CEO Talks About Palm's Future
Eric Benhamou, the interim CEO of Palm Inc., did an interview with Cnet in which he discussed his company's plans for ARM/Palm OS 5 models and competition with the Pocket PC OS.
He talked about Palm moving into the second phase of handheld computing. The first phase was centered around PIM apps, like the Address Book and Date Book. The second phase will still make use of PIM apps but will also include multimedia capabilities, like audio and video.
Naturally, the change is being brought about by the move the Palm OS 5 and the switch to ARM-based processors. OS 5 will be able to run on processors from various manufacturers based on designs from ARM Holdings available now in speeds between 70 MHz and 500 MHz. This range gives Palm a great deal of flexibility in what products it can release.
Mr. Benhamou said, "ARM gives us the opportunity to run the same operating system in a very great, low-cost, entry-level offering and a great, high-end, very high-performance offering. We think that will give us significant competitive advantage but will also open up the markets."
According to Mr. Benhamou, Palm will concentrate much more on the enterprise market, with access to corporate email, including all types of attachments, being at the heart of the plans.
However, his company will also create devices on the low-end, as these tend to be first time buyers. He said this is because once someone has owned a device running a certain operating system, they tend to say with that same OS as they buy higher-end devices.
Mr. Benhamou doesn't seem very worried about competition for Microsoft's Pocket PC architecture. He said, "The Pocket PC has been really limited to the high end of the range because of the inherent costs of its architecture."
I barely scratched the surface of this interview, which goes on to cover a wide range of topics. I'd suggest you take a look for yourself. -Ed
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