By the miracle of smartphone innovation,



has risen off its deathbed. However, it still can't move under its own power.

Palm shares shot up 12% after the company posted

better-than-expected results

late Thursday.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based gadget maker sold exclusive partner


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59,000 phones in its fourth quarter, which is about 9,000 more than analysts expected and enough to make a wee bit of difference in the company's minuscule and unprofitable financials.

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Palm's condition was upgraded from critical after the company showed it could control costs, burning through only $72 million in cash with $255 million remaining, more than it had to begin the quarter. Palm also predicted it would be adjusted cash flow positive in the second half of next year.

That's the good news.

Congratulations. We now have a promising new Palm with a profitless near-term future and limited resources to compete with the likes of


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Research In Motion








(NOK) - Get Report


Palm's research and development budget is stretched thin as it is as the company tries to make a follow-up to the Pre dubbed

Pixie due to arrive late this year

. More new products will be critical to Palm's survival.

So here's how the R&D financial fire power stacks up: Palm spent $177 million on research and development in the past year. Its closest competitor, RIM, spent $685 million, nearly four times as much. And Nokia, the No. 1 phone maker, spent $6 billion or 34 times more than Palm.

The point here is that size has its disadvantages.

Barring an acquisition by an outfit like


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(DELL) - Get Report

, Palm's revival may prove to be too little and too late.