Palm logoAs I wrote earlier, at least two Palm game developers recently started distributing their Palm games for free, and one announced it will stop developing games for Palm. And then today, fellow Entrecard member Adrian Corscadden asked me on Twitter how much longer do I think I’ll be blogging about palm devices, as “they seem to be on the way out.”

The Washington Post on April 30 posted PC World contributing editor James A. Martin’s piece “Is the Palm OS Dying? Should You Care?“, which discussed the pros and cons of Palm devices against other smartphones. (Here is another version of the article published at the Australian PC World and reposted at the Palm blog).

Martin said he was not surprised when, in a conversation with an executive at a smart phone software developer, he learned that the latter’s company no longer released new versions of its software for Palm OS, which the executive described as “a dying platform.”

A Palm loyalist for more than a decade, Martin also sees the “uncertainty about the Palm OS’ future.” But while he described Palm OS as “easy-to-use and efficient” and Palm devices as “reliable and sturdy,” he also feels his Palm Treo 755p is lagging in features as compared to other phones.

Martin, however, wrote that it doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch our Palm devices. He cited four reasons “why Palm OS smart phones are still worth owning.”

  • Palm’s touchscreen are not too “touchy”. He’s never had problems of accidental clicking in Treo’s touch screen.
  • Palm smart phones come with tons of useful software that are easier to use than the Windows mobile versions.
  • More than 30,000 third-party Palm OS applications are available, according to Palm.
  • His Treo 755p’s keyboard keys are nicely spaced, for a smart phone.

While acknowledging that Treos and Centros “lack some features other smart phones offer,” Martin added that “Palm’s smart phones still offer a strong mix of features, software, ease of use, and affordability.” He also recommended the Palm Centro for first time smart phone users or those who wish to replace their old Treo or Windows Mobile devices.

The very first comment I got on this blog was “Read my lips: “Palm is dead”. I thanked the visitor and told him: “What may be dead for you is very much alive for others.”

While fellow techies may rave about their new smartphone’s GPS, Wifi or 5 megapixel cameras — which my Treo lacks — I won’t trade my Treo for these newer phones. I still maintain that my Palm Treo 650 is my cellphone, personal digital assistant, alarm clock, portable MP3 and video player, digital camera, ebook reader and ‘game and watch’ in one device. I would only upgrade to Treo 680 or Palm Centro.

With the sale of the millionth Centro and its successive launches all over the world, more and more people are discovering and rediscovering the reliability and versatility of Palm OS and Palm devices. In its March statistics, mobile advertising firm Admob reported that Palm ranks third in the share of their worldwide traffic from smartphones. Palm got a measly 6%, but Apple, manufacturer of the much-hyped iPhone, is even behind with only 4%.

Palm OS may be on the decline, but I don’t believe it’s a dying platform. As I told Adrian, Palm devices are too useful to be “on the way out.”