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Hawkins Hints at New Product Announcement in May

PalmAddicts has published a new interview with Palm Founder Jeff Hawkins. In it, Hawkins discusses his work at Numenta and Palm's "secret third business". Tantalisingly, he hints at a talk to come at Walt Mossberg's D Conference in May which he says Palm fans "should keep a close watch on".

"We’re going to be announcing something…but I won’t tell you what it is…we will be launching this year, not in the distant future. I’ll give you a much bigger hint: I’m going to be speaking at Walt Mossberg’s D Conference in May. It’s a high-end industry conference. Anyway, I’m going to be giving a talk there, and that would be something for the Palm fans to keep a close watch on."

Other highlights from the interview include Hawkins' thoughts on Palm's foray into Windows Mobile devices, which he basically describes as a move born out of fears of being shut out of Palm OS. He also states that it takes two years to design new products, hence why it will take a little time for the company's new-found control over its "destiny" to bear fruit.

Finally, he describes why he pays "almost no attention" to the Wall Street side of the business: it's "too distracting". "Why does Palm's stock go up and down every six months? It's a mystery to me." Hey says he feels Palm is in its best position ever, considering its past history, "It’s not like we’re sitting around going Argh! We have competition."

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Let the Speculation Begin

Rhauer @ 3/5/2007 12:06:38 PM # Q
For me, I would be very happy if they would just introduce a state of the art TX

Still a big!!! fan of the two pda and phone setup.

Reply to this comment

Well, well, well

mikecane @ 3/5/2007 12:22:02 PM # Q
A missed opportunity: How does he feel/what does he think about the iPhone?

A very interesting interview. Cleared up many questions.

In one way, I feel better about Palm. In another way, I keep thinking of how many devs have quit PalmOS -- and what a fekkin mess FrankenGarnet is.

Argh, so many other questions I would have asked!

What's up with the Linux hiring?

Is Palm still committed to PDAs? Is *he* still committed to PDAs?

Did he ever try the Nokia 770 -- and his reaction?

What about the QC issues about the latest Treos?

What about the LifeDrive being killed?

Still many things unanswered.

And now I think: May is right before June -- and the iPhone!

RE: Well, well, well
SeldomVisitor @ 3/5/2007 12:29:23 PM # Q
> ...Still many things unanswered....

"Why did you cease being CTO?"

RE: Well, well, well
mikecane @ 3/5/2007 12:53:33 PM # Q
He's more interested in Numenta, obviously.

I don't blame him, either.

RE: Well, well, well
freakout @ 3/5/2007 4:57:45 PM # Q
He says he spends only half his working time at Palm; maybe CTO requires a bit more dedication than that... Anyhoo, it's not like you have to be the CTO in order to come up with new product ideas.

(still an interesting question, though)

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

Reply to this comment

Is he serious?

durvivor @ 3/5/2007 12:22:15 PM # Q
I'm going to release something cool in May. Well, Mr. Hawkins, though I may look forward to that, please keep your mouth shut.

I have this deep, deep, deep fear Mr. Hawkins that you no longer understand me, or my situation. You see, your comments got me super excited this morning & then shortly afterwards super pissed.

My needs are a Palm TX2. Why? Because I've put the time in with Palm, I'm a Palm user of over a decade now (Pilot 5000, Jan 1997) I put my time in first waiting for a color Palm. Then, waiting for a high res color screen. Then, waiting for high res plus (virtual grafitti) areas. Each of these technology upgrades made me excited & made me run out to purchase the latest & greatest Palm.

So, I'm looking forward to a TX2. I've got the money ready. I just need a product. I thought I would see it last October. Then, I thought I would see it this February. But, Mr. Hawkins I've seen nothing! But, this product... it must be an extension of the Palm line... Not a continuation of the inferior screened, fatter treo line.

By the way, this past weekend I lost all hope. With all the Nokia is about to buy Palm rumors I gave up this weekend & realized that there will be no TX2. Palm will be purchased yet again, and we will enter a period of years of company insecurity.

Now, Mr. Hawkins gives this ridiculous tease. "Hey Palm fans, wait till you see what I've got for May." Ya? Ya? Thats all your giving me? At first I was blown away by this news. But now... Now I fear that your tremendous release is going to be another freaking low resolution treo but this time with wi-fi. So, Mr. Hawkins put up... or shut up.

Remember... When your swimming in information about upcoming products you can easily forget how frustrating it us for us little people who have waited over 2 years for some hope of a product upgrade.

RE: Is he serious?
mikecane @ 3/5/2007 12:58:05 PM # Q
What specs do you think a TX2 should have?

I still want a Flash-based LifeDrive. With maybe 16-32GB. Yeah, I know that's expen$ive -- right now. They can put out one with 8GB Flash and then let slip on the grapevine that hackers can rip out the Flash card and put in a fatter one.

RE: Is he serious?
freakout @ 3/5/2007 5:48:16 PM # Q
Now, Mr. Hawkins gives this ridiculous tease. "Hey Palm fans, wait till you see what I've got for May." Ya? Ya? Thats all your giving me? At first I was blown away by this news. But now... Now I fear that your tremendous release is going to be another freaking low resolution treo but this time with wi-fi. So, Mr. Hawkins put up... or shut up.

Sheesh, it's only two or three months away. You've already waited 2 years, what's a little bit longer? Patience!

However, I seriously doubt this new product announcement is going to have much to do with the Treo or Palm's PDA line. They wouldn't be calling it a "third business", were that the case. So if you're crossing your fingers for a TX2, you're probably going to be disappointed come May.

That's not to say I think Palm will never release a new PDA; just that this announcement isn't going to be one.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: Is he serious?
durvivor @ 3/5/2007 6:29:34 PM # Q
Your right, I don't think Mr. Hawkins announcement will be anything Palm TX2 related either.

I posted angry & really mixed things up.

Allow me to separate my emotions & logic.

Emotion: Grrr, I hoped that Palm would release a TX2 in February (a traditional time in the past for Palm to announce/release new products.) Now that February was over I was ready to buy myself a new Palm TX. Now, I'm upset because I have to wait again. Will this mysterious third product be completely different, or will it have basic Palm organization functionality in addition to the new functions?

Logic: Palm can still release the TX2 at anytime. Michael Mace has speculated that since Palm Inc. now owns the naming rights to Palm OS they are close to announcing a linux based successor to Garnet/Palm OS that they have developed in-house. This would be a great time for Palm to announce a new TX2 or other products.

Logic: Meanwhile, based on my reading, and quotes from Mr. Hawkins logic suggests he is developing some sort of internet tablet ala Nokia 770. More reading suggests that this internet tablet will run a rich assortment of web-apps (hosted by Palm). Logic suggests this product will embrace "zen of palm" and be easy to carry (folding screen patents?), easy to access information etc. Business synergy suggests this product will also be able to manage your schedule & contacts. This will be a very interesting product. Though, despite a several year development process I think that May will only bring an announcement & not a product release. (e.g. Announced in May for September sales & then delayed in September.)



RE: Is he serious?
rmhurdman @ 3/6/2007 2:48:36 PM # Q
Jeff is just trying to be like Steve Jobs.

"...Oh and one more thing...

...hello?

...is anybody listening?"

Jeff Hawkins just needs to find someone caring to pay him some attention. I'd say his time is past, but we'll see soon enough.

Reply to this comment

*blink blink*

moofie @ 3/5/2007 12:35:50 PM # Q
Huh?

"Hey says he feels Palm is in its best position ever"

Has he seen the current product line, and the current OS? Did he notice that Palm is selling WINDOWS FRICKIN' MOBILE devices?

He'd BETTER pull a rabbit out of his hat, because the only excuse for being that deluded about the current state of affairs would be if he's been in a bunker for three years with God's own product development team designing an ansible, or a cold fusion powered brain-scanning PDA.

RE: *blink blink*
mikecane @ 3/5/2007 12:56:55 PM # Q
>>>Did he notice that Palm is selling WINDOWS FRICKIN' MOBILE devices?

WTF? Did you read the actual interview?! Of course he knows that, and he gives the reason why too.

RE: *blink blink*
moofie @ 3/5/2007 1:38:42 PM # Q
I DID read the interview, and if he thinks that "Palm selling WinMob" is the same thing as "Palm is healthier than ever!" he's a crazyperson.

RE: *blink blink*
freakout @ 3/5/2007 3:09:29 PM # Q
^^ Well, no, he doesn't think that at all. His "Palm is healthier than ever" quote:

PJA: I think releasing WinMo devices was a smart move, in any case.

JEFF: It probably was; but here’s the thing: we didn’t have control of our own destiny for the past 5 years. We didn’t have our name, we didn’t have our brand, and we own our OS. We were struggling to get into the smartphone space, while we were losing our traditional distribution channels. It was a difficult time. While all this was going on, Palm kept growing; and, is still growing rapidly. Although there are lots of competitors, Palm is a very healthy company. We’ve been profitable for many consecutive quarters, years really; and, we’re making lots of money; and, we finally feel like we have control of our destiny back in our hands again.

Now, it takes a little but of time to turn that into products. It takes 2 years to design new products, and so you don’t see this control reflected immediately in the product line. In my view, this is a good time at Palm. In terms of viability, we have lots of cash, we’re profitable, and we’re in control of our own destiny. We haven’t been in this kind of shape in a long, long time.

Far from saying WinMob is why Palm is healthier than ever, he all but acknowledges that the main reason they got into WinMob in the first place was because they didn't know whether they were going to get back control of PalmOS or not.

Seems the only crazy person is you, moofie! :P

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: *blink blink*
LiveFaith @ 3/5/2007 6:18:33 PM # Q
**Now, it takes a little but of time to turn that into products. It takes 2 years to design new products, and so you don’t see this control reflected immediately in the product line. In my view, this is a good time at Palm. In terms of viability, we have lots of cash, we’re profitable, and we’re in control of our own destiny. We haven’t been in this kind of shape in a long, long time.**

This sounds more like pump and dump investor talk to me. Jeff's probably thinkin' pump this baby over $30 to the foos and I can at least cash out enough to pay for a yacht and years of brainware.

Pat Horne

RE: *blink blink*
twrock @ 3/5/2007 7:00:51 PM # Q
Pat, the cynical side of me was thinking the same thing as I read that. Hope the cynical side of me is wrong.


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/

RE: *blink blink*
moofie @ 3/5/2007 9:41:56 PM # Q
So, now that Palm is limping along finally having de-lobotomized itself, they're poised for a comeback! Whee!

I've been a fan of Palm since, well, forever. I've been gnashing my teeth at every boneheaded mistake they've been making over the last ten years, and I'm frankly stunned they're still in business. I really, really hope that Hawkins has a rabbit to pull out of his hat.

I might be the only person in the world who thinks this way, but I won't ever under any circumstances buy a WinMob device. I simply won't do it. If that's Palm's way forward, well, I guess I'll have to hope that the iPhone has enough third party interest to sustain it.

RE: *blink blink*
mikecane @ 3/6/2007 8:55:05 AM # Q
>>>but I won't ever under any circumstances buy a WinMob device. I simply won't do it.

What, the StyleTap Cultists haven't popped out of the woodwork yet?

I did PPC. Don't give a damn how early my version was. WinMob 6 still sucks.

Stock up, lad. ebay is our friend and now savior!

RE: *blink blink*
rsc1000 @ 3/6/2007 10:40:00 AM # Q
>>I did PPC. Don't give a damn how early my version was. WinMob 6 still sucks.

Amen. It is typical of MS that after Win Mob crested over Palm OS marketshare level, they stopped revising the OS UI paradign in any significant way. Which is a shame because they never got it right. I *hate* the whole thing and how it feels. It's is so claustrophobic and unintuitive. Yes its alive and healthy, but i can't shake the feeling the Win Mob emperor is wearing no clothes. When i hear WinMob fans presuming that it is 'more advanced' i cringe. yes it has multi-tasking - but what is 'more advanced'? It is not just a list of stock features and numbers - it is about the human interface. And MS never gets that right (amazingly enough after decades in the UI...!). Its contrary to their entire culture.

For 6 years I have worked for mobile software development companies and I have access to whatever device i want to use. I only use Win Mob devices when i have to, even though I can have my pick of the latest; i can't stand those things. Now if Palm really can take control of their destiny now that they have the OS back - they might bring the only usable mobile OS into the 21st century.

anyways - don't mean to rant but couldnt help myself. I hope Hawkins isn't yanking us.


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The best it's ever been?

Tuckermaclain @ 3/5/2007 1:21:43 PM # Q
Palm is in the best shape it's ever been? I'll have to defer to Hawkins on that. He IS the expert. Since it is in such wonderful shape hurry up and give me my clamshell Zire 73 phone I've been waiting for. The one with the 320x480 screen and G1 input.

I can't even fathom a guess at how his new device's capabilities could be exploited. A PDA that thinks like my brain? That's why I have a PDA--because my brain thinks like my brain. Would I be able to design my own preferences and GUI from the screen?

I'm not sure I'll want it but I am curious as heck.

RE: The best it's ever been?
cervezas @ 3/5/2007 1:46:53 PM # Q
Well, no one, least of all Hawkins, is suggesting that Numenta has anything to do with any products on Palm's horizon. The release they announced today was called a "Research Release" and Hawkins indicated in the interview that he thought it would take a while before products would emerge for this platform.

Still, it's hard not to think Hawkins doesn't consider the implications of the two companies for each other in the future.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

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Numenta Releases AI Dev Tools

Ryan @ 3/5/2007 1:47:25 PM # Q
In related Hawkins news, Numenta has released a research version of the tools for building on his new "AI" platform.

http://www.mobilelinuxinfo.com/202/numenta-releases-free-ai-development-tools/

Reply to this comment

Too little too late.

zinzan @ 3/5/2007 2:01:21 PM # Q
It takes two years to develop a new product? Is that why Palms seem to be always outdated on their release?
Unless something drastic is done Palm won't be around in 2 years.

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate"
RE: Too little too late.
linds @ 3/5/2007 2:55:02 PM # Q
Well, I for one am going to keep hoping. I would say Jeff has pretty much staked his reputation on the fact that we will like what he is going to offer. I mean he did bring us the original palm and the original treo.

RE: Too little too late.
SeldomVisitor @ 3/5/2007 3:44:22 PM # Q
Nokia releases a new phone on average every nine days.

BTW - did you see the links posted on PIC today (Er...TreoCentral?) about the slew of new Nokia smartphones (E-series)? How long ago did Nokia release the last slew?

No, "two years" is not the correct answer.

RE: Too little too late.
SeldomVisitor @ 3/5/2007 3:47:08 PM # Q
> ...he did bring us the original palm and the original treo.

And the LifeDrive.

And Numenta (giggle).

RE: Too little too late.
LiveFaith @ 3/5/2007 6:21:30 PM # Q
Quit being stupid guys. All he's saying is that Cobalt will be ready for distribution in about 2 years! I can wait for that. Woohoo!

Pat Horne
RE: Too little too late.
mikecane @ 3/6/2007 8:56:48 AM # Q
>>>Nokia releases a new phone on average every nine days.

Yeah, and they probably all suck like the 770. I tried their vaunted Communicator at their own NYC store several months ago. Crashed the bugger within 5 minutes. Just like the sh!tty 770!

RE: Too little too late.
rsc1000 @ 3/6/2007 11:01:12 AM # Q
>>Nokia releases a new phone on average every nine days.

Thats great - except Hawkins never said that Palm releases a new device every 2 years. He said it takes 2 years to develop and release a device. If Nokia releases a new phone every 9 months (I actuially believe they release a lot more then 1 every 9 months!), that doesnt tell us how long it took to develop each model now does it? You DO understand the difference right?

RE: Too little too late.
SeldomVisitor @ 3/6/2007 11:41:52 AM # Q
You DO understand the difference between "day" and "month", right?

Giggle.

RE: Too little too late.
rsc1000 @ 3/7/2007 1:41:21 AM # Q
>>You DO understand the difference between "day" and "month", right?

Ouch - my dumb. Giggle deserved.
But the main point stands: there is no DIRECT correlation between frequency of device releases and the time it takes to release them. I.E. Nokia could release a handset every 9 days and it still might take each of these devices 2 years to get through design stage, prototype, FCC approval, and then to consumers.



RE: Too little too late.
SeldomVisitor @ 3/7/2007 7:04:00 AM # Q
True.

RE: Too little too late.
sungod @ 3/7/2007 7:26:52 AM # Q
And don't forget they are generally releasing models like
xyz1... 9 day later... xyz2... 9 days... xyz3...
All 3 models are the same phone hardware just with a different screen, or this one is dust proof, etc.
Development time and costs are cut dramatically when they work like this.

How good are cargo pants, they're a gadget lovers best friend.
RE: Too little too late.
SeldomVisitor @ 3/7/2007 8:04:56 AM # Q
> ...BTW - did you see the links posted on PIC today (Er...TreoCentral?)
> about the slew of new Nokia smartphones (E-series)? How long ago did
> Nokia release the last slew?...

Now ask the same question about PALM TREOs.

It pays to be a Big Guy in many ways.

RE: Too little too late.
SB2 @ 3/7/2007 9:11:05 AM # Q
> Unless something drastic is done Palm won't be around in 2 years.


Well Palm has always been making a profit. And, as Jeff said, they do have a lot of money. I think it won't be a problem for them to hold on for another 2 years.

Reply to this comment

So what's it going to be....

grimpeur @ 3/5/2007 2:37:51 PM # Q
I reckon it's going to be a new Treo with more internal storage ( a la LifeDrive ) but the killer product will be the software.

Palm will introduce a product I'll call LifeManager. This will be quite similar to Nokia's LifeBlog in that it is a record of data sent to and from your phone, only much more. Using Hawkins' AI tools the new Palm device running LifeManager software will sit in the background as you use your device in day to day life. The AI algorithms will pattern match and learn about you from the data you receive and send, the photos you take and your general use of the device. Using this information the device will suggest new information you may be interested in and crucially, record and file you life in a blog type app. Just like LifeBlog, only much much better.

Well... it looks that way to me. In the modern world we are constantly being bombarded with information, unfortunately most of which is chaff. Hawkin's new technologies suggest the ability to effectively mine this data and contextualise it for the user. If that along with Palm's legendary usability isn't a killer app, I don't know what is.

Your comments?



RE: So what's it going to be....
SeldomVisitor @ 3/5/2007 3:46:13 PM # Q
I reckon it's going to be an entire system with relatively-dumb phones served by remote servers.

Reply to this comment

I'm relieved

spice3d @ 3/5/2007 3:56:32 PM # Q
I so hope this means a successor to the T|X. I was having the same feelings I had just prior to the Tungsten release. If I have to wait 2 years, I'll wait, as long as I know it's coming. For me, the T|X is pretty darn close to perfect. For now, I'll be optimistic.

--doug
RE: I'm relieved
stejoh09 @ 3/5/2007 4:23:21 PM # Q
I completely agree!

RE: I'm relieved
just_little_me @ 3/5/2007 5:15:15 PM # Q
I highly doubt it would be anything so mundane as a TX update.

Think outside the box...

I'm guessing some sort of companion for a smartphone. Palm are totally invested into the smartphone market, so something that could broaden that space seems logical...


JLM.

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