Shortly after the Palm Pre press conference at the recent CES, several analysts said that the product looked good and was very close to the “feel and functionality of the iPhone”.
Now Palm that is run by a former Apple executive is facing the possibility of being sued by Apple according to speculation among US media Companies following yesterday’s Apple analyst briefing when it was hinted that Apple is looking at the issue of the Pre and their multi touch technology.
An analyst at the Palm Pre press conference Michael Bronstein of RBC Capital Markets recently told US PC World “The Palm device almost seems to directly emulate the touch interface that you have innovated and Steve Jobs when he launched the phone talked about, [a] patented device,” Bronstein said.
It is well known that several Companies are struggling to deliver new touch screen products because of the touch patents owned by Apple.
At the ASUS CES press conference Company CEO Johnny Shen was embarrassed when two demonstrations of their new touch netbooks failed.
He later told me that several Companies including ASUS were struggling to work around the Apple “Multitouch screen “patents.
At the Apple Analysts earnings briefing acting CEO Tim Cook said that Apple would aggressively defend its technical territory.
He also said “We’ve said since the beginning that software is the key ingredient and we believe that we are still light years ahead in software, and I would include in that software umbrella the application store, and you can see the explosion that has happened in applications with over half a billion downloads,” Cook said.
“If you look at others – I think when you think about having multiple versions of displays, multiple variations of resolutions, and input methods and many different forms of hardware it’s a big challenge to a software developer and it’s not very enticing for them to build a different path for every one of these things. But we shall see what people will do,” Cook added.
.”I don’t want to talk about any specific company,” Cook responded. “I’m just making a general statement that we think competition is good; it makes it us all better. And we’re ready to suit up and go against anyone. However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we’ll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal. I don’t know that I can be clearer than that.”
As one of the few Australian journalists that were allowed into the Palm press conference I was surprised at the similarity between the 3G iPhone and the new Palm Pre. In a live demonstration Palm showed the text on screen being pinched to enlarge or shrink in what’s called a “gesture” movement.
Apple has already applied for gesture patents. Another Company that has a “Gesture” patent pending is FingerWorks a Company that was acquired by Apple last year.