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  1.    #1  
    From www.pmn.co.uk:

    Quote

    16 April 2003 -- PMN -- Handspring announced a significant shift in strategy as it reported fiscal Q3 revenues down 48 percent at USD 30.8m. The company plans to exit the organiser business entirely and focus on strategic product development and marketing relationships with a select number of network operators worldwide, similar to its existing agreement with Sprint PCS.

    Handspring also announced that Orange had signed an agreement to become one of its 'tier one' operator partners. Orange and Sprint both plan to sell a co-branded version of Handspring's forthcoming Treo communicator, which uses Palm OS 5. The new Treo will be launched in calendar Q3 2003.

    Donna Dubinsky, CEO of Handspring, said: "Our strategy today is to develop deep relationships with several strategic carriers, which we call tier one carriers, much like the relationship we have with Sprint. Our goal is to conclude a handful of such relationships over the next 12 months. We also will work with what we call tier two carriers, carriers who will buy a non-customised, or slightly customised, product either from us, or from our distributors."

    The change in strategy will result in further declines in revenue over the next two fiscal quarters. Handspring expects to see a particular drop in revenue from Sprint PCS, which will be focusing on selling existing inventory of the Treo 300 ahead of the introduction of the new Treo.

    Handspring hopes to return to revenue growth in fiscal Q2 2004, but Dubinsky warned: "...our quarterly financial results will be lumpy until we reach a more substantial scale, with a portfolio of products and a group of carriers. The results of any one carrier customer, whether positive or negative, may swing significantly Handspring's results up or down in any given quarter. "

    The strategy shift completes a gradual move by Handspring away from the organiser-based business founded by Donna Dubinsky, Jeff Hawkins and Ed Colligan after they left Palm. Handspring relied heavily on web-based sales of its products to minimise costs during its early stages of growth, but has found this model unsuitable for the sale of its newer communicator products, which require the user to purchase a service contract from a network operator.

    Dubinsky concluded: "Our objective is to exit the calendar year with a strong new product, three strategic carrier relationships, and a business that is once again vibrant and growing."

    Unquote
  2. #2  
    Mostly old news. As much as I like HS, I'll be the pessimist and say that HS's future hinges entirely on this OS5 product, (which will supposedly be killer). If this doesn't fly, there's no more money left in the pipeline. I certainly hope it convinced me that I can't live without a communicator.

    In hindsight, what HS should have done after the failure of the Edge was to diversify into two lines, develop Communicators and solidify the PDA line: the Pro, Color Pro, and Platinum. This would have kept revenues coming in. A Color Pro would still have no real competition today, had the module biz continued. HS's OS3.5 with modules works better than my OS4 Treo90. The Neo was just a new color housing and little else. It's just a platinum in a prettier box. Never should have been there.

    The hybrid 90 shouldn't have come out either. Mind you, I love mine (the best PDA I've owned), but it's an interim unit that can't take advantage of springboards. And there are very few SD peripherals yet. It's generated very few sales for HS. Many fewer than the PDA line mentioned above would have.

    That's my belated two cents,

    Kevin
  3. #3  
    I disagree. Handspring left the PDA biz because they were unable to compete with the gee-whiz Sony devices. There is stiff competition in the Communicator/Phone space as well..but this market is much bigger than the PDA market.


    Originally posted by J. Kevin Wolfe
    Mostly old news. As much as I like HS, I'll be the pessimist and say that HS's future hinges entirely on this OS5 product, (which will supposedly be killer). If this doesn't fly, there's no more money left in the pipeline. I certainly hope it convinced me that I can't live without a communicator.

    In hindsight, what HS should have done after the failure of the Edge was to diversify into two lines, develop Communicators and solidify the PDA line: the Pro, Color Pro, and Platinum. This would have kept revenues coming in. A Color Pro would still have no real competition today, had the module biz continued. HS's OS3.5 with modules works better than my OS4 Treo90. The Neo was just a new color housing and little else. It's just a platinum in a prettier box. Never should have been there.

    The hybrid 90 shouldn't have come out either. Mind you, I love mine (the best PDA I've owned), but it's an interim unit that can't take advantage of springboards. And there are very few SD peripherals yet. It's generated very few sales for HS. Many fewer than the PDA line mentioned above would have.

    That's my belated two cents,

    Kevin
    My life is in my Treo... Where is yours?
  4. #4  
    Yardie,

    I disagree with your disagreement.

    As I remember, Sony never outsold HS before last Jan when HS announced they'd be leaving the organizer biz. I think HS market share has actually been up the previous year. (But then I'm just extrapolating out my posterior and and too lazy to look the stats up.)

    Kevin
  5. #5  
    Yardie, the cell phone market is much larger than the PDA market. What about the smartphone market...how big is it? That's the $64,000 question! With run-of-the-mill phones selling for $50-200, the $500-600 smartphone market is fairly small. When smartphones sell for $200-300, then we'll see how big the market can be! Look at what Dell's pricing is doing to the PDA market. So who can stay in business selling smartphones once they are commoditized? Probably only the consumer electronics giants like Sony and Samsung, and possibly the Taiwanese manufacturers (HTC, Mitac, etc) and a company like Dell. One-trick-pony companies like HS will find it tough going once this market matures another couple of years, I'll bet.
  6. #6  
    To counterweigh the negativism of my previous post, I think the Treo is a wonderful, innovative device, and I'm looking forward to upgrading to the next HS device later this year. I'll do my share to keep HS in business.
  7. #7  
    Nokia sold 98 million handsets last quarter. That is about 10 times more than all the PDAs in the world ever sold. If even 10% of one quarters sales of Nokia were to become smartphone sales, that would be a huge market.
  8. #8  
    So how do you convince the masses to switch from a $100 Nokia to a $500 Treo? Even 10% of one quarter of the masses? Obviously they haven't answered that question right yet. I agree with ScottR who said that it will take a $200-300 price tag before the masses start to see acceptable value in a smartphone and buy them in large numbers.
  9. #9  
    What about the smartphone market...how big is it? That's the $64,000 question! With run-of-the-mill phones selling for $50-200, the $500-600 smartphone market is fairly small. When smartphones sell for $200-300, then we'll see how big the market can be! Look at what Dell's pricing is doing to the PDA market.
    The world-wide cellphone market is almost 400 million handsets a year! If Handspring can get even 2-3% of that, then they will be a greater succes than they would ever be in tha pda business. Secondly, I recal reading somewhere that Handspring was committed to releasing a new sub-$200 treo/smartphone to market in the long term. I think thats great idea b/c the sub-$200 price point is a very a lucrative segment. In fact HS is doing this right now with the T300 and T270. The problem is its old technology... The holy grail in the next few quarters is if HS can get two next gen treos: one low end for under $200 bucks and one higher end. Lets hope...
  10. #10  
    > ...Secondly, I recal reading somewhere that Handspring was
    > committed to releasing a new sub-$200 treo/smartphone to
    > market in the long term...

    I follow Handspring-the-company intimately - they have never said this. The "next communicator" will be high-end - that is, expensive once again. Since they have not even talked about what's coming next, it doesn't take a close reading of every article ever written about Handspring to realize they haven't said anything about what's coming next after next.

    Handspring has acknowledged in the most recent earnings conference that reducing the price created greater sales - they did NOT say what "greater sales" meant, though, nor even what "sales" meant!
  11. #11  
    HS also said that this generation Treo and the next generation would coexist in the market for a while. Maybe they will try to sell a lot of 270's and 300's in the Christmas season for $199 with no contract. I doubt whether that would interfere with sales of the new high-end Treo much. They should appeal to different market segments.
  12. #12  
    People were leaving Handspring for Sony before they decided to exit the organizer business. There was no way that Handspring could have kept up with Sony or even Palm. They saw the writing on the wall and took the door.

    Originally posted by J. Kevin Wolfe
    Yardie,

    I disagree with your disagreement.

    As I remember, Sony never outsold HS before last Jan when HS announced they'd be leaving the organizer biz. I think HS market share has actually been up the previous year. (But then I'm just extrapolating out my posterior and and too lazy to look the stats up.)

    Kevin
    My life is in my Treo... Where is yours?
  13. #13  
    I would look to having both low-end and high-end products, and perhaps different form factors.

    Imagine if they had a high-end product (basically a Treo 300 with hi-res, big memory, fast cpu, expansion slot and Palm 5) for the current Treo market (gadget freaks) and a small, cheaper phone-like device (basically the form factor of a modern phone) running 3.5 but with a slicker user interface, to capture the broader market of people who want access to their Outlook contacts, instant messaging and live email but don't want to worry about installing apps and tweaking settings.

    But IMO their biggest problem is lack of good software (meaning the bundled software). Email, SMS/instant messaging, browser and interface hold the Treo back. Maybe they don't want to devote more resources to the Palm 3.5 platform, but frankly I'm really surprised that they haven't put out software updates.

    One thing's for sure: the big money is NOT going to be selling Treos to people who hang out in discussion groups to figure out how to make the most of their product. The big money is people who just expect to pick up the thing and have it work.
    --invention is the mother of necessity
  14. #14  
    Originally posted by gfunkmagic
    I think thats great idea b/c the sub-$200 price point is a very a lucrative segment. In fact HS is doing this right now with the T300 and T270. The problem is its old technology... The holy grail in the next few quarters is if HS can get two next gen treos: one low end for under $200 bucks and one higher end. Lets hope...
    As much as I want an ARM/OS5 320x320 device for my next phone, the current device isn't really that antiquated feature-wise when compared to other smartphones on the market. It only looks antiquated as compared to other Palm OS devices. The one thing it's missing compared to other smartphones out there is a built-in camera. Which gets me thinking...Not that I'd want such a kludge (oh, who am I kidding, I'd probably buy one if it was cheap and halfway decent), but it surprises me that Handspring hasn't put together a snap-on camera that would plug into the sync-port. This would be along the lines of some of the add-on cameras that Sony-Ericsson has for some of their small phones. Yes, it's kludgey, but it would be better than nothing and could spark more interest in the old hardware.

    Again, though, for the next product, I'm really thinking I want a built-in camera. I really want it to have a flash and minimum 640x480 (though better quality than the samples I've seen posted online from the Zire 71).

    Here's another thought for their next-gen device...Keeping in mind that HS has/had been targetting the enterprise market and there seems to be some buzz about Wi-Fi and VOIP, I wonder if their next device might have Wi-Fi and cellular built-in. Of course, given the poor battery life of the present Treo, and the fact that Wi-Fi and cellular each suck battery life fast, this could be hard to accomplish.

    Scott
  15. #15  
    I think the reason we haven't seen so many Treo accessories like cameras yet is that many of the companies that could produce them got burned by HS when they suddenly dropped the module slot. There were many modules in developement when this happened, so many companies are probably reluctant to create anything that attaches to a treo.

    I've always thought that a Treo sled that plugs into the HotSync socket and enabled you to plug in modules should have been a standard on the communicators. It's not ideal, but would enable you to use the backup module, external memory or even a camera.
  16. #16  
    I'm one to think that anything you attach as a sled is simply unacceptable. It makes the device absolutely huge!
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by J. Kevin Wolfe
    I think the reason we haven't seen so many Treo accessories like cameras yet is that many of the companies that could produce them got burned by HS when they suddenly dropped the module slot. There were many modules in developement when this happened, so many companies are probably reluctant to create anything that attaches to a treo.
    Yeah, I was suggesting that Handspring should have done this themselves. I'm not sure if developers necessarily hold a grudge about the Springboard slot. Remember that the Visors were out for a while and nothing lives forever. I'd imagine that if such plug-ins were possible with the sync port on the Treo, the main reason developers would hold off on developing for it would simply because of the relatively small userbase. That said, just by looking at the sync port, I'm not sure that it would be easy to clip on anything other than super small and lightweight things (possibly a camera or temporary backup module) because other than the port itself, there aren't any other holes for something to latch onto. Handspring would have been smart to add a couple of holes onto the back of the Treo along the lines of how Palm's universal connector works.

    Scott
  18. #18  
    I am dissapointed with the lack of accessories that has been made available for the Treo. It has been almost a year since I bought my 270 and Handspring has done nothing to increase it's value to the consumer.

    I agree with you Scott in that I would like a integrated camera on my next device. I don't think I can wait for Handspring to come out with it's next model. It could be a long time coming.
  19. #19  
    Originally posted by KRamsauer
    I'm one to think that anything you attach as a sled is simply unacceptable. It makes the device absolutely huge!
    It wouldn't have to be constantly attached. It would be something that you keep in your pocket until you want to make a back, or take a picture, or if your battery life is low -- it all depends on which accessory you're talking about. Then you bring it out and attach it for a short time and put it back when you are done with it.
  20. #20  
    For me the whole point of having a converged device is not having to carry around a bunch of stuff. I'd prefer a slightly larger form factor with all the options built in rather than a slim, minimal device with numerous add-ons.

    With all these opinions, it's no wonder that the designers and manufacturers never get it "just right."
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