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CNN Money has an interview with Palm’s CEO; here are some of the highlights:
The conventional wisdom is that Palm has blown it and either is going to run out of money or get sold or both.
Clearly we’ve hit a speed bump. No question about it. It’s really disappointing, and it’s frustrating. But, the company has tremendous assets. We’ve got a great team we’ve built over the last couple of years. Remember this whole thing was a transformation story. It wasn’t like we took something that was working and didn’t run it well. We started off with a company that had no future, and we have been transforming it. We have arguably the best mobile operating system out there. It’s clearly the easiest to use and has the most intuitive user interface. We’ve got good products that get critical acclaim. It’s in its early stages still, but we’ve got great quality of apps, and new apps coming all the time. By the time you get this published, we’ll have commerce going in Europe, which is a big milestone for us. We’ve got good relationships with carriers.
We’ve got all those things going for us, and what we need to do is get more commercial success and get to scale. And that’s going to take longer than we’d hoped, obviously, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get there. We do have $590 million in the bank, and we have a plan that carries this company forward. Now, we need to be frugal and we need to invest in those areas that have the best return for us, but when I read that we’re going out of business or our stock is worth zero or those kinds of things, it defies logic to me.
One Wall Street analyst says the [Palm] webOS no longer is a major differentiator because there are enough good mobile operating systems. You obviously disagree.
I would disagree. Look, webOS, has all the capabilities you’d expect from a world-class smart phone. It does email and messaging. It does Web browsing and video capture. And then it has some things that most don’t have: capabilities to share and edit video, and immersive 3D gaming. There’s a whole list of things that you’d expect the top tier to have, and we have those all in webOS. Then we have additional things, like real multitasking. So, if you’re playing 3D games and you want to go check your calendar or email, you can just switch between tasks and come back to your game. And then if you have multitasking, you really need unobtrusive notifications so that when you’re doing something you can get a notification of what’s going on in the world without interrupting what you’re working on. We also have a feature called Synergy that gives users the ability to have a single view of their data from various sources in the cloud, from Facebook and LinkedIn and Exchange and Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO). We have universal search, so you just start typing, which goes back to Palm’s original DNA of really minimizing the number of steps you have to take to accomplish it. And it goes on and on.
Please forgive the downer questions, but here’s another …
That’s okay, go ahead. I’m bummed out too, by things like not taking off at Verizon. One of the analysts on our earnings call asked if we had launched when Droid launched, and Droid launched when [we] launched at Verizon, would the story have been opposite? I said I think we have a better product than Droid, and customers would have been happier with it.
Was it a mistake to debut with Sprint in the first place?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but you have to understand that we had a long-term relationship with Sprint. Sprint wanted to do an aggressive launch on webOS. They were willing to invest significant marketing dollars. But the quid pro quo for that is that we had to do an exclusive with Sprint. Now, if I sit today and I kind of roll back the clock and go, okay, now if I could have launched in October with Verizon, and done a shorter exclusive with Sprint, and the world would be completely different today, yeah, I mean, that’s easy to say. But you don’t know these things at the time. And Sprint has been a really good partner for Palm. They continue to be a really good partner for Palm.
Can Palm turn itself around by raising more cash and tweaking its strategy? The only promise for Palm’s future is a buyout. And the only buyer that makes sense is BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.
Many attribute Palm’s failure to bad decisions. There was the WebOS operating system that was open to only a limited number of developers initially. There was the wrong choice of first carrier in Sprint. And there was the bad launch timing of theÂ Palm Pre Plus with Verizon Wireless right after the launch of the Google-powered Droid as well as some manufacturing and design issues.
Whatever the reasons for its failure, it’s chances of catching up again without an acquisition are slim.
Read the full story on NY TImes
It looks like Palm may be trying to get back in the mobile game after releasing poor sales of the Palm Pre, by partnering Sprint for a new WiMAX mobile phone reports an article over on softsailor.
Originally HTC was to partner Sprint in the WiMAX game, so this new revelation that Palm is now going to be the Sprint WiMAX partner may surprise some although they do share a common past.
Read the full story on Phones Review
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Pre Central reports two bugs with the Verizon Palm Pre Plus:
- When WiFi is on, MMS messages aren’t able to be sent. It looks as though the issue is that MMS message need to go through Verizon’s EVDO network, but the Pre Plus is attempting to send them over WiFi. This isn’t an issue for Sprint users thus far. The good news is that there is an easy workaround: just turn off WiFi before you attempt to send an MMS message.
- it’s starting to look like there is a fairly serious issue with GPS on Verizon Palm Pre Plus devices. The concern is that full, tower-assisted AGPS is only working for VZ Navigator and not other apps. A workaround that seems to help some comes from m0sim: open VZ Navigator (even if you haven’t purchased it on your plan) before using GPS on other apps. GPS is a finicky feature, so diagnosing exactly what’s happening here is going to take some time.
As 2009 draws to a close, more and more confirmations are appearing to suggest that several WebOS are headed to Verizon Wireless in early 2010. The latest rumor comes from a PhoneArena article claiming that some VZW tipsters are reporting the presence of a “Palm Pre Plus” in big red’s internal inventory system. Unfortunately, there is no clear indication of specs, pricing, or release date thus far.
For quite some time the rumor mill has been reporting several different possibilities for an improved version of the Pre on Verizon. These claims have ranged from the likely (16GB of internal storage and/or a microSD slot) to the far-fetched (a larger-size LCD). Based on Palm’s past history with upgraded devices such as the 700w/700wx, the most plausible scenario would see Verizon initially carrying refreshed versions of the Pre and Pixi, with webOS 1.3.5 possibly standard. Then those updated versions will presumably arrive on Sprint in the Q2/Q3 timeframe to replace the original ’09 editions.
Source: Palm Info Center.
Finally some good Palm-Verizon news for us:
A second CDMA-flavored Palm Pixi just cleared the FCC and we can say with confidence it’s not coming to Sprint this time around. Better yet, Palm’s model P121EWW matches up with that P121 code we saw leaked a while back for Big Red (Sprint’s model is P120EWW), and this one got tested for 802.11b/g WiFi.
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- Sprint touts Palm Pixi’s nonexistent WiFi (engadget.com)
A Palm Pre user is suing Palm and Sprint Nextel, alleging they caused him to lose most of the data from his phone, and he wants to turn the suit into a class action.
The suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Jose, is the latest black eye for the Palm Profile cloud-based synchronization service, which debuted with the company’s webOS on the Pre earlier this year. Palm and Sprint last month said “a small number of customers” had had trouble transferring their data from Palm Profiles to new Palm devices and that they were working on a solution.
Read the full story on PC Magazine
Highlights of a review of the Pixi from NY Times:
Twenty-five bucks for an app phone? That’s unbelievable. (Or, rather, it emphasizes how irrelevant a phone’s starter price really is. The true cost is embedded in your two years of monthly service fees–in this case, $2,309.)
Anyway, the Pixi is absolutely gorgeous, with a razor-thin (OK, .4-inch-thin) design. The front is flat glossy black; the back is curved hard rubber. It weighs just over 3 ounces. THREE OUNCES!? That’s insane. If this phone were any smaller and lighter, it would cease to exist.
This time, the illuminated keyboard doesn’t slide out—it’s always there beneath the screen; the phone is a slab design. The keyboard is very tiny indeed (just over two inches wide), but because the keys are super-raised and rubberized and move and click when you type on them, it’s not bad. You wind up supplementing each press with your thumbnail, and it works.
The operating system is the same fluid WebOS you can read about in my Pre review here. Once again, it integrates contacts, e-mail and calendars from all online sources—Google, Yahoo, Exchange and so on—and merges them on the phone.
However, on the Pixi, almost everything from the Pre has been diminished. The most painful change is the screen, which is only 320 by 400 pixels; that is, it shows 17 percent less, vertically, and you really miss those extra 80 pixels. You feel a little cramped.
The camera is 2 megapixels, down from 3. The battery life is shorter. The speaker is quieter. You can’t open as many apps at once.
There’s no Wi-Fi, either, so your only connection to the Internet is over Sprint’s cellular airwaves; cellular connections are generally slower than Wi-Fi ones. (Then again, I’ve found Sprint’s Internet coverage to be excellent.)
Worst of all, the cheaper, slower processor in the Pixi makes it slow to open apps, load Web pages and trigger functions. Sometimes it gets ridiculous; you might wait a whole minute for a Web page, for example.
Market research firm IDC has for years been compiling data on the best-selling smartphones in the US. While their numbers from the second quarter of 2009 ranked the Palm Pre at #8, in the following three months the Pre moved up to #6. The jump was likely spurred on by a number of factors, including increased supply and price cuts at Sprint and resellers, as well as the fact that the Pre was only on the market for one third of the second quarter.
It will be interesting to see the top ten list for Q1 2010, since by then the Pre will have launched on Verizon.
[Source: Pre Central]
Online phone retailer Wirefly is launching the Palm Pixi at a price lower than you’ll find anywhere else: $24.95 for new contract customers. Current Sprint customers won’t left out in the cold either – they’ll be able to pick up the Pixi from Wirefly for a mere $99.99 with a renewed contract. Both new customers and current Sprint subscribers will be treated to a rebate-free experience.
[Source: Pre Central]