Thursday, April 12, 2007

No, Linux can't save Palm. It's just not that simple.

It has been widely reported that Palm Computing is gonna put out PDAs in the near future that run on Linux-based software.

Almost as widely, articles like this have been popping up asking the in my opinion very silly question: "Can Linux save Palm?"

To anybody that knows anything about Linux, who actually knows what it is, the obvious answer is "NO". Linux is an operating system kernel, not a magic wand. Simply basing your new product on Linux will not make the product an instant success, although Linux is truly awesome and I love it to bits (and bytes).

Just like a flashy car will not make you a world-class race car driver, Palm Computings new PDAs based on Linux will not automatically be awesome products, boost sales and save the company. The software will probably be better and more stable, but the decline in purchases of PDAs is by no means simply an effect of previously crummy software. The time for the PDA is simply over. The new king of the hill is the cellphone.

A high-end smartphone/cellphone today does everything a PDA is supposed to do and everybody already has one. Take my cellphone for example, a Nokia N80. This phone plays music and videos, it has a really good calendar that helps me remember and keep track of things, I can read PDFs and MS Office files with it, it's got bluetooth, wifi, GPRS and 3G to connect me to other devices and the world, and loads of other crap that I have yet to discover. Now tell me, why would I need a PDA? I wouldn't.

My phone isn't even the most advanced cellphone out there. There are smartphones that are twice as expensive and that contain even more software and magic than mine does. It is my firm belief that the advancements made in cellphone technology have effectively killed the PDA and that's the bottom line ('cuz Stone Cold said so).

Basically the only reason for owning a PDA these days is because you love gadgets and need to have more of them. Otherwise, you'll settle for a modern cellphone.

No comments: