By now, the whole internet has read tomorrow’s obituary in which Palm is valued at $0.00 by many analysts following a gruesome earnings call. There is a glut of unsold Pres and Pixis, and no hope for a new device to pull them out of this spiral of doom for at least a few more months. So what could Palm do to patch itself up?
Engadget already posted a fantastic overview of some of the steps Palm should be looking at taking.
Here’s a different idea: Partner with Rhapsody.
The Rhapsody music service was recently cut away from Real and into an independent company. It’s been struggling to maintain its subscriber base, and facing stiff competition from itunes and the zune ecosystem. You know who else is facing stiff competition from those guys? Palm. Of the major smartphone players, only Apple and Microsoft (soon) will have comprehensive solutions for entertainment on their devices. Sure, Palm integrates into the Amazon MP3 store, but it’s hardly comprehensive, and the actual media player in WebOS is anemic and sickly compared to the Ipod and soon-to-be windows phone 7.
Palm could provide a relatively quick burst of great publicity by working with Rhapsody to get the music service onto WebOS devices, complete with offline caching, and every other Rhapsody bell and whistle. For extra credit, call the guys from Varia Mobile who were the brains behind the Ibiza Rhapsody’s best-in-class interface (which also ran on a linux core).
As Engadget pointed out in its open letter, Palm is the only other company playing serious ball in the mobile gaming space. The gaming offerings simply beat the pants off of everyone else out there outside of the iphone. Adding a truly competitive music experience, and the positive media attention it would garner seems like a no-brainer, and Rhapsody is the only major service without a flagship phone at this point. Since Rhapsody is already working on a beta app for Android (and already available on iphone), the choice is either leap ahead or get left behind. Palm absolutely needs a compelling music experience baked into webos… almost as bad as they need the good press such an announcement would bring.