Palm CEO Promises Better Wireless Device than the Blackberry

Palm CEO Carl Yankowski said that his company's new wireless models, which should be released before the middle of the year, will be better than the BlackBerry from Research in Motion. "We can do everything that (Research In Motion) does not,'' he said. Palm is is working with an unnamed consulting company to build a a wireless service bureau to handle wireless instant messaging and e-mail.

Mr. Yankowski made these remarks today to the Robertson Stephens technology investors conference. He also said that while Palm has long contemplated spinning its OS licensing business off as a separate company from its device manufacturing business, the revenue generated is still too small to create a healthy company.

He also said that Palm liscencees aren't siphoning off business. "A rising tide is lifting all boats. So, respectfully, market share discussions right now are irrelevant."

In a related story, Palm Ventures, the strategic venture investment group of Palm, Inc. has made an investment in Kenamea, Inc., a company that is building an Internet application communications platform. Kenamea's platform promises to accelerate the availability of next-generation enterprise applications and make it easier to extend them to Palm OS devices.

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This should prove to be interesting

amnesty @ 2/13/2001 6:18:00 PM #
What has made the BlackBerry device so popular is the same reason Palm has been, because they do one thing, and very well.

Palm was designed to be a handheld organizer. That is why it crushes the PocketPC/WinCE implementations. It does it with sheer simplicity and focuses on getting the important four right -- address, todo, datebook and memo pad. The installable new applications were are nice bonus that turned it into a killer app.

But the RIM has a purpose too, and that's wireless email. It may be only one thing, but it does it incredibly well. The go.web access is a nice bonus, as is the full featured PIM applications. The keyboard and thumbwheel are quick and correct decisions for email entry. A touch screen would be nice but it would give capability unneeded.

So it should prove to be interesting when RIM and Palm bring out the next generation devices. Do they improve functionality to directly compete with each other, or do they veer off into their respective specialties in order to improve market share? This article seems to indicate that Palm is going head to head against RIM, which also seems to show that they see RIM as a legitimate threat to them.

Justin Ng
Honours Computer Science/Digital Hardware
University of Waterloo

RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2001 8:29:49 PM #
20 MHZ palms were better than 200 mhz hp jornadas because there is a new PC based product each 6 months or so, so your brand new desktop, laptop or pocket computer will be obsolete and out fo store shelves within 6 months, while palms liek the palm III or V have been around FOR YEARS, without becoming obsolete.

Now palm joined the "make your current stuff obsolete each new 6 months, and release new hardware generation every 6 months", so they are no longer better than microsoft.

I am trading my palm VIIx for an HP jornada.

After all, both will be old stuff pretty soon, but the 200 mhz jornada will be ahead of the new 40 mhz palm m505, and then in 6 months, the palm 705, and then when those palms become old in 3 weeks because palm joinded that craze, my Pocket pc will still be better.

Palm will release new products and make obsolete current products every 6 months, and if they do 20 mhz upgrades, then the jornada I am buyign will be better than palms for 60 months. Not bad, sconsidering new palms will be released every 6 months..40 mhz palm, 70 mhz palm....etc etc

RE: This should prove to be interesting
palmcoder @ 2/13/2001 10:14:10 PM #
I don't agree with your point of view - Palm is simply continuing to innovate and maintain its lead in the PDA market.

You say they are "making current stuff obsolete each new 6 months, and release new hardware generation every 6 months", but consider their track record:

did the PalmV make the PalmIII obsolete?
did the PalmVII make the PalmV obsolete?
did the PalmIIIc make the PalmVII obsolete?
did the m100 make any of the other models obsolete?

no. in each case, palm was expanding into new audiences while maintaining support and momentum where they already had a commanding lead.

last time I checked, the applictions at Handango, PalmGear, etc. still worked just fine on my good ol' PalmIII despite the fact that it was apparently made "obsolete" by the PalmV, PalmVII, and m100.


RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2001 10:51:54 PM #
YOU ARE TERRIFICLY RIGHT.

That is why palm was special, because of what you just stated, the palm IIIc didn't make the VII obsolete, and the m100 didn't make the IIIc obsolete.

You are 100% right.

But I was talking about palm's future, in the future, every single palm will make the older ones obsolete. The m505 will make EVERY past palm obsolete, because of the SD expansion thing. And after it, the new palms will also have stuff too sophisticated to be used in the m505, then in 6 months, that palm will be crap too.

The m100 was the last palm of the "old school"

RE: This should prove to be interesting
GrouchoMarx @ 2/14/2001 3:00:19 AM #
I think you are severely misunderstanding the meaning of "obsolete." When you're dealing with the PC, the planned obsolecense you're talking about is true. That's because new software comes out that only works on a 200Mhz processor and above, making your 100MHz processor useless, and then the next version of Word requires a 400MHz system to load at all, and then the next requires twice as much RAM, and so on. New software pushes the raw number-crunching (CPU & RAM) abilities of the system, necessitating a faster calculator inside your computer. The hardware makers leapfrog each other on raw numbers, so the software makers leapfrog each other on code bloat, and make yesterday's system incapable of keeping up.

That's not the case in the Palm world, and in fact the PDA world in general. Palm has been using 16MHz processors for years. THe new 20MHz and 33MHz processors don't add so much in terms of speed that old software doesn't run. AvantGo will work on almost any Palm you can get your hands on, as will almost all games, and so on. The main use for these faster chips so far has been for the color models, which translate into about the same end-user speed when all is said and done. But the software still runs. RAM is also a different ballgame. Whereas on the PC RAM is strictly active memory, in the PalmOS paradigm all programs run in place, making RAM more akin to a hard disk. Yes, I like having 8 MB of RAM so I can store more stuff. But any program I can install and run on a Visor Prism will also run just fine on an m100 (minus Springboard of course, more on that in a moment).

The upgrades Palm has done in the past, and are planning for the near future, are not core upgrades. They're extra-feature upgrades. Adding an SD slot won't mean that older programs can't run, any more than adding a ZIP drive to a PC makes older software fail. Making the Palm V thinner didn't make older software written for the Palm III obsolete, as it still ran. Software makers make their old versions obsolete by releasing new, semi-compatible versions that require the new core elements to work. (Microsoft is probably the best example of this phenominon.) The core compontents aren't changing, so there's no problem, even with the m505. The m505, from everything we've supposedly heard, is still a Palm. All of your existing software (or almost all, at least) will continue to run, just as adding a ZIP drive to your PC did nothing to break MS Word. Same for Springboard. Yes, you can't use Springboard modules on non-Visors. But the vast majority of software is not Springboard modules, and therefore works on anything. Why are you assuming that suddenly Palm will start pushing the MHz higher with every model, when in fact they have said over and over again that they are NOT interested in horsepower for horsepower's sake?

The only signs that this may change will be when Palm switches to ARM chips and gives the OS a major overhaul next year. However, they are making a MAJOR effort to keep programs backward compatible, and have a full emulator incorporated into the OS at every level to allow older programs to run. And from the demos I've seen, they will run quite well. After that, I see no evidence that they will switch to the Microsoft/PC "bigger, faster" plague. The PDA space just doesn't cater to that sort of "Keeping up with the Joneses."

So where is this evidence that Palm will go the way of the PC? I see plenty of evidence that they will be doing exactly the opposite, that is, staying true to the idea of "if it makes the user happy, we don't care what the guts are." 80% of the PDA market is happy with 16MHz CPUs that do just fine, TYVM. What makes you so sure Palm will drop the ball?

--GrouchoMarx

RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 8:32:41 AM #
Your 100% right amnesty. 100% right. This is why Palm continues to dominate. There are many WinCe programs that requires a certain handheld, model, or whatever else they need. Thats why palm is so great, that one program, can run on any Palm handheld, from a Workpad, to a Visor, to a clie(I damn thee who has bought this thing). It would be suicide for them to switch this idea. Especially since there are so many licenses coming out now. Would anyone want a Palm prog that only runs on a palm based cell phone? Add on modules are the only exception to this, but I think the vior has all of them beat here. Visor has the potential to accept any expansion technlogy through the springoboard. A memorystick adapter is coming soon, compact flash is already out, so is smart media. I wouldn't be suprised if we see a SD adapter.
If palm is going to do anything, they are going to continue the model they have been following, it would be utter suicide for them not to.

RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 10:14:35 AM #
RIM shows that people want a PDA/Wireless combination.

Palm is doing a lot of work to make sure that the new devices can run the old software - it's impossible to guarantee 100% of the old programs will run, but they are shooting for the high 90% range. (What I saw running on the Palm ARM testbed at PalmSource last year was impressive, given the state the Palm ARM port was in at the time.)

The biggest complaint against Pocket PC/WinCE is the lack of backwards compatibility. Microsoft seems to have forgotten what helped them - newer versions of DOS ran older DOS programs, early versions of Windows ran older DOS programs, 2000 can run most of the older Windows programs, etc. (Games always break things, since they almost always have to go around the "rules" to get adequate perofrmance and interactivity.) Palm is paying attention, Microsoft is asleep at the wheel.

RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 12:07:16 PM #
You guys need to lay off of Microsoft and their WinCE / PPC. Microsoft has enough money to stay in business and eventually hurt their competitors, ( just look at other companies which have more or less folded because of their efforts). Their Hardware is good and their software will only get better. They are making changes faster and in the right directions quicklier than Palm is making Innovations all together.

That being said, I think Palms idea of wireless is a good one. But I think Palm is putting to much effort into this at the expence of smaller innovation and user experince which can be added and accomplished now. I mean Palm already has wireless devices to connect their PDAs. Handspring has it's modules that can be slipped in their PDAs. For the most part all of this already exists and works. What more do they want? Email? Instant Messageing? It can already be done with current software and hardware already being sold. The biggest innovation I believe will come to wireless is when the PRICING and COVERAGE issues become better suited for the consumer.

I think Palm should be looking at their devices from the angle of why people are using them now and why they become so populare. No need to go all Power Hungry on these things. WinCe is doing that now. But PIMs should be their biggest reason for innovation. Maybe a faster processor. Maybe more memory capicity built into their PDAs. A bigger screen is a huge plus, whether you are going wireless or not. Maybe making the area you write the grafity a soft area that can be turned off, making the screen bigger when using the PDA to read, (like most PPC's have now). How about building in voice memo to their PDA's for those time when you really need to do PIMs stuff but can't write it into your PDA?

These are small and stupid things which really would enhance the user experince for PIMs. I mean this ultimatly why I bought a Palmbase PDA. If I wanted wireless more than my PIMs I would of bought something else, and since I know I may want to do this in the future with my current PDA, I know there are other add ons I can buy to accomplish with my Palmbase PDA.

Palm needs to Pay attention to those things that made the company and their PDAs successful in the first place! For the most part, this is why people are buying their PDAs. For Palm to ignore these things.. I believe will hurt them. How much longer do you think it will be before another PDA comes along that can do everything the Palm can, everything that it should of been doing and maybe even do it better?

RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 10:02:08 PM #
I agree on your "obsolesence" terms.

But think it twice. The new palm will use SD expansion. And other new advanced stuff. Will m505 and m705 programs be backward compatible with palm V or Vx?

RE: This should prove to be interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 10:39:54 PM #
Yeah!

When palm mopves to ARM chips and the new O.S, Will our old 3.5 OS palms with DB chips be obsolete? I mean, new palms will even need a new emulator!

RE: This should prove to be interesting
Nate @ 2/15/2001 4:11:04 PM #
There is an interview with Michael Mace over at Brighthand where he says that backwards compatibility is a priority. I can't imagine that forward compatibility is possible (programs written for ARM running on old Palms) but at least the future Palms will run the old software as well as the new. I think they acheive this through incorporating the old chip design into the new chip, if I remember correctly. I think Motorola is still going to make the new chips too.

Syncplicity. Redefining Simple. www.cognitiveroot.com

early sneak peak?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 3:35:53 PM #
CBS Marketwatch talks about Palm teaming up with DoCoMo to provide a Palm with built in wireless capabilities (i-mode) in Japan the first half of this year. At first Palm will assist in expansion in Japan and then take control of support worldwide.

Will this let us see the next VIIx when it's released in Japan?

The article mentions USA, Europe, and other parts of Asia as Palm's future wireless plans.

Pictures, anyone?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2001 4:44:01 PM #
Does anyone have any pictures? We seem to have pictures of the m505...but not the m105? Why not? If we can leak out a pic of the m505, why not the m105?

RE: Pictures, anyone?
bcombee @ 2/14/2001 4:56:47 PM #
I would expect the m105 to look exactly like the m100 -- there isn't going to be a new case design, and there probably won't be a new color.

What?

Eston Bond @ 2/24/2001 9:53:49 AM #
Since when has Palm been actually affected by RIM? So, the Palm VII isn't doing too well? It is a tad big. How about fitting it into a 3's case? But look at market share here- Research In Motion really doesn't affect the wireless capabilities of Palm's CDPD network. The RIM is a BSWD handheld- more an oversized pager than anything. Do they want to switch to BSWD? Sounds sketchy. Who knows- Palm is worrying me with all this obsolesence and I am wondering what is next. I will stick with my Cassiopeia and Palm V for now.

Eston Bond
CEO Pine Tree Software

but... palm vii users have to check for e-mail

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/7/2001 7:14:10 AM #
Blackberry is more like a mobile phone or pager. Its receiver stays on. A blackberry user knows when a message has been sent to them.

Palm.Net is okay for looking up information, like book prices, flight arrival times, driving instructions, but using it for e-mail is like phoning an answering machine and checking for messages.

I've have a Palm VII and Palm.Net since Jan'00 but will stop Palm.Net since I just bought a Kyocera 6035.

Alex

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