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The Sunday New York Times had a story about the Palm Pre in its business section.  The Sunday Times!!  That’s a pretty big deal for Palm because now the Pre will be the topic of discussion in even more households.  

Randall Stross had some interesting comments and elicited some interesting quotes in his Digital Domain column ("For Palm, Some Tough Acts to Follow").

First, he quoted Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, saying, “The Pre is a bet-the-company product.”

In the next paragraph, he had a Palm spokeswoman saying, “It is not the Pre, but Pre’s new operating system, WebOS, that is the bet-the-company offering.”  He noted that Palm plans to introduce additional products for WebOS, but has not announced any specifics.

Positioning of the Pre / Comparison to Apple:

He spoke with Brodie C. Keast, Palm’s senior vice president for marketing, about how Palm planned to position the Pre.

“We don’t want to go head-to-head with Apple, and we don’t want to compete with RIM,” he said. The Pre, he suggested, could find a comfortable place between them: “If RIM is about your work life and Apple is about simply entertainment, then the Pre is about having a single phone for your entire life.”

Noting that multitasking (running more than one program at once) is the one thing the Pre will do that the iPhone doesn’t, Stross stated,  “Having such capability will be welcome, but we must await the chance to test the Pre in actual use.”

Stross brought up how the Apple App Store has more than 25,000 applications, and then pointed out how at one time, Palm was in “a similar position, boasting of an unmatched collection of third-party software in the 1990s, when the Palm Pilot brought computing power to the palm of one’s hand.”

Digging up an old Colliganism…

Bringing in even more historical perspective, Stross dug up an old quote from Palm’s chief executive Ed Colligan.   In 2006, the year before the iPhone launched, Colligan said:

“I would just caution people that think they’re going to walk in here."

“We’ve struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone.  PC guys are not going to just knock this out.”

Will Palm be able to knock this (WebOS and Pre) out?  

Only time will tell.