Thursday, October 8, 2009

Palm Prē: on the come-back trail?

Remember Palm, the original maker of PDAs and PDA phones – Palm Pilot, Palm Trēo, etc.? The company kind of faded away for awhile, put in the shade by Windows, iPhone, Android, etc. Now Palm is back with its radical webOS mobile operating system and two new devices, the Prē and the Pixi.

I reviewed the Prē recently for Wi-Fi Planet. It’s a very cool device, combining an iPhone-like touch interface (better than iPhone’s in some ways) and slide-out QWERTY keyboard for easier text input.

But Palm wants you to change how you store and synch data to your mobile. Instead of synching with your desktop over a USB cable, now you’re going to synch to the cloud – to Google, Yahoo or whatever, or to Exchange if your employer has a Microsoft e-mail server – over the wireless network.

Will BlackBerry and Symbian users buy into this new paradigm? (I can’t see iPhone or Android users changing horses again so soon, but you never know.) Palm software partner Chapura does provide a safety hatch for those who like everything about Prē but the cloud synch strategy. The company’s $30 PocketMirror package lets you synch the old fashioned way.

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