Some Big News in the World of webOS and the Palm Pre

Today is the day that webOS 1.4 is rumored (again) to be released. It’s also been an eventful news day for Palm, with some disappointing earnings and sales announcements, a price drop on the Palm Pixi, and an alleged changelog for webOS 1.4 being leaked into the wild.

As usual, Pre|Central.net has excellent coverage of these items, and so here are some quick links:

Palm sales have been very disappointing, including (possibly all but the latest) Verizon sales. Insufficient marketing and accelerated competition from Android are likely at fault. webOS is a great mobile operating system and the Palm Pre represents what I think is the best hardware design, but you can’t argue with the numbers. Palm simply had to respond to all of the recent doom and gloom around the lack of market penetration, it’s just too bad that their response was essentially to validate the rumors.

The leaked webOS changelog doesn’t have any serious surprises. All of the expected features are listed (including video recording, of course), and there are some nice surprises (LED notifications, Universal Search now includes EAS global phonebook). If the changelog is valid, then some things are still missing, in particular MSN/Windows Live messaging support. More to come with webOS 1.4 is actually released.

Sprint has dropped the price of the Palm Pixi to $50. Not surprising given the recent sales results, but every price drop reduces margins and the amount of money Palm can spend on improving the platform. They also devalue the brand, or at least the product. Those of us involved in marketing know that pricing is a very complex subject, and one never wants to change pricing (up or down) unless it’s absolutely necessary.

If webOS 1.4 is released today, then check back for a thorough review. In the meantime, what do you think of the news so far today?

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