Since the Palm Treo Pro was announced on Wednesday, people have been scratching their heads as to why Palm didn't go with a carrier. I was really expecting AT&T to carry the Treo Pro since the device is GSM.
I read an article by Judy Mottl over at InternetNews.com today. The subject of Palm not having a carrier was a big part of the article, so I read the article with much interest.
InternetNews.com spoke with telecom analyst Jeff Kagan, who stated:
"Palm usually partners to launch a new handset, then after months the exclusive deal becomes available to all carriers.
"We saw that with the most recent Centro. Palm eventually does make handsets available without a carrier but that's usually after they go through this process."
And IDC senior research analyst Ryan Reith told InternetNews.com that he's perplexed at Palm's market strategy. He said that Palm told analysts in pre-briefings that they'd decided to offer the Treo Pro as unlocked (not tied to any carrier network) due to customer demand.
Mottl said in the article that industry watchers don't see big demand in the U.S. for unlocked devices, which makes pundits wonder if Palm's strategy is tied to other issues like tough carrier negotiations or an attempt to beat RIM's upcoming BlackBerry Bold launch. Or maybe even the possibility that the Treo Pro failed to meet carrier testing requirements. Hmmm, it does make you wonder, but I doubt if the Treo Pro failed to meet those testing requirements.
From the article:
In response Palm told InternetNews.com that the device is wanted by professionals who want to choose their own carrier and data plans.
"We are not announcing any U.S. carriers at this time," Palm said, adding it would only confirm the device works on AT&T's GSM network.
AT&T told InternetNews.com in an email that they do not comment on devices that may or may not launch with AT&T.
Oh well, I do want a Treo Pro when they become available. I think it will be a nice replacement for my Treo 750. I love my 750 but the Treo Pro is really tempting me. It's the thinnest Treo to date, and I love slim devices. The Black color is very appealing as is the flush screen. The overall design is just gorgeous in my opinion. I also love that the center button lights up when you have a voicemail! Cool! I still like the way that my Treo 750 looks, but the Treo Pro is "the Treo all grown up" and hip with the times baby! I believe that a lot more people than just business users will be purchasing the Treo Pro. It's just too slick looking to be all business.
Dieter posted a great article yesterday about how much thought Palm put into the hardware and software design of the Treo Pro.
From Dieter's article:
Palm puts a lot of thought into the little pieces of every Treo they product, but none more so than the Treo Pro. One of the best things about it has to be the flush touch screen. The decision to finally "go flush" was not taken lightly. Palm sweated the details, including everything from standard stuff like tossing the Treo Pro into a dryer with keys to test its scratch resistance to changing the default behavior of the in-call screen. While in a call, the screen automatically locks, but there's a button you can hit to unlock the screen so you can interact with the (finally!) large, thumb-able control buttons.
Having a flush touch screen also had an added benefit: Palm felt they no longer needed to include "soft buttons" for the 2 standard menu buttons at the bottom of every Windows Mobile screen. Though this presents some difficulties on some software (i.e. most people take Internet Explorer out of full-screen mode by hitting a soft button), it did add to the clean look of the device.
And near the end of his article, Dieter brings up the subject of Palm not having a carrier. He said that Palm believes that Enterprise customers prefer unlocked devices to begin with because they offer more freedom. And that's pretty much what Palm told InternetNews.com.
And you know what, even though I think it would be nice if AT&T picked up the Treo Pro someday, I will probably buy it unlocked from Palm when they release it here in the U.S. That way I don't have to add another line to my contract. I bet many of you will be doing the same. ;-)
You can read the full InternetNews.com article here.