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Palm's Tough Act to Follow

A new editorial by the New York Times has appeared regarding uncertain fate facing Palm and their new WebOS initiative. Entitled "For Palm, Some Tough Acts to Follow", this piece in the NYT's Digital Domain column is a bit heavy on the skepticism but nonetheless a compelling read.

The piece's author, Silicon Valley-based Randall Stross, minces no words in referencing Palm's utter inability to see the challenge posed by Apple and their iPhone juggernaut. Stross pulls no punches when describing the current state of Palm's current lineup and sales: Palm's legacy devices are described as "aging" and Palm's sales "…have collapsed". He then goes on to quote a Gartner analyst as describing the upcoming Pre as a being "…a bet-the-company product".

While no details are revealed within the piece, one interesting bit was a comment made in the article where an unnamed Palm company spokeswoman says that WebOS (not the Pre hardware) is the release that will save the company. As before, vague references are made to future Palm products running WebOS but no further details are given.

The NYT piece does a solid job of examining pivotal events both recent (Apple's preview of iPhone OS 3.0) ad past (Palm's market leadership in the PDA field in the mid-to-late 1990s). The increasing corporate-friendliness of Apple's iPhone along with the continued consumer-friendliness of RIM's BlackBerry line are correctly brought into view, suggesting that the "fat middle of the market" Palm is targeting for the Pre will remain so lucrative.

The article doesn't make any major technical missteps either, correctly pointing out that the Pre offers true multitasking as a clear advantage over the iPhone but only with the omnipresent threat of increased drain on the Pre's 1150mAh battery.

Finally, and most interestingly, the article discusses the state of Sprint, Palm's exclusive carrier of choice for the Pre in the United States for the forseeable future. Regardless of reality, Sprint has been losing money and subscribers in record numbers. Indeed, the NYT piece closely aligns the fortunes of Sprint and Palm in regaining both users and consumer confidence from their rivals.

In an ironic twist, Stross references Ed Colligan's infamous "PC guys are not going to just knock this out" quote from 2006 prior to the 2007 release of the iPhone. While well-known to the PIC faithful, this guffaw has not received much attention in the mainstream press and serves as a reminder to the NYC readership just how out of touch Palm's management has been over the past decade.

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Speaking of iPhone juggernauts...

SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2009 10:25:48 AM # Q
...The Boy Genius Report has said - confirmed - all sorts of new stuff about the next iPhone to come...in MID-June.

http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/03/23/att-new-iphone-will-be-hot-son/

RE: Speaking of iPhone juggernauts...
jca666us @ 3/23/2009 4:35:56 PM # Q
Also consider that Apple's had a few months of seeing the Pre, so I expect a few tricks that the Pre can't do - video, faster upload/download speeds, etc.

I have the sinking feeling that we weren't shown all of os 3.0

BTW, I heard Howard Stern talking about the Pre this morning - and he said he was told that it wasn't finished yet. Almost immediately, two of his staff told him how great the iphone was...

RE: Speaking of iPhone juggernauts...
twrock @ 3/23/2009 5:25:09 PM # Q
"I have the sinking feeling that we weren't shown all of os 3.0"

I don't understand having a sinking feeling about that. I'd be happy if Apple delivered more in OS 3.0 than they've shown us already. As it stands, the iPhone/iPod Touch doesn't satisfy my list of requirements, but maybe it will eventually. If somehow they add the right stuff to 3.0, I'd be very happy about it and get serious about making a move to one of Apple's products. (Now if they'd really open things up, it'd be a really easy decision.)

Here's hoping.

"twrock is infamous around these parts" (from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Speaking of iPhone juggernauts...
hkklife @ 3/23/2009 7:11:55 PM # Q
After all this time, I think this ZDnet article best sums up the likely price & release date of the Pre. Sales numbers...I think they're being a bit optimistic but a LOT will depend on iPhone 3.0 and the Pre's pricing.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=11442

June 30th, $199-$249 after all subsidies & rebates (likely $299 w/ 2yr contract & before the inevitable $50 MIR). That positions it as a premium device over the iPhone due to its 2 major hardware advantages (keyboard & removable battery) and the proposition of "something fresh all the time" via Synergy.

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->?

RE: Speaking of iPhone juggernauts...
jca666us @ 3/24/2009 3:49:49 AM # Q
I think the author of the ZDnet article drank heavily from the fountain of Palm Kool-Aid.

Everything I've been reading shows expectations of selling one million Palm Pre devices by the end of 2009.

Even so, an estimate of 1 million or 1.5 million is awfully optimistic.

RE: Speaking of iPhone juggernauts...
SeldomVisitor @ 3/24/2009 3:55:21 AM # Q
> ...due to its 2 major hardware advantages (keyboard & removable battery)...

I've NEVER changed a (rechargable) battery on a portable device of ANY type due to running down the battery with normal use.

If that's a "major hardware advantage" (*), yikes!

------

(*) I cannot IMAGINE carrying a second battery with me! Seriously!

Why not just separate out the PDA and phone functions to TWO separate devices!?

Giggle.

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Battery Life....

2klbs @ 3/23/2009 2:05:45 PM # Q
certainly is an area that has potential to beat iPhone and Touch depending on execution. Just the fact the Pre will have a replaceable battery would seem to make it attractive to some "prosumer's".

I haven't seen much of anything that explains how Synergy will handle this. I think the best speculation of the WebOS and Synergy I've seen is that instead of polling or dealing with a "push", the Pre/Web OS will manage by sending a query to a group of "federated" services existing within the Cloud.

Although I realize Apple has increased the ability to sync outside of the Mac in many cases (i.e. Google Apps and others) most "cloud-based" sync options are predicated on "MobileMe" (a whole 'nother can o' worms to set up and maintain), all iDevice-based OTA sync options are app-by-app.

Has anyone seen anything on how Synergy will work? Is it: Pre-query(ies) to (multiple) cloud-based services (via url?)-> Pre updates on-board cache->Pre pushes updates/changes to a set of services? Or will Synergy by a server based service from Palm? (I doubt the latter based on what I've seen of multiple accounts of tech blog interviews and quotes with various Palm reps.)

If that first hypothesis is even close, how will an 1150 or even 1350 (a la Centro and 850w) battery handle this? Is that perhaps why there will be a limit to multi-tasked applications mentioned in earlier articles? A limit to how many exchanges go on at one time, and limit those queries to what's applicable/in use?

'just swinging the dark here- any other ideas or speculations?

I didn't comment on earnings call, but I think it puts into an even more interesting perspective on the decision when the Pre was announced to kill any Palm OS legacy apps out-of-the-box. They must have known it would dent any Centro/Palm Treo and even WinMob sales. Truly "make or break".
End of Contract with Sprint- to become a "Pre-vert" or go Android?

RE: Battery Life....
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2009 2:11:48 PM # Q
Palm says they have new products based on "services" that are instantiated on their own servers.

I would not be surprised if "Synergy" is cloud-based and extra cost.

RE: Battery Life....
hkklife @ 3/23/2009 2:24:14 PM # Q
I think that the "core" functionality of Synergy will be included "in the box"/free, but like Handmark Pocket Express (or at least how it used to be) they'll tease you with a fre free features then charge $$$ for the fancier or more intensive stuff. Which will, of course, lead to more wireless usage and subsequent battery drain.

Now, let's see...Palm claims they dropping the microSDHC slot was a design decision to keep the sleek formfactor. I'd rather have a unit a tad thicker with a Treo 755p-sized battery slot and a microSD card slot rather than a Pre in its current iteration with no expandable storage and have to carry around a spare battery in my shirt pocket all day.

If I look at my Treo 700p/755p and my usage patterns with those devices, I'd likely be doing a LOT more wireless "stuff" (web browsing primarily) due to the improved hardware & browser of the Pre. Add to that stuff like A2DP & 3.5mm headphone jack and that'd make me even more likely to use my device for multimedia. No matter how you slice it, even if you take away the added battery hit from constant cloud access, that battery ain't gonna cut it.
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->?

RE: Battery Life....
2klbs @ 3/23/2009 2:33:21 PM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
Palm says they have new products based on "services" that are instantiated on their own servers.

I would not be surprised if "Synergy" is cloud-based and extra cost.

I thought I had sen this in the initial announcements too, but now I can't source it- do you have it linked, S.V.?
End of Contract with Sprint- to become a "Pre-vert" or go Android?

RE: Battery Life....
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2009 3:53:36 PM # Q
The services are mentioned repeatedly in one of Palm's recent SEC filings - somewhere in the comments here is one or twoposts by myself relating those words - unfortunately, I still cannot successfully use the search function on this site to find anything I want to find...

RE: Battery Life....
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2009 3:55:32 PM # Q
I found the post the old way - went to the comments section and jsut started clicking on my own posts...sheesh.

Anyway, here it is: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/9713/#150768

RE: Battery Life....
2klbs @ 3/23/2009 4:02:06 PM # Q
2klbs wrote:
SeldomVisitor wrote:
Palm says they have new products based on "services" that are instantiated on their own servers.

I would not be surprised if "Synergy" is cloud-based and extra cost.


I thought I had sen this in the initial announcements too, but now I can't source it- do you have it linked, S.V.?

Never mind, I just slogged through the SEC filings. I see it the preamble to what you're saying in multiple places. It reinforces what I thought I saw announced at CES.

Can't fault them for trying a three-pronged approach; hardware, Synergy subscription income and application store. Same old questions remain on the ability to garner users and developers.

As an owner of a Treo 755p with a "rump-shaker" 3200 extended battery and replacement cover, I gotta say, I'm a bit dubious about battery life if used for any cycle of Synergy queries and media and phone.
End of Contract with Sprint- to become a "Pre-vert" or go Android?

RE: Battery Life....
jca666us @ 3/24/2009 3:52:18 AM # Q
>I don't understand having a sinking feeling about that. I'd be happy if Apple
>delivered more in OS 3.0 than they've shown us already. As it stands, the
>iPhone/iPod Touch doesn't satisfy my list of requirements, but maybe it will
>eventually. If somehow they add the right stuff to 3.0, I'd be very happy
>about it and get serious about making a move to one of Apple's products.

I wasn't clear - from the perspective of Apple's competitors, I have a sinking feeling not all of 3.0 was shown.

>(Now if they'd really open things up, it'd be a really easy decision.)

3.0 looks pretty open - what more would you like??

RE: Battery Life....
twrock @ 3/24/2009 4:48:32 AM # Q
Pretty open? How about "really open"? How about "Android-open"? ;-)

"twrock is infamous around these parts" (from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
RE: Battery Life....
abosco @ 3/24/2009 9:22:05 AM # M Q
Yes, because Android is doing so well, huh?
RE: Battery Life....
twrock @ 3/24/2009 4:51:55 PM # Q
What, have you only got a five minute attention span? Did you say the same about GNU/Linux when it all started? I suppose you still think that's not a viable platform either.

I have little doubt that Android will end up being a great platform. And I can wait. I already have a device that is serving my needs "adequately". My only question is not whether Android will be a good solution for me, but when. So why would I make a move to a new closed system when I'm quite sure a new open system is going to be my best solution in the end? Unless there is some compelling reason for me to make that choice before a good Android device is available that meets my requirements, I'll just be patient and wait.

(Some of us have actually developed the ability to be patient and wait.)

"twrock is infamous around these parts" (from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Battery Life....
abosco @ 3/24/2009 7:50:18 PM # Q
You know what, you're absolutely right. Let's just sit back and wait for OS/2 to catch on. IBM will really be raking in the dough then!!

So how long does this usually take?

-Bosco
m105 -> NX70v -> NX80v -> iPhone -> iPhone 3G

RE: Battery Life....
twrock @ 3/24/2009 8:36:01 PM # Q
OS2? IBM "raking in the dough" on a dead OS? Now you really are digging deep aren't you? That's plain ignorant.

Stop building straw men.

"twrock is infamous around these parts" (from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

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Rear View Mirror

surfmaniac @ 3/24/2009 10:08:16 AM # Q
This article (and many of the people here) are largely missing the point that the people running this company are not the same people who were in charge two years ago (when they were admittedly misreading the market). The Apple/Nokia gang who are really steering this ship now (despite the PR faces of old management) will, most likely, succeed not only with this new phone but more importantly w/the new OS (and that's really what this is all about.) As a longtime holder/trader of this stock, I would be very surprised if this isn't at 20 a share by the end of the year... and that is if they are still an independent company.

SM

RE: Rear View Mirror
SeldomVisitor @ 3/24/2009 10:10:51 AM # Q
The only new management guy is Rubinstein and he's just a hardware guy, not a software guy.

Colligan and all his guys are still running the company otherwise.

The BoD doesn't run the company, they are just oversight. Running the company is the CEO's business...and that's til the same CEO.


RE: Rear View Mirror
abosco @ 3/24/2009 11:56:31 AM # Q
So often, I see proponents of Palm's latest devices giving management high praises, mainly due to their "Apple" management. If the best thing about Palm is that it has an ex-Apple staff, imagine what people who are actually still employed by Apple must be capable of. If you imagined 30 million sales in less than two years, then you'd be correct.

Meanwhile, Palm is cashing in stock to keep the lights on.

-Bosco
m105 -> NX70v -> NX80v -> iPhone -> iPhone 3G

RE: Rear View Mirror
hkklife @ 3/24/2009 12:36:01 PM # Q
Palm's cadre of ex-Apple staffers aping Apple's feature defecits and featureset/usability guffaws is something ENTIRELY different than aping Apple's marketing/branding/profitability/content store strategy.

Removing the stylus, IR port, d-pad, voice recorder and video capture capabilities from your phone while giving it wi-fi and a better browser aren't going to make for an instant success.

If Palm can mimic Apple's successful smoke'n mirrors tactics to make the Pre THE new hot & trendy item for the hipsters, then more power to 'em. But I don't want to have any of the classic Palm OS zen or outright productivity capability from the PIM apps diminished as a result!
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->?

RE: Rear View Mirror
freakout @ 3/24/2009 3:10:18 PM # Q
imagine what people who are actually still employed by Apple must be capable of

Music players that aren't compatible with standard headphones? :-P

RE: Rear View Mirror
2klbs @ 3/24/2009 3:54:30 PM # Q
abosco wrote:
So often, I see proponents of Palm's latest devices giving management high praises, mainly due to their "Apple" management. If the best thing about Palm is that it has an ex-Apple staff, imagine what people who are actually still employed by Apple must be capable of. If you imagined 30 million sales in less than two years, then you'd be correct.

Meanwhile, Palm is cashing in stock to keep the lights on.

Interesting research on possible size of market. Although this refers to all manufacturers that have/will have an app-store, the room for growth despite the economy is staggering. Although they specifically mention Apple having a head start, the overall potential leads to some possibility of parity, assuming a platform can make it happen.

http://www.instat.com/press.asp?ID=2483&sku=IN0904424MCM
End of Contract with Sprint- to become a "Pre-vert" or go Android?

RE: Rear View Mirror
surfmaniac @ 3/24/2009 7:29:02 PM # Q
The only new management guy is Rubinstein and he's just a hardware guy, not a software guy.


Colligan and all his guys are still running the company otherwise.

The BoD doesn't run the company, they are just oversight. Running the company is the CEO's business...and that's til the same CEO.

Not true, there are many ex-Apple folks there and some in important positions (ie the head of marketing.) as well as several Nokia folks. I know a few people who work there and they say the entire zeitgeist there has changed from Dead Company walking to a whole new start (and remember none of these people make a dime off their options if the 'new' Palm doesn't thrive.

MS

RE: Rear View Mirror
surfmaniac @ 3/24/2009 7:32:58 PM # Q
Oh yes... and Rubenstein is 'only' the guy who invented the iPod and helped invent the iphone while saving Apple from a very probable slow slide into irrelevance. Get your history straight or talk to someone who knows and/or works in the Valley.

MS

RE: Rear View Mirror
abosco @ 3/24/2009 7:55:36 PM # Q
Oh now I see your point, surfmaniac. Jeff Hawkins, the creator of the Pilot 1000 and Treo 600, is a walking gold mine. His new Foleo can't lose!!

Should be launched any day now!

-Bosco
m105 -> NX70v -> NX80v -> iPhone -> iPhone 3G

RE: Rear View Mirror
jca666us @ 3/25/2009 3:48:20 AM # Q
>Music players that aren't compatible with standard headphones? :-P

Oh geez, here comes the misinformation express!

RE: Rear View Mirror
SeldomVisitor @ 3/25/2009 6:36:52 AM # Q
I believe that's a swipe at Apple's latest dinky player that has controls - and a special chip - in the headphone cord.

RE: Rear View Mirror
hkklife @ 3/25/2009 8:28:26 AM # Q
To be fair, let's only apple FUD where it's due.

The original 1st gen iPhone had a funny recessed 3.5mm jack that many (but not all) "normal" headphones had trouble connecting to. This was fixed on the iPod Touch as well as the iPhone 3G


The new iPod Shuffle has no screen (naturally) and no controls anywhere on the body of the device. In order to control your player you MUST use 'phones with a special chip & inline controls built in OR buy the adapter calbe from Apple ($20-$30), which totally defeats the purpose of the cheap purchase price of the player. The Shuffle (all variants but especially the new one) ranks right up there with the Virtual Boy, Audrey, Pippin, and Fooleo as one of the worst pieces of consumer-oriented tech to ever hit the market. I mean, for less money than the Shuffle you can buy a lovely Sandisk Sansa unit with full USB mass storage compliance (drag & drop, no iTunes foolishness), a built-in FM tuner, a microSD slot for expansion, and actual buttons + screen on the device. But you don't get the fancy little box, of course.

I am not a fan of Apple products but some are worse than others...and the Shuffle and Apple TV are by far the worst offerings in Apple's current lineup.
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->?

RE: Rear View Mirror
surfmaniac @ 3/25/2009 11:33:49 AM # Q
Jeff Hawkins? There's a name from the past or the 'old' Palm, if you will. I would submit that Rubenstein is, in many ways, the anti-Jeff Hawkins...

MS

RE: Rear View Mirror
freakout @ 3/25/2009 2:36:58 PM # Q
Kris - ssssshhhh!! Stop spreading such "misinformation"! ;)

(Yes, the new Shuffle is a right piece of rubbish. Goes well with iTunes!)

RE: Rear View Mirror
jca666us @ 3/25/2009 3:11:59 PM # M Q
I have to agree with you freakenheimer - the shuffle is a piece of junk only an idiot would buy.

How many do you own again?

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