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Good News from Palm's Analyst and Investor Day

Wed Apr 11, 2007 - 1:50 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


So, yesterday Palm hosted their Analyst and Investor Day meeting. When I first heard about the webcast, I thought it sounded like there might be lots of boring numbers talk. But after listening to the webcast, I was delighted to hear lots of interesting news.

Palm has transitioned the business over the last three years with the smartphone sales increasing 137%. Eight of the top ten carriers in the world sell Palm products. Colligan also talked a bit about Palm's long history of innovation: Palm was the first to have synchronization technology and the first to differentiate on top of the Windows platform.

More recently, Palm had two big acquisitions in Q3'07; Chattermail (which created a very popular email client with "push-like" email) and Iventor (the company founded my new-hire Paul Mercer, an interface designer who worked on the iPod). Both acquisitions bring world-class talent and technology to accelerate Palm's product development plans.

Palm talked about its product vision and their primary focus is the Palm Delightful user experience. I think that Palm has succeeded in this. Palm wants to have the fastest, most compelling web experience with connected web applications. You can see this and more from the graphic above.

Colligan says that Palm is focused on creating a "complete" mobile computing experience, not just one focused on a smartphone, but a broad mobile computing experience; the "full power" of mobile computing. With one big difference; it's going to be:

  • Instant on
  • Easy and reliable
  • Instant application switching
  • Fast web access
  • Highly portable
  • Great battery life
  • Low cost

    Here's the big news: Palm is doing all that on top of a couple of core platforms; one is Windows Mobile, and Palm will continue to deliver that platform which has been very successful. In addition to that, Palm thinks it's critical to own some of its key technology so they have been developing a set of system software that they will role out before the end of the year that will allow Palm to take the PalmOS forward and to modernize it and to upgrade that functionality and to bring that user community and that developer community forward on top of a Linux kernel based on open source technology.

    Palm has been developing and working on this for a number of years and there will be new products based on that new platform. Palm doesn't plan to license the platform. They intend it to be a system software functionality to create great user experience. Palm plans to continue leveraging Windows Mobile as an open environment that's available to all customers and carriers around the world with a lot of broad functionality.

    Colligan says that the new platform will take personal computing mobile and will build a new foundation for Palm based on a Linux core. They expect that to improve reliablity and performance and stability of Palm based products and to give them much more flexibility from a platform perspective.

    So Palm has lots of interesting plans for the future. I look forward to learning more about their new platform and seeing the new products based on this platform. Palm has four differentiated smartphones now; the Treo 700w, running WM with EvDO, the Treo 700p running the PalmOS with EvDO, the Treo 750 running WM with UMTS, and the Treo 680, running PalmOS with GPRS/EDGE. With the new platform, I'm sure there will be some exciting new Treos coming out soon! I'm sure we're all anxious to see those devices and to see how much faster, cheaper, and reliable they will be, and how much battery life improves.

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