MobileInfocenter

Handheld Manufacturers Continue Retreat

Following Sony's surprising exit from the US PDA handheld market earlier this summer, three other companies have announced their intentions to withdraw from the US handheld market.

In recent weeks, three large electronics companies have announced plans to stop selling and developing handheld PDAs for the US market. Toshiba, who produced a line of Pocket PC handhelds announced their intention to leave the US handheld market by the end of this year.

Just this week, two more manufacturers have retreated from the competitive US market. JVC which intended to market and produce two multimedia Pocket PC units. The company told InfoSync, they have halted all further development of PDA products 'indefinitely.'

The AP also reports, Sharp Electronics will stop selling its Linux-based handheld computer in the United States. The company has said they will continue to sell PDAs in its home market of Japan but "has made a business decision to cycle out of business development activities for the Zaurus SL6000" in the U.S. market.

Sales of traditional PDAs have slowed down and have remained flat over the past two years. Recent growth has shifted toward wireless devices and smartphones, that combine PDA features with mobile phone services. According to an IDC estimate, sales of smartphones are expected to triple current handheld levels by late 2005.

Article Comments

 (34 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.

Down

A maturing of the market

RhinoSteve @ 10/21/2004 1:53:37 PM #
While this may sound bad. This is actually a good sign. The market is starting to mature, a customer profile is consolidating and we will have better products in the long run.

About the only ones that will be upset are the "feature creepers" that can't afford new cars to show off to dates here.
RE: A maturing of the market
LiveFaith @ 10/21/2004 4:30:50 PM #
PalmOne just "fumbled in the 4th Quarter" with that T5E2, but maybe the more that exit, they will get "the ball back" with another chance to score? Hoping for the soon rise of cutting edge OS6 devices.

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com
RE: A maturing of the market
whitemiata @ 10/21/2004 5:52:51 PM #
I'm ok with PDAs and Cell phones merging and PDAs going away...

... provided ...

that the prices go down (yeah I mean way down) and the cell phones can be used with the prepaid cell phone plans.

I'd love to replace my Z71 + cell phone with a Treo 600... but I'm not about to start getting gauged monthly by some cell phone company.

I like my cell service the way it is. I pay when I use it, and don't when I don't (on average it costs me about $10 a month... maybe $15 tops).

Alessandro

RE: A wilting of the market
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/21/2004 10:32:09 PM #
While this may sound bad. This is actually a good sign. The market is starting to mature, a customer profile is consolidating and we will have better products in the long run.

About the only ones that will be upset are the "feature creepers" that can't afford new cars to show off to dates here.

I wonder what this guy's smoking. And where I can get some...

Wake up, little buddy. There is NO good money to be made in sales of regular PDAs anymore. Period.




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

RE: A maturing of the market
sremick @ 10/21/2004 11:39:49 PM #
I'm NOT ok with cell phones and PDAs merging.

The features I want and need in each are different and incompatible with each other. A PDA of the the proper size is too big of a cell phone. A phone of the right size is too small to be a PDA.

http://vtbsd.net/winhelp/

Unfortunately, size matters.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/22/2004 12:38:00 AM #
A PDA of the the proper size is too big of a cell phone. A phone of the right size is too small to be a PDA.


Amen. For now.

But the Treo 600 is still a pretty nice compromise for all those sick of lugging around two separate devices. A few people on this site have Photoshopped very creative Treo designs that would finally almost eliminate the need to compromise. The Sony P910 is also not a bad design, but it's still too big to be a nice phone.




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

RE: A maturing of the market
Foo Fighter @ 10/22/2004 9:24:26 AM #
Just ignore RhinoSteve (aka Baron von Münchausen). He often makes ridiculous statements and outlandish claims which have no basis in fact. Recently he made the unsubstantiated claim that the Tungsten C is the hottest selling WiFi handheld on the market, even outselling all wireless Pocket PCs. And we know that isn't true, by PalmOne's own admission.

-------------------------------
Editor, http://Pocketfactory.com
Contributing Editor, http://digitalmediathoughts.com
RE: A maturing of the market
JonAcheson @ 10/23/2004 11:36:54 AM #
As far as the PDA phones go, I'm with Allesandro.

I only use my cellphone for emergencies and the occasional "I'm here, where are you?" call. So I use Tracfone because I only pay $100 a year for service and minutes, and I've never run out.

If I could get a Treo 650 while only paying for a Tracfone type plan, I would be really tempted. If I have to get a regular cellphone plan, it becomes too expensive.

Though, what I really want is just a Tungsten E level palm with a thumbboard.

Jon Acheson

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

RE: A maturing of the market
RhinoSteve @ 10/26/2004 1:35:19 AM #
From your comments Foo, I'm complemented. I don't think you will ever get it. Go back to coding Palm Desktop for your Commodore-64.

Coming soon! -Nothing.

Strider_mt2k @ 10/21/2004 3:13:43 PM #
What a bummer!

Not that I owned or planned to own anything from these guys, but still!

I hope PDAs don't go away and get replaced by something dumb. er

RE: Coming soon! - Maybe a lot.
Gar @ 10/21/2004 3:27:17 PM #
This might have a lot to do with the strength of the Dell and HP handhelds. Hard for the overseas hardware folks to compete with the homegrown devices.
Also, Sony has continued to develop new hardware, they may be waiting on things to settle out a bit more in the states before they hit the market with the newest devices. They were coming out with new hardware every month... really - every month! That gave them some US market research to build on.
Next year might actually be interesting on the handheld end of things.

-----------------
My wife has to sell a lot of candles (www.ccandles.com) to buy her new Palm.
RE: Coming soon! - Maybe a lot.
Strider_mt2k @ 10/21/2004 4:15:36 PM #
Sony certainly can afford to sit back and wait it out.
Maybe you're right!


Survival of the fittest

Gekko @ 10/21/2004 3:31:32 PM #

it's the American way

RE: Survival of the fittest
just_little_me @ 10/21/2004 4:30:55 PM #
...to wreck it for the rest of us...! :-P


JLM.

RE: Survival of the fittest
e_tellurian @ 10/21/2004 4:34:52 PM #
Fittest and thoughtful?

Is there much purpose for energy if we have nothing to do with our energy?

E-T

e-tellurian

completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution

RE: Survival of the fittest
a3 @ 10/22/2004 10:34:35 AM #
Oh, I was just wondering when will the NORTHamerican patriotism will appear.

Actually, Iwonder if Sony and Toshiba's latest releases (outside the US)were just caused because they were so ahead in development that they had to go out or is it just true that the Japanese market is more profitable than the US market. Maybe time will tell if we ever see another release from Sony, an OS6 Clie???

____________________________________________________
Current fan of a 320x480 tablet shaped Palm with built in BT+Wifi for less than US$450

RE: Survival of the fittest
RhinoSteve @ 10/26/2004 1:36:32 AM #
You will see an OS6 Clie in Japan. With that, a huge gray market for it in the USA. As far as north american patriotism, **** Canada and Mexico!

-- Passive Agressive types need not apply.

JVC: Just Vaporware Comedy!

LiveFaith @ 10/21/2004 4:42:57 PM #
My my, has anyone actually seen that JVC prototype that was supposed to be their Windows Mobile device release. Looked like somebody beat that thing with an ugly stick! Looks more like a free transistor radio that came bundled with a Smokey & the Bandit Special Edition Trans Am.

http://www.pdalive.com/forums/attachment.php?s=&postid=42188

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

RE: JVC: Just Vaporware Comedy!
Strider_mt2k @ 10/21/2004 5:16:15 PM #
Woah.

Willy Wonka called: He wants his PDA-shaped candy dispenser back.

RE: JVC: Just Vaporware Comedy!
KayAU @ 10/21/2004 6:49:24 PM #
It get's worse. You can't tell from the pic, but that thing is actually well over 2 metres tall. :-o

Kay

RE: JVC: Just Vaporware Comedy!
Altema @ 10/22/2004 12:40:39 PM #
I'm sure it looks better once you take it out of that silly ruberized shipping package. Oh, wait...

RE: JVC: Just Vaporware Comedy!
A9700rO @ 10/25/2004 12:00:47 PM #
Atrocious...

Clie-SJ22>>Tungsten | E >>> Clie-NX60>>Zire 72
RE: JVC: Just Vaporware Comedy!
A9700rO @ 10/25/2004 12:00:47 PM #
Atrocious...

Clie-SJ22>>Tungsten | E >>> Clie-NX60>>Zire 72

Market Rules Apply

maskman @ 10/24/2004 1:42:43 AM #
Only a few start-up companies manufacture products without performing marketing research. If a new product is not expected to sell for a profit, it is not manufactured.

Furthermore, there is an upward limit as to what an inspired idea can deliver and still be cost effective. The PalmOne Zire 72 arguably reaches that limit at a reasonable price. Who can compete with it?

All those companies who have invested R&D to develope competitive instruments must feel really sick. Palm wins again!

Will PDAs EVER be profitable again?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/24/2004 4:57:35 PM #
All those companies who have invested R&D to develope competitive instruments must feel really sick. Palm wins again!

Question: How much profit has Palm made overall in the past three years?

Answer: NONE. They've actually lost tens of millions. Last time I checked, businesses exist to MAKE money and those that don't make money go bankrupt. But maybe business rules don't apply in your and Palm's universe...



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

RE: Market Rules Apply
maskman @ 10/24/2004 7:48:06 PM #
Palm is the only company that has ever made significant money from PDA's. The truth is that PDA's (and PDA Operating Systems) is their only business.

With over 20,000 Palm OS programs available, and more being written all the time, how could it be that there is no market for the hardware?

If Palm is bankrupt as you imply, then you are right, they cannot stay in business. However, at the moment, they look good to me.

Maybe you should check your facts.

RE: Market Rules Apply
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/24/2004 10:16:17 PM #
Palm is the only company that has ever made significant money from PDA's. The truth is that PDA's (and PDA Operating Systems) is their only business.

With over 20,000 Palm OS programs available, and more being written all the time, how could it be that there is no market for the hardware?

If Palm is bankrupt as you imply, then you are right, they cannot stay in business. However, at the moment, they look good to me.

Maybe you should check your facts.


Palm made its money - a lot of money - when PDAs were in their heyday back in 1999 - 2001. At one point, Palm's cap was ridiculously inflated into the BILLIONS.

That was then, this is now: PDAs are dying. They never managed to appeal to the masses despite what pundits had predicted. But everyone uses cellphones, so now the thinking is that smartphones are the future. Palm openly admits that smartphones is their future and the result is their PDA designs have suffered from neglect. (Witness the Tungsten 5 nee Tungsten E2)

Are we up to 20,000 programs now? Too bad 19,500 of them are c r a p. And the rest sell for so little that the software companies can barely make a living. Sorry, but the number of programs out there is irrelevant. People just aren't buying PDAs like they used to, partially because industry "experts" have been saying the market was dying for so long that people started to believe it.

If Palm "looks good" to you, I'd suggest you spend a few minutes reviewing their SEC filings from the past few years. Palm's management has been so clueless for so many years that it's surprising the company has lasted as long as it has.

YOU need to check the facts, buddy.

;-O





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

RE: Market Rules Apply
maskman @ 10/25/2004 3:49:18 AM #
Today palmOne Announces the Treo 650 Smartphone. This is my answer to you; not anything I can say.

The fact is you and I are just outsiders. Neither of us know their future marketing plans. The main difference between us is that I admire genius and can see it in a company based on past perormance. You cannot. You can only predict gloom and doom, and you can't even factor in past performance.

Just pretend you won this arguement and go away.

RE: Market Rules Apply
hkklife @ 10/25/2004 9:50:58 AM #
Part of the problem is that Palm/PalmOne has hoisted one halfhearted/disappointing handheld onto the market after another. There has not been a GENUINELY compelling design since the Palm Vx. The m5xx series was close but the m500 was overpriced & looked too much like a V while the m505 had all of its SUDS & screen woes. The m515 was a great unit (still is, in fact) but was released too late in the game.

The Handspring Visor Edge was arguably the last great handheld design but its specs were disappointing and it needed a SD slot instead of that piggyback Springboard monstrosity.

My point is that P1 could still hit a homerun (even in today's market) if they'd get something out there that had a great screen, reasonable feature set, metal V-style housing, and was priced attractively. You still see plenty of executives hanging onto old Palm Vs, Visors and m505s. That thing that was leaked here about a month ago with the old blue Palm logo in the middle of the d-pad would be just such a device. Ideally, P1 could even offer two or even three different variants of the core unit, differing them in CPU speed, Ram amount, bundled software, and wireless flavors.
Of course the R&D and marketing war chest required to pull off such a thing is sadly beyond P1's means nowadays. We'll be lucky to get another candy-coated Zire and another T|E cousin running Cobalt next year, I fear...



RE: Market Rules Apply - update the Palm V into the Palm X
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/25/2004 1:56:48 PM #
Today palmOne Announces the Treo 650 Smartphone. This is my answer to you; not anything I can say.

I think the Treo 650 shows Palm is betting the farm on smartphones. It's their only hope to survive.

You can only predict gloom and doom, and you can't even factor in past performance.

Past success means NOTHING. Just look where Netscape and Apple are now.

There has not been a GENUINELY compelling design since the Palm Vx.

I disagree with that assertion. Yes, the Palm V/Vx was a brilliant design and probably made Palm most of its reputation (and profits!). In fact, Palm still touts the V on their website as being one of their models! http://www.palm.com/us/ But the Tungsten T3 is also an excellent design. The only problem is it's poorly constructed. The Treo 600 was also a great design, but Palm really didn't have anything to do with it.

My point is that P1 could still hit a homerun (even in today's market) if they'd get something out there that had a great screen, reasonable feature set, metal V-style housing, and was priced attractively. You still see plenty of executives hanging onto old Palm Vs, Visors and m505s.

I really think Palm has given up on trying to innovate in the PDA market. The money simply isn't there, so this is probably a smart business decision. Even now Palm's (actually Ideo's http://www.ideo.com/portfolio/re.asp?x=50008) V design looks fresh and seems naturally suited to the executive environment. Taking out a Palm V is still a bit of a fashion statement, much like Zero Halliburton briefcases used to be. Bringing out a Palm V with a high res color screen would make a lot more sense than spewing out more garbage like the Tungsten 5.

Of course the R&D and marketing war chest required to pull off such a thing is sadly beyond P1's means nowadays. We'll be lucky to get another candy-coated Zire and another T|E cousin running Cobalt next year, I fear...

No R+D is necessary to make nicer packaging. Palm already has the V design and all the parts PDAs use are "off the shelf". It's simply a matter of bringing the design to a manufacturing house and Voila, "Presenting the Palm X".




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

RE: Market Rules Apply
maskman @ 10/26/2004 12:34:03 AM #
MILPITAS, Calif., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- palmOne, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLMO) today reported revenue of $273.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2005, ended Aug. 27, which is up 62 percent from the $168.6 million reported during the comparable quarter a year ago

The above is an excerpt from a September Press Release from PalmOne. Why do you insist they are failing or struggling to stay in business? Of course, like any other excellent business company, they are altering their course to take advantage of the marketplace!

As for me personally: if I were to loose my Zire 72 I would go right out and buy a replacement - either the same or the next level of improvement. I doubt that PalmOne will ever stop making PDA's.

Palm: It's time for PalmOS on NORMAL phones!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/26/2004 1:29:02 AM #
The above is an excerpt from a September Press Release from PalmOne. Why do you insist they are failing or struggling to stay in business? Of course, like any other excellent business company, they are altering their course to take advantage of the marketplace!

As for me personally: if I were to loose my Zire 72 I would go right out and buy a replacement - either the same or the next level of improvement. I doubt that PalmOne will ever stop making PDA's.


http://finance.yahoo.com/q/sec?s=PHHM

Read the past few years of Palm's SEC filings and let me know if you still think they're an "excellent business company".

I doubt Palm will stop making regular PDAs soon, but the writing's on the wall. Smartphones will probably generate more than 50% of Palm's revenue in 2005 and I wouldn't be surprised to see them pare their PDA lineup down to 3 or 4 models.

Palm's business strategy seems to make absolutely no sense. Why the he11 won't they get PalmOS into some cheap, basic phones? Imagine PalmOS running on phones like these:

http://tinyurl.com/yt2hu
http://tinyurl.com/5rkge

Get PalmOS into "regular" phones ASAP, become ubiquitous and watch the spinoff profits soar once people see what the OS can do.



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

RE: Market Rules Apply
maskman @ 10/26/2004 2:25:00 AM #
Mr. voice_of_reason:

I think we both agree that Palm rules the PDA market at this time. This is why some of the competition are already dropping out.

Also, while you say that Palm is not earning as much money as they used to, you must admit that they are still earning more money on PDA's than any other company. I think you would even agree that they are in an excellent market position for expansion into the cell phone area and great improvements on standard PDA's.

Someday they may even incorporate artificial intelligence. But, not all the technology is there yet. It is also imprudent (marketing wise) to offer improvements other than babystep by babystep.

In the near future (one or two years) I expect other improvements in standard PalmOne PDA's as follows:
(1) a sharper (autofocus) lens for the built-in camera,
(2) much larger memory capacity,
(3) built-in voice recognition and,
(4) longer battery life.

When these improvements are made, I will surender my Zire 72 and buy the new Palm X. Palm rules!

RE: Market Rules Apply
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 10/26/2004 3:14:42 AM #
I think we both agree that Palm rules the PDA market at this time. This is why some of the competition are already dropping out.

Ahem. Palm doesn't "rule" the PDA market. I believe their market share dropped over 50% in the past couple of years alone. And the competition is dropping out because they feel the PDA fad is on its way out, so the potential returns in this diminishing market don't warrant continued investments. Toshiba, Sony, etc. apparently decided to cut their losses before things get ugly. Once the pie shrinks some more, I expect Dell and HP to flex their muscles and kick a few tons of sand into Palm's face.

Also, while you say that Palm is not earning as much money as they used to, you must admit that they are still earning more money on PDA's than any other company.

Ahem. No. If you cut through the B.S. accountantspeak in their SEC filings, Palm hasn't had a profitable quarter since around 2001. I believe they could have turned a profit in their most recent quarter, but once you factor in stock option payments to Palm executives (namely Nagel, and the Jeff 'n' Donna twins) loan payments, etc. I believe they were actually in the red again. Dell probably earns more per PDA than Palm does and HP also probably earns more profits on PDA sales than Palm. Now if you're saying Palm's REVENUES (not PROFITS) from PDA sales is higher than its competitors, you're probably right.

I think you would even agree that they are in an excellent market position for expansion into the cell phone area and great improvements on standard PDA's.

Palm's been "in an excellent market position for expansion" for over 5 years and has done precious little to capitalize on this. They've had ample opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of WinCE/PPC, yet continue to give Microsoft more chances to get a foot in the door. Don't look now, but I think Microsoft's got more than their foot in the door this year.

Handspring's engineers created a minor miracle and somehow hacked the PalmOS into a slick smartphone OS. They handed this over to Palm, giving Palm more than a year's head start on the competition and what does Palm do? Nothing. Over one year after the Treo 600 all they have to show is another baby step: the Treo 650. The Treo 650 is what the 600 should have been in the first place. Where are the 3 and 4 ounce phones running Palm's phone OS? Where are the Samsung VaporPhones™? Had Palm succeeded in flooding the market with cheap Samsungs, LGs, Sanyos, Sony Ericssons, Motorolas, etc. all running PalmOS they'd be in control again. Instead, we have hardcore Palm users looking to switch to the Sony Ericsson P910 simply because they've given up on Palm's hardware. (Just like PDA users moving to PPC for the same reasons.)

Palm isn't capable of making "great improvements on standard PDA's". That was Sony's job and they did it well. Palm lacks the money, engineering talent, desire and manufacturing ability to create showstoppers like the UX50 or the VZ90. All they can do is keep baby stepping™. Or should I say, "Zen of Palming™"? But, as the saying goes, you can't shine feces (like the Tungsten E) or make a silk purse out of a Zire 31's ear.

Someday they may even incorporate artificial intelligence. But, not all the technology is there yet. It is also imprudent (marketing wise) to offer improvements other than babystep by babystep.

In the near future (one or two years) I expect other improvements in standard PalmOne PDA's as follows:
(1) a sharper (autofocus) lens for the built-in camera,
(2) much larger memory capacity,
(3) built-in voice recognition and,
(4) longer battery life.

Babysteps aren't enough. I think PDAs have been underachieving for years and this is why the market's drying up. Imagine a device with the same form factor as the CLIE UX50, but with:
- 4 inch OLED screen
- Dual SD or Memory Stick and CompactFlash slots
- 5 Mega Pixel camera with video capability
- Voice recorder with voice recognition
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- MP3 player
- 8 hour battery life
- Built in cell phone (GSM and CDMA) radio modules
- 256 MB user-accessible RAM
- USB host ability -> plug in a USB flash drive for extra memory!

This single device could replace PDA, cell phone, laptop, MP3 player, portable video player, digital camera, camcorder, etc.

The UX50 and VZ90 have shown that the technology to do most of these things is either already here or else just around the corner. If Palm's PDAs continue to evolve in a series of "baby steps", pretty soon they'll go the way of the dinosaurs.

That's how I see things. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this!

;-)




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

Top

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass:

Latest Comments