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Summary:

Palm, the company that ignited the handheld computer market, capitulated today, and switched away from its own house OS to a Windows Mobile operating system. In other words it has just become yet another Windows-handheld device maker, and lost its “unique selling point.” Proof, that Microsoft […]

treo700Palm, the company that ignited the handheld computer market, capitulated today, and switched away from its own house OS to a Windows Mobile operating system. In other words it has just become yet another Windows-handheld device maker, and lost its “unique selling point.” Proof, that Microsoft eventually wins. Microsoft’s in-house spin-meister won’t even have to spin this one. For this highlights the miscues and missed opportunities for a company that at one point was the market. This is continuation of a ‘confusing’ messages from Palm. Today, given its financials, and shoddy products, it is hard for me to convince myself to take a flier on Palm’s Windows Mobile phone when I have more proven options from UTStarcom, and Hewlett-Packard and HTC? I know those two will be around for a long time, and are unlikely to do a bait-and-switch on the consumer. And they have better solutions anyway? The value of the Palm brand name is no more that the value of Napster as a brand. (Adi, corrected me and said, HTC is making Treo 700w!)

By Om Malik

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  1. Don’t even get me started on a lawsuit that alleges that a treo “caused electrical shock to the user” or “mp3 player is useless.” The plaintiff in that suit sound like a group that could not find their asses with a map.

    Secondly, not for nothing, but HTC actually *makes* the Treo 650, and is supposedly building the 700w as well. In fact, HTC manufactures some of the products for all of the companies that you listed. Source your rebrands before villifying Palm next time – it’s ok to dislike aspects of the Treo or Palm OS, but back it up with something a little more substantial.

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  2. good points you make adi. i did not know HTC made treo 700w.

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  3. Better to enable inter-operability with a standard OS. Now, that Palm has Windows, I guess I can buy a device that can work anywhere in the world with my XP laptop ;). I still want wi-fi (for Voip) and Treo needs to add native support!

    BTW, there are very few OS’s that are running on different devices to allow for seamless interaction..so even though it doesn’t make sense to you, to a majority of the people that want enhanced productivity and don’t give a damn about the OS wars or MS vs. Google – this makes sense!!!

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  4. i wouldn’t hold my breath to see natively wifi/voip enabled devices coming to U.S. markets, as long as device-makers are in bed with wireless companies, for which wifi+voip is an inherent conflict of interest. A lady asked this very question at the end of the webcast, some time after minute 49, and the palm dude wasn’t at all comfortable answer that question. Of course he isn’t. He knows we want it. But hey, VZW wins.

    It’s going to take somewhat more visionary companies to truly bring devices that don’t suck to the U.S. market, ones who are built from the ground-up to profit from IP convergence.

    Verizon, Sprint, Cingular/ATT are all into ferociously protecting their oh-so-precious revenues from “voice minutes”, even if that means ostensibly telling us consumers to go f*** the h*** off.

    Fair enough. In time, what goes around will come around.

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  5. What I have yet to understand is why a large electronics manufacturer like Sony, Apple, or even Nintendo doesn’t give the finger to the carriers and come out with a device that is based on GSM and sell it as pure hardware. The user can take the SIM out of their old Cingular or T-Mobile handset, pop it in, and be good to go. Once they sell a few million of them, the carriers will come begging for the priviledge of selling them (they would need to build a new model for Sprint and Verizon, but so what). If an electronics company went this route, they would be able to set the terms for what features are included and establish their own brand as bigger than that of the carriers.

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  6. I would like to see what Jesse proposes. I think Apple could pull it off because their customers are willing to spend money for their products. But the discount a HW vendor can get when supplying a Verizon is tough to beat and gives them the opportunity to sell in volume which is what’s needed for profitability in the handset space. Apple shows you can differentiate on hardware and I hope Palm takes that to heart. I’ll definitely be checking out their Windows OS device when it comes out. Their current OS was the only thing holding me back so far so I view this as a good move.

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  7. I am busted.

    I’ve been using Palm devices ever since 1999. Almost religiously. I was an addict and strongly believed in their superiority over PocketPCs, Psions, iPaqs, Nokia Communicators and all the other crap.

    Palm didn’t care… They built the Palm V which was a remarkably sexy device then and left the marketplace shortly afterwards. Handheld innovations came from Sony and Handspring, even from Microsoft.

    Years pass by. Palm boasts a new company name every now and then, merges and divorces its software division. They do nothing else. And now: A WindowsCE powered Treo. Holy crap…

    Nowadays Palm is in a state reminding me of Apple prior to Steve Jobs’ re-recruitment. With one significant difference: No Steve Jobs at sight. I am sorry for them.

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  8. [...] Ok, so Palm threw in the towel and went with a Microsoft Mobile OS. What I’m wondering though is how will this affect iSync on my powerbook? I haven’t seen any official synchronization solutions from MS for the Mac yet. Sure there’s The Missing Sync, but if the PocketPC version is as craptastic as the one for Palm branded devices then we’re in for a real treat. [...]

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  9. OK, here is one device that finally comes with WI-FI…HOORRAY!!!!!

    Holy Fudge, its CDMA, so I can only use it in the US, and I want to make cheap international calls..so I need a GSM devices..still waiting..

    Chris Holland, you got what you wanted, Natively supported Wifi is coming..there are a few more that MS is pushing UT to get to market with a few carriers…you will hear soon.

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  10. Palm Capitulates

    Om Malik: Palm, the company that ignited the handheld computer market, capitulated, and switched away from its own house OS to a Windows Mobile operating system. In other words it has just become yet another Windows-handheld device maker, and lost…

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