Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has been on the interview circuit to promote his company's recently released Creative Suite 5 (CS5) software package, and in doing so, Narayen announced that Flash 10.1, which will be made available to Android, WebOS, Symbian, and BlackBerry, will be delayed until the second half of this year.
Some mobile platforms already use a simplified version of Flash 8 known as Flash Lite. Flash Player 10, however, will introduce better graphical and audio performance across multiple mobile OSes, although Apple was noticeably absent from Narayen's announcement. Apple and Adobe continue to be at odds over Flash support, which Narayen says "hurts consumers."
We were expecting Flash 10.1 to make its way to mobile platforms a little sooner than the second half of 2010. Narayen didn't say what the reason for the delay was, but in a related blog post, Adobe confirmed tht the private betas for Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe Air 2.0 have only just started.
Public betas are on the way, and developers can sign up to be notified about either one using the links below:
It wasn't totally unexpected, but it's still jarring to hear Bloomberg reporting that Palm is up for sale. The maker of the WebOS-packing Pre smartphone seemed resurgent just a year ago, but lackluster sales have resulted in poor stock performance and anxious invertors. Palm is said to be working with Goldman Sachs Group to shop around to perspective buyers. Among the possible suitors are Lenovo and HTC.
Just a few weeks ago Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein seemed defiant saying, " I am still confident that our talented team has what it takes to get the job done." But it seems the last few quarter have made their course clear. The speculation is that HTC would be particularly interested in Palm for their large patent portfolio, which could help fend off a suit from Apple. Of course, we wouldn't put it past Apple to buy up Palm to get those patents in Cupertino. Also, Steve Jobs would probably love to fire Rubinstein out of spite.
If nothing else, the acquisition talk has helped Palm's sagging stock price. It's risen over 32% in the past week on news of a sale. As for what this means for the future of WebOS, no one can say. It's possible a buyer could scrap the whole company. Any Pre or Pixi owners out there? If your updates stop flowing, will you move on or stick it out hoping for community support?
Palm CEO Jon Rubenstein gave an exclusive interview to CNN Money today, and it was an ugly sight. Everyone knows that we loved the Palm Pre when it debuted at CES in 2009, but it was quickly lost in the smart phone shuffle among heavyweights such as iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. The hardware and software concepts gave it a serious chance to compete with the big guys, but in the end the lackluster launch didn't win over enough third party developers, causing the platform to stagnate next to its rivals.
Given the gruesome reality facing Rubinstein these days, I think most people are surprised to see he is still working the interview circuit at all. The vast majority of the CNN questions were a spin on "Guess you guys are out of luck" and "so has anyone offered to buy Palm yet"? Despite the hard line, Rubinstein maintains that Palm has "tremendous assets" and that people should take note of the state of the company prior to webOS.
Palm's primary advantage at this point lies in its ability to multitask, but if the platform lacks compelling applications, who cares how many of them you can run in the background. Everyone here is hoping Palm has what it takes to turn its fortunes around, but there isn't an analyst out there right now with as much optimism about the company's future as Rubenstein.
Feel free to check out the full interview, and let us know what you think lies in the future for Palm.
It seems like the ‘big boys’ are planning to play it safe with their mobile operating systems. Apple has limited the multitasking on the iPhone OS, restricting it only to core apps, while prohibiting third party applications, to optimize battery life and improve security. It seems that Microsoft plans the same thing for Windows Phone 7.
In an interview with Wired.com, Charlie Kindel, the manager of Windows Phone App Platform and Developer Experience program says, “We do not allow third-party applications running on the phone to execute in the background.” He continues, “We’re poised to support it eventually, but in order to support great battery life and great end-user experience, we’re focusing on the integrated experiences first.” That sounds familiar.
This, of course, stands in contrast to devices built on Google’s Android OS and Palm’s WebOS--both of which allow for legitimate multitasking. Users on both platforms do complain about reduced battery life, but also acknowledge, as they control what’s running, it's their choice to make.
While there is no gainsaying the fact that the Pre did lend a fatally rudderless Palm some direction, the much anticipated forward thrust is an entirely different matter. The impetus that Palm hoped to receive from its dapper webOS products hasn't materialized. The Sunnyvale-based company has lowered its guidance for the current fiscal. It blamed the move on lower-than-expected sales of its new webOS-based phones.
“Since the quarter has not yet closed, it is too soon to offer exact numbers, but we stated that we expect to report revenues for Q3 between $300 and $320 million. We also announced that we expect our revenue for this fiscal year to fall below the guidance we gave to Wall Street, which ranged from $1.6 to $1.8 billion,” CEO Jon Rubinstein announced in an internal email meant for employees. Its full financial results will be announced next month.
Rubinstein clarified that the the abrupt announcement was being made in order to “prevent a surprise for Wall Street when we announce quarterly earnings in March.” But this announcement did take many by surprise and sent its shares down south. Its share price dropped 13% on the news before eventually making a bit of a come back.
The company is currently pursuing a new strategy to improve sales. “To accelerate sales, we initiated Project JumpStart nearly three weeks ago. Since then, nearly two hundred Palm Brand Ambassadors, supplemented by Palm employees from Sunnyvale, have been training Verizon sales reps across the U.S. on our products.” It clearly believes that lack of awareness and Verizon's poor handling of its products are the two major factors hampering sales.
The spec sheets for the Verizon versions of Palm’s WebOS phones appear to have leaked ahead of the official CES event tomorrow. Sadly, there aren’t any big surprises here. The phones will be called the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus, a naming scheme seemingly designed to get under Sprint’s skin.
The Pre Plus will get a welcome storage bump to 16GB from the current 8GB. The Pixi Plus will thankfully have Wi-Fi on board now. Neither phone will be graced with a MicroSD card slot or support for video recording, though. The Pixi will also still be equipped with the same middling CPU found in the Sprint version. No pricing or release dates were leaked, but we’ll most likely get those at the Palm event tomorrow.
It’s no secret that Android is gaining momentum. The release of the Droid on Verizon and the upcoming Nexus One announcement have gotten people’s attention in a big way. A recent survey by ChangeWave shows us just how much Android’s star has risen in the last few months. With the millions Verizon has spent on advertising the Droid, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
In December, ChangeWave asked 4068 consumers that planned on purchasing a smartphone in the next 90 days which mobile platform they would like to purchase. They found that 21% of people planned to get an Android phone, up from only 6% in September. The iPhone still won out with 28%, but that’s down a few points from the last survey. Android’s 15-point jump seems to have also come at the expense of Windows Mobile and Palm’s WebOS, both down 3%. Blackberry weathered the Android storm well, and actually saw a small uptick in the December numbers.
Google’s brand and Verizon’s marketing seem to be combining to lure in consumers. While the iPhone isn’t about to be knocked off by Android, Palm is hanging on by a thread. Just a year ago Palm was the underdog darling of CES 2009, but they may have to pull another rabbit out of their mobile hat to make it to 2011.
Pre and the webOS have brought about Palm's revival. Now that it is back in the hunt, it can comfortably concentrate on growth. It now features nearly 950 titles and is expected to cross the 1,000 app mark after Palm's CES keynote. The pace at which apps are being added to the App Catalog is a trickle compared to the App Store, which hit the 10,000 apps mark in just six months (almost the time Palm's mobile app store has been around). The Palm App Catalog is just not in the App Store league and might never leap so high, but it is important for Palm to keep moving in the right direction.
Sprint has begun pushing out its webOS 1.3.5 update to Palm Pre customers, which comes with a pretty extensive changelog. But the biggest tweaks might be the removal of the app storage limit, better performance, and improved battery life.
Other changes include:
App Catalog significantly improves the application download experience
Simultaneous downloads of multiple apps now possible
The ability to manually pause, resume, and cancel downloads
A user can performance a full erase by pressing and holding Sym + the Orange/Option key + power for 10 seconds
A user can now edit forwarded text for all email account types
After taking the 1.3.5 update, users can download future updates for a 2G (1xRTT, GPRS, EDGE) data connection by opening Updates and tapping Download Now
Palm is changing up the development platform for its WebOS based devices. After a short private beta, the new Ares SDK is available to aspiring WebOS developers. While Palm’s Mojo SDK has been available for several months, Ares is different. The Ares SDK is entirely browser-based. That seems only fitting for a platform that relies so heavily on web technologies to create apps.
Palm’s goal here seems to be to get more web developers involved. These people may be well suited to developing for WebOS, but would never go to the trouble of downloading a SDK. Ares endeavors to keep everything one might need in a single place.
There aren’t really any other surprises beyond that. The SDK still won’t allow a lot of complexity in apps. For the most part, you still won’t see software that is as advanced as what we see on Android and iPhone.