updated 09:55 am EST, Fri March 9, 2007
Palm Tackles iPhone
Palm is concerned enough about the iPhone to have hired a designer to improve its efforts, accorind to the New York Times' John Markoff. The fellow California-based company has recruited a former Apple engineer, Paul Mercer, with the intent of creating a new line of products. Although the details of the new project remain secret, according to Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak, Markoff notes that the hire took place just three weeks ago -- suggesting a direct response to the iPhone's anticipated impact.
Mercer, who left the firm Iventor to join Palm, is best-known for designing the Finder interface in the Mac's System 7 operating system. He also founded Pixo, the company whose software backbone was responsible for the initial interface behind the iPod.
The sudden shift is a reflection of the increased pressure to compete in the wake of Apple's cellphone announcement, with many of the firm's new competitors secretly reacting to the iPhone in spite of an apparent outward confidence in their existing strategies.
Much of the talk at last month's 3GSM cellphone expo in Barcelona is said to have centered on Apple, even though the company's debut phone isn't set to release until June.
Palm itself has been struggling in recent years to compete in the smartphone business. While still popular, the company last year conceded some of its influence by shipping the Treo 700w with Windows Mobile instead of its homebuilt Palm OS. The company's executives have reportedly floated the possibility of selling the company to cope with its gradual financial decline.