Struggling mobile manufacturer Palm is being bought by American computer giant HP for $1billion.
Palm, a pioneer in the smart-phone industry, has been hotly tipped as a prime target for a corporate take-over following their failed efforts to compete with the likes of Apple and Android in recent years.
The company was founded in 1992, and was once a trend-setter in the mobile marketplace. However, recent ventures such as its webOS and Palm Pre have not hit expected sales or market targets.
Brian Humphries, HP’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, said earlier today: “This is a great opportunity to take two Silicon Valley idols and put them together,” Humphries noted. That’s an obvious statement, but he quickly moved on to the meat. “WebOS is the best-in-class mobile operating system. Our intent is to double down on webOS.”
HP has made a statement on their website outlining some of their plans for Palm, which includes development of the webOS platform into HP mobile devices.
As part of the deal, HP will pay $5.70 per share in Palm, a premium on today’s closing price of $4.63, but a far cry from the lofty-heights of their 52-week high of $18.09 per share prior to the launch of the Pre handset.
Many of us have known for awhile that the touch screen on the iPhone is far and away the best there is. MOTO Labs (no relation to Motorola) recently tested several phones against each other, including the iPhone, Google’s Nexus One, the Motorola Droid, a Palm Pre, an HTC Droid Eris, and a BlackBerry Storm 2. The robots tested the phones by using the SimpleDraw application, and the iPhone won by a landslide. The Nexus One came in a very distant second place.
The test was done using a 7mm robotic “finger” to represent a “medium touch”. The test was repeated using a 4mm robotic finger to represent a “very light” touch. In both tests, the iPhone was found to have straight and accurate lines. The iPhone did show a slight weakness at the edge of the panel with the light touch. MOTO stated that the Nexus One gave a “solid performance,” but just didn’t measure up to the iPhone. The worst performance came from the Motorola Droid, which had significant waviness with the medium-touch test, and dropped signal often during light-touch testing.
MOTO made a point of saying that a touch panel alone doesn’t make a “good” smart phone. The screen must also perform well when combined with the phone’s operating system to ensure a maximum level of responsiveness.
I didn’t need robots to tell me this. I’ve known for quite a while that my iPhone outperforms any other smart phone I have tested to date when it comes to the ease of use on the touch screen. It just plain WORKS. That, my fellow Geeks, is what it’s all about at the end of the day. We have things to do, and we need to use what works.
Reports this morning – including on the official Sprint site – claimed that webOS 1.4 would be hitting Palm Pre and Pixi handsets beginning today. While some customers have already received the update, others are gnashing their teeth while waiting for answers. The article that showed up on Sprint’s site this morning has now been pulled, leaving customers wondering what in the heck is going on.
Not only is this a basic bug fix and feature update, it also includes a very important feature: Flash 10 will be included for those using a Pre. Finally… Flash on a mobile device! Full Flash 10 support would require an Adobe plug-in, which was reportedly going to be available soon from the Palm App catalog.
There are reportedly also a number of important bug fixes with this release, including:
Time Zone bug fixed
Network time sync bug fixed to reflect accurate Network time
Bluetooth car-kit transition to device corrected
No EV icon bug fixed (random)
Random browser formatting bugs fixed
Fixed bug that incorrectly displayed Sprint when actually was Digital Roaming
Missing Contact issue specifically with swap down to 220.127.116.11 or less
The question now is… where did the update go? Why has it been pulled? When can customers expect to receive the much-anticipated upgrade to their device? It will be interesting to keep an eye on this as the day progresses.