Palm released the full financial details today for the quarter that just ended for the company.
By now I'm sure that you have read that when all is said and done, Palm has lost money this past quarter, something that the company hasn't done in over two years. It also seem that the current quarter will be about the same. I want to leave the financial analysis to those folks who have a better understanding of how it all works. Brighthand's Ed Hardy has written a good summary of today's financial earnings statement. I would like to spend the next few minutes talking about Palm and where they are going.
Palm is moving forward with their recapitalization plan which will bring three members of the Elevation team to the Board of Directors at Palm. The arrival of Jon Rubinstein at Palm is generating a lot of buzz. Mr. Rubinstein is a former Apple, Inc. executive who was in charge of the iPod division. Analysts, investors, and customers alike are hoping that he will be able to bring some of that Apple magic to Palm and help then bring new products to market in a timely manner. According to Palm, the deal with Elevation Partners is expected to wrap up by the end of this month (October 2007).
With the introduction of the Treo 500v and Centro smartphones, Palm is indicating that they hare better positioned to meet the needs of customers at price points that make sense. The Palm smartphone line up is now positioned with the Treo 750 and 700wx at the high-end for enterprise customers. The Treo 500v, 680, and 755p hold the middle ground for the "prosumer;" while the new Palm Centro rounds out the consumer level category. With the Centro, Palm is clearly looking to grow their marketshare by drawing in new customer whom would have otherwise purchased a standard feature phone that is $99 or less with a new subscription.
Still to Come
Palm's senior executives are still tight lipped about the company's future plans, but it seems that they are committed to moving forward with their plans to release a new version of the Palm OS based on a Linux core. While Palm has yet to name this new software development effort, many, including myself, have taken to calling this new operating system, "Palm OS II."
As far as the timing goes, Palm will only state that Palm devices running the new Linux operating system will be made available to customers by the end of the calendar year 2008. I would like to see Palm offering Palm OS II-based Treo smartphones by May of 2008.
And what about the Foleo? While it would seem that Palm is trying to divert attention away from the Foleo, there is a still a dedicated following who would like to see Palm deliver on the promise of the Foleo. Palm OS II is the key to finally bring the Foleo to market as any new Foleo product will likely run Palm OS II in place of the operating system that was to be included in the recently canceled device. If Palm OS II devices arrive at the end of 2008, then I would expect we won't see a new Foleo product until mid-2009.