Can Nova Save Palm?

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Palm Vx

The Palm Operating System hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years, sure they’ve added some color, more storage space, and multimedia apps, but for the most part the OS looks and works the same now as it did on my old Palm Vx. Palm’s market share has been dropping like a rock over the last few years, in Q2 of 2006 Palm had over 35% of the Smart phone market, and in Q2 of 2008 they were at 16.9%, that’s a 50% drop in 2 years. There’s good reason for that drop, with sleek new touchscreen smart phones like Apple’s iPhone and the Blackberry Storm Palm’s dated OS makes for an unattractive product.

According to Business Week Palm will be showing off Nova, their new operating system, at CES in January. Jon Rubenstein, Palm’s Executive Chairman, says that Palm will be aiming for the “Fat Middle” with Nova. Rubenstein claims the “Fat Middle” is the area between the business central Blackberry and fun central iPhone. The people at Palm are very optimistic about their chances:

“I’m fundamentally convinced we’re onto something huge,” says Mike Bell, a 16-year Apple engineering star who joined Palm last year. “Some of the stuff we’re working on here is mind-blowing-better than anything I’ve seen before.”

Personally, I’ve yet to be convinced, the Blackberries have always included games, and now the iPhone supports enterprise features like exchange support, I’m not sure how “Fat” that middle really is. I hope Palm can pull something great out of their hat, but they have a lot to overcome, and they’ve shown me very little in the last several years.