Palm Hosting Another CES Event in January

palm ces event invite Palm Inc. has begun to send out email invitations to the media for a company hosted event. The invitation only event will be held on Thursday, January 7th at 11am Pacific, coinciding with the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Much like last year's event which showcased the debut of webOS and the Palm Pre, the event will be held in the Venetian Hotel. The invite was delivered early this afternoon via a plain bright orange rectangular email that states:

Please join us at CES.
to see and hear what's new from Palm.

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CFreymarc @ 12/15/2009 9:21:00 PM # Q
Wonk! Honestly, the thrill is gone.
RE: Eh?
LiveFaith @ 12/15/2009 11:09:38 PM # Q
Oh, just wait until you feel the hoof beats shaking all your frustrations loose as the mighty Foleo II roars onto the scene!

Pat Horne

RE: Eh?
CFreymarc @ 12/16/2009 6:05:28 PM # Q
Or the upgraded Palm VIIx with full TCP/IP and SD card slot! No wait, there is another connector design so they can sell a whole net set of attachments!
Reply to this comment

'see and hear'?

nastebu @ 12/16/2009 1:37:09 AM # Q
There's something to show? Can I optimistically start hoping for a Pre 2?
Reply to this comment

Mysteries Revealed

Amroth @ 12/16/2009 2:22:30 AM # M Q
Pre II? I'm still waiting on a Verizon Pre!!!
RE: Mysteries Revealed
stonehat @ 12/16/2009 5:01:51 AM # Q
The vast majority of Europe is - inexpicably - also still unable to buy a Pre I.

I would have written "Europe is still waiting for the Pre I", but I'm pretty sure they stopped doing that sometime around July and have bought themselves a nice Android by now.

RE: Mysteries Revealed
Refwhett @ 12/17/2009 9:34:40 AM # Q
"I would have written "Europe is still waiting for the Pre I", but I'm pretty sure they stopped doing that sometime around July and have bought themselves a nice Android by now."
And you would be absolutely correct. Still, if there is a Pre II in the works and it has better build quality and the app catalog continues growing, I might get back on the Palm wagon.
Reply to this comment

Elevation Partners Struggling

Gekko @ 12/16/2009 5:52:59 AM # Q

Could a new fund lift Elevation Partners?
Posted by Adam Lashinsky, Editor at Large
December 16, 2009 6:00 AM

High profile private equity shop appears to be pitching new fund despite string of struggling investments.

Two of its investments are seriously sick. One is the online real estate dog (MOVE), better known by its scandal-ridden former name, The other is Forbes Media, the parent for FORTUNE competitor Forbes Magazine, in which Elevation invested at perhaps the worst time in decades for media enterprises.

The snafus sting, of course. But the fate of Elevation's first fund rests almost solely on one investment, its $460-million stake in beleaguered smartphone maker Palm (PALM). That investment is barely in the money for Elevation. It's worth about $500 million currently.

Elevation is demonstrably in for the long term: It chose not to sell late last year when the stock peaked around $18, compared to Tuesday's close of $11.65. Palm recently raised $500 million in a stock offering, so its near term is secure.

Still haven't found what they're looking for?

But the company is a long way from a home run, unless Elevation forces a sale to a bigger player like Dell (DELL) or Microsoft (MSFT). Remaining independent is an expensive proposition, however, as Barclays analyst Amir Rozwadowski notes to clients.

"We believe that its improved cash position should enable the company to be very aggressive in its marketing efforts over the next few quarters, particularly as the company looks to improve brand recognition, carrier distribution, and overall awareness of its products," he writes. "We do however expect the company to continue to burn cash at a healthy clip in the near term, as expanding scale is at the top of management's agenda."

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
nastebu @ 12/16/2009 7:08:38 AM # Q
wow. that is some very bad news.
RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
hkklife @ 12/16/2009 8:57:18 AM # Q
I cannot speak for EP but Palm have no one but themselves to blame.

Almost a year ago,l predicted that Palm aligning their fortunes so closely and exclusively with a quickly-fading domestic wireless carrier (Sprint) was a bad move. One year later we still have no AT&T or Verizon WebOS devices, no updated Pre, and no non-phone "Touch" handheleds running WebOS, As noted earlier, most of the European Palm faithful waiting on Palm have given up and moved on to another platform. Android might be making greater inroads in the USA than in Europe but once we start seeing the plethora of 2.0 and 2.1 Android devices (keyboardless GSM Droid etc), that situation may start rapidly changing as well.

If a non-iPhone device isn't on at least 2 of the big 3 carriers in the US with full subsidies and promo support AND available unlocked GSM all over the world, it's more than likely DOA.

What can Palm do? All entirely IMHO, of course:

-Introduce WebOS 1.5 or 2.0 ASAP with virtual keyboard support, video recording, voice dialing over BT, updated PIMs etc

-Get the wi-fi Pixi out to as many networks & carriers as possible. Address the performance woes of this device (as well as the Pre) however possible. This device still could be a sleeper hit if the price/performance/feature ratio is right.

-As the salivating fans awaiting HTC's Touch HD2 show, a larger device does not necessarily mean a return of the Moto Dynatac of the mid 1980s. Bring out a well-built candybar device branding "Treo" with a fast CPU, optimized (ie fast) OS, a keyboard as least as good as the Pixi or Treo Pro and the Pre's LCD.

-Another useful suggestion for WebOS 2.0 would be to ditch the space-wasting gesture area and have everything done onscreen. It would be easy to have an dynamic onscreen gesture area toggled from a keyboard button or a simple "up" swipe like what was previously used to evoke the onscreen keyboard on the classic Palm OS devices. The gesture area robs the device of both valuable keyboard AND screen real estate and (IMO) is not very intuitive to use for novices. Also, there's always the threat of multi-touch litigation from Apple. The gesture area on a contemporary device looks just as archaic as the silkscreened Graffiti area would on a new device. Is it somehow cooler because you don't have to use a stylus?

-Give the Pre a mid-life refresh with a higher-capacity standard battery, video recording, and 16GB/32GB variants. Get it onto VZW & AT&T. This is hopefully coming at CES anyway.

-Take the wi-fi Pixi, remove the CDMA radio, and sell it for $150 as the "Pixi Touch". Call it a developer platform, sel it exclusively on, just give users & developers alike SOME kind of affordable platform to use for playing around with WebOS without having to get tangled up with carriers and contracts. The Palm braintrust must be braindead to keep overlooking this simple task. No matter how good an emulator, it does NOT replicate the full user experience of an actual device!
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: Elevation Partners Struggling
Gekko @ 12/16/2009 10:53:41 AM # Q

the only thing that saved AT&T was the iPhone. their network, pricing, service, marketing, etc. all sucks. if it wasn't for the iPhone, they'd be bleeding customers far worse than anyone. so, i don't think you can blame Sprint for Palm's failure. if Sprint got the iPhone contract instead of AT&T their situations would be much different. and i do not believe that the Pre would have done that much better launching on Verizon.
RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
hkklife @ 12/16/2009 11:23:06 AM # Q
Of course the Pre would've likely done lousy on Verizon; that carrier has NEVER liked/supported/marketed Palm products.

At best Palm's offerings have been an afterthought for VZ, other than a very brief period in '06 (between the the 700w VZ exclusive launch in Jan and the simultaneous 700p launch on VZ & Sprint in June).

No, Palm's best shot would've been to hit the ground running with the Pre in June---Sprint for domestic CDMA and AT&T subsidized. Or at the very least, had an unlocked GSM version ready to go all over the world alongside the Sprint version. Not having a solid GSM/global strategy really hobbled the WebOS/Pre rollout IMO. Why the huge delay in bringing the GSM to market? It was spotted at 3GSM in Barcelona in February and appeared ready to launch alongside the Sprint version.
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: Elevation Partners Struggling
SeldomVisitor @ 12/16/2009 11:31:14 AM # Q
The Pre was an untested new hardware and new software device. That ANY carrier agreed to take it is interesting.

I personally would assume...and perhaps we'll find out sometime...that Sprint was made a deal it thought it couldn't afford to say no to.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
Gekko @ 12/16/2009 6:49:07 PM # Q

has anyone seen a Pre or a Pixi in the wild yet? i haven't yet. i'm shocked at this as i live/travel in a major metropolitan area.

Palm has their earnings call tomorrow. i want to know one question - EXACTLY HOW MANY PRES AND PIXIS HAVE BEEN SOLD AND ARE CURRENTLY ACTIVE? hopefully an ANALyst will ask the question and press for a truthful answer.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
SeldomVisitor @ 12/17/2009 5:10:27 AM # Q
From what I've read Palm is doing major marketing in California. Maybe someone there has seen dozens of them.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
Gekko @ 12/17/2009 7:02:08 AM # Q

Subject: Operation Chokehold

On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we'll create a digital flash mob. We're calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power! (link)

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
abosco @ 12/17/2009 8:08:11 AM # M Q
Gekko, I disagree. Even before the iPhone, Cingular/AT&T was gaining customers and in second place in subscribers in the US. Sprint was in third and falling.

Also, I agree that I would finally like to see some numbers on Pre sales. They've gone two quarters without actually saying anything, which means it's terrible news. I still haven't seen a single one in the wild. I went to a Sprint store to check it out, and the only unit was defective and unresponsive. I went to Best Buy and it was a non-working model.

Meanwhile, I can't take a piss without striking an iPhone or Blackberry.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
nastebu @ 12/17/2009 8:24:07 AM # Q
I understand corporate finance about as well as I understand chemical engineering (not at all), so can someone help me with what this news means for Palm? In particular, I *think* it basically breaks down as follows.

1.) Palm has no problem in the short to medium term ("next few quarters"), with money for advertising and rolling out the next few products.

2.) Elevation Partners is not in good financial shape and is very exposed on their current investment in Palm. I *assume* this means they are not likely to have more money to invest in Palm.

3.) Elevation Partners is not in good financial shape, and their investment in Palm hasn't been wildly successful, so they would probably welcome a sale of Palm.

4.) The sum of it seems to be Palm in the next few quarters is expected to quite aggressively try to gain a profitable foothold in the market, but if that doesn't work about a year from now they will be in serious trouble and will really need someone to buy them.

Is that about right? Please correct me.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
hkklife @ 12/17/2009 8:47:48 AM # Q
Just yesterday, my last remaining colleague who is still awaiting a VZW Pre (EVERYONE else including myself either went with a Droid, BB, iPhone or similar device) called me to say that he had been to 2 local stores to attempt to give a working Pre. The Sprint corporate store had only 1 Pre display model remaining. It was defective and appeared be charging but had a black screen. He was able to play with a Pixi, I believe, but his main inerest is with the Pre due to its larger screen/formfactor.

The nearby BB in its mobile dept. only had a non-working dummy Pre. I can also confirm that at my local BB, the former Sprint Pre endcap was replaced sometime within the past 2 months or so by a Nokia Boklet 3G (Nokia's stylish but underwhelming netbook) display.

@ Gekko: to date I have seen 3 Pre in the wild: One was owned by the clerk staffing the BB Mobile counter, one was a young (mid 20s-ish) tech-savvy IT guy, and the third one was in the process of being returned to the BB Mobile counter (on the day I got my Droid, no less) by a middle-aged salesman type who was furious that his Pre slider was wobbly. I didn't stick around any longer so I cannot say if he was issued a replacement device or got a different phone.
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: Elevation Partners Struggling
SeldomVisitor @ 12/17/2009 9:43:19 AM # Q
nastebu wrote:

1.) They had lots of cash; if they're advertising like mad they have less now.

2.) Elevation Partners is very exposed across all their investments. I personally think we have seen the last of this particular Sugar Daddy's gifts to Palm.

3.) Elevation Partners is up 60% right now. Not a "10 bagger" but certainly nothing to sniff at. They would probably welcome a sale of Palm to an insane company willing to pay the going rate for almost-literally nothing.

4.) True. IMHO the stock price has to go LOTS lower to be a buyout target by anyone, and it remains TOTALLY unclear why ANYONE who CAN buy them would want to buy them for any price.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
nastebu @ 12/17/2009 4:34:33 PM # Q
Thanks SV.

One further question, (4.5) Palm doesn't have to become wildly profitable, right? They just need to get out of the red to stay independent? So slicing off a reasonably profitable niche market would work, right?

In other words, they don't need a home run. I walk and a single would be great.

RE: Elevation Partners Struggling
SeldomVisitor @ 12/17/2009 4:59:30 PM # Q
Palm did not do well in the just-reported quarter. Low margins, reduced sales, etc etc etc.

We'll see how things go.

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