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  1.    #1  
    As a fairly long time Palm customer who's now reconsidering all options, I thought I'd share some thoughts as to how I think Palm can proceed over the next couple years given how I see the market evolving.

    Overall, I think Palm needs to continue to focus on innovation and appealing to people's fundamental needs with simple products that work well and fit in with people's lives, both personally and professionally. This should occur among a variety of users from younger to older, and personal/casual to professional users. In doing so they can stop battling many of their competitors, work on what they're good at, and continue to improve themselves to reach a point where they can regain market share, mind share and better position themselves for the longer term.

    Some ideas to that end:
    1. The Pre Plus and Pixi Plus need to be on all carriers, and the current Pre needs to die. The Pre Plus, like all Palm products going forward, needs to be built well: no dead pixels, no oreo effect, nothing. People should be able to rejoice that quality concerns are things of the past. Build quality should not deter anyone from buying a Palm product because the Palm brand name should be synonymous with quality, period.

    2. Palm needs more devices to cover every form factor and pricepoint. This will also help get them more mindshare when people find more devices on store shelves, and when people look at the shelf and realize what the devices will offer them. Specifically, two new devices need to be introduced:


      • A new Treo that takes the Pixi to the high end. Palm can leverage the well known Treo brand name and return it to its glory days via a combination of great hardware (to make everything as snappy as Palm OS was), very high build quality (should be comfortable next to a thinkpad for instance), and professional looks and orientation. Pricing could be similar to the Pre Plus or more. In terms of marketing position, this device could go head to head with Blackberry. It should have Palm's best keyboard to date bar none, a better screen than the pixi, and first rate hardware. I would strongly suggest GSM + CDMA in one, for all WebOS Treos, to make the argument even more compelling for business/ultra mobile users. Again, it's got to work extremely well, with near-zero delays for doing anything, all in a package thats exudes quality.
      • A higher end Pre. Call it Pre2. This second device should be a larger screen than the Pre and slightly better hardware to keep pushing things forward. It should be prosumer oriented, and should be available on all carriers.


    3. Palm should try to make the Pixi a 'free phone' if possible. This would allow the WebOS to get into more people's hands. Palm should rework the software on the Pixi to make it even easier to use. This should be a newbie's way into the smartphone market.

    4. New fundamental features spearheaded by new products such as the above. The game is fast evolving. The above should buy Palm time to innovate and help restore mindshare. Apple is attempting to create a new wireless world of their own, complete with marketplace, while Android will become the 'new windows mobile'. That's good for both of them as that's what they do. Apple's devices are exceedingly good, but not perfect and only have real backing because that's what's fast becoming popular and they've made things work earlier and better than anyone else to date. While the above will hopefully get more Palm stuff out there, Palm needs new core features. One such core feature should be app portability..

      Plam should release software that allows Pre, Pre2, and WebOS Treo content to be moved to and from other computers (windows environments) as seamlessly as possible. Think Minority Report or Avatar. Maybe make it a 'swipe right' thing for any app on the far right side of the card list. Swipe right from there and that app gets sent to another computer or device. Then on Windows they could release plugins for Chrome, FF, and IE that allow them to take the data from the Pre. Likewise, the reverse should be possible where an in-browser button or systray icon allows PC content to go to the WebOS device. This should be possible for web pages, youtube pages, memos, documents, pdf files, photos, google maps, videos, contact pages, calendar pages... This should also be in the SDK so devs can use it to make their application content compatible. More on this in a moment.

    5. Embedded devices are the future... WebOS would work exceedingly well for a larger form factor device like a tablet. Just as many have transitioned from large computers to towers to desktops and now laptops, the form factor necessary for the average person's daily computing will get continuously smaller and lighter. Of course there are practical limits against which it won't be comfortable to use for an extended period or type on. To that end, I agree with Apple on the importance of the tablet and agree with the concept behind other devices that have been similar. It's never worked though because there's never been adequate power- just like getting the phone to replace the computer. However, I believe Palm is well positioned to enter this arena and establish a long term presence due to some key features such WebOS, flash, and synergy, and also concepts such as App portability.

      I believe the following would be good for such a device: OMAP 3640 1ghz, 720P 10" lcd, 2gb ram, SD Card slot, 2x USB ports, HDMI out, Accelerometer, GPS, Wifi/BT, 32gb intenral memory, camera, 10hrs battery life minimum after 1yrs use with intense usage, <1.5lbs.

      This would allow them to leverage WebOS on a larger device that, with multitasking, full browsing + flash support, and more, would make it extremely useful to many.

      WebOS's integrated features could make for a great experience. The card view could be revamped such that cards are placed on a table. Cards can be spun and rotated and pinched larger or smaller. People could organize their apps/cards, while running, as they see fit. A double touch gesture could maximize a card. Due to the widescreen nature, mutliple cards could be effectively displayed at once. An on screen button could allow cards to be organized or tiled.

      Further, features such as USB host serivces could be included. Digital cameras should be able to be plugged into it. One should be able to organize files between this and portable hard drives. With application portability as described above, this device could truly bridge the gap between cell phones and laptops and make it something that you could pickup anywhere at anytime and pick up where you once left off.

      There are quite a few accessory device possibilities as well. One such possibility is to include a leather book-style case that reveals a keyboard. Since the device is widescreen this could work. Although somewhat flexible, the keyboard could be a good one and for little incremental space-cost (since most will buy a cover anyway), could be massivly beneficial to some.

      In the case of this device, some of the key apps would be: web*^, email^, chat*, video, contacts^, images*, mp3, memo, tasks^, calendar^, maps*, vnc/rdp, skype, netflix, app catalog*^, youtube*, calculator*, google docs.

      Starred apps would be portable. Apps with a ^ indicate they sync across devices, using Palm's servers if needed.

      Device portability would include other WebOS devices as well as windows platforms and IE/FF/Chrome browsers. Note the browser should support shared folder browsing so one can stream media from a network resource. Also note that with VNC/RDP like capabilities, Palm could sell virtualized environments or services to allow the tablet full desktop capabilities. This also opens the door to software for home computers or home mini-servers that provide these capabilities, although such products/services may be beyond the scope of Palm's business model. However, it could be something attractive for carriers to partner on and outsource...

      Either way, this device would need to be done fast, as in it needs to be ready to ship 12mths from now, announced at nearly the same time (CES 2011). Any more than that would probably be too long. This device should be sold in stores and with carriers. The carrier sales would be good for two reasons, first because it gives Palm even more mindshare (would be a fifth device in this plan and these five devices would be very noticeable in any carrier store and second because I believe it's ok to offer ways for customers to subsidize this. It must also have a good mobile plan option and must cost <$500, and that's being liberal. This is a very new technology and Apple is not Palm. The value proposition to the customer must be obvious and at least at first, Palm may need to give up as much as possible to get its platform started.

    6. It would also help if Palm improved its relationships with other companies and organizations, not only content distributors (Amazon for their Kindle collection), Netflix (streaming media), and content enablers (Adobe for flash) but also the homebrew community. I believe they should make homebrew as EASY as possible without making it official or putting it in the official app catalog. All it should require is the Konami code, then a download that can be done in-phone. It should be easy enough that non-enthusiasts can do it, and even be OK with updates such as this last one. The underground needs to get strong on this so it can be a big unspoken feature that customers like.

    7. Probably most importantly, the products need to be marketed. Why was the Instinct so popular among Joe public? Marketing. It was strongly advertised and done in such a way that people believed it to be on the same tier as the iPhone. The reality is that it obviously wasn't, but people don't buy phones on present reality any more than stocks trade strictly on present reality. Forecasts and expectations are extremely important. Yes expectations should be managed but unlike many phones, the Pre is able to walk its talk with no problems. It just needs to be marketed. People need to know how good it is. The strange Palm commercials need to be buried forever. They hurt more than help. Reviving the Treo brand, something that has real credibility with business and consumer alike will help a lot. Leveraging a well established brand name will do a lot to support a new marketing campaign. Additionally, Palm needs to structure agreements with carriers if necessary, to ensure that they're marketing the products. At a minimum, WebOS devices need to be given their own unique but attractive floor space in stores, allowing the above 4-5 devices to sell themselves to the maximum extent possible. While it is true that carriers may not care, the Pre has unique features which it may be able to sell, or use to otherwise benefit the carrier (ex: router features).


    I believe that with simple steps such as these, Palm will be able to survive in the face of the stiff competition that they see today. The iPhone is moving to the next level, and Apple is locking together a futuristic mobile universe that is working well- both as a business (marketing, technology) and as an appeal to consumers who are being able to easily and efficiently do more than they've ever done. It may not be working all that well at present, but they're definitely laying the right bricks in the right places. Meanwhile Android, thanks to Google's revamped backing, is getting significant mindshare and marketing attention, putting it in the place that Windows Mobile used to be, in the minds of many. Like the iPhone, Android is not however, the ultimate platform. Palm can still go toe to toe with Google and Apple and carve out its own market space for the long term.
  2. mbk1487's Avatar
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    #2  
    good points...you really have put alot of thought into all this.
  3. #3  
    I love this thread. It's so true, Palm needs to get their phones into every hand as soon as possible if they want to compete.

    Being a ex-Treo user, I thought the pixi was palm's way of bringing something to the old Treo users. It might work, but like you said....it should be free to all, so all would have an opportunity try a Palm phone. It seems like they [Palm] just realized that there's more than just business people using their phones.

    I especially liked your 1st point. I don't know why all these carriers aren't immediately taking these new phones in and letting the customer choose, instead of the other way around. Just look at how apple has an iphone with every carrier. What's up with that?

    I hope a Palm employee is reading your thread, cause they really need to work on their getting their product out there.

    Thanks again.
  4. #4  
    Palm does have a small relationship with a big company already...Amazon. They should increase the store to include and support ebooks (a Kindle app of sorts), their video content (downloadable and streamable), as well as access to their online storage (which you can back up your webOS device to and have universal access to).

    Also, even though it doesnt appeal to me, they should definitely have a slab/keyboardless device in conjunction with the Pre to appeal to a greater market. I think they should also re-ignite their relationship with HTC (they basically helped them get off of the ground) and allow them to build their devices in the future, hopefully increasing quality.

    OP, great points!
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by BMIC50 View Post
    Palm does have a small relationship with a big company already...Amazon. They should increase the store to include and support ebooks (a Kindle app of sorts), their video content (downloadable and streamable), as well as access to their online storage (which you can back up your webOS device to and have universal access to).

    Also, even though it doesnt appeal to me, they should definitely have a slab/keyboardless device in conjunction with the Pre to appeal to a greater market. I think they should also re-ignite their relationship with HTC (they basically helped them get off of the ground) and allow them to build their devices in the future, hopefully increasing quality.

    OP, great points!

    I definitely agree i have been wanting this for a long time but an amazon store to the equivalence of the i-tunes store would be fantastic as far as movies, music streaming video is concerned. Palm needs a slab form factor. A tablet should not be worked on for a wile if at all its just not practical. All phones should be top of the line in processors and graphics. Speed and fluidity should not be an issue with the next version of these devices.
  6. #6  
    That was a really insightful post, well worth the read. You summed up everything pretty well. Its really been bugging me lately that I have to be so skeptical of the future of Webos. As of now I am pretty die hard about it, and because I really do think it is the os with the most to offer. Palm has innovated more than anyone could expect. I was reading an article from 2007 about when palm came out and said they werent gunna be jumping on the android bandwagon. All of the comments in the post were saying how bad of a move it was going to be for palm, and that everything they had been looking for in an open platform was available in android, and it made no sense not to adopt it. Looking back, its obvious that they had webos in the tubes and thought it was a better os with more potential. It seems like they are in a difficult situation right now with limited resources, but with a few good decisions and some good marketing its more than possible. Basically what I am trying to say is that I want palm to prove the haters wrong. Its not too hard to imagine them being out innovated by the competition and become irrelevant. It would be a shame to see such a forward thinking company die off just because of a lack of money.
  7. #7  
    Spectacular thread. I absolutely agree. Palm lives and dies by the quality of their hardware, the quality of the screen and the os as well as the comfort of the keyboard.

    They need to combine the best of the iphone - the screen - with the best of the blackberry / treo lineup to create the ultimate convergence device, not cheap plastic toys for overzealous new gadget early adopters.

    Quality, quality, quality.
  8. #8  
    I don't feel that Palm's quality is any better/worse than any other phone manufacturer. We still have 3 launch day Pre's peforming fine. Let's see now, the brand before my Pre was Blackberry, replaced it within 6 months, finally got disgusted and switched to Sprint/Palm Pre. Before the Blackberry was the LG Chocolate, was on my 3rd phone before my 2 year upgrade finally came and got the Blackberry. So real world, the days of flip phones are gone, todays smartphones are much more complicated, many more things to break/fail, people abuse them, drop them, sit on them when they have them in their back pockets among other things. Of the hundreds of complaints about cracked screens, broken power buttons and so on, I've seen maybe only a couple people admit that the dropped/abused their phones, cracks me up. Try dropping your laptop a few times and see what happens, yep today's smartphones are mini-computers and people should treat them as such. It's too bad that people read these forums and make a decision not to get the Palm Pre, they are really missing out on great phone. Yep, I am hooked on webOS and am really looking forward to the next new Palm smartphone coming down the line.
  9. #9  
    Older treo lines were built like tanks and their keyboards were more usable.

    Just because a smartphone is more complicated is NO excuse for flimsy build quality which leaves it susceptible to cracks, oreo movement, poor keyboard size, etc.

    Not that you'd make a habit of it, but if you dropped any of the treos from 600-755p you'd have no worries... save for a few external blemishes.

    I don't buy the argument that "well today's smartphones are just more temperamental, more complicated and people abuse them". That is absolutely no excuse.

    Palm and any other manufacturer for that matter is more than capable of putting out a "complicated" smartphone as well as superior hardware.

    Some - ahem, palm - simply don't make that their first priority. They are cost cutting, and it shows... PERIOD. end of discussion.
  10.    #10  
    We are on the verge of a major shift in personal computing technology. For the first time in decades there will be a significant shift in both the hardware and software the public uses for daily computing. This shift is going to occur as large numbers of people migrate from full fledged traditional computers - desktops and laptops- to dedicated devices that are as we would say today, mobile in nature.

    This change has been a long time in the making. Indeed for a number of device-generations, manufacturers have sought this change to occur. It's been seen with the creation of oversized PDAs, tablet devices, slate computers and the like. The concept has never worked although somewhat accidentally, the industry is about to succeed in making this historically failed leap. This will happen with the development of a then-thought-unlikely candidate: cell phone hardware and software. Indeed, anyone who has ever needed casual information or merely desired to conduct a casual internet search or bookmark check on a phone when a computer was available has become an example of this change. Anyone who sees value in the productivity of devices like the iphone or even better, the HTC HD2, has seen that shift in progress.

    Up to now, prior slate and tablet efforts have not been successful because neither the hardware nor software have been sufficient. Available hardware has limited mobile software to not offer the applications that have competed with the desktop experience. For one of the best examples, it is only recently that mobile devices have had an internet experience that could come close to what one could enjoy on a PC. While there are other apps that have improved noticeably of late, it is the internet, email, and photo/video applications that people need the most and prior devices were either unable to provide these same experiences (eg Apple Newton or earlier Clies) or were unable to do so in a form factor that was advantageous versus the alternatives of the time (slate computers). This is why, while some were in fact "successful" (ex: tablet pc), none had mass appeal.

    Over time though, people's needs have not increased as fast as hardware has advanced. It was true, in the past, that every incremental new processor on the market represented a noticeable improvement in performance in daily computing. That is no longer true in the desktop and even laptop space. Although major companies such as Microsoft have not maintained the most efficient code, processing power has increased so quickly that any recently made computer can sufficiently run the programs that joe public typically uses today.

    This has allowed more people to migrate toward increasingly mobile platforms and has supported the history of users to migrating from full room computers to towers to desktops and more recently to laptops and netbooks. This is also the very same trend that has allowed people to make more use of smaller form factors such as phones- where we all still see significant benefit from every incremental hardware upgrade. The problem with phones is that the form factor is too small. Larger display devices help this, such as the HTC HD2, but for full email and internet, even larger devices are preferred. The problem with that is that up until now, there hasn't been the software to effectively use it and the market hasn't recognized the value.

    It's been thought that the netbook is the future. There is significant value to them, especially today when there are no alternatives. However, those devices are not necessarily the most efficient or easiest to use. As phone hardware continues to advance and mobile operating systems and software can suffice for basic tasks, they will become the default choice for casual or as has been described, more intimate, computing. Just as with laptops and desktops, it is not likely that these other formfactors will completely disappear- at least, not soon. The netbook will live on. It offers great value through its large featureset and great pricing. However, for casual or intimate use, a new form factor will come to shine. This new hardware will be more efficient but also carry new software. The new software will be key to this new experience.

    WebOS is best positioned to be the gold standard of that new software. WebOS has the entire interface needed to propel this new generation of devices into the masses thanks to phenomenal multi tasking, UI layouts that would be outstanding on optimized large screen and resolution displays, great web browsing, a solid e-mail client and of equal importance- a platform of proven capability with growing community support.

    However, Palm must take interest. The shift to mobile devices is fast occurring as major companies covertly lay their stakes. Palm needs to see this and take immediate action. Failure to do so would mean that a new form of technology would arise in their own back yard and, at best, they would not benefit.

    If Palm is to have a stake in what is about to be the biggest upcoming development in consumer electronics, Palm must dig into the market and deliver the devices that are required. If they do not, the winning horse that they're standing closest to will leave the gate with no rider, as they stand and watch.

    While some fans of Palm would see webOS as a positive sign of change and competitiveness in a company not recently known for it, it's possible that it's merely a survival bid. Sun Tzu would say that when soldiers are put on death ground - positions in which there is no escape, and the only options are death or fight, "there is nothing they may not achieve." WebOS could be the product of one such situation.

    Palms competitors, Apple and Google, are both laying stakes in this future. Google is continuing to work on its OS and the application of it on larger formfactors. Apple is about to release its iPad. Although most would say that key features are lacking - they're easily added. In fact, Apple is wisely concealing the powerful ramifications and advantages of their strategy. While I would make the 'sell' a bit more obvious to the masses and provide at least some of those key features up front, such is Apple's modus operandi.

    ..Which leaves an opening for Palm. Whether this opening existed or not though, it is a space Palm needs to fill if it is to thrive. Since the failure of the Folio, it is understandable that there is a risk-averse feeling within the company. With the recent acclaim of webOS, it is also understandable that the company feels that it is on the right track and that its problems are all but behind it. However, the apparent calm in the weather is not a sign of easy times ahead and in fact, the company still stands, perilously unaware, on death ground.
  11. jephdood's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by tekknikal View Post
    The Pre Plus and Pixi Plus need to be on all carriers, and the current Pre needs to die.
    This. Something that should be done in the short-term. Especially with video now implemented in 1.4. 8GB of memory isn't going to stretch as far as it used to. My thought, though, is that Verizon probably has exclusivity on the Pluses.

    I'm on Sprint and would love a Plus.
  12.    #12  
    almost a year later. i hope today's announcements are good.

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