An Apple In Your Palm
As some people may recall, in June of last year a company called Elevation Partners acquired a 25% equity stake in Palm for $325 million.
As I mentioned at the time, the most interesting and exciting part of the deal was that it brought two former key senior Apple Computer executives to work their magic at Palm. The first is Jon Rubinstein a technical guru who famously headed the iPod division at Apple and has joined Palm’s board as executive chairman and leads Palm’s hardware design and manufacturing. The second is Elevation co-founder and Managing Director Fred Anderson – the former Apple CFO credited with completely revamping the company’s finances from 1996 to 2004 – who also joined Palm’s board.
Since then it appears that Palm has very quietly and discreetly “poached” two other senior Apple executives. The first (since December of last year) is Mike Bell, a 16–year Apple veteran who until recently was vice president, CPU Software, in the Macintosh Hardware Division and now serves as senior vice president of product development at Palm where he leads the company’s product-realization group, leveraging his extensive expertise in bringing products to market. The second latest hire from Apple is Lynn Fox, the former head of Mac Public Relations who will now lead Palm’s own PR initiatives.
Exactly what all of these and other new hires at Palm are doing these days is not yet a matter of public knowledge but we do know that their focus is on:
- The development of a powerful next-generation operating system codenamed Nova OS which people in-the-know tell me is “very, very cool indeed” and will very much resemble the iPhone user interface… The unveiling of this new OS and release of its SDK is rumoured to become available by the end of this year.
- The development of a completely new smartphone hardware platform with multiple devices and price points to appeal to both the consumer and corporate market running both the new Nova OS and Windows Mobile. There has been absolutely no indication whatsoever as to what these new smartphones might look like but my own wish for a Treo 800p is an ultraslim device along the lines of the iPhone with a full QWERTY rubber keyboard like that found on the Centro (see mockup above) along with 3G connectivity, a high-speed processor, flush touchscreen, built-in WiFi and possibly also GPS among others.
It is rather unfortunate that we may need to wait some 12 months before any of us can actually proudly hold such a new Treo smartphone in our hands but at least I’m becoming ever more optimistic about the potential solution that Palm will eventually offer us in 2009 – one that keeps all those things we love about Palm while adding much needed new Apple juice as well…
Treonauts are always full of juice…