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Pre Is Dead, Long Live Eos: Tech Pundits Are Split on Palm’s Future

Depending on where you read the news, Palm and its upcoming "future of the company" webOS-enabled devices are either going to be a huge hit or a dismal failure. Along with buzz about the addition of a "Pre lite" smartphone from the company, others are busy questioning the Pre’s potential for success.

Depending on where you read the news, Palm and its upcoming “future of the company” webOS-enabled devices are either going to be a huge hit or a dismal failure. Along with buzz about the addition of a “Pre lite” smartphone from the company, others are busy questioning the Pre’s potential for success.

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Palm Eos

The rumors of yet another webOS smartphone from Palm surfaced over the course of the week. Engadget sealed the deal with pictures: The phone will be called the Eos (hopefully no-one will confuse it with Canon’s range of DSLRs) and it’s due to be a smaller, and simpler alternative to the larger Pre. It’s a little like Palm’s old Centro phones, in fact, and it’s going to be a skinny 10mm deep, since it ditches the slider keypad. People are even labeling it a rival for the “iPhone nano/lite” which is still only a fantasy device. Inside it’ll have a 2-megapixel camera, AGPS, 4GB storage, and a 400 x 320 pixel touchscreen. It will likely cost less than the Pre, and come via AT&T, which has much greater U.S. coverage than Sprint–the Pre’s initial carrier.

Meanwhile, little-known Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar is busy dissing the Pre itself. According to his sources, Palm is encountering “multiple hardware and software” issues during the production run of the as-yet unreleased phone, and as a result the company has reduced its order request “drastically.” He even suspects Palm won’t meet its goal of one million Pres shipped by the end of 2009.

I have also suggested that the Pre’s cheapish internal components might be an issue, but no one’s taken as bold a step as Kumar (he’s also down on Apple and Dell). I have doubts about his reasoning: it’s hard to imagine “multiple” issues arising all at once, to the point that the Pre’s production is in danger. Palm, after all, has much expertise in bringing cellphones and PDAs to market. And there have even been public sightings of the device–Angelina Jolie recently commented on how much she likes using it, and Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky has been playing with one as well.

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Will the Pre fail, and Palm be left putting all its hopes and dreams on a cheap-and-cheerful Eos alone? Time will tell. But maybe the elevated media interest in Palm is interesting in its own right. The business is saturated with Android and iPhone news, and armchair pundits are happy to have someone new to talk about.

[via All Things D, Engadget

Related: Could Palm Survive a Failed Pre Smartphone?
Related: Does the Palm Pre’s Low-Build Price Suggest a Cheaply-Made, Inferior Product?
Related: Palm Pre Coming May 17, with Several Touchstone Devices?

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About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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