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Opinion: Why Sony should (Memory) Stick with the Palm OS

PalmInfocenter's frequent message board poster, The Voice of Reason, has written in with an interesting opinion piece entitled, Why Sony should (Memory) Stick with the Palm OS. Read on to here his thoughts on why Sony should plan a Clie comeback.

Opinion: Why Sony should (Memory) Stick with the Palm OS
© The Voice of Reason
January 27th, 2005

Sony made the best PDA designs of any manufacturer. (Exhibit 1: UX50, TH55, VZ90). Traditional PDAs were a dead end, and Sony spent 4 years and a few hundred million dineros ($$$) trying to find the right mix of features to take PDAs to the next level. They came tantalizingly close to the perfect portable device for adults in 2004 and could have brought out the perfect PDA in 2005. Microlaptop/MP3 player/digital camera/camcorder/PIM/video player/web browser. After 8 years of compromises, PDA nirvana was finally within our grasp.But then time ran out. Sony's CLIE group was just about six months too slow in their frenetic production schedule to save the PDA market. At least CLIEs will become collectors items pretty soon when the market finishes imploding (or will it?) by the end of 2005.

Sony's portable game system, PSP is the new golden child. It will also have email + web capability, but remember, even Gameboy had PIM ability with the right software. Gameboy was no Palm. PSP will never come close to doing what CLIE did or could have done.

Pulling the plug on CLIE at this point makes little sense for Sony for several reasons:

First of all, they've already done all the R + D and figured out the right form factors, etc. From now on, all Sony would need to do is "pull a Palm" - i.e. offer a series of incremental upgrades. Adding the latest screen, better camera, more memory with subsequent revisions wouldn't cotst Sony much in terms of engineering resources.

Secondly, Sony has now established itself as the leader among PDA manufacturers. Best quality, best features, best designs. People who know PDAs choose Sony?. Sony's market share would only continue to improve (at Palm's expense) now that Palm's quality has reached rock bottom. Sony would become "the only game in town".

Opinion: Why Sony should (Memory) Stick with Palm OSThirdly, PSP and CLIE appeal to different market segments. CLIE users tend to have a fair amount of disposeable income and bringing them into the Sony fold would lead to sales of a lot more Sony hardware. People impressed by the slickness and build quality of CLIEs are probably a hell of a lot more likely to feel inclined to shop Sony when getting TVs, laptops, stereos, etc. The spinoff sales might even be more valuable than the actual profits from CLIE sales. (Think of CLIEs as a loss leader used to generate brand loyalty.)

Fourthly, CLIE sales help entrench Memory Stick as a major memory format. And once consumers have invested in a few Memory Sticks, they'll be more likely to buy other electronics (e.g. digital cameras) using the same format. Since it's mainly Sony that is selling equipment using Memory Stick, this would further add to their profits. I know firsthand that this strategy works - I've purchased a ton of CLIEs in recent years and initially hated Memory Stick. (Slower/more expensive/less functional than CompactFlash.) But in reality, as a data storage format it doesn't matter that much which one (CF, MS, SD) I use. So now that I already have a bunch of Memory Sticks, when I recently was looking at getting a digital camera, Sonys were strongly considered largely because of compatibility between devices.

Fifthly, (is that even a word?) abandoning the CLIE market would alienate a lot of potential Sony customers. How many angry owners of abandonware CLIEs will avoid all Sony products in the future, strictly on principle?. It happened before with Sony's Beta VCRs. Better technology and construction than VHS competitors, killed by Sony's ineptitude in getting users easy access to the media they needed to make use of their superior hardware. Sony has also annoyed a lot of people with its Draconian DRM/copy protection schemes. (Eventually Sony must understand that the genie is out of the bottle. Open formats like MP3 won, and failure to embrace these formats means giving up entire market segments. Exhibit 2: Apple's ridiculously overpriced, Zen of Palm-like, incrementally-upgraded (again, ominously Palm-like) iPod kicking the crap out of better constructed Sony offerings. Any company capable of producing the likes of the UX50 and the VZ90 should be able to blow the iPod out of the water without even trying.)

Sixthly, Sony Ericsson + PalmOS is a natural. With Nokia now dominating Symbian, a couple PalmOS phones from Sony Ericsson are long overdue, would deal a serious body blow to Nokia, would be HUGE sellers and would cost next-to-nothing to implement (the hardware and software are "off the shelf" parts).

The die is cast, but it's not too late for Sony to mold a new plan. 2005 will decide the fate of both PalmOS and PDAs in general. Any bets on how this will all turn out?

- TVoR

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Proof that crap does float to the top

mikecane @ 1/27/2005 2:54:38 PM # Q
From a psycho Comment to a psycho "article."

Surely this is a sign of the Return of Christ.

Smite him, O Lord.

RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
feranick @ 1/27/2005 4:01:34 PM # Q
Not as crappy as some recent editorials...
RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
TTrules @ 1/27/2005 5:50:10 PM # Q
Hey, I thought that was a really well done article.

One Palm to rule them all!
grapes of sourness
Strider_mt2k @ 1/27/2005 6:03:33 PM # Q
It is a good article.

And AMEN BROTHER!

I don't think Sony will give a hoot, but you do speak for alot of us Clie owners.


RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
mikecane @ 1/27/2005 8:11:56 PM # Q
Philistines.

And remember who you are backing.

RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
Wolfgard @ 1/27/2005 9:00:56 PM # Q
Great article. Sony reps, please bring back CLIEs! After all I've invested in memory stick pros, I would definately continue buying CLIEs.

pen & paper -> m515 -> Zire72 -> TH55 & Handera 330
RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
palm_pilot_guy @ 1/31/2005 12:14:35 AM # Q
Firsty, I don't like the article. Secondly, it might have something to do with the way it's written. Fourthly, you might as well create a group of points and consolidate everything into point form...

---
If one plays bad music, people don't talk; if one plays good music, people don't listen.
A year without CLIEs is like a year without sunshine
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 2/13/2006 8:36:46 PM # Q
Seems like it was only yesterday...

------------------------
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.
------------------------

The Palm eCONomy = Communismô

The Great Palm Swindle: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7864#108038

NetFrontLinux - the next major cellphone OS?: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=8060#111823

RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
Simony @ 2/13/2006 9:01:17 PM # Q
Don't be a hater, Simony
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 2/13/2006 9:08:20 PM # Q
Enjoy your digitizer driftin', data zappin', data manglin', SD card fryin' piece of crap Palms, Simony. Those of us with more sophisticated tastes will stay with our full-featured, high quality, reliable CLIEs.

Take care, Buddy.

TVoR

------------------------
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.
------------------------

The Palm eCONomy = Communismô

The Great Palm Swindle: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7864#108038

NetFrontLinux - the next major cellphone OS?: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=8060#111823

RE: Proof that crap does float to the top
Simony @ 2/13/2006 9:17:05 PM # Q
I'm very pleased with my TE2 - reasonable feature set and good quality, all for a great price.

Reply to this comment

PDA market

TwinTurbo @ 1/27/2005 2:54:08 PM # Q
I agree that Sony was in a position to establish itself as the primary leader in the PDA market. But what good is it to be the leader in a market that is declining at best and dying at worst. Let's go after a market that will net us consistently lower margins and decreased demand. No thanks.

The better scenario (as you mentioned) would be for Sony Ericsson to potentially explore using the Palm OS on a smartphone instead of Symbian. They could produce a Treo-like device but with some actual build quality and even cooler form factors. They could definitely pull this off and the Smartphone market is only beginning to heat up.

Sony Ericsson needs to keep kicking Nokia when they're down
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 8:58:44 PM # Q
I agree that Sony was in a position to establish itself as the primary leader in the PDA market. But what good is it to be the leader in a market that is declining at best and dying at worst. Let's go after a market that will net us consistently lower margins and decreased demand. No thanks.

The better scenario (as you mentioned) would be for Sony Ericsson to potentially explore using the Palm OS on a smartphone instead of Symbian. They could produce a Treo-like device but with some actual build quality and even cooler form factors. They could definitely pull this off and the Smartphone market is only beginning to heat up.

The death of the PDA market has been talked about so much that now we all believe it. In some ways, that talk (from "experts" and "analysts" contributed significantly to the decline. PDAs are admittedly a niche product, but they have the potential to be a stable, profitable niche. (MiniDisc, anyone?) The irony with the timing of Sony's retreat is that they've ALREADY done all the hard development work. They could easily release incremental upgrades to their current products and these would be eagerly snapped up by PDA users for years to come. Palm's declining quality puts Sony in an ideal position to corner the PDA market.

Selling CLIEs to desperate PalmOS users would likely also generate a lot of spin off revenue for the company as I alluded to in the opinion piece. Just because PDAs won't likely generate Playstation level sales figures (several million units per quarter) doesn't mean it's a market not worth pursuing.

The PalmOS Sony Ericsson phone is such an obvious strategy that it's surprising it wasn't given the go ahead earlier. Sony Ericsson recently thwarted Nokia's efforts to completely take over Symbian, but they really should have quietly taken out a PalmOS license last year (assuming the Sony PalmOS license isn't transferrable to Sony Ericsson).




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: PDA market
samagonistes @ 1/27/2005 11:40:52 PM # Q
Considering that PDAs are a niche market product, I'm gonna have to agree with TwinTurbo on this one. Where's the profit in being the only fish in a dwindling pond? Also, regarding CLIE sales and MS, the real numbers from flash memory cards are tied in with digital still cameras.

From a Reuters report:
"Shipments of digital cameras are expected to top 20 million units in 2005, up from 17.6 million, with revenue projected to rise to $5 billion from $4.5 billion."

From bizjournal.com (http://www.bizjournals.com/industries/high_tech/internet/2005/01/17/eastbay_story6.html)
"Sales of PDAs in 2004 are now expected to total just 10.8 million - one-third of what was originally forecast - according to IDC."

And finally from ITfacts.com
http://www.itfacts.biz/index.php?id=P715
"Cameras accounted for about 60% of demand worldwide for flash memory cards in 2003, according to research firm IDC. Camera shipments are expected to increase 27% to about 55 mil this year, from 43 mil worldwide last year. By 2007, shipments are projected to reach 81 mil. The worldwide flash memory card market generated $1.7 bil in revenue in 2002, and that total increased by more than 100% last year, according to IDC estimates."

Sony saw the writing on the wall, and for once, rather than throw money at a losing proposition, they jumped ship. This isn't unusual as companies have histories of failed devices. While "death" may be an overly dramatic term to characterize the PDA market, you have to admit that it's no where near the 40-50 million unit market as projected in 2001. Even with introductions of new models with incremental changes, they would only be delaying the inevitable.


RE: PDA market
indesman @ 1/28/2005 12:10:42 AM # Q
I have to agree with this line of reasoning. Sony PDA sales are a fraction of its television sales or camcorder sales or digital still camera sales. More PDAs with memory sticks would make only the most infintesimal incremental increase in sales of other products. The other products on the other hand could make a huge impact on sales of PDAs...if anyone really wanted to buy one.

Some of us use and love our PDAs but if they were going to set the world on fire it would have happened by now. They won't go away but they've probably plateaued for the forseeable future.

RE: PDA market
RoadKnight @ 1/28/2005 1:10:33 AM # Q
While everyone here has been predicting the "death" of the PDA for years now(and indeed, some here even making a cottage industry of it), it seems as if most "enterprise" customers haven't heard the news yet and are instead, still buying PDAs in droves.

From a story on itfacts.biz:
"IDC's 2004 mobile devices end-user survey demonstrates that handhelds still dominate company mobility strategies, with over 50% of respondents indicating the PDA as the preferred mobile device as opposed to a voice-centric smart phone or a PDA with telephony capability..."

Link:http://www.itfacts.biz/index.php?id=P2037

Which isn't to say that they won't eventually get a clue, just that it will take some time. Operating within a reality-based corporate budget is much different than say, an allowance.


How much would Sony make if it kept selling CLIEs?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/28/2005 1:50:16 AM # Q
Considering that PDAs are a niche market product, I'm gonna have to agree with TwinTurbo on this one. Where's the profit in being the only fish in a dwindling pond? Also, regarding CLIE sales and MS, the real numbers from flash memory cards are tied in with digital still cameras.

Nonsense. Sony sold 1 million P800 smartphones despite the fact that they were crippled with Symbiam. Between PalmOS smartphones and PDAs, Sony could probbly generate annual sales of 3 million units. That's a lot of potential Memory Stick sales. And a lot of potential future customers for Sony's other electronics.

Assuming $100 profit per unit -> $300 million net, then subtract development, support + marketing costs -> seems they should be able to make a profit...


******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: PDA market
TwinTurbo @ 1/28/2005 12:06:44 PM # Q
[i]Nonsense. Sony sold 1 million P800 smartphones despite the fact that they were crippled with Symbiam.[/i]

Sony Ericsson is successfully selling smartphones because they know how to capitalize on a sector with high demand and growth potential. I'm using one right now (s700i). I would hardly call it crippled by Symbian. And I don't think it would be any better with Palm OS or Windows Mobile or any other operating system. I really like this phone so far.

As for predicting the death of the PDA market, there is nothing to predict. It has been in a steady state of decline for over 8 quarters. Worldwide sales have slowed since early 2003. Welcome to 2005. Give credit to Sony for figuring it out early.

Sony Ericsson != Sony
Xian @ 1/28/2005 5:05:42 PM # Q
Sony Ericsson is a joint venture of Ericsson and Sony, not a fiefdom under Sony Corp itself. They have their own CEO and HQ. Whilst some of their designs (P-series and S-series) use MemStick Duos, they're not a business unit that Sony Corp can dictate to.
PalmOS vs. Symbian: NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/29/2005 1:06:54 AM # Q
Sony Ericsson is successfully selling smartphones because they know how to capitalize on a sector with high demand and growth potential. I'm using one right now (s700i). I would hardly call it crippled by Symbian. And I don't think it would be any better with Palm OS or Windows Mobile or any other operating system. I really like this phone so far.

If you really think the s700i wouldn't be better with PalmOS, then I'd have to assume you don't know what you're talking about. Or else you use the phone almost exclusively as a PHONE rather than a PDA.

And if you don't think it would be better to have a phone with tens of thousands of available apps, stable syncing software and a powerful developer community instead of the tragedy known as Symbian, then I suppose this proves ignorance is bliss. Enjoy your bliss. Don't mind the rest of us as we demand something better.




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: PDA market
TwinTurbo @ 1/29/2005 6:13:02 PM # Q
VOR, it sounds like you have never used or probably even seen a P900, s700i, or any other Symbian based Sony Ericsson phone for that matter. Perhaps they are not available in the Republic of Vanuatu or whatever remote island it is that you live on.

Also the line "tens of thousands of available apps, stable syncing software and a powerful developer community" is typical Palm hyperbole. I personally don't need 5,000 different calculators or the next "powerful" third party alarm clock. And out of all these wonderful apps, why doesn't PalmSource natively produce apps that are actually useful, like say an actual browser. Or maybe an FM tuner like the s700i. The core Palm operating system itself is pretty much a single threaded joke.

My Palm PDA was useful about 3 years ago. Now it's a paperweight. Times have changed and so have technology preferences. Unless Palm OS is able to someday ship on low cost PHONES as well as PDAs, it will not remain viable long term. Because there are really only 3 killer apps that most users need to experience mobile "bliss" as you call it: Phone w/PIM, wireless messaging, and a browser. That's it. The BlackBerry is a perfect example. It doesn't have many apps but corporate users can't get enough of it.

The bottom line is that Sony doesn't need PalmSource, but PalmSource could desperately use Sony.



Sony Ericsson PalmOS phones: When will they arrive?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/29/2005 9:08:42 PM # Q
VOR, it sounds like you have never used or probably even seen a P900, s700i, or any other Symbian based Sony Ericsson phone for that matter. Perhaps they are not available in the Republic of Vanuatu or whatever remote island it is that you live on.

Also the line "tens of thousands of available apps, stable syncing software and a powerful developer community" is typical Palm hyperbole. I personally don't need 5,000 different calculators or the next "powerful" third party alarm clock. And out of all these wonderful apps, why doesn't PalmSource natively produce apps that are actually useful, like say an actual browser. Or maybe an FM tuner like the s700i. The core Palm operating system itself is pretty much a single threaded joke.

My Palm PDA was useful about 3 years ago. Now it's a paperweight. Times have changed and so have technology preferences. Unless Palm OS is able to someday ship on low cost PHONES as well as PDAs, it will not remain viable long term. Because there are really only 3 killer apps that most users need to experience mobile "bliss" as you call it: Phone w/PIM, wireless messaging, and a browser. That's it. The BlackBerry is a perfect example. It doesn't have many apps but corporate users can't get enough of it.

The bottom line is that Sony doesn't need PalmSource, but PalmSource could desperately use Sony.


Since you seem to be genuinely ignorant and/or confused, I'll ignore your troll post.

I have used the P800, P900, P910 and S700. I would replace my T608 phones with S710i, but I'm still not yet willing to cross over to the GSM wasteland for the sake of a better phone.

Yes, most of the thousands of apps available for PalmOS are garbage and there's a lot of redundancy. But there's also a ton of truly brilliant apps that you can't get for Symbian. Palm's failure to update their PDAs with a modern suite of apps is inexcusable, as regulars here know I've said all along.

PIM, email/SMS and Internet is not all you need. Someday you'll see that people accept whatever they're given as long as there aren't better options available. Palm could have kicked Blackberry's a$$ had Palm's execs not been asleep at the wheel.

PalmOS could boost Sony Ericsson's sales in a major way. It's a win-win situation.


******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: PDA market
TwinTurbo @ 1/29/2005 11:14:15 PM # Q
Well VOR as I said in my original post I agree that I would like to see Sony Ericsson offer a Palm OS phone. I personally think the Treo is lacking and would love to see what they could do with a Palm OS smartphone. But it probably won't ever happen.

I also agree that Palm should have killed RIM at their own game, but the fact is they didn't. IMO, this was their most inexcusable failure. And it wasn't just the execs that were asleep at the wheel. The engineers, sales, and marketing folks I met with didn't get it either. Like you said, they somehow managed to repeat history with a lot of the same mistakes from Apple. It's rather a tragic story as they created the market and then fumbled most of it away.

As for the apps, I really have not seen that many brilliant offerings that would make me stay loyal in any way to Palm OS. Most are just enhanced PIM apps that Palm should have offered natively, and there's really only so much you can do on a 3" display for word processing and other stuff. I must say I do like Pocket-DVD studio, but I found it actually works better on Pocket PC than Palm.

Anyway back to the original point, I don't think Sony will embrace Palm OS again, and I happen to agree with this business decision. The folks at Microsoft also seem to be much more concerned about Symbian and RIM than anything coming from Palm. PalmSource embracing Linux might change that but only time will tell. Their track record for innovation and execution is not very remarkable...


Someone needs to buy PalmSource. ASAP.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/30/2005 7:41:02 PM # Q
Well VOR as I said in my original post I agree that I would like to see Sony Ericsson offer a Palm OS phone. I personally think the Treo is lacking and would love to see what they could do with a Palm OS smartphone. But it probably won't ever happen.

I also agree that Palm should have killed RIM at their own game, but the fact is they didn't. IMO, this was their most inexcusable failure. And it wasn't just the execs that were asleep at the wheel. The engineers, sales, and marketing folks I met with didn't get it either. Like you said, they somehow managed to repeat history with a lot of the same mistakes from Apple. It's rather a tragic story as they created the market and then fumbled most of it away.

As for the apps, I really have not seen that many brilliant offerings that would make me stay loyal in any way to Palm OS. Most are just enhanced PIM apps that Palm should have offered natively, and there's really only so much you can do on a 3" display for word processing and other stuff. I must say I do like Pocket-DVD studio, but I found it actually works better on Pocket PC than Palm.

Anyway back to the original point, I don't think Sony will embrace Palm OS again, and I happen to agree with this business decision. The folks at Microsoft also seem to be much more concerned about Symbian and RIM than anything coming from Palm. PalmSource embracing Linux might change that but only time will tell. Their track record for innovation and execution is not very remarkable...

Have you used a Treo 600 for an extended period of time? If you have, I find it difficult to believe you wouldn't be impressed. The only problem is its horrible build quality. Had Sony made a PalmOS smartphone of similar design last year, they would completely own the smartphone world by now.

Palm's failure to compete with RIM was a major blow to the platform. Palm has been dependent on others for innovation for so long that no one in the company seemed willing to make the effort to create a RIM competitor from scratch. The Good and Seven email packages were apparently expected to make Palm competitve with RIM.

It really has been sad to watch Palm's self destruction unfold over the past three years. It's almost as if someone working there is doing everything possible to destroy the company. The inbreeding with clueless former members of The Apple Dumpling Gang has resulted in Palm being compleyely pillaged and struggling to stay alive. Cutting corners on R + D, parts selection and quality control to make money that's then just handed back to gluttonous executives is a recipe for bankruptcy. The ex-Apple execs were initially like benign pigs in a trough, but now that the Palm Companies are imploding those execs have revealed their true parasitic selves for all to see.

As far as Palm's app advantage: yes it has been significantly eroded over the past few years. But unless you only are a casual user, PalmOS offerings still dominate PPC in most categories. Symbian is a VERY distant third. Unfortunately for Palm, many developers seem to be hedging their bets and now offer PPC versions of their apps. If PPC can win a few more major defections to their camp (like DateBk5) there will be less incentive for veteran Palm users to stick with the platform given how anemic the Palm hardware is these days.

Sony has two options to recoup their recent expense in PalmOS development:

1) Cut a deal with Sony Ericsson to sell a lineup of PalmOS smartphones. Given how good recent Sony Ericsson designs have been (reflected by the company's huge profits in the past few quarters), these phones would be a guaranteed hit. And would threaten Nokia's Symbian hegemony. Sony needs to buy PalmSource outright and get serious about smartphone licencing + creating a PalmOS iPod killer (the VZ90 was a first step towards the latter - a slick portable multimedia center). The hardware and software are more or less already available. It all boils down to whether or not Sony is willing to make a (small) gamble or if conservatism (and reducing market scope) now runs the show. PlayStation Portable is going to be a MASSIVE hit for Sony for the next three years, but PalmOS can also bring in a lot of $$$ into Sony's coffers if it's managed properly. PalmSource is ripe for a buyout, especially given how many damaging blows the company has sustained in the past year. (PalmOS 6 delay, PalmOS 6 bugs, PalmOS 6 rejection, pa1mOne biotch slap, PalmOS 5 bugs, sudden retreat to PalmLinux, etc. etc.) PalmSource may be a demoralized company, but in the right hands they STILL have the potential to turn it around and come out on top again. Quickly. I'm betting whoever buys PalmSource this year will get the bargain of the decade.


******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: PDA market
samagonistes @ 1/30/2005 8:42:42 PM # Q
"Nonsense. Sony sold 1 million P800 smartphones despite the fact that they were crippled with Symbiam. Between PalmOS smartphones and PDAs, Sony could probbly generate annual sales of 3 million units. That's a lot of potential Memory Stick sales. And a lot of potential future customers for Sony's other electronics.

Assuming $100 profit per unit -> $300 million net, then subtract development, support + marketing costs -> seems they should be able to make a profit..."

1 million P800s? Combined POS smartphones and PDAs of 3 million? Whoop-de-freakin'-do! Did you see the sales forecasts for digital still cameras? Unlike PalmOne, Sony isn't reliant upon one product category, and because of this, they're probably asking themselves where they should allocate their engineering and manufacturing resources that will provide the most bang for the buck.

As for your assumptions on profit, I'll leave them as assumptions because you clearly have no idea on margins within the electronics business. Sony manufactured the clies in Japan, so you have consider that labor is a large factor in the costs, as well as shipping them to various regions. Also, include elements such as licensing costs (not only of the OS but third party software), software development (sony-proprietary, which isn't that good), and components (e.g., LCD, semiconductors, etc.) and the $100 profit that you're throwing out there simply isn't there. While Sony was the only PalmOS licensee with a $500+ product, they also had $200 ones, which I assume was their bread and butter as it is typically the case with these types of business models, and you begin to see that the sales of the higer cost models (not there in volume because the market demand was eroding) covered the loss on the lower priced models. Finally, factor in the fact that calls to a support center typically are very costly because most likely, it's out-sourced and then you're left with a pretty bleak picture on profitability.



RE: PDA market
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 2/4/2005 12:11:40 AM # Q

Please buy a clue. ASAP.

Sony's CLIE sales could be very profitable since all the R+D has already been done and they can sell premium priced devices at the expense of Palm's marketshare. The TH55 still is a better PDA value than anything currently available from pa1mOne and could easily be sold profitably as-is for the next 18 months.


******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

Reply to this comment

Momentum

Gekko @ 1/27/2005 3:00:57 PM # Q

The momentum is with PPC and NOT PalmOS thanks to Nagel's leadership.

Palm is a victim of Newton's First Law (Law of Inertia) - A body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an outside, net force.

Sony is not going to make the same mistake twice of hitching their wagon to a loser. I would not be surprised if we soon see a PPC Clie to join the Windows VAIO family.

The trend is clear, Palm is screwed.



RE: Momentum
hkklife @ 1/27/2005 3:31:09 PM # Q
No, what we REALLY need to happen is for Panasonic to buy Tapwave and then later on, P1/PalmSource.

Initially, they should produce at least 4 models along with one or two carryover models:

1. A ruggedized Zod-sized ToughPad (or whatever) with dual wireless, long-life replacable battery etc.

2. A "T5 but better in every way" style PDA for business users.

3. A "gameable" (not portable gaming console but a media-centric
PDA that just so happens to play games pretty well) Zodiac followup with an eventual upgrade with a micro HD built in. Basically the same thing hinted at by the Tapwave suits in that PCWorld article a few weeks ago but arriving to market sooner than "'06 or later".

4. Either a mid-high range Panasonic Treo OR something along the lines of a HD-based mp3/ogg/DiVx player w/ color scren and SD slot that you could offload digicam pics onto and also use for rudimentary PIM functions (not iPod rudimentary--like Zire 21 rudimentary).

It's a logical move. Matsu****a is bigger than even Sony. They have a vested interest in the SD format. They hate Sony with a passion and aren't too hot on Wintel either. Panasonic's rigid DRM and "secure" SD mp3 players have flopped about a hard as Sony's efforts the past few years. This would be a perfect chance to capitalize on a lull in Apple innovation (Palm-style incremental upgrades on the iPod, as TVoR says above) and weakened Sony CE and VAIO/Clie divisions.


RE: Momentum
mikecane @ 1/27/2005 4:02:26 PM # Q
>>>The momentum is with PPC and NOT PalmOS thanks to Nagel's leadership.

Gekko, have you forgotten Benhamou?! (I think that name translates into "Let's milk this baby for all its got!")

RE: Momentum
Foo Fighter @ 1/27/2005 4:40:46 PM # Q
>> "The momentum is with PPC and NOT PalmOS"

Actually the momentum is with RIM's Blackberry. At its current rate of growth, the Blackberry is going to eclipse both PalmOS and Windows Mobile.

-------------------------------
Editor, http://Pocketfactory.com
Contributing Editor, http://digitalmediathoughts.com

RE: Momentum
TTrules @ 1/27/2005 5:52:24 PM # Q
Wow, Gekko made a relatively decent comment. I'm surprised!

One Palm to rule them all!
Momentum is easily gained + lost.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 9:37:14 PM # Q
The momentum is with PPC and NOT PalmOS thanks to Nagel's leadership.

Palm is a victim of Newton's First Law (Law of Inertia) - A body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an outside, net force.

Sony is not going to make the same mistake twice of hitching their wagon to a loser. I would not be surprised if we soon see a PPC Clie to join the Windows VAIO family.

The trend is clear, Palm is screwed.

Momentum is both deceptive and fickle. HP's 2005 PPC hardware lineup is pretty weak and will likely cause a dip in PPC sales over the next few quarters. And remember, PPC momentum has been BOUGHT with Microsoft influence/FUD rather than EARNED like Palm did to generate its sales during its Golden Period of 1999 - 2001. A Sony Ericsson lineup of smartphones and revamped Sony CLIE lineup could quickly reverse this trend. Furthermore, Palms are STILL selling despite countless self-inflicted wounds from the company's so-called leaders.

A Sony PPC makes no sense. Why leave a market you can easily dominate, already have experience in and already have shipping product for, just to join an ultra-competitive market powered by a buggy, bloated Microsoft OS? No way. The problem is that Sony recently experienced heavy losses in several divisions, leading them to want to consolidate their lineups. In addition, some people in Sony felt PSP had the potential to make certain CLIE models (like the VZ90) redundant.

Palm as a hardware company may be (deservedly) screwed, but PalmOS deserves to thrive. A buyout of PalmOS in 2003 (by Sony) was needed to ensure the platform's longterm viability. I still feel PalmOS has what it takes to survive. The only problen is that White Knights are in short supply these days...




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

Matsu$hita buys PalmOS?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 10:00:37 PM # Q
Tapwave being bought by Panasonic? Nope.

More interesting is the question of who is going to buy PalmSource in 2005.

Sony?
Matsu$hita?
Samsung?
pa1mOne?


IBM, Dell and Apple sure aren't interested in PalmSource's rapidly decaying carcass. $100 million could get someone a pretty good OS company...



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

Blackberry could disappear OVERNIGHT.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 10:08:43 PM # Q
Actually the momentum is with RIM's Blackberry. At its current rate of growth, the Blackberry is going to eclipse both PalmOS and Windows Mobile.

Blackberry showed everyone once again that business customers are what really matters. Palm made a huge mistake ignoring businesses for as long as it did.

BUT if Blackberry ever loses its patent case, they could disappear almost overnight. It won't happen, but it just goes to show this is all a house of cards waiting to come down.



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Momentum
hkklife @ 1/27/2005 10:30:38 PM # Q
Voice: Yeah I agree that Tapwave ain't gonna get gobbled up by anyone--its carcass'll just be left to slowly rot out in the sun. That was just my wishful thinking that the last company willing to take a chance on quality in the handheld market might live to release another Zod.

However, I really do think that, out of ALL of the players in this biz, either Lenovo/IBM or Panny/Matsu****a are the only realistic options. Or, P1 might reel PalmSource back in for pennies on the dollar before being acquired themselves. Dell wouldn't buy one half of "Palm" unless they could get the other half as well.

It's most likely Dell (if anyone) IMHO if ONLY to get their hands on the Treo line. I just WISH it would be Panasonic!

Samsung seems too focused on the flavor du jour to make a serious run with one of the Palm companies and they've clearly lost interest in the Palm OS--just look at their underwhelming smartphone offerings. Sony is focused 110% on PSP and PS2/PS3 from here on--whatever $ are left will be pumped into the VAIO line or Ericsson's Symbians. There's no room or budget for anything Clie or Palm-based at Sony.

P.S. Good article!

RE: Momentum
Gekko @ 1/27/2005 10:37:26 PM # Q
>"HP's 2005 PPC hardware lineup is pretty weak"

You have no clue as to what HP is set to release.

"and will likely cause a dip in PPC sales over the next few quarters."

Uh - 'Likely'?

"And remember, PPC momentum has been BOUGHT with Microsoft influence/FUD"

Who cares - results are what matter.

>"A Sony Ericsson lineup of smartphones and revamped Sony CLIE lineup could quickly reverse this trend."

Uh - 'Could'?

>"Furthermore, Palms are STILL selling despite countless self-inflicted wounds from the company's so-called leaders."

Check the TREND.

>"A Sony PPC makes no sense."

Sure it does. It makes as much sense as a WINDOWS VAIO Notebook does. You just can't see it yet.

>"PalmOS deserves to thrive."

'Deserves'? Nothing deserves to survive. It's the survival of the fittest out there. Nagel's confused strategy/message of Cobalt and now PalmLinux will be the death knell for Palm.

Good job getting all of the Clie-Cultists all lathered up. BUT you're not 1/100 the pundit you THINK you are. Don't quit your day job at Circus City.



RE: Momentum
amike @ 1/28/2005 7:10:31 AM # Q
Gekko didn't make a comment : He's made a copy of an old post from twenties centuries archives... "What, microsoft released Windows CE 1.0 !!!! Palm is dead, period"...

RE: Momentum
mikecane @ 1/28/2005 10:17:34 AM # Q
>>Circus City

Ha! What a pair: Circus City and Office Despot. Any others?

RE: Momentum
Wollombi @ 1/28/2005 12:02:26 PM # Q
>>"Blackberry showed everyone once again that business customers are what really matters. Palm made a huge mistake ignoring businesses for as long as it did."<<

Yes, business customers matter, but what Blackberry has really shown is that in times when the economy is constricted, that's when business customers are your bread and butter. In the midst of the tech bubble and a booming economy, it was consumers that ruled the marketplace due to higher amounts of disposable income and people spending on gadgets, etc. Now that is not the case, which is why the likes of Blackberry is taking off, due to it's business centricity. If the economy were still booming, Blackberry, while still making gains, would not be poised to over come either Palm or PPC.

Palm's mistake isn't so much "ignoring business users". Remember that their original offerings were business centric models that also happened to be popular with the masses. That was the magic of Palm; its ability to carry over across business/consumer demographics. Unfortunately, they were late to the consumer game, and now they are tardy in returning to quality business devices. Palm's mistake is merely being slow to the game, which is common with companies that tend to take an overly conservative perspective, which as we can all remember is a trademark of Palm. Problem is, now we need innovation and we need it in a business centric device to thrive. This means incorporating technologies that are becoming common and/or ubiquitous in professional environments. Bluetooth for road warriors who don't want a smartphone but still need connectivity, WiFi for those who are in the office a lot, or in places where there are hotspots allowing them to communicate (email) and get their work done (access to documents, ability to edit/compose them, etc.). And both for those who need both. The flash drive feature on the T5 is a palmOne baby step in that direction. Given their track record, I fear that they will "get it right" just into the next "consumer economy", thereby being late to the game once again.

_________________
Sean

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

RE: Momentum
hkklife @ 1/28/2005 12:03:52 PM # Q
Worst Buy. Radio Suck.

There's also the infamous "Circuit Sh!tty" of course.

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