Editorial: Sideling for Success

I have posted this week’s 1SRC editoral, Sidelining for Success.

In an editorial last week Brighthand Editor-in-Chief Ed Hardy wrote that Palm will not be releasing a Palm TX2 handheld, or any other PDAs, anytime soon. I know that customers who prefer having a stand alone device won’t be happy about this news. Taking a longer view of what this development means, I feel, gives you a better idea of what is going on at Palm and why there won’t be a TX2 coming in 2008.

The Palm TX2 isn’t the first device that we have learned won’t be shipping. Earlier this year, the Palm Foleo was announced (May, 2007) and then later canceled (September, 2007). The rumored Treo 770, which included a leaked, marked up user guide, also never materialized this year. If here is demand for these devices, and I really do believe that the Foleo answers a need for mobile professionals, why aren’t they making it to market?

There are two reasons why I believe that these devices are being taken off the drawing board and being put on the shelf. The first is that Palm’s management team has had a dickens of a time executing on their long-term goals to deliver products. Palm executives have already admitted that the company has had trouble with execution. The second is that there are some new corporate owners in town and they are reprioritizing Palm’s internal product roadmap.

I was listening to the Business Week Cover Stories podcast, specifically a show called “Perform or Perish” with John Byrne and Emily Thornton. The two talked about an article that appeared in a late October print issue of Business Week in which the magazine took a look at what happens to companies when they are taken over by private equity firms. The Business Week podcast caught my interest because Palm recently agreed to give up a 25% stake in the company to private equity firm Elevation Partners. The article focuses on the intense pressure put on the CEO and management team to drive down operating costs and increase profitability. It is a high stress environment for sure; however, the rewards can be equally great.

“So how does this all fit in with Palm?” you might be asking yourself. Palm’s greatest asset is their ability to differentiate their products from all of the other devices on the market with their software. The problem is that on the Palm OS side it is becoming increasingly more difficult to differentiate due to the age of the underlying foundation of the operating system. How can they leverage their software, drive down costs, and increase profitability? I think we already have the answers.

I suspect that the new management team at Palm has re-evaluated the internal product roadmap. Palm CEO Ed Colligan has stated that he had been working with Jon Rubinsein on a consulting basis prior to his joining Palm as the Executive Chairman of the Board at the close of the Palm/Elevation transaction. With the number of products that haven’t been released this year, three by my count, I suspect that any project that does not directly relate to the development of Palm OS II or the next generation Treo are being set aside for the time being. Make no mistake; Palm OS II is a high priority project for Palm and they need to deliver the new Linux OS on a redesigned Treo within the next year. Palm is looking to reduce costs by using a common hardware architecture that is expected to provide the company with the ability to leverage a lower bill or materials costs and accelerate the product delivery cycle. If Palm is able to execute on their plans to develop a new Palm OS, a redesigned Treo, and lower costs, the company can achieve the increased profitability I talked about earlier. With the distractions of non-essential products out of the way, Palm will be able to better focus on the items that are important to the company long term. And sometimes this means that products need to be canceled or postponed as was likely the case with the Foleo.

In Conclusion

Palm will have its work cut out for the 2008 calendar year. Investors, analysts, and customers will be watching the company to see if the new management team will be able to execute to drive to product delivery for early 2009. Palm isn’t a company without ideas; it is just one that needs help getting those ideas from the drawing board and into people’s hands. Palm has a long history in the mobile computing space and with the right resources in place; they can design easy to use products that help customers meet the needs of their personal and professional lives.

[Via 1SRC.com…]

Centro: For the Rest of Us

I have posted week’s 1SRC editorial has been posted and talks about some of the advantages that the new Palm Centro has over Apple’s much talked about iPhone.

“The Centro can’t stand up to the Apple iPhone. And it doesn’t have to.

Focus on the Differentiation

The iPhone and the Centro are both being marketed to people who use regular old cell phones. In the United States alone there are millions of people up for grabs. Centro is intended for people who wouldn’t otherwise consider purchasing a $500+ phone from Palm, Apple, or High Tech Computing (HTC).

The Centro offers a better user experience when trying to type out a text message or short email to your friends. There is also a large selection of software to choose from. (Apple is planning on releasing the tools to create native iPhone/iPod Touch applications early next year.) Regardless of what you want to do or what interests you, there is likely an application for you that will run on the Centro. When you compare the ease of use of the Centro to feature flip phones you see that it is possible to obtain a better mobile experience for a comparable price for all but the cheapest cell phones given away free with new service agreements.

You also can’t over look the ease of use of the Palm OS platform. Despite its age, Palm OS 5 is still a very capable operating system. At the heart of the Palm platform are the core 4 personal information management (PIM) applications: Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Memos. These applications are straightforward and easy to use. It is this ease of use and straight forward approach to PIM tools that has kept me coming back Palm every time I thing about upgrading my phone.

Messaging Matters

If you accept that the Centro is intended for 20 and 30-somethings, then you also must agree that it offers a better messaging experience over feature phones. Cento comes bundled with an IM, test messaging, and, email applications. Using Centro’s built-in keyboard improves up on the process of typing out messages to friends and coworkers.

The Centro is also cost competitive with the iPhone. After carrier discounts and mail in rebates the Centro can be purchased for the low price of $99. The Centro ends up being $300 less expensive than the iPhone and has almost all of the same features. Centro is also cheaper than the consumer oriented BlackBerry Pearl and the T-Mobile Sidekick. Furthermore, Sprint’s voice and data plans are slightly cheaper than AT&T’s. If you are on a budget, the Centro just makes sense.

In Conclusion

The new Palm Centro is an effort by Palm to reach out to customers who would otherwise not consider buying a smartphone. When talking about sales figures it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing sort of thing. There are more than enough cell phone users for both Apple and Palm to market to. In recent years Palm has lost their leadership position in the smartphone market. The Centro is a good start in working back to that coveted spot. If Palm is serious about getting back on top of the smartphone heap, than future phones will need to be more innovative, look good, work well, and have the marketing muscle behind it to really generate some buzz in the industry. If you are in the market for a new phone and want to have the empowering features of a smartphone without the bloated price tag, the Centro is the device for you.”

Via 1SRC.com

1SRC Podcast 143

This week’s 1SRC Podcast has been posted for your listening enjoyment.

1SRC Podcast 143 Show Notes

  • Carl W. Brooks, Editor of PalmLoyal.com is my special guest this week.
  • Palm confirms the existance of the Centrol.
  • PIC has details on pTunes for the Foleo.
  • Check out Gx-5’s DialByPhoto. For a limited time, it is 50% off!
  • 1SRC Editorial: Foleo: Big Blue Inside.
  • What’s on my Palm

Listen to the 1SRC Podcast 143

1SRC Editorial: Big Blue Inside


I’ve posted this week’s 1SRC Editorial which deals with the recent reports that IBM is looking at possibly purchasing Wind River Systems, the embedded Linux operating system company.

“Palm recently announced a partnership with Wind River Systems to provide the underlying open standards Linux operating system for future Foleo Mobile Companion products. Over the weekend, PC World Magazine ran an article on their website about a possible acquisition of Wind River by IBM.

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Palm is a company that has a lot of balls in the air. The Elevation Partners recapitalization deal still needs to be approved and potentially executed with a backdrop of an already jittery financial marketplace. Palm is also gearing up for a number of new product roll outs including the Foleo Mobile Companion sometime in the next few weeks; the release of the new form factor Centro smartphone, and last, but not least, the launch of a new Linux-based version of Palm OS, which I’ve dubbed “Palm OS II” until Palm officially names the new operating system in advance of its introduction during the 2008 calendar year.

As if this wasn’t enough to keep a medium-sized technology company occupied, the possibility of having a new business partner acquired, I’m sure, has a few people at Palm interested in the latest M&A (mergers and acquisitions) newspaper headlines. The last operating system provider that Palm was working with, ACCESS/PalmSource, ran into trouble. So what is to prevent such a thing from happening again?

Enter IBM.”

Keep reading

1SRC Podcast 142


This week on the 1SRC podcast, show number 142, I talk about the new details regarding the Verizon Wireless 700-series updaters, getting Reuters news on your Palm; Carl W. Brooks from PalmLoyal.com sends in an audio postcard, this week’s 1SRC editorial and more!

Listen to 1SRC Podcast 142

Foleo Update on the 1SRC Podcast

On this week’s 1SRC Podcast, show 141, I cover all of the latest Palm Foleo news coming out of LinuxWorld.

1SRC Podcast 141 Show Notes:

  • CNNMoney.com reports that the Foleo will ship in September. Are they correct?
  • Palm partners with Wind River Systems for future Linux development on the Foleo.
  • Palm also announces a LogMeIn client for the Foleo will become available.
  • Brighthand’s Ed Hardy has details on production Foleo specs.
  • PalmAddicts has posted an notice about the new TalkPlus.com beta for the Treo.
  • 1SRC Editorial: The Evolving Treo.

Listen to 1SRC Podcast 141