This week popular medical app publisher Epocrates sent an email to users of Palm Pre native application to inform them that come February it would no longer support Palm’s webOS platform: “Due to the relatively low interest level among our user base, Epocrates has decided to discontinue support of the Palm webOS platform for smartphones,” the email reads.
Epocrates plans to offer one more clinical update to the application later this month, but users are encouraged to update or install the app by February 1, 2011 because Epocrates said it plans to pull the app from the Palm webOS App Catalog at that time. By May, Epocrates said the webOS version of Epocrates Rx will cease to open or function.
Epocrates suggests Palm webOS users access Epocrates through its mobile optimized website. “Also, if you are in the process of deciding on a new device, we encourage you to look at Epocrates products on iPhone and iPod touch and Android devices — with quick access to all you need at the point of care,” according to the email.
HP acquired Palm last April in a deal that had us wondering whether the new parent company could help revive Palm’s prospects in healthcare. With the Epocrates news, however, some healthcare industry Palm fans, seem to be considering the move to other platforms.
Online discussions forums for Palm fans have generated a number of interesting comments from physicians who claim to be longtime users of Palm devices for medical content and apps. One such self-described physician laments: “I cannot justify using a webOS device, in any form whether it be a smartphone or tablet, if it doesn’t have any medical apps — as much as I hate to say it…. No Epocrates in six month. No word of any medical apps… coming to webOS. This is a sad day for Palm and HP. You have not only lost the consumer market and not gained any traction in the enterprise market, now you have lost the physician and healthcare market.”
Last September Epocrates made a similar move by announcing it would no longer support a handful of older Palm devices like the Palm Zire since the devices’ operating systems did not have the memory or power to run future content or product enhancements Epocrates had cooking. At the time, which was just before Epocrates launched its Palm webOS app, the company asserted that:
“Palm continues to be a prominent platform for us, and we will continue to support the majority of Palm OS devices as well as work to develop a native application for the Palm Pre. We are proactively reaching out to customers on these older devices to help them migrate to new platforms over the next 4-6 months. Bottomline for your readers: Palm and Windows Mobile are platforms Epocrates continues to proudly support.”
For Palm, anyway, come February that will no longer be true.