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The Palm Pre: Salvation for Palm?

January 9, 2009

Palm logo

The story of Palm kinda gets to me. This company created the most fantastic PDA* once upon a time and in fact, the name that once was synonymous with PDAs — the Palm Pilot. They had a solid, easy-to-use operating system to go along with it and got into the smartphone market and it was pretty sweet. You know, my first PDA used a modified version of the Palm OS.

Tapwave Zodiac - My first PDA

Tapwave Zodiac - My first PDA

Maybe you don’t care about the Tapwave Zodiac or Palm Pilots…but you wouldn’t be alone! Palm kinda…fell off the map. -_- I sure remember how the Zodiac fell off the map. People started wanting windows mobile devices (I have had a few and I have one now), iPhones, and of course, for businesspeople, BlackBerry became the iconic name. But I just realized recently that Palm was still alive, people were still pouring millions of dollars into it, and they were planning to take the smartphone industry by storm if they could.

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show, of course, they came out with their Palm Pre.

The Pre

The Pre

I dunno, man, I think this device looks pretty sweet. There have been many alleged iPhone killers that have tried to come, but each has failed. And looking back at them (or really, you could’ve seen it BEFORE they came out), each had some kind of flaw that made it unlikely to be the one to overtake Apple’s wonderchild. Oh well.

The interesting thing about the Pre is that — although it hasn’t been exposed to significant scrutiny — from what little people know from its showing in the CES, it does seem somewhat impressive. But even more interesting is how much Palm must be riding on this thing…this could make Palm relevant again. To be sure, Palm has a hard road ahead of it, it has little room for error, and the macroeconomy isn’t in its favor…but you know, this could be a winner.

Hmm…I guess now I have to make a connection so that this article won’t just be a nerd article.

I’ve repeatedly likened the LDS church to Apple. I think both are good examples of how good strategy and organization, good marketing, a decent product (even if it is just a tad bit overpriced and not necessary), a devoted fanbase, and just a touch of secrecy can propel organizations to success. So, now, I’m not going to repeal that likening and try to convolutedly liken the church to Palm.

Instead, I’ll convolutedly liken a smaller church to Palm. When I think about what Palm is doing to the Pre, it does make me think of Apple (and it’s not just the repeated claims that the Pre is stealing or cloning iPhone features). It makes me think that both companies have a kinship because they are about having things that “just work,” just that Palm is a bit smaller. So, making a convoluted analogy about this imaginary kinship between Apple and Palm, how can I not convolute that all the way over to my dear spiritual cousins, the Community of Christ? Maybe I’ll draw a flowchart sooner or later…

The Community of Christ, unfortunately, just hasn’t seen the best of days like the main LDS church. Even though in many ways, they have adopted some more progressive policies, I don’t think it has seen too much movement from LDS to CoC. It’s a shame.

So, when I think about the CoC, I wonder…what could be their Pre? It reminds me, however…of an article I read: Why Strict Churches are Strong. What techniques have kept the LDS church so strong and what does the CoC (or the real red-headed stepchild of the bunch, the FLDS) lack? I’m sure some people are thinking, “Well duh Andrew S — they lack the guidance of true prophets!” but I’m not convinced with so simple of an answer. I do think, though, that like Apple, the LDS church has taken some nice opportunities and run with them, but like Palm, the CoC has squandered some.

*bias** :3

**Yes, I literally did make a note on a note.

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6 Comments
  1. When JS died and the church split into schisms, the “Brighamite” branch was the branch of the apostles, and the apostles ran the missionary program. So that branch inherited the missionary program, which meant that when new converts arrived, they went to Salt Lake, not to Nauvoo. Additionally the church in SLC had complete political control over a large geographic region in which to grow. The CoJCoL-dS may well also have derived some growth/strength benefits from becoming more conservative over the past half-century as the CoC became more liberal, but you can’t really conclude that on the basis of the current membership numbers because the two churches didn’t start out the last half-century on equal footing.

    That said, I’ve heard that you’re right that there hasn’t been much conversion from CoJCoL-dS to CoC (or vice-versa), but that the FLDS have been attracting a non-trivial number of converts from the CoJCoL-dS. However, I’ve only heard rumors to that effect — I’d like to see real data before drawing any conclusions. For all we know, maybe CoC has been attracting converts from the CoJCoL-dS over the past couple of decades but we just haven’t heard any news about it yet either way.

  2. I just wholeheartedly object to your obvious inference that “little people” know more about this project than the rest of us big people because of their attendance at some conference. Your shoddy and careless investigation completely ignores the contribution of so many talented developers, critics, and end users who have followed the production and history of Palm Pilot, many of whom are big people. I honestly expected that you, of all people, would use more care and sensitivity in speaking about biologically impaired folks like myself. I can see that my faith was misguided.

    Shame on you.

  3. Chanson, I can’t believe I missed something so logical. I mean, yes, I recognize that utilizing missionaries vs. not doing so would definitely lead to a major advantage, but the reason: “the apostles led the missionary program” seems kinda like…wow.

    I find it somewhat disheartening that — even if unsubstantiated with cold hard numbers — there are more rumors of CoJCoLdS -> FLDS churn than CoJCoLdS -> CoC churn…

    Scott,

    I admit I thought my blog had been taken over by a crazy man…and then I realized that as I searched, indeed — I had written such offensive and non-journalistic drivel. It must have been my apple cider booze that lowered my inhibitions and secretly exposed my prejudice to big people.

    ;_; I APOLOGIZE. I WAS RAISED IN A HOME WHERE SENSITIVITY WAS TAUGHT WITH GREEN JELLO AND THEOLOGICALLY CORRECT TERMS LIKE “SSA”! I thought if I said “little people,” people would see behind whatever offensive and unaccommodating ideas I actually had and praise me for being so politically correct.

  4. Your patronizing apology smacks of insincerity, but I suppose it’s the best I can hope for.

  5. (just trying to overcompensate for my lack of a sense of humor yesterday.)

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  1. Mormonism and…cell phone adoption? « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

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