Rumor: Info on Low-End Sony and Palm Devices

According to a source at a major electronics chain, the Sony SJ20 and SJ30 will be available September 13. The SJ20 will cost $200 while the SJ30 will be $300. The SJ20 is similar to the just released SL10, except that the SJ20 uses an internal rechargeable battery instead of removable AAAs. The SJ30 also uses a rechargeable battery and has a 16-bit color screen. In addition, both the SJ20 and SJ30 have 16 MB of RAM.

According to a separate source, Palm will release a new low-end model in October. No other details on this model are currently available.

Earlier this year, Eric Benhamou, Palm's CEO, said his company would release this fall a new low-end model which will debut for less than $100.

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OS 5?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 10:18:49 AM #
Sounds like these are not on the new processors . . why are they releasing models like this now? Am I missing something? Like there aren't enough different models already . . . .
RE: OS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 10:30:26 AM #
I think you're missing all of the discussions that take place any time a new Sony product is discussed...
RE: OS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 11:04:45 AM #
There is obviously a market for low-cost devices; the best way to service that market is often with proven, low-risk technology. It's been repeatedly stated, here & in many other places, that the initial PalmOS5 devices will be high-end/high-cost bits of kit. It is unlikely that we will see low-end/low-cost PalmOS5 devices until well into 2003. Lets be honest people, PalmOS4 is more than able to support what *most* 'low-cost' users want from their devices; there are still new devices coming out with PalmOS3 for crying out loud ! (see Treo300 article from yesterday)!
RE: OS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 2:50:36 PM #
HandSpring's PalmOS 3.5.2 = Palm's PalmOS 4.0 - VFS support (So the only thing HandSpring's PalmOS 3.5.2 misses is the VFS support. But they have manage to add it into their modified OS)

If you've done some research before, you should have known that Palm buy back some technology (such as WAP, etc.) from HandSpring so that Palm can add it into their PalmOS 4 devices.

RE: OS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 3:31:18 PM #
The *point* is that, as far as they are concerned, Palm, Sony, etal, have good reasons to carry on bringing out dragonball/OS4 -based devices for some time to come; those consumers that feel they *need* OS5 will be able to buy them soon enough, but they've got to realise that, like any early adopter, they are going to have to pay a premium to get them. Sorry folks ...
RE: OS 5?
useybird @ 8/9/2002 11:33:13 PM #
I remember when the m-series came out and then OS4.1, they didn't make such a big deal about it. Why would Palm release new low-end OS4.1 models? They already have 3 of them. What could be so new about these new models that is not already on the M125 or M105. Palm should release the new low-end models with OS5 because we're (the Palm community) already so hyped up about OS5, releasing an OS4.1 handheld would be stupid. OS4.1 is basically the same thing as 4.1 so why not listen to your customers, Palm? Releasing an OS5 will make their stock price climb, and maybe they will have a chance to get back on the S&P 500.


As heard on "Cheers":
Woody:What's up Mr. Peterson?
Norm:The warranty on my liver!

RE: OS 5?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/10/2002 3:27:49 AM #
I couldn't wait to see the new PalmOS 5 low-end model that is supposedly 33MHz with 16MBs of RAM! So that I can play MOVIE and listen to lots and lots of MP3 into the built-in RAM on the road! Yeah Baby!
RE: OS 5
cyn @ 8/10/2002 11:15:51 AM #
Eventually there will be a low-end OS5 device... however for a while it probably won't be cost effective to make drastic changes - what with the testing and changing of production lines and R&D - the initial step into OS5 has to be paid for - don't expect a sub $100 device for the first venture, but do expect a semi-low end... think Palm Vx - overpriced due to its sleek looks, makes up for losses. Executives love to tote such things rather than a black plastic one.

NOT new model from Palm....

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 10:27:10 AM #
>According to a separate source, Palm will release a new low-end model in October

According to this "rumor", I don't think Palm is likely to release a new model..

Well, the model number will be new, of course. But it might be some upgrade on exsiting models, m100 series.

I feel very bad about Palm on this, m100 series is on the market for more than 2 years, what change / innovation we saw in this series in two years????

Why don't they toss this and have a real "new model"?

RE: NOT new model from Palm.... - who cares?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 10:43:32 AM #
Why must a company reinvent the wheel every new model? If the only difference between this and the last model is a lower price, fine by me.
RE: NOT new model from Palm....
terrysalmi @ 8/9/2002 10:52:15 AM #
Handspring has only come out with 4 designs in 3-4 years. The Visor (and counterparts), the Visor Edge, the Visor Prism, and the Treo. The Visor Solo, Deluxe, Platinum, Neo, and Pro all used the same casing, however each was unique and offered something brand new - whether it was a faster processor or first to have 16mb's, etc...

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
-Hubert Humphrey
RE: NOT new model from Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 10:53:53 AM #
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The m100/m105 sold good because it meets the needs of people who are just looking for an electronic organizer that they can maybe play a few games on. It is also tough enough to survive the terrible treatment these people (mostly students) give their cheap Palm. Put a PDA in a backpack, pile 30 pounds of books on top of it, then drop it on the floor a couple dozen times. A m100 can take this punishment. Can any other? Maybe the thick casing on the m100 makes it too big for you. Fine, buy something else but don't say it is a flaw in the design.

p.s. Despite my defense of the m100 design, I wouldn't be surprised if Palm changed it if they can find a better way to do the same thing.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
seanhennessy @ 8/9/2002 11:03:19 AM #
I think it's good that they're continuing to address the low end of the market. With OS5 there might be a danger of people perceiving Palms becoming more expensive and shying away altogether. The newer model will demonstrate that Palm are still committed in this sector of the market.

And why do we expect "innovation" in a low-end model anyway? The innovation we see here is usually the incorporation of features already in more expensive models. People buying the low end models want something to do the standard PIM stuff, and that's what they get.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 11:47:45 AM #
But the m100/105/125 are really horrible devices. I cannot stand that screen too small to be readable. The only advantages that i see is that these pdas are really pocketable, other than that the zen of palm goes trough the toilet (no ergonomics at all)
RE: NOT new model from Palm....
crustyedgeofinnovation @ 8/9/2002 12:02:49 PM #
That is your opinion. I have an m100 and love it. I paid $100 for it and I can carry around everything I need. I have games, avantgo, docs to go, and ebooks. The memory is a bit low, but I knew that going in, and didn't want to spend more for an m105, because then I would be reluctant to get a better OS5 model. Now having spent only $100 dollars, I have no problem buying a new OS5 palm when it comes out. In addition, I think the form is quite good because I don't want to have to treat my PDA like gold. I treat it like a TV remote. Just throw it anywhere and change the batteries every once and a while.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
Altema @ 8/9/2002 1:13:39 PM #
"But the m100/105/125 are really horrible devices."

Depends on what you want it for... I'm sure my 12 year old daughter would freak if I gave her an NR70v. That is, until her little brother played catch with it, or until it bounced down the stairs, or until it was left in a car that was so hot the rearview mirror mount melted. Her current device has been through all of the above and more. The only thing that could kill it was being thrown 15 feet onto concrete. $50 for a new screen and she was back in business. My son's Palm has been dropped several times, and dropped into the toilet twice (please, no comments about "that's where it belongs" :). It came back after disassembly and drying.

Yes, the screen is not my favorite either, but the basic Palms have to live in situations that mean death to many handhelds. The screen is even better than some Sony B&W handhelds, none of which are as durable. Anyone want to do a drop test? A Rubicon edition Jeep is not the most attractive vehicle in the world, unless you are on a mountain firetrail.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
Scott R @ 8/9/2002 1:51:26 PM #
I've stated my opinion before but I'll state it again. IMO, Palm should drop the m100 (which I think they already did) and m105. The new sub-$100 model should be an m125 with *less* built-in memory (say 2MB - heck, why not 512K?). Like the m125 (and all other active products once killing the m105) it would have the universal connector. It would have a memory card slot.

The combination of memory card slot and limited memory would spur purchases of Palm-branded SD cards and other SD cards with preinstalled apps. Remember, MS, Sony, and Nintendo can afford to sell their game systems at a loss because they make up for it in profits on the game cartridges. Obviously, the analogy isn't perfect, but there's still some profit to be gained there even in the handheld world.


RE: NOT new model from Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 3:04:21 PM #
Palm m100 series are good device but they never improved several faulty design in mono models since it came out 2 years ago:

1. small screen
2 POOR backlight!

I had a Palm m105 and very disppointed on this, I can not see much difference between ligh on and light off. I also can not stand for the small viewing area.

I got mine on 2/11/01 and sold it on 2/20/01, got another Clie S300 and I'm very happy with it! Paid only $40 more and I got a larger screen, much better backlight and expansion slot !!

I am so surprised that Palm is still selling m105 at this time.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 3:56:04 PM #
Maybe Palm should forget about making hardware and concentrate on the OS. Both Sony and Handspring have released several new units since the last one Palm made. Just me using my 615c has been influence enough to convert several Palm V and Wince users to get a Sony hi-res unit.

I don't understand why Sony has been the only player to have hi-res units. (Having never seen a Handera device I don't consider it successful. I was even considering it before buying my 615 but could never find one to test drive.)

However I also don't understand why Sony or Palm haven't released a 'cell-phone' model. Well maybe just Sony. They've proven to be bolder than Palm at releasing new units.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 5:44:18 PM #
> Maybe Palm should forget about making hardware and concentrate on the OS.

This might just have a *little bit* to do with why Palm is splitting into two companies, don't you think?

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 7:03:27 PM #
> Maybe Palm should forget about making hardware and concentrate on the OS.

This would be great but 90%+ of Palm revenue comes from the Hardware side. Do you know what that would do to Earnings??????? There is a little group called SHAREHOLDERS that want some value.

RE: NOT new model from Palm....
useybird @ 8/9/2002 11:45:46 PM #
the only reson I bought a new m130 to replace my m100 is because I wanted color. I would agree that this device is highly durable, due to the fact that the screen is made of plastic and not glass. I dropped my m100 several times with no breakage other than the faceplate got a little chipped. One time the batteries came out when i dropped it and they were out for about a minute, but when I put them back in and,TADA, No data loss! i would be afraid to even carry around an M500 because it can break so easily.

BTW, If you can't see the screen, GET GLASSES!


As heard on "Cheers":
Woody:What's up Mr. Peterson?
Norm:The warranty on my liver!

We can milk a new form factor for 4 or 5 years...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 12:00:26 PM #
Heh - hopefully it's a cheap OS5 device. Then, using the standard Palm R&D approach. We'll get:

Palm x100 (or whatever). 40mhz ARM processor. 2 meg of memory. Crappy screen.

6 months later:

Palm x105 (or whatever). 40mhz ARM processor. 8 meg of memory. Crappy screen.

6 months later:

Palm x130 (or whatever). 66mhz ARM processor. New connector. 8 meg of memory. Crappy color screen.

6 months later:

Palm x130SE. 66mhz ARM processor. New connector. 8 meg of memory. Crappy color screen. Special Wayne Newton edition in *blue*.

and so on...

I think you guys are missing the vast possibilities that a new form factor gives Palm. Heck - for only several million dollars in R&D, they probably did something *really* revolutionary with this model, like changing the picture on memo button...


I'm sarcastic I know. But Sony will own Palm in 6 months, and then the REAL competition begins...

Shut up
abosco @ 8/9/2002 1:01:06 PM #
I HATE people who try and trash the m100 series just because it is not for them. For god's sake, understand that the device is not meant for you! It's for beginners and students who want a rugged handheld with robust capabilities. I have an m105 and I will justify my purchase all the way. I don't care if it has a small screen, it actually makes it more readable since the pixels are more condensed than other models. The plastic casing and screen make this thing so durable. I'm confident that I could drop this from my balcony and it would hit the ground without a scratch on it. If you don't like them, don't buy it.

Try and understand that the m100 series models were one of the most successful pdas. How do these companies stay afloat? Releasing low end models, and that is what the m100 series is.

If Palm can do that again with a new set of models then all the more power to them. They will be able to get back on their feet in no time.

So how's that nice girlfriend of yours?
Oh she got hit by a car, she's dead.

Shut up
Strider_mt2k @ 8/9/2002 5:26:15 PM #
My M125 is a very capable little device, literally the "poor mans" M500.

RE: We can milk a new form factor for 4 or 5 years...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/10/2002 2:53:27 AM #
Selling cheap m-xxx junk won't make Palm rich. It will allow them to make a **SMALL** profit which isn't the reason they are selling the product in the first place. It's to grab market share. They don't have a premium level device with any real features in it, so they dump the m series 'bic lighter' PDAs on the makret and claim 'market dominance' while PPC and Sony make the real $$ selling premium priced PDAs.

Palm should simply make disposable PDAs -- throw them away once the battery dies and get another 2 for $50 bulk pack at Sam's Club.

RE: We can milk a new form factor for 4 or 5 years...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/10/2002 3:34:38 PM #
>throw them away once the battery dies

Sony should do the same thing. Oh wait, that means you'd have to buy several to make it through the week.

RE: We can milk a new form factor for 4 or 5 years...
abosco @ 8/10/2002 4:00:52 PM #
Palm m100 = $100

Sony NR70v = $600

Palm can EASILY sell six m100s by the time Sony sells one NR70v. So if you think about it, they are making the same amount of money and Palm is grabbing more marketshare (but that is only saying that Palm sold 6 m100s before Sony sold 1 NR, which is just rediculous considering Palm can sell 20 m100's before Sony sells 1 NR). It all depends on the production cost of the model. Whoever overcharges the most, in this instance it's Palm, gets the most money. So yes, Palm IS making a lot more money off their low end models than any other. And I didn't even get into the people who want more memory with the m105, or expansion with the m125, or even cheap color with the m130.

I'm American! I park on a driveway and drive on a parkway!

RE: We can milk a new form factor for 4 or 5 years...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/10/2002 10:49:25 PM #
While your conclusion may or may not be correct (it probably isn't), the logic behind it is fatally flawed. Palm sells 6 M100s, or for the sake of the actual product line-up, M105s, in the time that Sony sells one NR70V. You think Palm makes the most on this deal? Very unlikely. Think about it this way. AMD (which I own stock in) sells 3 Athlon XP 2100+s, while Intel sells 1 Pentium 4 2.53GHz chips. The price of the Athlons combined compared to the Pentium 4 are probably about equal. Who probably makes a higher profit? Intel. Why? PROFIT MARGINS. For the sake of argument lets say AMD makes 30% off of every chip produced (which it doesn't) and Intel makes 40% (which may be incorrect, but in reality Intel's profit margin is higher than AMDs). Who makes more money? Intel. Even though AMD sold more of unit X, Intel made more on unit Y, due to the fact that it is both MORE EXPENSIVE and has HIGHER PROFIT MARGINS. In the same vein, it is very probable that Palm makes much more money off of an M515 than a M105, for the simple fact that the razor-thin margins on its products are quite a bit thinner on the M105 (to keep its price low) than the M515. People will pay a premium for quality, whether real or percieved. They will not for budget products, which also serve the purpose of creating brand loyalty for that company's brand in the hope that in the future they will upgrade to higher end products. In effect (and in theory), the high-end models that the user purchases later (hopefully) helps to subsidize the minimal profit made on current budget products retroactively.
RE: We can milk a new form factor for 4 or 5 years...
abosco @ 8/11/2002 12:45:05 AM #
I'm not totally agreeing. The most money is made in the low end market. I understand that the company makes more off of the profit margin of the m515 other than the m100, but Palm sells soooo many more m100s than m515s. What's the result? More money is made off the m100 than the m515, and even with a smaller profit margin of the m100. There is just a bigger market in the low end and that is the reason that the profit margin doesn't need to be as great in order to make more of a profit.

I'm American! I park on a driveway and drive on a parkway!
You can make more money on markup than on volume...
orb2069 @ 8/12/2002 2:46:03 PM #
In some limited cases, this might be true, but I don't think it applies here, particularly not in the current economic climate.
If this IS true as a general axiom, please explain why Wal*Mart is making so much money? They sure don't seem to be doing it on markup.
Profit on markup may be higher, but profit on volume grows quicker.See 'Dollar General' or any discount chain.

That having been said, I bought a m105 as a present for my girlfriend a while back (after she'd dropped the PPPro that I'd lent her, and wiped it out for the sixth or eighth time.) She's tickled - Mainly because she dosen't worry so much about breaking it now.

$300 for the SJ30 is ridiculous...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 12:17:31 PM #
... especially when you can get a T615C for $300 or a refurbished N760C for $250.
RE: $300 for the SJ30 is ridiculous...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 12:23:01 PM #
No, what is ridiculous is that they are selling the T615C for only $300. Sony can't possibly be making any money off them at this price. Expect the T615C to go away a few weeks before the SJ30 is out.
RE: $300 for the SJ30 is ridiculous...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 12:39:16 PM #
weak Asian currency.
It's all in the manufacturing, man!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 1:27:42 PM #
The 2nd message is correct. At least in spirit.

The guy who started this thread is missing the point.

The SJ30 is, for all intents & purposes, the same as the 615c. Sony isn't making money on the 615c at a price point of $300, because it costs too much to make.

That is why they are switching to the SJ30. It will cost less to make, and they will eventually be able to offer it at prices around $200....maybe even the not-to-distant future.

It's the same reasoning that went behind the demise of the superior Palm IIIxe.

I'll make up these numbers so that it makes sense:

If it costs $90 to make a IIIxe, and you're selling it at $200, you're making an alright profit.

When the market changes & you're forced to sell it for $100, the profit margin is no longer acceptable.

The m100 and m105 have equal (as perceived by the average consumer...not us..of course!) value, yet the m105 may only cost $45 dollars to produce.

Thus, when the market dictates that a unit of that power be sold as low as $100, or even $75, you're still turning out a nice profit.

Those are bogus numbers, for sure, but you get the point.

I hope.

Models like this are OUTSTANDING for the PDA market. When the SJ30 comes down in price, everybody and their mom will have one of these, which pushes everything in the technology curve upward.

New & better software, more peripherals....more EVERYTHING that will make the Palm marketplace a better environment.

RE: $300 for the SJ30 is ridiculous...
Timothy Rapson @ 8/9/2002 6:36:54 PM #
Get me a $200 SJ30 and I will buy one for each of the 4 others in my family (I already have NR70V). I think there may be a lot bigger market than any could imagine. Look at the hundreds of millions of GameBoys sold. I see as big a market and bigger for Palms.

This is really the front edge foam of a tidal wave.


I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 3:48:29 PM #
Why sell this low-end crap that has NO PROFIT MARGINS????
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 4:47:25 PM #
So true. I heard that McDonalds is going out of business due to the lack of profit margins on all of their low-end foods.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 5:16:15 PM #
First of all, McD's sell A HELL OF A LOT more $$$ of product VOLUME in aggregate daily than Palm could ever dream of. Do you know how much Profit Margin McD's makes on a SODA? And order of FRIES? A Burger??? A Soda probably costs McD's about 1 cent and they charge $1 for it. That's a 99.99% profit margin. UNDERSTAND? If an m100 costs Palm $50 to make and they sell it to retail for $55 that's no good.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2002 7:23:08 PM #
Hey, take easy, don't you understand that he is just makeing fun of the original poster?
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