There was a time, in the 1990s, when gadget fans and business people on the go waited with bated breath for each new product and innovation from Palm Inc.

Palm may have pioneered the smart phone concept but it had difficulty competing with new comers, notably upstart Research in Motion, whose BlackBerry brand has become the ‘Xerox’ of the mobile digital market.

And don’t forget even-newer upstart, Apple, whose iPhone has cast a long (albeit narrow) shadow across the mobile landscape in recent years.

Palm’s last significant product was the Treo phone, which is now several years old. The company recently launched a new generation of phones, dubbed Centro, which is not selling as well as Palm probably would have liked.

Now, Palm has announced it’s laying off as many as ten per cent of its staff, due to falling sales.

Is Palm on the way out?

Not at all, say company spokespeople. In fact, Palm says it’s starting a major restructuring project and plans are still on to release a new Palm mobile operating system based on open source Linux technology this coming year.

We’ll be watching the Palm situation as it unfolds — whether in renaissance or ruin…

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