That’s pretty much the way I’m thinking …

That’s pretty much the way I’m thinking about Palm these days. On the most recent This Week in Google, Leo Laporte delivered what amounted to a eulogy for the company. Everyone agrees that WebOS is great, but Palm brought the WebOS phones to market too late. At this point, the iPhone and Android dominate the smartphone market, with Blackberry and Windows Mobile dividing up the leftovers. Palm isn’t going to regain any of that lost market share by delivering phones that are merely as good as the iPhone and Nexus One. They need something that’s much better, and they don’t have it.

Engadget recently laid out a recovery plan for Palm, but I’m not optimistic about the company’s chances.

If you ask me, TiVo and Palm made the same mistake. They established themselves as the leaders of their respective markets by offering products that no one else could match — and then they coasted for a decade, producing only minor and incremental improvements to those products. While they were being complacent, their competitors overtook them and then left them behind. Now the product that was revolutionary in 1999 is old and busted in 2010, and the fans who have been loyal for all those years are losing patience.

I hope Steve Jobs is paying attention. The iPhone still is the dominant smartphone, but it’s now three years old, and its updates also have been minor and incremental in nature. Yes, the newer iPhones are faster and have more memory, but the design and user interface haven’t changed significantly. Apple will need to innovate more aggressively if it wants to hang onto the market share it currently owns.

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