Monday, December 15, 2008

Palm Nova: not about the OS

An article on BusinessWeek says that Palm Nova will be presented at CES in January. Palm Nova is the new operating system by Palm, the one Palm is betting on to go back to its past glory.

I have some insider information because of our work at Funambol, so I can't comment on pretty much anything... but I have my feelings on what is needed to make Nova a success (and you can't hide your feelings under an NDA ;-)

For starters, I do not believe it is the OS that will make it or break it. It is well known it is going to be a Linux variation. Linux might have been a plus a few years back, now it is mainstream (gulp, saying that mobile open source is mainstream feels weird...). Actually, not being THE Mobile Linux OS is actually going to be a risk. If Android wins - they are in the driver seat, because they launched early and have a ton of apps already developed - being a second or third tier Mobile Linux OS might actually become a negative.

I believe the most important thing to make it a success will be the hardware it comes with... The new Palm phone must be shiny, super cool, sexy and all of the above. If it is dull, black or anything like a G1, Palm is doomed. The G1 can go by, because it has the Google superverycool brand attached. Palm can't afford it. It must be a WOW phone. Or else...

The other key element is services. For example, having something like MobileMe, that actually works. A very integrated phone, that does not force you to think about data, since it is all on the cloud and synced on your phone from your desktop. Data sharing would also be nice.

So... it is not about Nova. It is about what is around it (the hardware) and far away (the services). The OS is a commodity nowadays. It could even be Android. Actually, it might have been a good idea...