updated 03:45 pm EDT, Fri June 26, 2009
Palm on Licensing webOS
Palm chief Jon Rubinstein during the company's fiscal results call yesterday evening detailed the company's stance on licensing webOS as well as some of the early reaction to the Pre. Addressing a question on whether Palm would ever let other companies make webOS phones, the executive was emphatic that there were no current plans for this but explained that it was "not a religious issue" for the company. Although not directly stated, the implication was that Palm didn't share Apple's opinion that software exclusivity was essential to integrating with its hardware.
The operating system is one of the first from Palm in recent years to be limited to its own hardware, as many of its high-end Treos use Windows Mobile. Only it uses PalmOS on its phones, but the outside licensing of the software to Japan-based Access means that other companies are allowed to license and use close variants of the platform if they choose.
On the Pre launch, Rubinstein couldn't provide specific numbers but did say that the production ramp up was "going very smoothly" and that he saw the supply chain being as efficient as possible despite regular shortages that often see Pre units dry up the same day as they reach stores. He was still willing to provide insight into the demographics of early sales and, besides early adopters, was partly surprised that there was "a lot of interest" from enterprise customers looking to use the Pre for business. The phone has limited Exchange support but is tightly integrated with the web and potentially more secure through the limits it places on direct access to the hardware.