Resignation is probably not the most popular world at Hewlett-Packard, certainly not after the resignation of its controversy-marred CEO Mark Hurd, who has kept the world's leading PC maker in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Peter Skillman, Palm's Vice President of Design, is the latest to bid farewell to the company – HP recently acquired Palm for $1.2 billion. He headed the design team responsible for the critically-acclaimed Palm Pre. Skillman's departure is not much of a surprise as Palm has always been in danger of losing key employees ever since it was acquired by HP.
There's no crying in baseball, but there's plenty of boo-hooing in Silicon Valley. The latest sobs come from Jon Rubinstein, CEO of Palm, who's having a tough time accepting that Motorola's Droid won the foot race into Verizon.
"If we could have launched at Verizon prior to the Droid, I think we would have gotten the attention the Droid got. And since I believe we have a better product, I think we could have even done better," Rubinstein laments.
Maybe, maybe not. By the time Droid came to market, the Palm Pre had already been available for four months, and it's probably not fair to cast the blame on Sprint, the Pre's exclusive launch partner and th reason why Palm wasn't available in Verizon stores.
Rubinstein might also be underestimating a little freight train called Android, currently the fastest growing OS on the market. Whether the Pre could have made it into Verizon first or not, it's hard to imagine that the Droid wouldn't have been popular either way.
With no end in sight for Apple's ridiculously long review of the Google Voice app for the iPhone, the search engine heavyweight decided to single-handedly break the deadlock. A web-based Google Voice app for the iPhone and Palm's Web OS platform is Google's repartee to Apple's delaying tactics. The HTML 5 app can be accessed from the phone's browser. This being an HTML 5 app, it is more advanced than the existing browser-based version for mobile phones.
The two companies have been on the warpath ever since last July, when Google claimed that Apple had refused to admit its Google Voice app to the App Store. Although Apple had categorically denied rejecting the app back then, Google Voice is yet to earn its approval.
“You can make calls from your phone that show your Google Voice number as the caller ID. You can also listen to voicemail and read voicemail transcripts, send and receive text messages for free, and take advantage of the low international call rates offered by Google Voice,” Google announced on the official Google Mobile blog.
Palm on Monday announced the availability of webOS 1.2, the latest operating system for its Palm Pre smartphones, and with it a whole bunch of new features.
"For starters, we've beefed up Palm Synergy to include LinkedIn contact syncing," Jon Zilber, Palm's director of online communications, wrote in a blog post. "Info from LinkedIn profiles (like job titles) will now appear in your Palm Pre contacts. The new update also facilitates links across more different flavors of IM contacts. Business-oriented webOS 1.2 customers will also appreciate support for heterogeneous EAS policies (for workplaces with a mix of end-users in which some accounts support EAS policies and others don’t)."
In addition to the above, Zilber said the updated OS also includes the ability to filter emails in a current folder just by typing a search term, users can download files in the browser, music buffs can download songs from the Amazon MP3 Store via either WiFi or WAN, you can now tap a phone number in a calendar note to dial it, the ability to pause a podcast and pick up where you left off when you unpause, and cut/paste functionality in webpages and emails.
Palm Pre owners have already started receiving the update via over-the-over download.
Patent #7,479,949 (better known as Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics) has been awarded to Apple at long last. And while this is mighty good for Apple, this brings a lot of potential trouble for other multitouch smartphones in the future.
The Palm Pre is one of the many devices that should be looking over its shoulder. Given that it supports swiping and pinching, much like that of the iPhone, it has plenty to worry about (namely, Apple’s legal department).
And, if the rumor is true about Tim Cook’s thirst for the blood of anyone that’s looking to rip off Apple’s intellectual property, then just about anyone that’s looking to swipe, pinch or squeeze their way to a new phone experience should be careful to tread lightly.