Colligan: No New Palm Handhelds

Palm TX Z22Palm has finally come clean and confirmed what has been widely suspected, that it will no longer develop any new traditional handheld PDAs. Word came straight from Palm CEO Ed Colligan during yesterdays conference call, but it bears mentioning again for posterity. The announcement was made practically off the cuff when asked by a financial analyst about the possibility of shutting down the handheld business.

Read on for the full audio clip of the question and response. In short, he states that Palm will continue to "push them out" as long as there is still sufficient demand. He continues by adding that they are not developing new ones, and as such there is an inevitable end to the product line.

The Palm TX and Z22 were Palm's last new handheld PDA models. They both debuted back in October 2005.

Palm's PDA line has been declining for years given the market shift to smartphones and the lack of any new models. Despite this Palm still remains the leading PDA vendor and its handheld business still accounts for at least 10% of Palm's overall revenue. During its last quarter Palm sold about 150,000 units for $21 million dollars of revenue.

The question came from Manyard Um from UBS. Andy Brown gives the first response about product margins going forward, while Colligan chimes in around the 2m mark about the Handheld line. Click below to listen to the exchange:

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Palm went a wee-bit further than 'No new handhelds'

SeldomVisitor @ 12/19/2008 11:22:20 AM # Q
They more-or-less also said "No new Centros".

Their words were ambiguous, but they noted the consumer/prosumer market as being the target of Nova. This =may= have been a transient mis-speak.

Reply to this comment

PDA end

ProfGreg @ 12/19/2008 11:28:45 AM # Q
no surprise there: why would anyone want a device with a 320 x 480 touch screen,
Bluetooth, Wifi, email, sms, multimedia player [coreplayer, kinoma, pocket tunes], web [better with Opera] 32+GB flash [via PowerSDHC] voice recording, advanced PIMs, MS Office compatibility, advanced stat, DBM, endless games etc. etc. - it will even make calls via Wifi+VOIP? - - I simply can't imagine.

... but I am certainly happy to have a reserve, factory sealed TX + extra bits against future need.

RE: PDA end
Gekko @ 12/19/2008 11:33:37 AM # Q

why would you save such a fossil? do you have an IBM PC with DOS v1 saved in reserve somewhere too just in case??????????????

stop fearing the future! EMBRACE IT!

RE: PDA end
jays333 @ 12/19/2008 11:42:15 AM # Q
well thats because there are better computers...the palm TX is up there so far as best handhelds without a pphone. we just want a great handheld and no one will make it.

"Its easy just kill everybody till the trator stops being a trator and starts being dead."
RE: PDA end
PacManFoo @ 12/19/2008 1:05:31 PM # Q
Funny how Gekko talks about the future but owns a Centro. Now that's funny.

The last known classic PDA user.
RE: PDA end
PacManFoo @ 12/19/2008 1:10:14 PM # Q
Three years since their last handheld and they announce there won't be another. Wow..Shocker. But they'll keep charging the same price for the TX as three years ago.

You keep pumpin' out those pink smartphones Eddie.

The last known classic PDA user.

RE: PDA end
dagwud @ 12/19/2008 2:03:28 PM # Q
A certain individual once again proves incapable of thinking outside a tiny little box.

It's not a matter of fearing the future. It's a matter of having a device that does what you want, not what some schmuck in an internet forum or company press conference tells you to want.

I'll buy a smartphone when they provide me the usability I desire, and not before.

PalmPilot Pro (1997) -> III (1998) -> Vx (1999) -> m500 (2001) -> m515 (2002) -> Tx (2007)

RE: PDA end
Gekko @ 12/19/2008 2:25:35 PM # Q

NO MORE PDAs EVERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: PDA end -
ChiA @ 12/19/2008 3:59:25 PM # Q
Millions of phones are sold every year, several billion are in use around the world. A phone can now do everything which a PDA can do. Most of the world have the need to communicate; they don't have the budget nor the pocket space for a PDA.

PDAs have been available for the past 15 years but most people prefer a phone.

Yes, there's a market for PDAs in the same way that they'll be a market for buggy whips, valve amplifiers and typewriters, but most people find phones more useful than PDAs.

Most of the world doesn't want nor need a PDA. Live with it!

RE: PDA end
ChiA @ 12/19/2008 4:15:05 PM # Q
no surprise there: why would anyone want a device with a 320 x 480 touch screen... blah blah blah, miserable attempt to make Palm Tx's dated 2005 specification relevant to 2009

Well the Touch Pro HD:

Has EVERYTHING you mention plus:
- 5 megapixel camera with autofocus
- 800 x 480 touch screen
- 802.11 b/g wi-fi

Yet is smaller and lighter than a Tx!
Oh did I mention it's a 3g phone as well!

Available in all good stockists (well at least in Great Britain) now!!!

THE PDA is dead. Live with it!

RE: PDA end
PacManFoo @ 12/19/2008 5:03:15 PM # Q
Well actually the PDA is not dead. HP still makes them. Apple makes the iTouch which even though people don't want to call it a PDA, it does many of the same things. So if it's the term PDA that has your panties in a bunch then fine. We will refer to it as another name if that make all you haters feel better.

The last known classic PDA user.
RE: PDA end
joad @ 12/20/2008 11:06:49 AM # Q
EXACTLY!!! The iPod Touch "iTouch" is simply a PDA - it's a Tungsten C with a slicker screen and less functionality (BUT better wifi).

But Colligan was so accurate about Apple's big fail in the Phone market compared to the market-leading Treo smartphone, I'm sure he's correct in saying the day of the PDA is dead too. Apple might sell a few of those "iTouch" devices to rabid Apple fanboys, but other than a few thousand of 'em Apple will have ANOTHER fail by entering the "dead" PDA market.

Poor Apple, their stock prices must be in the toilet by now for developing that phone and then foolishly providing a PDA too. Since Palm's wisdom is so brilliant, perhaps Palm can swoop in right now and purchase the braindead Apple for a pure stock deal...?

RE: PDA end
akalefty @ 12/20/2008 4:57:59 PM # Q
As soon as you guys get some capitalization behind this and a hardware design, we've got a good OS platform and a whole bunch of apps I think you might be interested in. Lemme know.

RE: PDA end
DarthRepublican @ 12/21/2008 3:17:17 PM # Q
I've been using my Palm TX as a PDA, ebook reader, and video player as I transition from my Treo 680 to a T-Mobile G1 as my primary phone. And it has been a pretty smooth transition. If the G1 had a standard jack for speakers, I'd use it for video. Once the Android ebook readers develop I'll be able to it for ebooks. I'm not sure that Android will ever have PIM applications as elegant as the ones - both built-in and third party - on the PalmOS.

As a web tablet, my TX has always been mediocre at best, Blazer is too primitive and Opera is kludgey and unstable. And I still haven't gotten my PowerSDHC registration despite buying the program over a month ago. Being able to edit Office docs is nice but Dataviz has already announced that it will port Documents to Go to Android. So there really is very little that my Palm TX can do that my G1 can't do and that list will continue to shrink in the coming months. Going forward I don't really see a niche for non-phone PDAs beyond basic PIM functions and you don't really need a 480x320 screen for that. The truth is that most people have been carrying cell phones everywhere they go for well over a decade and it makes sense to integrate as many functions as possible into them.

Yes, if Palm were as big or as smart as Apple, they could have made something like the iPod Touch years ago. Certainly, the TX and the LifeDrive each had features that if combined could rival or surpass anything Apple has put out recently but that's life. Palm doesn't have the resources to put out six devices per year or to do the R&D needed to design them. While that may be sad for Palm, the competition has basically caught up enough that I don't think there is a huge need (from a user perspective) for them to be competitive. Judging from Colligan's statement, Palm will continue selling their outdated but useful TX's and Zires so long as people keep buying them. So while it's a shame to see my beloved Palm devices relegated to secondary roles, the upside is that I have plenty of them in my desk drawer and that I will probably be able to get a new one pretty easily if I ever need it.

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680

RE: PDA end
Gekko @ 12/21/2008 3:38:50 PM # Q

anybody who pulls out a PDA in public in the year 2008 should be embarrassed and ashamed.

RE: PDA end
PacManFoo @ 12/21/2008 6:15:58 PM # Q
As should anyone who pulls out a Centro.

The last known classic PDA user.
RE: PDA end
mikecane @ 12/22/2008 7:58:34 AM # Q
>>>anybody who pulls out a PDA in public in the year 2008 should be embarrassed and ashamed.

Finally, a valid use for my LifeDrive: To crack your skull with it when I see you!

(Hey, it has a CF inside, it won't break!)

RE: PDA end
dagwud @ 12/22/2008 2:35:08 PM # Q
Anyone who's embarrassed and ashamed by their choice of computer hardware needs to get a life, as does anyone who suggest that someone be embarrassed and ashamed for that reason.

PalmPilot Pro (1997) -> III (1998) -> Vx (1999) -> m500 (2001) -> m515 (2002) -> Tx (2007)
RE: PDA end
Gekko @ 12/22/2008 2:58:04 PM # Q

it's almost 2009. do use a TRASH-80 too?

RE: PDA end
SeldomVisitor @ 12/22/2008 3:18:14 PM # Q
> use a TRASH-80 too?

I still have my original 4 MHz z80-based rocket "downstairs" albeit it predates Trash-80s somewhat...


RE: PDA end
DarthRepublican @ 12/23/2008 1:16:30 AM # Q

it's almost 2009. do use a TRASH-80 too?

As a matter of fact I do. Not literally of course but what do you think that netbooks are? Small, cheap, underpowered computers which conceptually are not unlike the original TRS-80. The Model 200 even bears slight resemblance to the original EeePC:

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1

RE: PDA end
Gekko @ 12/23/2008 9:20:59 AM # Q

yes, and a Neanderthal bears a slight resemblance to modern man but the Neanderthal has evolved and so should you.

Reply to this comment


sremick @ 12/19/2008 11:51:33 AM # Q
Non-smartphone handhelds are dead, eh? Yeah, that must be why the iPod Touch is such a failure.

You know, sometimes a person wants a handheld device with PDA functions without having to sell their soul by getting into some monthly contract that costs them more than the handheld in just half a year.

RE: Shame
SeldomVisitor @ 12/19/2008 11:56:07 AM # Q
"All" they have to do is make a really nice large-screen PDA with some special Bluetooth comms/software built in so it can communicate bidirectionally with a phone.

PDA doing what it does best, phone doing what it does best.

I tell ya, the time has come!



RE: Shame
mbgrayson @ 12/19/2008 1:36:00 PM # Q
The Ipod Touch is the type of device Palm should have designed. It is thin, powerful, and has hundreds of Apps that can be downloaded over WiFi.

I agree that there is a market for this type of thing: I have bought two Ipod touches since they came well as owning almost every Palm device back to 1996.

I am still interested in the Nova devices, but Palm is down by three runs, bottom of the ninth, with two outs. and nobody on base. Going to take a heck of a miracle to get back into the game....

RE: Shame
YojimboE @ 12/19/2008 1:38:17 PM # Q
Uh, SV, isn't this just the Fooleo in a diff'rent form factor!?

Myself, I'd love something like that, but anyone who thinks a new PDA is what Palm needs to spend $ on right now is tripping. It's Nova or Black Hole for Palm and Co., and I don't see a lot of light at the end of the event horizon right now.


Professional Amateur

RE: Shame
grimpeur @ 12/19/2008 3:11:14 PM # Q
Even more considering the what the iPod Touch is transitioning into. On TV this even there were advertisements for both the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch. Both focused on the ability to run apps and act as a gaming device. The ability of the iPod Touch to play music got little if any billing in the ad.

Fair enough, maybe Palm doesn't have the resources right now to tackle this market but it shouldn't kill it off completely!

RE: Shame
BaalthazaaR @ 12/19/2008 3:15:44 PM # Q
I think after three years, there would be enough TX users that would "upgrade" to a "TX pro" with nothing more than a better quality digitizer and screen and maybe a better processor.
RE: Shame
SeldomVisitor @ 12/19/2008 5:30:58 PM # Q
> Uh, SV, isn't this just the Fooleo in a diff'rent form factor!?...

No, Fooleo is that idea up there in a different form factor.

RE: Shame
erazer @ 12/19/2008 6:41:18 PM # Q
Apple first developed the iPhone and then simply stripped the phone out for those who did not want/need one and called it the Touch-nothing to lose, everything to gain. Palm could do an iPod Touch also and I'd be surprised if it didn't. I think what Colligan is saying is that they will not spend time developing any more dedicated PDAs which is a sound business decision but a PDA spin off is quite probable.

RE: Shame
tompi @ 12/20/2008 9:35:02 AM # Q
The iPod Touch is not a PDA: its synchronization options stink, and so does its text input. Even more annoying is the fact that Apple deliberately crippled the device by leaving out Bluetooth (so that you can't use it with another phone). Even as a music player, the iPod Touch is mediocre because synchronization doesn't work as well as it does for older iPods.

RE: Shame
joad @ 12/20/2008 11:17:13 AM # Q
I LOVE my iTouch for the features it does well. Compared to the functionality of a Tungsten TX it's lagging - BUT it is an excellent music player, even the plethora of free games and utilities beat out a lot of the stuff that Palm developers were/are charging $20 bucks for, it has a great screen, it has an accelerometer, it still uses the same cables that the original iPod used (except the chargers are a little whack)...

This announcement by Colligan is simply an acknowledgment that the present management of Palm is completely clueless about how to design and market a good device. They have been creating these crummy Centros because they're cheap and they seem to get kickbacks from the carriers. The aged Tungsten TX hasn't even been improved in years, while Palm twiddles around with colors and adding memory to the Centros. Meanwhile they're still busy building Windoze Mobile clones to appease their Redmond masters - even though (for a small device) it's an inferior OS to Palm Frankengarnet.

Sometimes I think Colligan and his crew are heavily invested in shorting this company. They certainly have had a shortage of creativity and listening to their customers for many, many years. What's next: "we will no longer build phones with screens"??

Reply to this comment

Colligan stupid not to see: Phone + PDA

vipm @ 12/19/2008 4:44:07 PM # Q
Colligan of Palm announced they won't make PDAs anymore. Talk about not having strategic skills.

If I were Colligan, I would've designed a PDA that makes up for the weaknesses of a cellphone, whether smart or not, and market it as a consumer's "Cellphone+", and this'll allow Palm to capture a niche market. But I'm a lot smarter than Colligan.

Features of this PDA:
1. great keyboard, something like Blackberry's best keyboard configs and w/ same quality
2. I'd have the PDA have bluetooth, wi-fi, infrared, USB attachment so it can easily share info w/ cellphones and computers, and I'll include drivers/software to allow this. It can backup your cellphone. There's an iPod/iPod Touch app that lets you send files via wi-fi through a browser so this'll allow such a PDA to share files w/ an iPhone/iPod touch.
3. Documents to Go full edition (or something similar) so I can write, make spreadsheets, presentations, pdf files on the fly.
4. I'd have great drawing/paint program w/c is very responsive to stylus and can save in png, gif and jpeg and send it via the mentioned communication software as well as via email and SMS.
5. It'll have a great eBook reader software.
6. supports MMC/SD cards.
7. Can run all Palm apps (can run older apps in emulation).
8. Be super thin and light so won't add bulk to user already w/ a cellphone
9. Can act as a flash drive.

Now not everyone's going to get this device, but a lot of people, including those w/ iPhones, will want or even need such a complementary gadget and Palm could have the niche all to itself. But then again, Palm only sees one step forward and can't think out of the box.

RE: Colligan stupid not to see: Phone + PDA
vipm @ 12/19/2008 5:08:42 PM # Q
Oh, I'd also add these features:

1. I'd also add a great comic reader (can read the various comic book reader formats) and make it very easy to zoom from seeing the full page to reading the text.
2. It'll have a browser like Opera and be able to run Flash (full-flash), Shockwave, Java.
3. voice/sound recorder
4. alarm clock (loud and w/ sleep feature), calendar alarm, timer, stopwatch
5. tuner for guitar, piano, drums, etc.
6. great note taker - one can draw maps, scribbles, etc. (some Palms have it and some don't, but this should be standard)
7. can be SMSed to destroy all data if stolen
8. as a Flash drive, it can write the files to an MMC/SD card which you can then eject and give to someone else
9. has games built-in: Texas Hold'em Poker, multiple-user Scrabble, Towers of Hanoi, 15 Puzzle, solitaire, multiple-user gin rummy, maybe can run old console games in emulation, etc.
10. super-fast OS, runs for a minimum of 7 days on full battery charge, replaceable battery.

1. pedometer - measures the distance you've walked for exercise fans
2. can read from heartrate monitors

RE: Colligan stupid not to see: Phone + PDA
joad @ 12/20/2008 11:32:06 AM # Q
QUIET!! The "great and powerful OZ" Colligan has spoken!!!

There will be no more PDAs, you do not need or want them. You must buy a cell phone with a crummy little screen, or accept the ancient TX that won't even handle SDHC without unofficial third-party drivers.

Reply to this comment

How about a camera with more Pda functions?

philpalm @ 12/19/2008 9:25:49 PM # Q
The cameras that come with cell phones and PDAs suck big time. Why can't a camera with over 5 megapexels have more PDA functions?

Sony's cybershot offers a GPS add on so that all the pictures you take are automatically printed with a GPS location. The Camera also plays music while viewing a slideshow.

True that a camera doesn't need a touchscreen but sometimes you want to leave a memo about every picture you take.

Small screens will always hurt people with poor vision for items that are close up. I'd bet you the average person needs a laptop size screen...

RE: How about a camera with more Pda functions?
DarthRepublican @ 12/21/2008 3:32:56 PM # Q
I just got a new camera and playing around with it, I couldn't help but think the same thing. If Palm were to dust off the old LifeDrive, stick a five to ten megapixel camera with zoom lens and flash; it could be a great, easy to use digital camera for both pictures and video.

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680
RE: How about a camera with more Pda functions?
Gekko @ 12/21/2008 3:40:15 PM # Q

yes! they'd sell DOZENS!!!!!!

RE: How about a camera with more Pda functions?
SeldomVisitor @ 12/22/2008 4:02:33 AM # Q
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Palm will continue to 'push them out'

Gekko @ 12/20/2008 7:50:32 AM # Q

just like shiit.

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