Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank You Palm - A Reprint from 2010

Feeling a little nostalgic today, I have decided to pay homage to a great company that put itself up for sale 2 years ago.  A company that started a revolution and literally became one of the first companies that changed the way in which I look at the world.  As I did in 2010, I will say it again, THANK YOU PALM. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Bloomberg is reporting that PALM has put itself up for sale. What a sad day this is if the rumors are true. I remember the early days of Palm and can reflect back on a time when this company really ruled the handheld market. What a difference a few years make. A misstep here, a faulty product launch there and a lagging Operating system brought this company down. Even with a sensational product like the PRE, the company did it all too late.

I shed a tear for this company. I personally tried, by starting this blog, to contribute to the Palm blogosphere and my requests for updates and additions were more out of love for the company that was and the company that I wanted it to be. Who can forget the day that they set their eyes on the Palm III ? It was a thing of beauty. Or the slider on the Palm V? I actually had two of them. That was innovation ! Palm really showed how to build a platform that was sustainable and profitable. Almost every physician that I knew had a Palm Pilot. It would go off in meetings. We would beam our cards, notes, addresses and files to each other. We would scribble our thoughts with various types of styli.

One day when I started a new job many years ago, I remember my partner suggesting that some salacious activity was going on between myself and an attractive looking drug rep. She had a Handspring (keep the puns to yourself, this is G-Rated :)), and she had all of the latest games and new software available. Not worrying about viruses at the time, I would always welcome the additions. She would beam these to me on her monthly visits. It turned out that her fiance was a developer, so I would get a lot of "free" programs and test them. My partner only heard "beaming" and other terms during the lunch breaks and always made sly comments. Well it wasn't too long before he joined the party. Not only that, but he became an advisor to Epocrates within two years. So much for salacious activity :).

Those were the early days. Along the way I met some wonderful people in the Palm hemisphere. A few developers and of course Sammy McLoughlin from PalmAddicts who remains steadfastly one of the staunchest supporters of Palm. He is also a very good guy. He was single handedly responsible for putting this blog on the charts. Again, it stemmed from my love affair with Palm. Apparently just about everyone on the Palmaddicts blog had the same love affair. This same affliction led to a meeting with Ryan Block and Peter Rojas during one of their whirlwind Engadget meetups. They offered great advice. All of this, because of PALM.

Of course my departure from Palm land happened in spirit in late 2006. I was becoming very much removed from the over promising and under delivering, not to mention the poor hardware that lacked innovation and kept on crashing - THE LIFEDRIVE. But on a day that I worked, but kept hitting F5 while surfing Engadget, I could not believe what happened next! If I was spirtitualy removed from Palm in late 2006, I was mentally divorced on that morning in January. Steve Jobs presented the iPhone and it appeared that this was the answer - a solid state device that was a PIM, small computer and a phone WITHOUT A STYLUS. I welcomed it, not only because it was brilliant, but because I thought it would put some fire into Palm. What happened next made the spiritual and mental break a complete physical one. It appeared that Palm was in panic mode! The rest of course is history.

But I prefer to remember the good times. The CASL Basic days, the NSBasic days along with programs like Smartlistogo and Handbase. Literally these small apps changed the way in which I lived. They served as organizing points and the Palm devices really stressed the things found in "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People" by Steven Covey. Prioritization and historically recording facts; dumping the Franklin Covey address books and the never ending desk, wall and hand held calendars. Palm was it! I remember being in a small town and people crowding around me to look at my Palm V. I fondly remember in 1998 seeing the first Palm device at a dinner meeting when someone asked for my address. Yes, I needed that. It wasn't a want.

Now they will be no more! I am really going to miss this company. I will miss their once superior innovation skills. But really, despite the misses, I want to go on record to say THANK YOU PALM for all that you have given us. You changed the world. You were one of the true innovators, where many emulated/copied/plagiarized/
stole from you in the name of competition, you remained true to your calling - Innovation and simplicity.

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