The NYT on the Treo Pro and Palm's Revival

With the long-rumored Treo Pro now officially official, Palm users and analysts alike are cautiously awaiting the company's next move. The New York Times has posted a new piece entitled "Palm, Once a Leader, Seeks Path in Smartphone Jungle" that focuses primarily on Jon Rubinstein's role as company savior as well as the company's plans to ensure that the Centro is not a one-hit wonder.

While most of the information contained in the article will have a familiar ring to long-time Palm watchers, there are a few revealing tidbits offered by the NYT. First, the Treo Pro is said to have a "larger keyboard" than "current models". By "current models" it is unknown if the article is referring to the fairly ample keyboards between Palm's various older Treo models (680, 700-series, and 800w) or the diminutive Centro keyboard. The Pro is also said to have Apple-esque "jewel box" packaging, a break from Palm's standard small square cardboard box no-frills Treo packaging.

Palm ExecsSecondly, the article offers some insight to Palm's plans for Palm OS II a.k.a. "Nova" and a new "device" (my emphasis on the singular) designed to enable easier web surfing and social networking. Another small but telling bit of information is that Palm is going to cease their oft-confusing numbering nomenclature to identify future products, accoding to Brodie C. Keast, a Palm SVP for marketing. An interesting graphic is presented within the article breaking out Nielson Mobile U.S. marketshare statistics between Palm and their main rivals such as RIM, HTC, and Apple which showcases Palm's precipitous drop in market share between 2006 and 2008, despite the rampant sales volume success of the Centro.

An interesting anecdote showing Rubinstein's critical assessment of Palm's product strategy is recounted by Stephane Maes of Palm. This interesting bit of insight is resonant of last year's Wall Street Journal article on the "podfather" that gave some insight as to the origins of the Centro, and the 11th hour design changes Rubinstein implemented just weeks after his arrival at Palm.

While it remains uncertain if Rubinstein's aggressive product line trimming and detailed engineering focus will be enough to save the company or even bring Nova to market in a timely and successful timeframe, there's no doubt that Palm's future looks brighter now than it did slightly less than a year ago as Palm prepared to quietly euthanize the Foleo. These cautiously optimistic sentiments are echoed by Palm's Keast, "The brand is not dead, it is just sleeping."

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Rest of '08

palmit @ 8/20/2008 11:53:47 AM # Q
So after this will the rest of '08 and early '09 be quiet for Palm?

Don't know of any new devices until new OS is ready.

RE: Rest of '08
hkklife @ 8/20/2008 12:21:30 PM # Q
There's the Wanda, the supposed Treo 500 successor. Not sure if it'll even come out or if it'll make it to the US but it's the ONLY other remaining device on the horizon for later this year or early '09:

It's basically a hybrid between the old 500 & the new Pro, but with no wi-fi, smaller battery capacity than the Pro, 320x240 "widescreen" (no touch) & WM 6.1 Standard. At least i'll have a 2mp camera, GPS and full 3G. I could really see this making sense to hit AT&T alongside the Centro at the $100-$150 pricepoint.

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: Rest of '08
palmit @ 8/20/2008 12:59:14 PM # Q
I forgot about that one, but as far as US based devices it looks like it's going to be quiet.

It would be nice if they fill that time with some news/details regarding new OS?

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Larger keyboard?

Ole @ 8/20/2008 12:00:11 PM # Q
What I can't understand is, why does anybody want a full qwerty-keyboard on such a small device? I have tried several Treos, and I can type significantly faster with my mobil phone with T9. I don't even have to look at the phone keyboard, my fingers can easily feel what button they're on (only 3 x 3 grid), I sometimes don't even have to look at the screen to know what I'm typing. I bet a T9 setup would also make it a lot easier to type on a touch screen device like my TX or the iPhone. Even without tactile feedback, you'll have good idea of where your fingers are going to hit, if there's only 3x3 large buttons.


RE: Larger keyboard?
hkklife @ 8/20/2008 12:11:48 PM # Q
It's not that we ALL want QWERTY. Palm just finds that the easiest/safest/cheapest path of least resistance and they think everyone DEMANDS IT. Prior to the iPhone, Palm said "Everyone wants a QWERTY, square-screen smartphone". Then after the iPhone, Palm said "Everyone who wants a large-screen phone can have the iPhone and users who prefer QWERTY will continue to buy Treos & Centros".

Remember, it's a lot easier to say you're not trying to compete with the iPhone vs. saying "we cannot possibly hope to compete with the iPhone, we're stuck in the 320x320 rut".

Palm *loved* that the market turned to smartphones from PDAs circa 2004. It bought them several more years of not only Garnet but inadequately spec'd, higher-margin devices in general. To date we have yet to see a Palm smartphone (regardless of OS) that surpasses 2003's Tungsten T3 in screen resolution. Putting all of their eggs in the smartphone basket was the rare instance where a company could be said to be jumping headfirst into an emerging market while simultaneously retreating to the relative safety of QWERTY, less RAM, no wi-fi, and SSS (small square screens). It'd be analogous to, say, a major PC company deciding to produce exclusively netbooks that cost more than their full-featured laptops from now on.

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: Larger keyboard?
palmit @ 8/20/2008 12:51:16 PM # Q
"T9 typing faster"

Not for most people. I have the tiny Centro KB and I wouldn't want to go back to T9!

RE: Larger keyboard?
Tere @ 8/22/2008 2:03:09 PM # Q
I want Graffiti I !!! No, really...I'm not kidding.

- Tere
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No new OS =THIS= year?

SeldomVisitor @ 8/20/2008 12:31:14 PM # Q
That Me-Too Media article suggests PLAM wil be introducing a new device (*) AND the new OS in "first half 2009".

If this is true, then PLAM will miss a rather critical deadline of for the OS - namely "by end of 2008" "release" of the OS.

Furthermore, "first half 2009" easily could miss "early 2009" as already "promised" by PLAM repeatedly for the new devices with Nova.


(*) Device - single - not devices. Interesting...

RE: No new OS =THIS= year?
hkklife @ 8/20/2008 12:59:14 PM # Q
SV: I KNEW if anyone else caught that, it'd be you ;-)

Don't worry about making or missing deadlines. Palm's spin meisters will say that SOMETHING has been delivered to SOMEONE by SOME point in calendar year '08 and then trout out some fluff and act like everything's peachy.

But that's par for the course. What I'd really like to mention is that your earlier theory that I will personally go on record as doubting might actually be coming to life.

I could forsee Palm doing a glorified PDA-type "DEVICE" (singular) to launch Nova. They may bill it as a "social networking + web companion" per today's Me-Too media article. Think of a Nokia N8xx/Sony Mylo-style device (ie a wi-fi/BT device sold at retail & not through traditional carrier channels) but with better marketing behind it, ties to some kind of "MyPalm iTunes" software/online storefront and of course full PIM/media support...

After the Fooleo debacle and if AT&T and many other GSM carriers really aren't getting excited about the Treo Pro, then I have a hard time seeing how Palm's gonna rally the tropps to support a single new device on a totally untested, unproven OS.

I predict June '09ish as the absolute earliest any kind of Nova device will hit the market. I'd say this time (Aug-Oct) next year is a far more likely window.

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: No new OS =THIS= year?
SeldomVisitor @ 8/20/2008 1:04:00 PM # Q
Yes, the corollary of the "no Treo Pro at US carrier" disaster is that no (US) carrier would likely be interested in an uber-expensive new-OS phone either is indeed important to note!


That could be a REAL biggee if the device ISN'T just a PDA...

RE: No new OS =THIS= year?
hkklife @ 8/20/2008 1:19:32 PM # Q
The Pro is admittedly Palm's strongest product in years and their most stylish in nearly a decade (since the Palm V or maybe the m500). Screen size & lack of CDMA version aside, it's the first Treo that doesn't omit as many features as it includes.

But what was (very) cautious optimism yesterday is turning into genuine concern from me at the utter indifference from the carriers revealed today. On top of that concern:

-All Palm OS Garnet devices other than the Centro are EOL'd or about to be EOL'd with no signs of any future Garnet-based devices to maintain Centro's momentum.

-No carrier other than Sprint (the Wal-Mart of wireless providers) jumps on the 800w wagon

-No US carriers and few international carriers jump on the Treo Pro bandwagon

-No other secondary products to generate any considerable kind of revenue (online software sales, peripherals, PDAs, Fooleo etc)

-Nova is possibly delayed and/or limited to a single device (possibly not a smartphone). Maybe Nova is being retooled at the 11th hour ala ALP in order to support non-smartphone devices (integrate some kind of handwriting recognition and/or an onscreen keyboard, large screen resolution support etc?)

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

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Plam is DOOMED!

mikecane @ 8/20/2008 1:05:46 PM # Q
Oh dear god!

>>>One was the Centro. He saw some hope for the device, which Palm was readying for a fall 2007 debut. But the Palm engineers had not got that quite right either. Mr. Rubinstein dispatched a team of executives to Taiwan and China to oversee production more closely. He made them redesign the battery panel on the back so it didn't squeak. And he asked for fixes to the software so it would lock up less frequently.

>>>One thing he wanted to fix was the fit of the phone's plastic pieces. When he went around the room and asked who was in charge of that, no one spoke up. Mr. Rubinstein did not relent. "I asked until I found out," Mr. Rubinstein recalled saying. "Then I said, ‘O.K., what do we have to do to get it done?' "

>>>"In the past that might have slipped by," said Brodie C. Keast, a senior vice president for marketing at Palm.

And someone from Plam DARED to say they read PIC to laugh? Hey, who are pu$$ie$ *now*, Plamboyz? You can't even admit to and standup for your own effups!

If Plam survives, it will IN SPITE its Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight employees.

I mean, really, a SQUEAKING battery compartment is OK? Pathetic!

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While Plam alienates its devs ...

mikecane @ 8/20/2008 1:08:57 PM # Q
... iPhone devs try an end run around Apple to produce systemwide Copy/Cut/Paste!

Sure, that's some APPLE should do, but right now I think they've got some 3G issues to still fix. (Yeah, go ahead and smirk, Colligan Man. At least the iPhone has a 21st-century OS! How long you gonna put that decrepit whore Garnet on the street, techpimp?)

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Apple to Plam: DIE!

mikecane @ 8/20/2008 2:23:30 PM # Q
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Palm readies next-gen ‘Web 2.0' OS (read article)

Galaxyhunter1 @ 8/20/2008 8:22:15 PM # Q
Palm readies next-gen ‘Web 2.0' OS

Read the article at link below:

Today Colligan is at the helm of Palm. He's guided the development of the Centro, made the call to axe the much-maligned Foleo, and is now overseeing the development of an all-new operating system to power the next generation of Palm devices due in 2009.

RE: Palm readies next-gen ‘Web 2.0' OS (read article)
SeldomVisitor @ 8/21/2008 4:29:35 AM # Q
That's an ancient article.

Things change.

Like, you know, iPhone specs, etc.

Reply to this comment

Colligan/Palm should do this

Gekko @ 9/7/2008 3:15:25 PM # Q

Michael Dell 'Friends' his customers
How Mr. PC is using Facebook and other Web 2.0 sites to help turn his company around.
By Jon Fortt, senior writer
September 4, 2008: 10:14 AM EDT

(Fortune Magazine) - Write something about Dell online, and chances are the company will know about it in an hour or so. Dis the company in a blog or a Facebook group, and someone from a crack response team may even chime in, if only to let everyone know that Dell cares.

What stands out about Dell is the investment it has made in its self-awareness. It has a squad of 42 employees who spend their workdays engaging with the communities on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. What is this Team Web 2.0 learning? One important nugget: that potential customers spend 99% of their time on the web doing research and just 1% actually buying. So the company has tried to dial down the hard sell and become - or at least appear to become - more helpful. The first step was to add blogs and message boards in the hope that irate customers will talk to the company rather than gripe to the whole Internet. "If we don't do that at, it's going to be on CNET or somewhere," Michael Dell says. "I'd rather have that conversation in my living room than in somebody else's."

The next phase of Dell's listening campaign has been to go beyond damage control and into building better products. During a recent chat, the CEO was eager to show me a laptop his company developed with customer input. Engineers get a lot of their feedback the old-fashioned way, hand-delivering early models to major buyers. But they also pick over a Dell site called IdeaStorm early in the development of a project for a sense of what the masses care about. The site lets anyone sign in and offer suggestions - and vote other people's ideas up or down. If you've ever used the wisdom-of-crowds social network Digg, you get the idea. "Now you go to IdeaStorm and type in any keyword you can think of that has anything to do with what you're working on, and see what people are saying," says Dell.

An example of this collective-design approach in action is Dell's popular new Latitude laptop. Dell engineers granted the wishes of IdeaStorm users by adding keyboards that light up in the dark, a fast connection technology called eSATA, longer battery life, and a rainbow of color choices. The moves earned cautious praise from Jeremiah Owyang, a Forrester Research analyst who has followed the company. "We've frequently positioned them as a case study in letting customers decide where the company is headed," he says. "Very few are doing it as well as Dell."

RE: Colligan/Palm should do this
Gekko @ 9/7/2008 3:16:29 PM # Q

"What kills a company is not competition but arrogance. We control our fate." - Google CEO Eric Schmidt

RE: Colligan/Palm should do this
mikecane @ 9/7/2008 3:53:48 PM # Q

When Palm tried first to "engage" the Net, they sent out the Heatherbot to tell people to Reset and also to slander all 3rd-party apps.

When Palm tried second to "engage" the Net, they did a fake blog and censored Comments.

When Palm tried third to "engage" the Net, it was Ed Colligan looking like a dolt for all the world in replying to Engadget - and then killing the Foleo shortly thereafter.

Please, Palm. Stay OFF the Net.

RE: Colligan/Palm should do this
Gekko @ 9/7/2008 4:07:49 PM # Q

enjoy, comic boy -

Fri Jul 11, 2008 — by Michael Davis
The Asshole Express Card, by Michael Davis

RE: Colligan/Palm should do this
mikecane @ 9/8/2008 8:05:11 AM # Q
Gekko, I'm terrified when I think of what you might have been using as Google search terms to find *that* one. "Asshole" and "express." Yeesh.

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