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Comments on: Ruby: Droid Beat Us to the Punch

One of today's most hotly-discussed topics in the Palm blogosphere focuses around some scintillating comments made by Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein during the Q3 2010 earnings call. In particular, Rubinstein indicated that the Pre Plus' lackluster performance on Verizon was due to unfortunate timing, inadequate point of sale training and that the Pre Plus is a far superior to Verizon's current smartphone of choice, the Motorola Droid:

We had an arrangement with Sprint that when we launched with Sprint that they would invest in marketing and carry the product and for that they would get an exclusive for a period of time. That really determined when we could do our launch at Verizon…if we could have launched at Verizon earlier, prior to Droid, that we would have gotten the attention that the Droid got and since I believe that we have a better product, I think we would have even done better.

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Many believe this is dreck

SeldomVisitor @ 3/19/2010 3:43:22 PM # Q
There are more than a few comments asking about Sprint when Verizon is mentioned.

Many thin the Pre simply isn't a very good sale in person, a factoid that could mean no amount of advertising will help.

RE: Many believe this is dreck
hkklife @ 3/19/2010 3:51:12 PM # Q
Yes, that's basically what I was alluding to. The Droid has lots of "gee whiz, look at me!" features. Starting with its small, relatively low-res screen, the Pre definitely lacks that "wow" factor. Just because it wowed us at CES last year (when we were basically expecting Centro 2.0) doesn't mean it's going to impress the general public after nearly 3 years of iPhone mania. Coming from an older 32x320 Palm OS or WinMob device, yeah the Pre screen is relatively huge. Compared to iPhone, Droid, Storm or basically any other newer smartphone, the Pre has a low-res and/or small screen in comparison.

Also, the WebOS devices have this HUGE area of empty space on the front that is uses for the gesture area. Your average sales drone isn't going to know, care or bother explaining that. People want to see as much screen as possible on their devices these days. Barring that, they want to see cool LED-illuminated touch sensors or buttons. If you just have a big strip of black plastic, people are going to to think Palm was lazy or cheap and could've installed a bigger screen. Heck, I KNOW very well what the gesture area represents and I think it's a huge annoyance and could have been put to better use for something else...like a larger screen!

Finally, the Pre feels good in-hand but lacks the rock-solid build quality that the Droid, iPhone, BB Bold and Nexus One have. It feels and looks cheap, especially the power button, keyboard slider, and the microUSB port cover. That's unfortunate, as the Pre is actually a more comfortable device to hold & use than any of the above devices.
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid

RE: Many believe this is dreck
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 4:54:55 PM # Q
>>>Also, the WebOS devices have this HUGE area of empty space on the front that is uses for the gesture area.

Clumsy sentence structure? That area is no larger than the one below the iPhone's screen. If you mean to say that the Gesture Area is a speedbump to sales, then I agree. I thought it was very clever at first, but once I saw for myself how easy it is to forget it's there -- that is, that *gestures* must be used -- it leads to problems with the on-screen UI.

See, this is why Palm should have bitten the bullet and gone with a mini-tablet. As Apple will see in a year or two, there's going to come a need for an off-screen area for "stuff." Palm would have been well ahead of the game with not only a tablet pre-iPad, but racked up patents for an off-screen area.

Sure, it would have been a very hard slog with low sales, but once the iPad was announced, suddenly tablets would have been seen as hot and Palm really could have raked in some serious dough and been seen ahead of its time (again) instead of a me-too player.

Now, I'm not sure they can pull out of this. Archos really has the non-iPad tablet market (don't mention that vaporware crap Notion Ink or the other vaporware tablets -- only Archos has delivered one -- the 5IT -- and the 7HT is a sure bet too).

RE: Many believe this is dreck
Gekko @ 3/19/2010 4:57:07 PM # Q
RattyUK on Mar 19, 11:56 AM said:

Hmmm. Creepy advertising - scared the customers away? Bad network? Blanket release of Android phones? Store monkeys couldn't demonstrate the product? Lot's of technical effort in making it sync with iTunes while not actually doing a deal with Apple? Designing a product that was a list of bullet points that the iPhone didn't have? Ran out of geek purchasers? There may be others.
--------
Sammy the Walrus IV on Mar 19, 12:15 PM said:

oh how I love this. Everyone and their mother has been saying how webos is not bad and a great interface. blah blah barf.

people..wake up. no one is buying webos.

either all these non-buyers are just plain stupid and are missing this wonderful webos

or

compared to other phones, palm's offerings are just sucky and underwhelming, regardless of webos.

Its the same beat that all these people are marching to calling for someone to buy Palm. Why would you pay $4 for a stock that can very well be under a $1 in a few months time?

----------------

ilo on Mar 19, 12:28 PM said:

They tried to quickly hack together an OS that would look falsely "good" on the surface so that someone would buy them during the smartphone hype bubble (Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Motorola, etc.) Didn't work. The OS is riddled with shortcuts and compromises that would require an enormous amount of effort to fix for the long term health of the platform. Trying to hack a connection to iTunes by impersonating an iPod, instead of building a proper sync client like everyone else, is a perfect example of this. They filled the channel with product because they new their last gasp chance was to get bought in late 2009, so they wanted to make the numbers look good then. Once you are toast (as they are in 2010) who cares? All that being said, the real problem must be a poor IP portfolio, and the perception that Apple would sue the pants off whoever owned Palm if they ever were purchased by a serious competitor.

--------


RE: Many believe this is dreck
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 5:17:05 PM # Q
All that being said, webOS is still a viable alternative to Android.

In two years, only Google will be using Android:
http://ebooktest.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/in-two-years-only-google-will-use-android/

As for Win7PhoneMob or wtf it's new mask is, I'm unconvinced that UI is an improvement on anything.

What's ironic is all the effort Palm has put into making development easy. Had Apple or Google done all that, there'd be cheers all round.

RE: Many believe this is dreck
Gekko @ 3/19/2010 5:17:44 PM # Q

Con -

1. tablets are a low volume niche product. any market that forms will be created, self-fulfilled, and thus dominated by the iPad. let it go.

2. the Pre/Pixi/webOS gesture area is an unnecessary, silly, unintuitive, confusing, clumsy, weak, display-reducing gimmick.

RE: Many believe this is dreck
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 6:14:12 PM # Q
>>>1. tablets are a low volume niche product. any market that forms will be created, self-fulfilled, and thus dominated by the iPad. let it go.

Wrong. Do phones other than iPhone sell? Hell yes.

Are there plenty of people who bought non-iPhones? Hell yes.

Will there be plenty of people who won't buy an iPad? Hell yes. Some of these morons will be eejits who think only "red diaper doper babies" use Apple products. I name no such imbeciles, by the way.

RE: Many believe this is dreck
hkklife @ 3/19/2010 7:11:44 PM # Q
Mike;

By "huge" I primarily meant relative to the available screen space on the Pre or to the Pixi's screen & keyboard. The iPhone at least has nearly a half-inch more screen space than the Pre and maintains its hard button. The Pre, especially the button-less Pre Plus, is just so...barren under the screen. Otherwise, yeah, what Gekko said about the gesture area. It just seems SO last decade and SO unintuitive. Yes, there is and will continue to be a need for off-screen "stuff" but NOT at the expense of the very screen itself!Perhaps it's time for a reintroduction of the old Clie or BB jogwheel or some sort of pressure-sensitive area on the side or backside of the device? I've always maintained that the expanse of black plastic around the earpiece would make a good area for doing at least basic forward & back gestures.

I also agree with your sentiment about only Google using Android in 2 years. OR, at best, only Google will be using Android 4.0 (or whatever) and everyone else will be farting around with 2.x or 3.x. Google is using those droves of Android licensees now to stir up developer interest and to build market & mindshare for Android just like how Palm used to "use" the Palm OS faithful as paying beta testers for their latest FrankenGarnet device. They'll fragment the market a bit more than reel everything back in for themselves and exclude everyone else from the big party in the name of tightening their focus etc.
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid

RE: Many believe this is dreck
mikecane @ 3/20/2010 8:23:17 AM # Q
>>>especially the button-less Pre Plus, is just so...barren under the screen.

The buttonless Pre Plus looks plain weird!

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Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Fox Mulder @ 3/19/2010 4:27:56 PM # Q
Maybe there would have been an earlier launch with out that extra device they added to their portfoleo. Maybe when everyone was asking for a full screen TX phone their smart decision to go forth with the foleo showed their strategic forward thinking when debuting it at All Things D.

Maybe letting the Palm Desktop languish around 4.1 for so long or promising Palm OS 6 but then selling their OS and then buying it back again showed the kind of consistency Palm exemplified through their current CEO Ed notCoolagian. Oh I'm sorry he was replaced? I can't see why not he barely missed being named worst CEO. When Palm's founder cashes in his own stock that should have been the harbinger of things to come.

The model numbers are make this seem like a nickel and dime scheme. Palm 500 505 515 Zire 71 Zire 72 Treo 650 680 700 780 750 755. These are not software upgrades folks theses are brand new devices.

I think the real mistake was not making an even smaller device.with an even smaller keyboard. Palm actually made the iPad but they added a keyboard to it and called it the Foleo. I love the name as well the Pre as in

Preliminary
Prerelease
Preproduction
Premature

Should I keep going. I was really stymied as to how Apple would compete with Palm's 20k apps when apple had zero and said they would not support 3rd party apps. After the close of PalmGear, starting fresh with a new OS and 150k iPhone apps later it is no mystery. You send cease and desist papers to developers who support your product and abandon the developers who helped you grow and delay new developers are they saying "carrier" support was lacking. It was their game to lose and they lived up to that phrase.

RE: Shoulda Coulda Woulda
jca666us @ 3/20/2010 11:09:02 AM # M Q
Palm actually made the iPad but they added a keyboard to it and called it the Foleo.

Fox, I think you're being a bit delusional here. Foleo was a piece of junk.

RE: Shoulda Coulda Woulda
mikecane @ 3/21/2010 3:02:24 PM # Q
The Foleo was basically a TX with some GPU thrown in, all lipsticked up in a mini-notebook case. That it couldn't do YouTube made it DOA.

Now I wonder ... what if the Foleo had gone on. Where the hell would it have fit with the Pre and Pixi of today?

Now I also wonder ... could that be why the designs of both Pre and Pixi are so small? They expected people to buy -- or already have -- a frikkin *Foleo* to type emails?

Now I triply wonder ... would they have switched the OS on the Foleo to webOS?

And finally I wonder, wtf would they have called the Foleo OS? Did it ever really have a name?

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Palm: this is your survival guide

Gekko @ 3/19/2010 4:48:14 PM # Q
RE: Palm: this is your survival guide
SeldomVisitor @ 3/19/2010 5:12:12 PM # Q
I think Engadget is just naive here - they are totally forgetting the condition Palm was in and Palm's NEED to go with Sprint AND come up with something with "differentiation" to separate them from the ALREADY-present HTC et al WinMob and Android devices.

Sometimes you really DO have to do what ya gotta do, even if it is almost-guaranteed fruitless.

Furthermore, Engadget is ignoring that the REAL fact that the Pre was a total-pre-beta device at that CES show with nothing behind it (the story of why the CFO left Palm on the eve of the show is probably WAY interesting). THere was NO WAY for Palm to get it out faster.

And finally, MANY believe the whole Pre thing was a total farce from the beginning - it was DESIGNED to get Palm BOUGHT but, due to Palm-the-stock's a-MAZ-ing exuberance, the stock skyrocketed and the plan backfired on Palm and they actually had to come out with a REAL DEVICE!

RE: Palm: this is your survival guide
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 5:19:41 PM # Q
I'm not going to that Engadget link. Those are the dicks who gave Colligan "advice" about the Foleo. If Ruby listens to them, he deserves the sh*tstorm that falls on his head -- and I say that without even looking at their damned post. For all I know it's probably another tag-team set-up post like the one to Colligan. (If you couldn't see The Fix Was In with that one, remove head from ass.)
RE: Palm: this is your survival guide
Gekko @ 3/19/2010 5:25:30 PM # Q

mistakes per engadget -

1. late launch
2. sprint only
3. no SDK
4. awful advertising
5. itunes sideshow
6. pixi
7. shiit build quality
8. dated hardware

RE: Palm: this is your survival guide
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 6:15:06 PM # Q
I can't argue with that list. Tx for saving me the trip.
RE: Palm: this is your survival guide
LiveFaith @ 3/21/2010 9:30:53 PM # Q

Gekko. If journalists would write like that, the world would be a better place.
Pat Horne
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Droid is Verizon's Brand

Gekko @ 3/19/2010 4:59:28 PM # Q

hence, wouldn't this push it more?

The brand name Droid is a trademark of Lucasfilm licensed to Verizon Wireless.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_Droid


RE: Droid is Verizon's Brand
Gekko @ 3/19/2010 5:02:00 PM # Q

long day - i meant to write -

why wouldn't they push it more??????


RE: Droid is Verizon's Brand
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 5:21:04 PM # Q
Droid schmoid. Google was denied the Nexus One trademark. BFD.
RE: Droid is Verizon's Brand
Gekko @ 3/19/2010 5:28:03 PM # Q

Con - WTF???

my point is that of course Verizon would push the Droid phone. it's their brand and their EXCLUSIVE flagship phone. they have a vested interest for it to succeed.


RE: Droid is Verizon's Brand
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 6:15:47 PM # Q
Then call it late on my end too for missing the frikkin point.
Reply to this comment

You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now

Gekko @ 3/19/2010 6:21:30 PM # Q

You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now

Palm is dying. They've been hemorrhaging money since late last year, and yesterday's woeful earnings announcement sealed its fate. It didn't have to be this way. But it's been coming for a long time.

And where does that leave you? If you're smart, running as far as you can in the opposite direction from Palm, knowing that once a company dies the customer support dies with it, along with any third party or internal development. Running, and lamenting the passing of the last great indie phone maker.

http://gizmodo.com/5497530/youd-be-crazy-to-buy-a-palm-now

RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
mikecane @ 3/19/2010 6:23:18 PM # Q
I long for the articles to start saying that about Nokia too.
RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
rpa @ 3/19/2010 8:31:47 PM # Q
Palm died when they stopped supporting Garnet. The quote about positioning Palm for a sale after flooding the market with units in late 2009 is telling. It was all about the masters of the universe destroying another company with the stuff they learned as MBAs, and not about how to run a business. The irony is Palm's demise will probably become a case study in B-School. Perhaps the B-school lesson will be how to destroy a company more profitably next time....

Regarding timcane's incessant rants about Nokia's death, they still sell more than a million phones a day, every day.

RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
rpa @ 3/19/2010 8:32:48 PM # Q
sorry, mikecane's rants....
RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
e_tellurian @ 3/19/2010 9:06:30 PM # M Q
Is it time for a Palm classic? A reunion of what is and was best of Palm. A pioneer that shows those that doubt all that is good about an enterprise that brought vision to market and a great products to the world.

A Palm classic.

E-T

RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
pmjoe @ 3/20/2010 1:32:45 AM # Q
rpa wrote:
Palm died when they stopped supporting Garnet.

LOL! Palm is dying because they were still pushing Garnet 5 years after it should've been End of Life'd.
RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
rpa @ 3/20/2010 4:59:58 AM # Q
By not supporting Garnet after the WebOS release, Palm abandoned loyal customers many of whom would have moved to Pre. The blogs are filled with angry people who would never buy a Palm product again due to non-existent customer support for Garnet. Just google "Palm Centro freezing" and you will find a few of these blogs. I had this problem for a while and finally gave up on ever getting any customer support. Is this a way to build upon past success?

Of course Garnet is outdated and Palm took an eternity to bring WebOS to market but did Palm need to kill their existing customer base in the process? And couldn't WebOS have been developed to enable some reverse compatibility other than Classic so existing customers and developers could migrate easily?

RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
mikecane @ 3/20/2010 8:21:09 AM # Q
>>>Palm died when they stopped supporting Garnet.

Palm died the minute they pushed out the version that killed Hacks.

They assured their death when they dropped Classic G for that abomination G2.

And DIGAF how many phones Nokia sells per day? What *are* those phones? I'll tell you: crap low-end phones. They have ZERO mindshare for smartphones, they have crap software, they have no imagination, they can't deliver anything new in this century, and they know -- even if an eejit like you doesn't -- that they're in a death spiral.

Next!

RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
e_tellurian @ 3/20/2010 10:03:20 AM # M Q
Why attack the smartphone industry? You're all over the industry from Palm to Nokia. Have you ever brought concept to market or tried or just benefited from the industry that provides you something to comment upon.

E-T

RE: You'd Be Crazy to Buy a Palm Now
gmayhak @ 3/21/2010 1:27:14 PM # Q
>>"Of course Garnet is outdated and Palm took an eternity to bring WebOS to market but did Palm need to kill their existing customer base in the process? And couldn't WebOS have been developed to enable some reverse compatibility other than Classic so existing customers and developers could migrate easily?"

I think everyone except Palm knew this was coming, I called it 4 years ago (remember Kris?)

Q - Any final thoughts as far as ALP/GHost or the future of the Palm companies and the OS? Where do you think Tech Center Labs, along with the Palmeconomy in general, will be two years from now?

A - There is a huge Palm software development community that is going to dwindle away if they keep requiring new development tools.

http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/9106/interview-with-tech-center-labs/

Tech Center Labs

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Android SDK was available more than a year before webOS

pmjoe @ 3/20/2010 1:59:19 AM # Q
Come back to Earth Rubinstein. Palm was still fooling with the Fooleo when Android was announced, and webOS was a fantasy for over a year while Google got developers on board with their Android SDK. Developers were not going to stick around with Palm while they spun their wheels for more than 6 YEARS with ZERO significant upgrades to their dead end OS.

I've been citing Palm as an example for the last 2-3 years as an Internet company that drove themselves into the ground as they milked every last penny out of their dead horse Palm OS (Garnet) for their corporate greed.

To blame 7+ years of failure on "oops we went to Sprint while Verizon got Droid", is sheer ignorance.

RE: Android SDK was available more than a year before webOS
pmjoe @ 3/20/2010 2:05:29 AM # Q
Of course all that said, Palm betting the webOS bank on has-been Sprint (rather than Verizon) was just yet another WTF Palm moment. But this also goes back to Palm being 6 years behind in the OS game, and Verizon does not like to beta test software for companies.
RE: Android SDK was available more than a year before webOS
Gekko @ 3/20/2010 3:40:37 AM # Q

stop blaming Sprint! people forget AT&T was/is a shit network but that didn't stop the iPhone.

and it won't stop the Supersonic! in fact, the Supersonic's whole reason for living is Sprint 4G!

RE: Android SDK was available more than a year before webOS
jca666us @ 3/20/2010 5:28:24 AM # M Q
Sprint deserves blame in as much as Palm allowed them to put out their own shitty Pre commercials.

While not as bad as Palms "crazy chick" commercials, Palm really needed to have a consistent theme and message in all of their advertising.

Between "crazy chick" and "dunkin donuts in space!" the inconsistent message really hurt Palm's efforts.

Not to mention any of the other issues already spoken about.

Reply to this comment

palm pre - the last palm

xdreduardx @ 3/20/2010 2:04:07 PM # Q
Been with Palm for 11 years.
Went from Centro to Pre and what a nightmare.

1. Email crashes constantly and I need to reset the phone to an earlier version and then to the latest WebOS to get email to work and that with NO MODS to Pre.

2. Palm decided not to support their Palm OS apps. All of my data needs to be migrated.

3. I am basically using my Pre to have time to migrate my data to a Palm independent "cloud" (contacts, memos, databases) so that I can bid goodbye to the company I stayed with for so long.


Reply to this comment

Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?

mikecane @ 3/21/2010 11:59:38 AM # Q
Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm? http://www.mondaynote.com/2010/03/21/who-will-buy-palm/
RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
Gekko @ 3/21/2010 12:55:32 PM # M Q
Con - that was a pretty good piece by JLG. somewhere he along with Yankowski and Nagel and relishing in Palm's new management's debacle.

JLG outta know. wasn't he the guy who was offered many many millions of dollars ($25M+ in his pocket?) by Apple (CEO Gil Amelio?) for BeOS Inc. but he got greedy and foolishly turned them down only to be then later snubbed by new CEO Steve Jobs and ultimately bought by Palm years later for ~$1M (in his pocket)?


RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
e_tellurian @ 3/21/2010 1:39:05 PM # M Q
Good article. Sad news. Though as a pioneer in an industry Palm helped create it would be a tragedy to see so much thoughtful innovation not continue. Being an independent is not an easy place to be. Palm needs to create a Palm Classic device that will meld all that is best of Palm past present and future. The people are still around the will to reunite the people will be required to make the Palm Classic a success.

To be an independent takes digging deep and working as a team. Good luck Palm and make more historic innovative products to enhance the world in which we live.

E-T

RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
mikecane @ 3/21/2010 2:57:46 PM # Q
The BeOS/Apple deal is murky. Some accounts say it was moving, then Steve Jobs got wind of it and called Amelio personally. The rest, of course, is ... whatev.

Really, Asus, just frikkin buy Palm already.

RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
Gekko @ 3/21/2010 3:00:57 PM # Q

In 1996, Apple Computer decided to abandon Copland, the project to rewrite and modernize the Macintosh operating system. BeOS had many of the features Apple sought, and around Christmas time they offered to buy Be for $120 million, later raising their bid to $200 million. However, despite estimates of Be's total worth at approximately $80 million,[citation needed] Gassée held out for $400 million, and Apple balked. In a surprise move, Apple went on to purchase NeXT, the company their former CEO Steve Jobs had earlier left Apple to found, for $400 million. NeXTSTEP was used as the basis for their new operating system, Mac OS X.

After the return of Jobs, Apple withdrew the license to make Macintosh clones. With Intel's assistance, BeOS moved to "Plan B", a port to the x86 platform. While it arguably never grew past a cult following, it sold enough copies to have a nascent development and user community, and had several thousand programs available for it, including several dozen commercial products. BeOS was also used as an embedded operating system in multimedia production systems from Edirol, TEAC and Level Control Systems. However, partially due to behind-the-scenes pressure from Microsoft, Be was not successful in getting top-tier OEMs to bundle BeOS with their hardware - only Hitachi and AST (who were major in Europe at the time) did so - which Gassée saw as fundamental to their success.

At the end of 1999, Be had a "focus shift," giving their desktop OS away for free (with commercial distributions sold by third-party vendors, similar to Linux distributions) to focus on BeIA, a build of BeOS specifically targeted to internet appliances. The company lost several employees who disagreed with this strategy and who had no desire to work on an appliance OS.[citation needed] While there was vendor interest in BeIA and at least one shipping product based on it (the Sony eVilla), the market for internet appliances proved to be nearly non-existent, and Be laid off most of its employees in 2001, with its assets and the remaining engineers being bought by Palm, Inc. for $11 million that August. Gassée stayed on through that transition, but left in January 2002.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Louis_Gass%C3%A9e#1991.E2.80.942002:_Be_Incorporated

RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
mikecane @ 3/21/2010 3:04:14 PM # Q
No no no. Don't use frikkin wikipedia for something like that. They don't have hardly any of the damned story straight at all.
RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
Gekko @ 3/21/2010 3:09:38 PM # Q

no no no. i read a first hand account years ago in this book -

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/On-the-Firing-Line/Gil-Amelio/e/9780887309199#EXC

great book if you can find it.

RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
mikecane @ 3/21/2010 3:46:45 PM # Q
DOH!! He was such a yutz, I had no interest in reading that. A mistake I will have to correct at some point. Tx.
RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
Gekko @ 3/21/2010 5:39:03 PM # Q

"It gets worse. Behind the scenes, Palm engaged in a classical desperation move: stuffing the channel. The expression means force-feeding your distribution network, shipping more inventory than needed. The hope is distributors will work harder, stimulated by price concessions or other marketing incentives. But, if the channels barf, the desperation move turns lethal.
With this in mind, we turn to Palm's latest quarterly numbers released March 18th, 2010: 960,000 units shipped but… only 408,000 "sold-through". The latter terms refers to units actually sold to paying customers, as opposed to the 960,000 shipped to distribution channels such as Verizon and Sprint. That's what we mean by stuffing the channel.
Unfortunately, the situation turns out to be even worse than suggested by the 552,000 difference between units shipped and sold through. One analyst, Morgan Stanley's Ehud Geldblum, looked at earlier quarterly numbers and pegs the total unsold inventory at 1.15 million units. That's half a year of sales - if things go well. If sales tank because consumers lose faith, or because competitors do a good job, or if you need to introduce a new model that obsoletes the aging inventory, the channels backfires. Backfiring, or barfing, those are terms of art, refers to the return clause in many distribution agreements. Said clause gives resellers the right to ship inventory back for credit. This forces the seller, Palm, to deeply discount, to take a loss on the excess inventory in order to clear shelves."

i kept telling you guys this was a big red flag. i couldn't figure out who was supposedly buying all of these Pres and Pixis! i knew it was BS because I HAVE YET TO SEE EVEN ONE OF THESE IN THE WILD!

"The company took equity money against from investors such as Elevation Partners as well as widows and orphans (and, soon, their attorneys), this through two 2009 secondary offerings, in March and September 2009. These offerings could come back and haunt Elevation Partners as the fund "unloaded" shares in both cases. They might face the canonical ‘What did you know and when did you know it?' from unhappy shareholders thinking Elevation knew about Palm's trouble but forgot to tell investors."

hmmmmmmmmn. could McNamee be in big trouble?

RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
mikecane @ 3/21/2010 5:46:59 PM # Q
>>>I HAVE YET TO SEE EVEN ONE OF THESE IN THE WILD!

Same here. Not a single one, anywhere. Still Berry, iPhone/iPod, Sidekick (or clones that resemble it). And damned Kindles. Hell, I saw *CENTROS* in the wild!

RE: Jean-Louis Gassee: Who will buy Palm?
hkklife @ 3/21/2010 7:10:37 PM # Q
To date ( going by memory)

I have seen TWO Nexus Ones in the wild. I have seen 2 Pre Pluses in the wild (1 of which was eventually returned--see my feature story from January) and probably 3-4 Sprint Pre in the wild, 1 of which was attached to a very disgruntled owner at the BB Mobile counter who was threatening to return his due to the Oreo Effect and various other issues. I've never seen a Pixi of any sort in the wild.

I STILL see older (650/680/700x/750/755p/Centro) Palms in the wild on occasion but for the most part it's BB Storm/8830/Tour/Pearl/Bold and of course iPhones galore. Never seen a Sidekick in the wild and have only seen one Kindle (attached to an elderly professor type in a non-chain coffee shop)
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'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope

mikecane @ 3/21/2010 5:26:56 PM # Q
'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/blogs/bizfeed/191983/ipad_killer_may_be_palms_last_hope.html

First of all, *nothing* CAN kill the iPad, period.

But what Palm can do is wound frikkin Android.

But man, do they even have the resources to try for it? This is why I say being bought by Asus would be the best thing. Asus is not a stupid company and it has to see what a quagmire Android would be. All they have to do is look at all the work Archos has had to do to make Android work on a tablet.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
Gekko @ 3/21/2010 5:30:16 PM # Q

this is ridiculous. this is the equivalent of betting on a freshman high school football team beating the defending Super Bowl NFL team.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
Gekko @ 3/21/2010 5:35:25 PM # Q

the market has spoken. nobody wants webOS.

"Much has been said of Palm's rebirth through its new operating system, the WebOS. The problem with that line of thinking is the market has spoken, the product hasn't done well against its competition: Android, free and rising, muscular players such as RIM (Blackberry), Nokia, Microsoft, perhaps, and Apple. Who, in their right mind, would want to buy into the smartphone OS race now?" - JLG


RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
mikecane @ 3/21/2010 5:45:19 PM # Q
>>>the market has spoken. nobody wants webOS.

Wrong. No one wants the damned *phones*. On a tablet, it'd kick Android's ass.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
hkklife @ 3/21/2010 7:05:56 PM # Q
Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. Mike, yer on a roll today!

The FIRST thing I thought at CES '09 upon seeing the Pre was "Wow, that thing'd be awesome on a 9" screen!" The card + finger metaphor is just BEGGING for a larger, higher-res screen!

The first thing I thought upon using a production Pre last June was "wow, this thing's underwhelming in person but it'd still kick arse on a tablet or at least a larger screen!"

First of all, 320x480 is far too few pixels for WebOS. Palm has too much "stuff" going on screen. It needs at MINIMUM a 3.5" or 3.7" screen (ideally larger) at the current resolution (ideally higher) with some of the onscreen elements refined to be more finger-friendly. That's one of the chief complaints I've heard from people accustomed to iPhone/iPod Touch---they say the Pre is slow, has an unresponsive touchscreen and is too fiddly when trying to toggle certain "buttons" or onscreen icons. A lot of them who are former BB/Palm/WinMob users lament the loss of the stylus, d-pad, or jog wheel but that's nostalgia and those things aren't coming back.

Palm could have carved out a nice lineup with 4 WebOS devices between June '09 and now (devices listed in order with which they should have been released):

#1 Midrange smartphone. Pre specs & screen mated to the Pixi formfactor. This would've been the ideal WebOS launch device. It should have been on Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, unlocked GSM, EVERY CARRIER POSSIBLE at launch. Palm's arrogance with sticking to Sprint to try and force VZW's hand reeks of GM shuttering profitable dealerships all over over the country. Ford too--can you believe a city the size of Charlotte NC doesn't have a single Lincoln/Mercury dealer remaining? I continue to fail to see how intentionally limiting the sales venues for a company's products is expected to translate into higher sales.

#2 A "Pre Touch" non-phone PDA/PMP would be a solid device for the (apologies for using this term again) the Mike Cane/Gary Mayhak types (or me, even) who want to experience/play/develop for WebOS but do not need/want the cost and commitment of a costly 2yr contract. Maybe something that's a notch above the iPod Touch spec-wise but priced comparably (you gotta admit the iPod Touch is rather overpriced for what you get). Palm could keep onboard storage to a minimum for such a device (2gb?) and let users add their own microSDHC cards. This would have been a fantastic followup device to release last summer when WebOS still had a positive buzz. Palm could have sent these things out like candy to all the journalists, developers, bloggers etc to build up some WebOS buzz.

#3 A 9" tablet with solid specs. Offer it in both wi-fi and 3G versions and price it above Archos and below iPad. This would've been a perfect holiday '09 device to preempt the iPad announcement.

#4 High-end phone w/ 3.5", 3.7" or 4" LCD and slide-out keyboard. Droid or iPhone 3GS level specs. Refreshed 4G version whenever the market deems it necessary. This should be coming out right NOW to battle the Droid, Nexus One, SuperSonic and iPhone 4.0 head-on!

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RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
LiveFaith @ 3/21/2010 9:44:20 PM # Q
If Palm released a HD2 like device in the next 3 months with WebOS, would it matter? Just asking.
Pat Horne
RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
jca666us @ 3/21/2010 9:57:54 PM # M Q
#3 A 9" tablet with solid specs. Offer it in both wi-fi and 3G versions and price it above Archos and below iPad. This would've been a perfect holiday '09 device to preempt the iPad announcement.

very difficult to undercut the ipads pricing - also palm needs to start making money.

palm doesn't have the infrastructure in place to create a compelling tablet.

they'd need to persuade companies to provide content for their tablet.

webos by itself isn't enough.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
hkklife @ 3/21/2010 10:47:58 PM # Q
jca;

Not doubting--you just asking--if all of these "no name" companies (or semi no names like Archos) can create all of these "me too" devices like the various Android tablets appearing everywhere, wouldn't that give Palm a fairly fair chance? Now, if we go by the Fooleo debacle where Palm priced themselves right out of the market with hardware that was downright pitiful in comparison to the original EEE PC, then perhaps you are right.

I don't mean necessary to blow the iPad away (an imposssible task) but at least carve out a comfortable niche spot as the "memory expandable/battery replacable/multitasking tablet experience"?

Couldn't they just start off with upscaling/pixel doubling existing WebOS apps? I must be one of the few madmen out there who doesn't even worry about content on a tablet. I am perfectly content reading the gigs upon gigs of ebooks & PDF documents I already own. For everything else, a solid web browser will do nicely. I have no intent of overpaying for a bunch of shitty DRM'd songs/videos etc from any kind of iTunes type media market. On the rare occasions I truly want a piece of media that badly, I still buy it on CD or Blu-Ray. I don't trust/like digital downloads of ANY type of media with ANY type of DRM/serial #/account authorization. All too often, someone goes tits up and I am SOL.

I do, however, do nearly all of my PC gaming on Valve's Steam and find it the single best content delivery system yet conceived.
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RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
SeldomVisitor @ 3/22/2010 3:07:36 AM # Q
Good grief.

Teal Software duplicated the User Interface of "webOS" within two weeks of it being shown at the original CES WITHOUT having a Pre in hand - just videos of the demos.

How could ANYONE think there is an insane enough company out there willing to thus spring for webOS to use on a tablet?

Seriously!

Do you think Yet Another Window Manager (of which Linux has about 479) is REALLY worth ANY Palm buyout price!?

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
jca666us @ 3/22/2010 4:02:04 AM # M Q
sv,

If Palm gets bought out, it'd be for their patent portfolio.

hkk,

I think Palm could create a tablet - that could be competitive, if they had the infrastructure in pace.

The price of any such tablet would need to be pretty low and have really good specs in order for them to gain mindshare.

However, unless it was tied into an app store and an iTunes-like media catalog- where there is a decent margin for them to make $$$ - it would be the final nail in their coffin.

This, of course, is assuming that webos can be properly extended in no time at all to fully support a tablet device.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
SeldomVisitor @ 3/22/2010 5:00:09 AM # Q
> ...If Palm gets bought out, it'd be for their patent portfolio...

I have never seen any valuation placed on Palm's "patent portfolio" that was not the purest of raw unsupported speculation.

I know of NO COMPANIES that are currently licensing ANY one of Palm's patents - not one.

Does anyone have ANY hard evidence that Palm's "patent portfolio" is being licensed in even the MOST minimal manner by ANY company (other than, say, ACCESS)?

If NO COMPANY is licensing ANY part of Palm's "patent portfolio", what valuation can be placed on it?

These are serious questions, BTW - show me the beef and I'll start believing in the "billion dollar buyout due to patents" theory.

Well...maybe just a little.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
SeldomVisitor @ 3/22/2010 5:10:06 AM # Q
> ...This, of course, is assuming that webos can be properly extended
> in no time at all to fully support a tablet device...

Have you read how totally disorganized Palm INTERNAL development is?

They haven't even properly communicated INTERNALLY how their multitasking works!

Can you imagine what ELSE they haven't communicated internally? This simply points out FUNDAMENTAL development-process problems that I wasn't aware of until just a day or so ago (I'd TOTALLY swallowed the idol-worship story that Palm (and every other Silicon Valley company) was full of God-like developers - when will I learn?...).

http://forums.precentral.net/2320093-post1.html


RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
mikecane @ 3/22/2010 6:49:54 AM # Q
Yes, Palm would still have a chance with a tablet. Android is crap for tablets. Just look at all of the engineering resources Archos had to devote to getting Android to work on a frikkin *five-inch* screen. And what makes the Archos compelling is the software *Archos* created -- the video playing software. There's nothing like that for Android included nor, AFAIK, any such third-party program that does that.

All the resources Archos devoted to adapting Android will have to be duplicated by every other damned company to get Android to "acceptable" on a tablet.

OTOH, webOS is already there. From my fondles of it, all of the screen elements seem ginormous on those small screens. They'd scale properly on a larger screen.

The only company that makes sense as a Palm owner is Asus. Asus doesn't have its head up its ass and is aggressive. They could put out something superior to the crop of Android vaportablets being hyped at a price that would exterminate them and dominate the market.

I also wonder how wicked fast webOS would be on a Tegra2 CPU.

There will be room for an alternative to the iPad. I'd rather see it be webOS than Android (and if it has to be Android, then it's Archos, period!).

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
2klbs @ 3/22/2010 4:45:03 PM # Q
hkklife wrote:
jca;


Couldn't they just start off with up-scaling/pixel doubling existing WebOS apps? I must be one of the few madmen out there who doesn't even worry about content on a tablet. I am perfectly content reading the gigs upon gigs of ebooks & PDF documents I already own.

I seem to recall an Ars Technica piece shortly after Palm demo'd WebOS specifically commenting on graphics scalability (how easy it was) and how a tablet or net book would be a intuitive match. Whether or not a market big enough to be profitable exists for such a device - & if so, at what price point- has to considered with Palm's history of execution and current R&D and financial state (The current funded level of such R&D implied and confirmed in the last earnings Q&A).

Even on a level playing field, such a device launched likely has parallels with Mr Cane's exhaustively considered dedicated e-book reader prognostications. I would also posit that perhaps Apple has the advantage in subsidizing such a form factor to margins below what Palm could survive on.

That said, they've not failed to beat the pessimistic "common sense" intuits on their future in times prior (mine included).

"There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept."

Not "Pre-verted"- Android Assimilation?

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2010 3:20:33 AM # Q
How does Palm match Apple's price with the iPad line?

I think it ain't gonna happen.

Truly.

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
jca666us @ 3/23/2010 4:26:56 AM # Q
I seem to recall an Ars Technica piece shortly after Palm demo'd WebOS specifically commenting on graphics scalability (how easy it was) and how a tablet or net book would be a intuitive match. Whether or not a market big enough to be profitable exists for such a device - & if so, at what price point- has to considered with Palm's history of execution and current R&D and financial state (The current funded level of such R&D implied and confirmed in the last earnings Q&A).

webos (like every other OS out there) can be scaled...it just depends on the amount of R&D that needs to be done to accomplish this (and does Palm have the resources available to complete it).

RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2010 5:38:15 AM # Q
> ...R&D...does Palm have the resources available to complete it...

Have you read the (literal) apology from Palm (internal) developers noting that different groups INTERNAL to Palm had different understandings of how webOS multitasking works?

They might have the resources (*) but they might not have the management-derived organization.

==========

(*) With the Doom-n-Gloom going on right now everywhere in the media and the declining stock price they might be losing some of those resources as the more-Real-World-aware employees move on to better-guarantee greener pastures (I know, if all is true in the DnG, I would).


RE: 'iPad Killer' May be Palm's Last Hope
2klbs @ 3/23/2010 10:04:52 AM # Q
jca666us wrote:
webos (like every other OS out there) can be scaled...it just depends on the amount of R&D that needs to be done to accomplish this (and does Palm have the resources available to complete it).

"Scale" was perhaps the wrong descriptive, I meant to parrot what I had seen about developer's comments that WebOS can easily support larger screens and resolution.

Palm may have $ for R&D, but on the November call they indicated that R&D would take a back seat to marketing $, and talked completely around a direct question on the same subject on the 2/26 call. Past history would indicate such an action is intentional, not oversight.

SV- My point: Even if they rolled a device tomorrow, I doubt they could make the margins profitable enough not to get steamrolled by the iPad.
Not "Pre-verted"- Android Assimilation?

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