As the Android platform gains steam, particularly with Verizon Wireless’ Droid handset gaining in profile, Palm Inc. has taken to the media to dis the competition and tout the merits of its own OS, the webOS platform that powers the Palm Pre and Pixi.
Palm’s CEO Jon Rubinstein told the New York Times that “Android, and the [Motorola] Droid in particular, are designed for the techie audience. We are doing a more general product that helps people live their lives seamlessly.”
He also took a potshot at the fact that Android’s creator, Google Inc., doesn’t make its own hardware. They “have to depend on the kindness of strangers [Google] for their software,” he said of the handset manufacturers that have embraced Google. That’s a mistake, he intimated, since the best products come from suppliers that can provide the whole integrated picture, he said.
It wasn’t all negative campaigning. He also noted that Palm focuses on quality over quantity when it comes to applications, which have been seen as a bit of an Achilles Heel for webOS. That’s because the number of programs available in the Palm App Catalog is far fewer than the number available in the Android Market or the Apple App Store – some analyst estimates attribute 300, 10,000 and 100,000 titles to each, respectively.
Palm has reason to fear Android: Mobile analytics firm Flurry Inc. says it has “monitored a sharp increase in new Android project starts by application developers within its system, a 94 percent jump in October compared to September,” according to its blog.
Meanwhile Gartner Inc. says more than 75 million Android handsets will ship in 2012, overtaking the iPhone in volume. Flurry already sees a critical mass building, and estimates the Droid as outselling other Android handsets by a factor of four.