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Handhelds Portables (Apple) Communications Hardware

Palm Responds to the iPhone 205

Posted by Hemos
from the trying-to-come-back dept.
Several people noted a NYT piece about Palm's response to the iPhone. Essentially, their response appears to be to hire a former Apple engineer and a couple other folks -- while also pursuing plans to perhaps sell the company. Nothing like a dual approach to the problem.
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Palm Responds to the iPhone

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  • Destiny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 26199 (577806) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:35AM (#18315465) Homepage

    Somehow I get the impression that the iPhone's future... destiny, if you will... is already determined, and anything Apple's competitors might do at this point is more or less irrelevant. Nothing is going to steal the iPhone's thunder if it turns out there actually is a market for it. And if there isn't... it'll sink without a trace, as will any rivals.

    As cool as I think the iPhone is, I'm currently leaning toward the second option. Too expensive, too little demand.

    • Agreed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dreamchaser (49529)
      Not only is it too expensive and not all *that* much better than some other smartphones out there, but the decision to lock in to one mobile provider is probably the one thing that will doom it to failure. Looks like a great toy, but far too expensive but as for me personally there is no way I'd switch to Cingular. Bad, bad experiences with them in the past. I doubt many people will rush to change providers just for a high priced toy. There will be a limited market within Cingular's existing customer ba
      • The iPhone isn't going to stay on one carrier forever. Its just a start. Just like the iPod started out on the Macintosh and then later moved to Windows. On the other hand I disagree vehemently with your assertion that people won't switch to Cingular for the iPhone. They'll probably get at LEAST 5 million new users because of the iPhone.
      • by JHromadka (88188)
        I've seen this before...

        Not only is it too expensive and not all *that* much better than some other [MP3 players] out there, but the decision to lock in to one [OS platform] is probably the one thing that will doom it to failure. Looks like a great toy, but far too expensive but as for me personally there is no way I'd switch to [the Mac]. Bad, bad experiences with them in the past. I doubt many people will rush to change [computers] just for a high priced toy. There will be a limited market within [Appl

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by juniorbird (74686)
        Palm's ability to offer the Treo on multiple carriers is certainly a big advantage, but there is precedent for offering a high-end converged device on just one carrier -- T-Mobile's Sidekick. How did that do? Let's see, it became an iconic product that every famous person had to have. Last year, T-Mobile moved about a million of those [metrics2.com]. Apple apparently thinks it'll sell 5 million iPhones. Is that possible? That basically depends on a few questions:
        • Will, as you ask, people switch to Cingular? Well, with num
      • by guruevi (827432)
        The great thing is that the iPhone is based on the GSM technology. This means that it uses a SIM card for identification and connection to the network.

        If you want another provider, switch the SIM card and go for it. All other US providers have a locked phone for CDMA networks, which means that you can't just switch providers and keep your phone.

        The iPhone will not be locked down like most other phones here in the States, and GSM is widely used in Europe too, for exactly that reason, possibility of choice. T
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          If they'd been developing with europe in mind it would have had 3G. No 3G == No sale in most places in europe these days.

          There's also the issue of the camera being on the wrong side of the phone, but that's less of a problem (video calling is still comparitively unused.. most people don't even know their phones can do it).
    • Re:Destiny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:40AM (#18315557)
      I don't disagree with much of your post, but when you say you're not interested in the iPhone because it's too costly and has too little demand, I have to ask what you're basing that opinion on. I'm betting demand will healthy - the iPhone will be a major status symbol. And as far as price, people often point out how expensive the iPod was when it debuted. Most claimed it would fail due to price, but few if any are saying that about the iPhone. I bet within a couple of years you'll be counted among iPhone owners.
      • by 26199 (577806) *

        Hmm, I was mostly going off the general mood in the last few slashdot articles :)

        Personally, I haven't yet bought a mobile phone of any kind. When the iPhone was first announced I thought: maybe this is what will finally persuade me to get one. Now I'm not so sure -- it has lots of features that I just don't see myself using. And while I wouldn't be too worried about the cost of buying one, I would be worried about becoming an obvious target for muggers...

        • by *weasel (174362)

          Hmm, I was mostly going off the general mood in the last few slashdot articles :)
          ... and Slashdot's 'mood' is notorious for being dead wrong in predicting product success.
          I'm surprised you haven't noticed that by now.

          The reaction to the iPhone neatly mirrors the reaction to the iPod.
        • how many people get mugged for a cellphone?

          If mugged, you could have the serial# (asin?) of the phone hotlisted and it would not be possible to reactivate it.. what's the point of mugging for a cellphone?

          (now, in GSM europe- with sims and unlocking so possible, maybe)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Tony Hoyle (11698)
            how many people get mugged for a cellphone?

            Thousands (possibly tens of thousands), every year. The market for 'second hand' phones is huge.
          • by vought (160908)

            If mugged, you could have the serial# (asin?) of the phone hotlisted and it would not be possible to reactivate it.. what's the point of mugging for a cellphone?
            It'd be nice if hotlisting the EIN of the phone also disabled it's other functions, essentially damping the market for thefts. It'd be a nice perk, although whether many theives would clue in is another question.
      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        Agreed, for one thing Apple has proven themselves quite well over the last few years that they are able to see trends in the market before they occur (or better yet, create them). One thing to keep in mind is that the concept of the iPod didn't reach the status it enjoys now until the release of the iPod nano. Before then an iPod was strictly a premium item that few people had, while the rest of us scrounged around with cheap flash players. The nano changed all that, and I suspect Apple will at some point r

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        A lot of phones had a very pricey debut, the first RAZR was about the same price, now they can be had for $30 with service sign-up. I don't expect that the iPhone will drop that much, but I sure hope it drops to half its current price pretty quickly. I'm tempted to look at the Moto Q to pass the time until the price gets to something that's realistic.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan (30335)
        You forgot to mention that it's only really in North America does the concept of heavily subsidized "free" phones really exist. Go to Asia and Europe (which have way more phones in all shapes and sizes) and you'll find plenty of high end phones people actually buy. Dropping $1k on a phone isn't too unusual. There are ton of Asia and Europe exclusive phones (if you want Windows Mobile, it's a case of "what features do you want, and what manufacturer?" - more so than just the meagre selection here of Motorola
        • by Weedlekin (836313)
          "You forgot to mention that it's only really in North America does the concept of heavily subsidized "free" phones really exist. Go to Asia and Europe (which have way more phones in all shapes and sizes) and you'll find plenty of high end phones people actually buy."

          I can't speak for Asia, but I don't know what European countries you've been to where the operators don't offer a large variety of free phones to those willing to sign up for a monthly contract. Obviously, the types of phone you get offered depe
    • by jayhawk88 (160512)
      Too expensive, too little demand.

      Should we go ahead and put this next to "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."? ;)

      I'd say Apple has earned the benefit of the doubt at this point. Yes a lot of people will be turned off by the price and carrier lock, but let's be honest, a lot of people obey their "Oooh shiney" gene as well. Also, don't discount what Apple could do by, say, dropping the price on this 6 months after release, or eventually opening it up to other carriers a year down the road, things lik
    • Yea, who would pay $400 dollars for a device that essentially performs the exact same function as a $50 portable CD player?

      That's a terrible idea...

      Oh, wait....http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/t humb/5/57/Ipod_sales.svg/402px-Ipod_sales.svg.png/ [wikimedia.org]

      (Sorry for the hotlink, the link to the actual Wikipedia page was being hosed by the Slashcode)

    • Re:Destiny (Score:4, Funny)

      by TheVoice900 (467327) <kamil@@@kamilkisiel...net> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:39AM (#18316389) Homepage
      Hari Seldon, is that you?
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Unless Apple partner up with some telco's, the iPhones future is determined - it will fail. While I'm sure a few posers will fork out $600 for a phone, most people will continue to use their heavily subsidized phones that the networks provide for a fraction of the price.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gig (78408)
      > As cool as I think the iPhone is, I'm currently leaning toward the second option. Too expensive, too little demand.

      You are out of your mind. Everybody already wants one. The demand is already there. Not from just the geek crowd, either.

      People asked for this device. Millions of iPod users have already asked Apple for "an iPod phone" because they like their iPod better than their phone.

      When comparing the price to other phones, notice that the iPhone also does not have a hardware subsidy. Instead, the ser
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:37AM (#18315487)
    Whether you like or dislike Apple or their products, Apple is a catalyst for change. Personally I applaud Apple's entry as it may encourage all phone makers to reevaluate their UI. The UI on my phone sucks but they all equally suck.
    • by jcr (53032)
      The UI on my phone sucks but they all equally suck.

      I all but ignore the UI on my phone. I sync the numbers with my Mac, and make calls from the address book or the history list, for the most part. The phone does a lot more than that, but I really can't be bothered to find out what.

      -jcr

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        That's the point of course - the only UI a phone needs is a halfway usable keypad. Almost nobody actually uses the snazzy functions, beyond text messaging (and that's usually a button on the first screen anyway).

        As far a physical design goes for me clamshell is an absolute must (much more durable, plus it's easier to talk as the open clamshell gives a natural L shape). I know others think like me, but other like small flat ones.. some like them a bit chunky (my mother is like that - she prefers to have a
      • by vought (160908)

        I all but ignore the UI on my phone. I sync the numbers with my Mac, and make calls from the address book or the history list, for the most part. The phone does a lot more than that, but I really can't be bothered to find out what.

        You must have a RAZR. God, I hate mine. If my Sony-Erisson T616 wasn't finally flaking out after four years, I'd be using it instead.

        Who at Motorola decided it was a good idea to have a separate address book entry for every number a single contact has? I really must hand it to the Choose Your Own Adventure story author who seems to have found work at MOT - the inconsistent softkey menu choices are maddening.

        • by shmlco (594907)
          Go to the Address Book. Choose Setup from the center menu. Change View from All to Primary Contact.

          Problem solved. (Though it took me a few minutes to find the option again. Case in point, I guess.)
  • no subject (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnixSphere (820423) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:43AM (#18315583)
    It'll only be destiny if they make it right, nobody but business clients are going to pay 500 dollars for a phone, UNLESS it has mp3 capabilities and big storage like the ipod does, but it's gonna be hard to cram a phone and decent sized hard drive into a small unit, and make all of this a quality product(apple has been falling behind on quality on the ipods). On top of that, only Cingular carries it? They're going up a hill, but I'm not going to damn them before the product even comes out. We will see.
  • Ex-Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dr.badass (25287) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:47AM (#18315633) Homepage
    Palm seems to be very proud of the fact that they hired an ex-Apple engineer, which seems rather silly considering that Apple has thousands of them. It gets better when you consider that ex-Apple in this case means that he last worked for the company about ten years ago. No story here, unless the subtext is that Palm OS is going to start looking like System 7
    • No story here, unless the subtext is that Palm OS is going to start looking like System 7

      From a programmer's perspective, it already does. Resources, event-driven, extraordinarily painful multitasking, etc. It's not as bad as some claim, but it's certainly a blast from the past to develop for.

  • One Hand Clapping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:06AM (#18315931) Homepage Journal
    Palm is dead. Over 2 years ago Palm sold its OS to the Japanese "Access" corp that makes so many Japanese phones and their most popular web browser. So Access could finish their long heralded "Cobalt" OS, and switch to a new OS which was Linux, under Cobalt (retained as just GUI and compatibility layer). They were supposed to release Linux (+ Cobalt GUI) phones last Fall, before anyone had heard about the (real) iPhone.

    But they didn't. Just as Palm let the Blackberry come from behind and eat the market Palm created, Access has let PalmOS keep it from even reaching the market before Apple is eating it, without even a released product.

    It's all too bad. The PalmOS approach, focused simplicity on tasks, designed as a tough peripheral, with the most natural interface, writing on the screen, was the right paradigm. Handled properly, it should have forced all computing, whether workstation, mobile, phone or mediaplayer, to "just work", adopting many of its friendliest innovations. Now that job, as usual, is up to Apple.
    • by Richy_T (111409)
      Agreed. I love my Palm TX and thought it was a sign of better things to come. Palm has released nothing in the same line for over 12 months seemingly only concerned with the Treo line. By all evidence, Palm has given up the PDA market and is just hanging around for the end.

      Rich
    • by Dan East (318230)
      The Palm Treo 700w is evidence of your claims - it runs Windows Mobile.

      Dan East
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        I wonder whether you can install Linux on that sucker and get all its built-in devices to work right.
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)
        How does thst demonstrate anything? The Treo 700p runs PalmOS. Maybe they're just trying to give the customer choice.
        • How does thst demonstrate anything? The Treo 700p runs PalmOS. Maybe they're just trying to give the customer choice.

          Yeah - the choice between an inferior screen and a modern OS versus a superior screen and a faulty OS.

          As someone who has stuck with Palm devices for about eight years now, I don't like that that's what the choices are, but I really think that's the way it is. Every time Versamail crashes my phone, (or even just tells me I have new mail, when I don't), every time Blazer crashes my phone, every time Keyguard causes my phone to stay on instead of off, every time I wish I had Python handy, or that my phone co

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)
            Yeah - the choice between an inferior screen and a modern OS versus a superior screen and a faulty OS.

            Choice is still choice. ;)

            As for the rest of your complaints, you're absolutely right, PalmOS has it's problems, and for many people it's not the best choice. But for me, a guy who uses his Palm to write (with my IR keyboard), read e-books and watch movies (the bigger screen on my T|X is wonderful for this), listen to music, manage my schedule (datebk5 kicks ass), occasionally check my email (I use Snapper
  • by hey! (33014) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:17AM (#18316089) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    The company's own Palm OS software is widely seen within the industry as aging and in need of a fundamental revision.


    I went into a big box computer store recently, to buy a cable for a PDA I'm developing for. I was shocked; a few months earlier thre had been about twenty feet of counter space devoted to PDAs. Now there was zero -- just two shelves under the counter, maybe two feet wide, half for Palm, half for HP iPaqs. In its place was now twice the retailspace, devoted to iPod accessories.

    While the industry had been busy competing to offer "updated" PDAs, Apple has kicked the entire lot into retail obscurity. They can't even, as entire industry, hold their own against fashion cases for the iPod Nano. Apple is a company that has carved out a niche by not only ignoring, but flagrantly defying industry "wisdom", which comes from a group of people far too focused on what each other is doing.

    The problem, I think, is this: when the innovations are pursued on the basis of their low marginal costs, they tend to end up having marginal value too. Palm hit the innovation ball out of the park with their first generation PDAs. They scored a series of base hits with their upgrades through the Tungsten series. Palm has the customers and retail channel (for now); the sentiments quoted above say that they should use them to innovate within the bounds of the PDA or smart phone paradigm. But we have reached the point where the value of the next "PDA innovation" is not enough to get you on base -- not in a game where a base hit consists of a $200 retail purchase by a consumer.

    The true destiny of the PDA is not to accrete laptop like capabilities. It is to become a cheap commodity. The world needs a Palm m505 for $19.99; not a Life Drive (just discontinued last month) for $399. That is the true meaning of convergence: PDAs have become marginal appendages to phones; their job is to sell phones.

    The idea that PalmOS should become more like PocketPC and accrete new features only makes the situation worse. As the sales of PDAs plummet, both Palm and PocketPC will suffer, but PocketPC is destined to drop even faster.

    The problem for a company like Palm is not that money cannot be made with a product whose fundametal retail value is destined to plummet. The problem is that money cannot be made with a conventional tech company culture, which is biased towards on stuffing as much features and functionality into a product as will fit. The best thing would be for Apple to buy a nearly moribund Palm for a song.

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
      Woah, where you been Fry? Someone forgot to thaw you out before all PDAs became phones?

      Palm is now selling this thing called the Treo. It was real popular for a while. Created the smartphone market, you might say. That was a few years ago, now it is just one of many.

      And dude, check this out - I got an iPod dock for my jet pack!
      • by hey! (33014)
        We don't have Fry in my neck of the woods.

        However, my point stands. The PDA is just a set of marginal features added to the phone.
        • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
          You don't have Futurama? You poor deprived soul.

          I don't think you quite understand the engineering aspect here. The phone is the killer app added to PDAs.

          The question facing consumers has little to do with date books and contact lists - it's do I want to pay more for a device that runs software, like web browsers and music players, or do I want the phone I got for free?
          • by 2nd Post! (213333)
            Apple's genius is getting both. The iPod has both date books and contact lists, AND people are paying hundreds of dollars for them.

            Apple is betting they will do the same with an iPhone; all the most important features of the smartphone, UMPC, and an iPod, and people will pay hundreds of dollars for them because it works.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hey! (33014)
            Oh believe me, I do understand the engineering aspect -- both hardware, software, and communications. I've been involved in mobile product development for over ten years now, so I understand the business end of things.

            Most normal, non early-adopter people don't see converged devices as platforms. The pragmatic adopters see them as phones with better address and to do lists. They see them as one less device to carry. Apple has realized this, which is why their phone is not a PDA in the sense that we have
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
              No wonder you keep insisting on using a marketer's definition for the market segmentation. That "ZOMG the PDA is dying" shtick got old three years ago. The PDA went to Finland, got an operation, and is now the "smartphone". We call it that out of politeness. It's still the same device.

              I've developed for practically every major PDA / smartphone that's come out in the last five years. I personally use a Nokia 6600 for no other reason than it's small, slurps my address book from Outlook, and with Opera I can s
    • The problem, I think, is this: when the innovations are pursued on the basis of their low marginal costs, they tend to end up having marginal value too. Palm hit the innovation ball out of the park with their first generation PDAs. They scored a series of base hits with their upgrades through the Tungsten series.

      Palm's own hardware has been going downhill since the end of the Palm III series. The Tungsten line were bulkier than the Palm V, cost more, and didn't really do more for most punters. For the folks
      • by hey! (33014)
        Actually, I would differ. The original Tungsten T was excellent. I love the form factor, and it has a metal body.

        I have a wide array of PDAs available to me through work, since I'm a developer. I carry a Tungsten T from the junk box. It has one serious problem: not enough battery. It's too bad, because it's the best form factor I've ever used. If it had twice the battery life, a tad more memory, and the ability to dial a modern bluetooth phone, it would be perfect.

        I've been contemplating taking it a
    • by kisrael (134664)
      Which is why I also wonder why phones PDA functions suck so bad, even worse than the constrained physical and screen interface would dictate.

      And PocketPC's do the outlook thing... doesn't hold a candle to Palm but I guess it's better than nothing.
  • I don't really expect the iphone to become a big thing, and if it does it would just make iPod market drop... So I don't really think it would be great news for apple, I am no psychic so don't blame me if I am wrong.
    • by Builder (103701)
      The iPhone might eat into the iPod market a bit, but the real problem is that right now OTHER phones are eating into the iPod market. Things like the Sony Ericsson W850i and the W810i are more than good enough for most people. So these are people that Apple aren't selling anything to.

      I think, given the following scenario, Apple would be ok with not selling an iPod...

      1. Customer buys an iPhone and no iPod
      vs
      2. Customer buys a Nokia / Sony Ericsson phone and no ipod :D
    • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
      If the iPhone takes sales away from the iPod then thats good news for Apple. Better for Apple to cannibalize its own products than for some other company to defeat the iPod.

      On the other hand I still think there's room for both. Afterall many people already own multiple iPods. So now they'll own multiple iPods and one iPhone.

      Or maybe....two iPhones....
  • by James McP (3700) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:10AM (#18316759)
    Palm really kills me. The 650, 680, and 700 are really top end devices that are the equal or better of pretty much any phone on the market. They may not be the thinnest or have the best cameras, but the PalmOS versions have higher res screens with vibrant colors, decent native and 3rd party apps, and useful interfaces.

    But you'd never know it if you don't already know what a treo is. I've go a 650 from sprint, my boss has as blackjack. Other than fit in a smaller pocket, the blackjack doesn't do anything the treo can't despite the nearly 2-year difference in release dates. And I'll trade the pocket aspect for the runtime as my Treo can go 2-3 days between charges despite frequent web access and heavy usage unlike the Blackjack's ~1 day heavy usage.

    Have you ever seen a treo commercial? I haven't but I'll see fifty bajillion "Helo Moto/Razr/Red" commercials this week. C'mon, run something on CNN during the financial hour, for cris'sakes.

    People crank about the lack of updates to the PalmOS. When was the last time you actually updated your Symbian phone? Heck, what percentage of users know what os their phone uses? PalmOS is not the easiest to code for? Fine. How does it compare to symbian? Or the motorola in-house OS? Oh wait, there's not many apps for Symbian because of network carriers locking phones and motorola will tell you to sod off if you don't want to jump through their hoops. Obviously it isn't impossible to code for given the sheer number of programs out there and the big draw items are as pretty as anything on Windows Mobile. (Documents to Go, for instance, is both pretty and a solid mobile Office app)
  • Palm REALLY needs to go back and unmake some really stupid decisions. I don't see how they can dig themselves out of the hole they're in now, except by playing up the Palm name and reselling other people's kit under it.

    They did way better than I expected on the original ARM transition, but they totally dropped the ball on Cobalt (or whatever their next-gen PalmOS is going to be), and they've already tossed their original product in the wastebin - these days even Microsoft delivers better Graffiti emulation.
  • I've got a Treo 680 (probably the last ever PalmOS PDA) with an 8GB SD card in it. It plays music (and will stream from the net) and video. It also has full featured GPS navigation SW (TomTom - external GPS required) and the mobile version of Google Maps. It does SSH, FTP, HTTP, POP, IMAP, and more. It can work natively with popular document and spreadsheet formats and -- oh yeah, it's a phone too. I've got my entire company locator database (almost 10K records) at my fingertips.

    I wish that M$ had not

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