palm needs new blood and new ideas and hopefully focus on what it really needs to do to get back on track. Clearly having the CEO laughing at the competition and dismissing that they can’t develop something that took Palm years to develop only to see him fall flat on his face when proven wrong is not a good sign. In the business world, you must prove yourself time and time again and clearly, that has not been happening at Palm for a LONG TIME. They’ve been kept afloat by the support of the loyal Palm followers. Had the Palm community not had such a cult following, the company would have sunk a LONG time ago. I am still reading in the forums how a lot of Palm fans simply refuse to even look at anything but a Palm device, even when they haven’t come out with anything new in years. Been there, done that. I have seen the light and am much more receptive to what’s out there.

Listen to us, Palm. Get with the program. Get some new blood, new ideas, and new talent into the mix. This is your final call and last chance. Everyone else has come up with a smartphone. Yours is old, aging and running on decade old decrepit software. If you don’t heed to the call, this is definitely a sinking ship that I and a lot of other previously loyal Palm enthusiasts definitely won’t be on.

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About palmdiscovery

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2 Responses to The Stuff Is Flying. Palm Sites Let It Out After Engadget’s Open Letter To Palm

  1. Duke says:

    Very good article. I too, wrote a piece on how I was becoming with the Palm platform, just before Engadget wrote theirs. Yours inspired me to revisit that frustration. I have been a Palm Loyalist for 10 years now. But I have just about reached my rope’s end with them . . . I am wondering where ALP’s OS is going to end up . . . Just judging from the screenshots, that is an OS I am certainly interested in learning more about . .

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