Palm CEO defends webOS, criticizes Android

Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein defended his company's strategy and its webOS operating system, while chatter continues to swirl about whether the smartphone maker is a potential acquisition target for Nokia.

In an interview with the New York Times, Rubinstein said Palm's webOS has a leg up on Android because Google's operating system has not attracted mass appeal yet. 

"Android, and the Droid in particular, are designed for the techie audience," he said, referring to the Motorola Droid, which Verizon Wireless launched earlier this month. "We are doing a more general product that helps people live their lives seamlessly," Rubinstein said. Nevertheless, Android has attracted support from a number of handset makers, including HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, as well as wireless carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA in the United States.

Rubinstein said that companies like Palm and Apple, which work on both smartphone hardware and software in-house, will have a distinct advantage over those that have to rely on third parties for software. "The companies that will deliver the best products are the ones that integrate the whole experience--the hardware, the software and the services--and aren't getting one piece from here and one piece from there and trying to bolt it all together," he said.

A key piece of Palm's comeback will be gaining more carrier support for its devices and how well its two webOS devices fare in a crowded smartphone market. Sprint, which is the sole U.S. carrier supporting the Palm Pre right now, just launched the lower-priced Palm Pixi this weekend for $99 with a two-year contract.

For more:
- see this NYT article
- see this Barron's blog post

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