Palm announces Tungsten, Zire


Palm has unveiled two new brands, splitting its range between Tungsten enterprise and professional solutions and Zire products for consumers. The company did not announce any new devices today, but is thought to be planning the October release of Tungsten T, a high end business handheld; Tungsten W, a GPRS smartphone; and Zire, a consumer PDA.

The first product to use the Tungsten brand will be the Mobile Information Management Solution (MIMS). This comprises server software for the secure delivery of e-mail, PIM and office documents, wireless access through Palm.Net and the i705 and m500 handhelds. It is an evolution of Palm’s existing Wireless Messaging Solution, built using technology developed by ThinAirApps, which it acquired December 2001.

Insight

As discussed in PMN’s comments on the 20/09/2002 ZDNet article ‘Palm to release three new models next month‘, Palm has decided to split its range into more distinct brands. The decision not to maintain a separate sub-brand for its wireless devices (currently identified by the ‘i’ prefix) recognises that integrated wireless will soon be standard feature of handheld computers.

The renewed commitment to enterprise software solutions promises high margins if Palm can build sufficient scale for the business, but this is an area where Palm has been burnt once before when it tried to acquired Extended Systems. Enterprise customers are already well served by countless independent software vendors, systems integrators and RIM’s popular Blackberry solution.

PMN maintains its position that Palm would be most successful as a manufacturer of mid- to high-end handheld computers for the mobile professional. These most recent announcements only serve to dilute Palm further from its core business, a risk it can ill afford in the current economic climate.


Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.
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