I've been a Palm user since the age of 13, and it was sad to see the brand go in 2010. Palm was unique, they were a company specifically creating handheld devices, which I liked, I felt like they had focus.

While creating webOS was an amazing achievement and many great decisions were made, many poor decisions prior to CES 2009 were made that caused the fate of Palm as we know it today.

Heres my opinion on what Palm should have done. Who knows, maybe they were doomed to fail anyways, but I am sure that these things would have helped to stymie that.

Created a touchscreen slab phone as the first webOS device, launched on Sprint

This was Palms first mistake. While I liked the Pre, iphone buzz was in top form in 2009, and many people got the Pre on Sprint simply because they didn't want to get the iphone on AT&T. While having a differing product is nice (physical keyboard), theres no point in creating differentiation if you can't get the competitions device on your carrier of choice in the first place.

Plus a slab phone is simpler engineering wise and would have not had the many hardware issues that plagued the Pre Minus.

Launching exclusively on Sprint

Im on the fence with this one. I dont know if it would be possible, but if they had the resources, they should have launched with a slab phone on Sprint and with a Pre-like device on Verizon/AT&T shortly thereafter. While Sprint had the most adoption of users, I dont think this was due to being exclusive, but due to the fact that no one cared about the Pre Plus when it came to Verizon/AT&T.

Put an SD reader on the devices

While I find an SD slot useless nowdays, many people like the option and it would have been a feature that would have had some people choosing the device over an iphone for. Sometimes a feature may be utterly useless but it still attracts buyers.

Named the Pixi something different and made it as powerful as the Pre


The Pixi was a cool device as far as form factors go: it was the device for those who liked Blackberrys candy bar format but hated the clunky UI and lack of touchscreen. Unfortunately the poor choice of name and underpowered hardware made it less than attractive. Also the lack of wifi on a lower end device is confusing: who wants to pay more for a dataplan on a low end device?

Never have released the Pre Plus

The Pre Plus should have never existed: rather the Pre should have come with 512mb of ram from the get go. It was painfully obvious that 256mb was simply too little ram for the device. The Pre2 should have come in place of the Pre Plus at a slightly later date, but not as late as it did eventually come out. The Pre3 should have come out when the Pre2 did drop in October of 2010.

Marketing

Painfully obvious. Borglady and soccer mom ads were painful. Not even gonna go here as a 6 year old would have done a better job. Not even worth talking about.

Never made Ruby CEO

The guys great with hardware. He is not a business leader. Never make an Engineer a CEO. He also was and still is a little too headstrong and believed in webOS and the Pre way more than anyone should have. He came off as cocky in interviews.

Never should have sold off the company

While HP threw in the towel way too soon, so did Palm. They were low on funds, but should have simply found more investment backing and ramped up production pace. Once I found out that HP aquiring Palm would cause them to miss a product cycle, I knew things weren't looking good. With some more investment backing they could have released the Pre2 and Pre3 as well as the Veer on time, and created a tablet much quicker than HP did.

Should have released the SDK for creating apps earlier

Releasing a phone OS without making the SDK for apps available was laughable. The lack of apps for webOS was doomed from the start when people weren't even able to make apps before the device was released!


I could go on and on but I feel that Palm could have survived if they had taken these steps, I do not feel like they were doomed from the start. Android was still young in 2009, and I believe webOS and Palm could have seen a comeback if different measures were taken.