Silicon-wise, Palm Pre is pretty fast. Its running TI-OMAP580 I believe, which is ARM Cortex-core with GPU goodness. Its slow because of the OS. Palm guys actually copped to it this week, bragged about how they can get CSS transforms through the GPU now, which speeds things up considerably. Why that wasn't in the initial release, that's where Palm is dumb about things.
Great fate for Palm would be to get gobbled by Microsoft. Windows Mobile is a vipers-nest of office politics at Microsoft and a moneypit.
So, Stevie Ballmer eliminates current Windows Mobile group (read: can 5000+ peeps, axe the Danger team, EOL WinMo), buys Palm for a song, fires all their managers, keeps the dev team. Re-brand webOS with Microsoft crap like Bing, load up native pocket Office app, and unbeatable ActiveSync/Exchange support for all the corporate tools out there (even a native Outlook client...wheee!). Call it WinMo 7 and the Pre becomes the "Zune Mobile" or whatever their marketing dorks call it. Shake and serve. That's the best fate I can imagine for webOS/Pre.
Meanw hile, Palm is getting ready to dump the cheap-o webOS candybar (the Pixi) onto Sprint for $99 for the same contract obligation. So I can get the Lexus for $20 cheaper than the Camry, right now, before the Camry is even released. Can we say "Pixi for free before Xmas?" Palm is so dumb as a business entity.
I don't know about ditching the webOS, but I remember wondering how Palm would screw it up back in Palm-fever days of late May. Recall how that company crapped out another Treo for some reason in March after announcing Pre at CES? You'd think they wouldn't Balkanize their resources while working the Pre, but that was just the first sign of their ineptitude.
The webOS is cool, but going all interwebs left the device without a whole lot of access to the TI OMAP goodness. Look at the top apps in the Apple App store, they all pretty much need hardware acceleration. Of course, running hardware-intensive apps while multi-tasking probably murders the battery. Plus, there's something to be said for the iPhone single-threaded approach. For all the hobbling, you know as a developer the vast bulk of the device's resources will be running your app whenever its in memory. Palm? Who knows...ditto with Android. Do Ctrl+Alt+Delete and check the TSR shit-stack on a Dell or HP and that's a good argument against multi-tasking abuse.
Think as Android (or webOS) evolves Verizon isn't going to start loading it up with V-Corporate Tool shit on their Droid builds and bogging the thing down out-of-the-box with crap? Just wait. Palm has the same problem, with a shit developer environment and no API support for really neat stuff in your apps. webOS = Cool , Palm management and strategic decisions = Stupid.