Handheld maker Palm will release three newly designed devices in October, according to company CEO Todd Bradley. The Milpitas, Calif.-based company first mentioned the devices earlier this year at an investor conference in New York City.Written by ZDNet for PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence.
Palm looks set to broadly maintain the current structure of its product line, offering a low-end device, a business handheld and a unit with integrated wireless. However, the differentiation between each category looks set to become more profound.
Its entry-level model will cost less than USD 100 and provide only the most basic functionality in an attempt to attract a new category of users to the Palm OS. The high-end business handheld will showcase the latest OS 5 features, including a high resolution colour display, audio and video capabilities and enterprise security features. The wireless product will, for the first time, incorporate voice and operate on non-proprietary networks.
PMN does not buy into this strategy. Palm’s primary assets are the strength of its brand in the executive and professional market, the seamless integration of Palm devices with existing infrastructure and the diverse development community which supports its products. Palm lacks the scale to compete long-term in the budget PDA or smartphone categories. Far Eastern OEMs and global handset manufacturers can invest more in R&D, produce devices at lower cost and have greater access to international retail channels.
Hopefully this experimentation with three very different products will convince Palm that its future lies in the business handheld category before its too late. People love their Palms because they offer intuitive PIM, are expandable through a huge range of hardware and software options and look good in their top pocket. Palm should dedicate its resources to creating another truly great middle-market handheld.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.