I admit I have been neglecting my lonely Palm Pre the past few days. I have no shortage of phones around here and until picking it up earlier today, I haven’t been giving the Pre much thought. While I was using the Pre, my thoughts centered around the trouble that Palm is having due to low sales numbers. I also was struck once again with how good webOS is from a user’s standpoint. The interface is great, and it would be a big loss to see Palm (and webOS) go away. Then it hit me right between the eyes — wouldn’t webOS be fantastic on a 7-inch slate?
While it seems that tablet-mania has us all in its grip, the more I thought of a slate running webOS the more excited I got about it. The graphical touch interface is already outstanding, but imagine it on a 7-inch display. The multitasking of webOS would enter new ground on such a screen. It would not only be a productive environment to use, it would actually be fun. If you ask me, Palm could use a little fun these days.
I am picturing a thin slate with a 7-inch screen — even a tad bigger would be OK. The great PIM apps on webOS would be stellar if optimized for the larger display. Palm wouldn’t have to add functionality, or even change the way they utilized touch, just optimize the display. The webOS browser is already quite good; It would only be better on a larger screen.
I believe Palm could produce this slate, given its history with device design and production. It should follow the Apple model and make sure all existing webOS apps work on the tablet, and provide incentives to developers who optimize existing apps for the bigger screen. Maybe even make a deal with Amazon to get a solid app to work with Amazon MP3. There are many ways for Palm to go with this slate, almost all of them good.
Palm could produce a Wi-Fi model of the slate, but also a Sprint 3G/4G model. This would compete with the iPad, and with the Sprint data network make a bold statement. I can see Palm making a tremendous splash with such a device, no matter what happens with its phone line. Having given this a lot of thought, I can only see an upside for beleaguered Palm with this. Given the tight integration webOS already has with Google services, this tablet would give Android tablets serious competition.
The only question I have about this tablet venture for Palm is what to call the product. There’s the obvious Palm Pad, but I think they need something clever to make a splash. How about the Palm Pilot? Raise the original product name that made the company famous, and get people talking.
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