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  1.    #1  
    The Palm Economy:
    Against a Windows Mobile Palm

    This article is intended to be the first of a series that explores the state of the Palm OS Economy. I will review and analyze both Palm and Palmsource from various points of view. In the light of recent rumors that Palm, Inc. is preparing a Windows Mobile device, this first article will attempt to present the strongest arguments for why Palm, Inc. (Palm) must continue to use Palm OS exclusively.

    Palmís Business Model Requires Palm OS

    Palm has self-reported that somewhere near 80% of its employees are software engineers. This fact makes it too expensive for Palm to compete in a Window Mobile marketplace.
    Palmís business model has been shaped by the emergence of the Treo smartphone and the rejection of Cobalt. Why has Palm not used Cobalt? For an interesting read and eerily similar progression of events check out this article on Copland. Here is a list of possible candidates:

    1. It offers no significant improvements over what Palm can do with Garnet
    2. It is more expensive to license than Garnet
    3. It requires a significant time commitment from developers to learn (multithreading system, APIs, etc) and will lead to confusion amongst them
    4. It suffers from second-system effect which could explain the move to a Linux kernel
    5. It may be unstable in when asked to interact with hardware
    6. The Cobalt kernel needs device drivers written and Palmsource doesnít have the resources to write them
    7. Palmsource no longer has the talent to maintain Cobalt and itís too much for Palm to do alone
    8. Palm has made significant improvements to Garnet and they are too difficult to integrate into Cobalt at this point
    9. Palmsource could not create an environment that allows for pre-cobalt applications to be used on a Cobalt device
    10. Smartphones, due to Carrier relations, require high stability and Cobalt is not there yet. A failed Treo could greatly hurt Palmís relationships with carriers and its future business

    As a result of the above reasons or any combination thereof Palm has remained with Garnet. Because Palmsource has abandoned Garnet, in favor of Cobalt, Palm has been required to maintain a large staff of software engineers. Palmís Garnet related needs have created an R&D monster that Windows Mobile cannot satisfy without Palm having a major headcount reduction.

    A move to Windows Mobile would put Palm on the same playing field as HP, Dell, and Nokia. Unfortunately the rules of the game would not be equal because Palm would immediately be at a disadvantage having higher R&D costs due to its incredibly large software engineering staff. For example, Dell would take the Windows Mobile OS ďas isĒ from Microsoft and be able to sell it cheaper than Palm who, in order to justify their R&D department, would need to customize the OS in some way. So, oversimplified, Dell would just have the cost of parts and the OS, while Palm would have the added cost of OS customization.

    So Palm, right now, is stuck or purposefully choosing to remain with the Palm OS.

    A Palm Windows Mobile Device Would Kill Its Palm OS Device Sales

    An introduction of a Palm device running Windows Mobile would introduce doubt as to the future of Palm OS driven products. Smartphones and PDA users often want added functionality in their devices and this need is met through third-party developers. The acquisition of third-party software can end up being quite a large investment for the end-user.

    I personally have spent close to $400 in third-party software for my Treo smartphone over the past several years. As an end-user I want the applications I purchase to be available for use several years down the road and be upgradeable. But if I see Palm uncommitted to the Palm OS by creating a WM device then I will very likely move to Windows. Why? Again because I see my third-party software purchases as investments and I want that investment to pay dividends for the longest amount of time. So if your given a choice to buy a Windows Mobile Treo with a clear future or buy a Palm Treo with a doubtful future, which would you buy? (I might stay with Palm OS Treo if there were other licensees supporting the Palm Economy, but at this moment there are none so it doesnít matter.)

    I think its safe to assume most of us would buy a Windows Mobile Treo or some other device running an alternative OS that looked to have a future. What would be a secondary result? Third-party developers would also begin choosing Palm OS or Windows Mobile Platforms to decrease costs associated with dual development. If customers choose Windows Mobile, third-party developers will also choose Windows Mobile. Thus, a snowball effect would begin to take place and in several years Palm OS would be a distant memory.

    Palmís Goodwill Would Be Significantly Hurt

    Palm has built its business on the back of hardworking third-party developers and a loyal user base. This has led to a committed following and ensured Palm a solid foundation for the future. But what if Palm, Inc. moved to Windows Mobile? Let say that it even produced great devices using the Windows Mobile platform. What would happen? I for one and many other would be bitter towards Palm for enabling the Palm OS along with my significant time and third-party application investments to be thrown away. Developers would also feel bitter towards Palm as well. Then when given a choice to recommend Palm Windows Mobile devices or other manufacturers I tend to think that they would recommend the something other than Palm products. This would hurt much of the loyalty that users feel toward Palm, which is an excellent asset to Palm.

    In review I have presented three major arguments against Palm creating a Windows Mobile device. Because I like my Palm Treo I hope that in the boardrooms of Palm, Inc. a similar topic of conversation has been discussed. Has it Palm? If so, itís time to let us know.

    By craigdts
  2. #2  
    This has got to be one of the WORST analysis I've ever read! *sigh* Where to begin...

    Well to start with, if you want to read a REAL and INFORMATIVE article about the state of PalmOS, then read the following article from informationweek...

    http://www.informationweek.com/share...leID=169300302



    Quote Originally Posted by craigdts
    Palmís Business Model Requires Palm OS
    No it doesn't. Palm is a hardware company and is platform agnostic. The use PalmOS because it fits within their business model and suits the customers they cater to. But this can always change...

    Palm has self-reported that somewhere near 80% of its employees are software engineers. This fact makes it too expensive for Palm to compete in a Window Mobile marketplace.
    HUH? That has nothing to do with it. There's as much software development into a device like the Treo as there is hardware, maybe even more. Palm spends an enormous amount of energy customizing the Treo software for each individual carrier. That takes alot of work and alot of software engineers as a result.

    1. It offers no significant improvements over what Palm can do with Garnet
    What, are you mad? It is a true preemptive multitasking OS! That is enough of an improvement!

    2. It is more expensive to license than Garnet
    How do you know that? PalmSource has always been very tight lipped about the specific lisencing aggreements they have with their lisencees.
    3. It requires a significant time commitment from developers to learn (multithreading system, APIs, etc) and will lead to confusion amongst them
    Not according to various devs who attended palm devcon

    4. It suffers from second-system effect which could explain the move to a Linux kernel
    >>>> (sometimes, more euphoniously, second-system syndrome) When one is designing the successor to a relatively small, elegant, and successful system, there is a tendency to become grandiose in one's success and design an elephantine feature-laden monstrosity.

    Uhh... No I think you are referring to Franken Garnet there!
    5. It may be unstable in when asked to interact with hardware
    Again, where the heck are you pulling this statement from? How do you know?
    6. The Cobalt kernel needs device drivers written and Palmsource doesnít have the resources to write them
    OMG!!! You got one RIGHT!!!!!!!!!! Finally, something here makes sense and is the reason WHY PalmSource is focusing on Palm Linux! As per the article I linked to above:

    The company's struggle to provide reliable hardware drivers typified the problem PalmSource faced. With Cobalt's new middleware framework running on a proprietary kernel that had never seen silicon outside of a lab, either PalmSource or its licensees had to create completely new drivers for every smartphone hardware element.
    7. Palmsource no longer has the talent to maintain Cobalt and itís too much for Palm to do alone
    HUH? Again more statements pulled out of thin air. Notwithstanding all the folks their acquired from the Be and MobileSoft acquisitions, they have partnered with MontaVista to lay the underlying the linux Kernal fyi...
    8. Palm has made significant improvements to Garnet and they are too difficult to integrate into Cobalt at this point
    Actually, MOST of the 'improvements' made to FrankenGarnet are the result of patches extracted from Cobalt. For example, NVFS was originally a core feature of Cobalt, but Palm decided to integrate that into FrankenGarnet...
    9. Palmsource could not create an environment that allows for pre-cobalt applications to be used on a Cobalt device
    That's what PACE is for...
    10. Smartphones, due to Carrier relations, require high stability and Cobalt is not there yet. A failed Treo could greatly hurt Palmís relationships with carriers and its future business
    Again, unsubstantable statements. Also, that was probably true for Cobalt 6, but Cobatl 6.1 for smartphones is supposed to be alot better.
    Because Palmsource has abandoned Garnet, in favor of Cobalt, Palm has been required to maintain a large staff of software engineers. Palmís Garnet related needs have created an R&D monster that Windows Mobile cannot satisfy without Palm having a major headcount reduction.
    Again, this is totally absurd. Like I said before, there is a ton if not more software development that goes into devices like the Treo as there is hardware dev. Plus there is all the huge amount of carrier customization work that requires alot of software. Just cus Palm has alot of software engineers, doesn't mean it competing with M$!!!!!!!!!!!
    A move to Windows Mobile would put Palm on the same playing field as HP, Dell, and Nokia. Unfortunately the rules of the game would not be equal because Palm would immediately be at a disadvantage having higher R&D costs due to its incredibly large software engineering staff. For example, Dell would take the Windows Mobile OS ďas isĒ from Microsoft and be able to sell it cheaper than Palm who, in order to justify their R&D department, would need to customize the OS in some way. So, oversimplified, Dell would just have the cost of parts and the OS, while Palm would have the added cost of OS customization.
    First of all your comparing apples to oranges... specifically traditional pda's to smartphones in term of development. The former a more commoditized devices where the 'white-box' thesis applies, but not so for smartphones. Do you really think Moto, Samsung etc don't have very large software teams working on these smartphones?!! What do you think they do, just solder the hardware together and that's it? The mobile handset market is very different than the pc market...

    Why? Again because I see my third-party software purchases as investments and I want that investment to pay dividends for the longest amount of time.
    From what I understand, PalmOS Protein based apps should work on forthcoming PalmLinux. The whole point is to port Cobalt API's over the linux core. Furthermore, PACE will be embedded in both Cobalt and PalmLinux (has to be). Thus most apps should work when ported over as was the case for palmos 4.x to Garnet and etc. In addition most devs will want to update and recompile their apps to take advantage of ARM-native execution.
    So if your given a choice to buy a Windows Mobile Treo with a clear future or buy a Palm Treo with a doubtful future, which would you buy? (I might stay with Palm OS Treo if there were other licensees supporting the Palm Economy, but at this moment there are none so it doesnít matter.)
    I will concede that Palm is the only major lisencee of consequence right now, but it is inaccurate to say there are NONE! LG, GSL, lenova etc are all players right now. But you are right to point out the lack of major palmos smartphone devices to compete with the Treo...

    In review I have presented three major arguments against Palm creating a Windows Mobile device.
    ??? You did?

    Look, why do you assume a WM Treo means Palm will drop palmOS? Palm has already extended is lisencing agreement with palmsource up to 2009 fyi. In addition there is tremendous discussion here about the rumors of the next gen Treo running Cobalt. I agree Palm needs to keep the dev community happy and should make is alot easier to develop for it by being as open as possible about it's proprietary code. (nod to Jeff Kirvin and his Fitaly rant). But releasing a WM Treo is NOT abandoning these devs which btw a large number also dev for WM. It is about expanding the market for PALM and it's devices!!!

    If you already have a palmOS Treo, the Palm is NOT targetting you with the rumored WM Treo. They already have you. The WM Treo is targetted at those who do NOT already have a Treo and these people mostly are in enterprise that are loathe to try anything other than M$ OS products. It is a simple business and smart business that's all...
    Last edited by Gaurav; 08/27/2005 at 03:34 AM.
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  3. #3  
    That was one of the most tardanic posts ever to grace the realm of Treo Central.

    Completely lacks business sense, technical sense, and common sense.

    The only thing that will save the Treo is a Windows OS.

    Just because you don't want to buy new apps does not mean the Treo should stick with Garnet.

    Garnet is a OS from 1997. fince back then, but today it is a POS. The most unstable OS in the market today, for both phones and pdas.
  4. #4  
    I'd buy a Windows mobile Treo in a heartbeat. I too think its a good move on their part.
  5. #5  
    I three think it's a good move....SO LONG AS A PALM LINUX VERSION FOLLOWS WITHIN A YEAR FROM THE WM'S RELEASE DATE!!
  6. #6  
    I have been a PDA owner since the days of PSION. 10 years ago it's PDAs had better operating systems than Palm...and a calendar that still is unequaled in some ways. So where is PSION now? One could say it lives on in the Simbian operating system in SonyEricosons but that is a stretch (not to mention hanging on by a thread too.)

    So what is my point. PDAs and integrated devices will move forward but it will be a painful process of two steps forward and one step back. Companies that make mistakes and don't listen to customers will fall by the wayside.

    I've owned half a dozen wince/pocketpc devices over the years and they keep getting better and better. Palm has also gotten better over the years but MS has passed it in some ways and is poised to crush it on it's next release of Windows Mobile.

    As far as Linux based PDAs are conerned they've been around for quite a while. More recently people have been porting Linux to PocketPCs and Sharp's Zaurus line has it's own version of Unix so technically it is very doable.

    Success of any platform will depend on a few important elements:
    1. Stability. People want stuff to work and not crash. Unfortunately, Palm walked away from their advantage here.
    2. Ease of use. It should be simple to use...with simple interfaces.
    3. Compatibility. It should be compatible with all popular equipment and software (WindowsXP, MSOffice, Outlook, MP3, MPEG, WIFI, JPEG, Flash, Java...etc.)
    4. Usability. It should be easy to carry, charge, operate and have a reasonable battery life.
    5. Looks. It should look sleak and sexy....not bulky and geeky.

    I am very impressed with my Treo. Sure it has shortcomings but it does stuff that I wouldn't be able to do without a whole pile of equipment and it does it fairly well. I'll lament it's inevitable passing like I lamented the loss of the brilliant Psion 5mx but hopefully time will bring better and better equipment.

    My point is don't get too attached to any particular equipment or operating system. They too shall pass.
  7. #7  
    You left out the important ability to read pdf's. I run into this bottleneck all the time.

    This basic ability needs to included and free.
    FastFrank
  8. #8  
    Okay, when I read this thread and all the others concerning the Treo going towards a windows platform it always has me thinking about how I just got my 650 in May and how I won't be getting another phone until at least May of 2007. Also, just putting out $300 for this phone, I'd like it to be up to date for close to that long. I hate when I see that the 670 might come out so soon especially after Verizon just started with the 650.

    My thought is this. You know how you can take a Windows 98 computer and update it to WindowsXP? Why can't they provide updates to the Palm to make it do what the Window units do? Instead of having to buy a 670 when they come out, buy an upgrade to make your 650 a 670? I do know there's a problem with the small amount of memory in the Palm, but maybe they could make it so it's part of the SD card.
  9. #9  
    RickMG, the Asian business model (I worked for a major Japanese manufacturer for for a majority of my career) is to give you incremental upgrades you have to buy the entire unit of not just upgrade the OS. Perfect example VHS/DVD/HD-DVD (on the horizon) and there are a lot more. They have to anniversary sales from year to year or managment loses their jobs. We used to joke that the Asian companies built thier manufacturing equipment without off buttons. So you will most likely never have a PDA that can have more then minor/needed updates to the system.
  10. BenJoeM's Avatar
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    #10  
    I will go back to a FranklinCovey Paper Planner before I use a Windows Pocket PC.
    Palm V to the Palm 505 to the Palm 515 to the Zire 71 to Treo 600 to the Treo 650 to the Treo 700 to the Treo 755 to the Treo 700w (30 days hated it) to the Treo 755p to the Blackberry World Edition (Hated it) to the PALM PRE!
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by gharrod
    RickMG, the Asian business model (I worked for a major Japanese manufacturer for for a majority of my career) is to give you incremental upgrades you have to buy the entire unit of not just upgrade the OS. Perfect example VHS/DVD/HD-DVD (on the horizon) and there are a lot more. They have to anniversary sales from year to year or managment loses their jobs. We used to joke that the Asian companies built thier manufacturing equipment without off buttons. So you will most likely never have a PDA that can have more then minor/needed updates to the system.
    Planned obsolescence.
  12. Micael's Avatar
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    #12  
    MS has a perfect track record. Once they capture and dominate a market, they cease to innovate and move on to another market. They then buy out any smaller 'up and coming' innovators that may cause them grief in the future.

    I read pro windows postings and shake my head. I fear they are missing the real point. To me, it's not about which OS is better, but that competition remains active.

    The 670 sounds alot like throwing in the towel. I hope I'm wrong.
  13. #13  
    By the way, I'm not saying I'm for a windows version, I've been solely on a Palm operating system since I first got pocket organizers and think it's a much better system. In no way do I want Palm to change over to the Windows version. What I'm saying is this, if they do upgrade to anything, we should be able to upgrade our current phone. Such as the recent update from 1.01 to 1.03 for the Verizon Treos.
  14. #14  
    The first post hit one thing on the head... a WM Treo would create doubt about the future of PalmOS. There would be an exodus of development and buyers from PalmOS products. It would also leave Palm to compete as a commodity. Bigger players like HP and Dell would crush Palm just based on resources.

    *If* Palm can get a Linux based device out within a year (and ride the hype cycle until then) they would be wise to never open Pandora's box. If PalmUx is 2+ years away they're screwed - they may need M$. On the flip side Garnett Treos keep selling. A few small things (WiFi, Acrobat) may keep them in the game until reinforcements arrive.

    PalmUx will launch (if timely) Palm way ahead just based on driver availability. The additional developers (who by their nature are less inclined to be M$ friendly) would love the opportunity to join the Palm community. Too bad it took PalmSource so long to figure this out.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by gkaatz
    The first post hit one thing on the head... a WM Treo would create doubt about the future of PalmOS. There would be an exodus of development and buyers from PalmOS products. It would also leave Palm to compete as a commodity. Bigger players like HP and Dell would crush Palm just based on resources.

    *If* Palm can get a Linux based device out within a year (and ride the hype cycle until then) they would be wise to never open Pandora's box. If PalmUx is 2+ years away they're screwed - they may need M$. On the flip side Garnett Treos keep selling. A few small things (WiFi, Acrobat) may keep them in the game until reinforcements arrive.

    PalmUx will launch (if timely) Palm way ahead just based on driver availability. The additional developers (who by their nature are less inclined to be M$ friendly) would love the opportunity to join the Palm community. Too bad it took PalmSource so long to figure this out.
    "Create doubt?"

    Um, there is already a ton of doubt about Palm OS viability.

    They released an OS version NEARLY TWO YEARS ago (6.0) that was never implemented on a single device. This feat (of incompetence) has not been matched by any OS developer in history.

    6.1 been out for what, for nearly 1 year...and zero devices exist in the commercial space that run it.

    Makes any sane person doubt their viability.
  16. #16  
    I'll go with whatever has the features I want and is most stable. I don't have any romantic attachments to one platform over another. Except maybe to the Mac OS
  17. #17  
    As far as features go it looks like Mobile 5 adds a lot of features already running in Garnet:
    *One-handed Operation
    *Persistent Memory Storage

    And the rest of the list seemed like stuff that would be in Colbalt:
    *Support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth as well as GSM and GPRS
    *Support for QVGA, HVGA and VGA in both landscape and portrait orientations

    The things that personally worry me is that on top of having to throw out all my purchased Palm software I would have to buy the WM equivalent. I also thought it takes more power (both battery and processor/memory) to run WM? Which I suspect would make a future Treo slower and have less battery life then it's Colbalt equivalent. Another problem is that if the next Treo ran WM it would be a first iteration and likely to have a lot more bugs then we're used to now.

    Iím not an expert on this stuff but as far as I know these are the things that concern me.
  18. #18  
    I won't touch rev. 1 of a Windows Treo, not with the proverbial 10 ft. pole. But I'll be watching closely for things like battery life, available applications, stability, etc.

    From what I've seen of Windows smart phones in other forums they have the same stability problems as the Treos, and battery life is not as good.
  19. fly888's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by rambo47
    I'll go with whatever has the features I want and is most stable. I don't have any romantic attachments to one platform over another. Except maybe to the Mac OS
    I agree but... er, try syncing a WM device with OS X & see what happens.
  20. #20  
    I've done it using Mark/Space's Missing Sync and it really is no problem. I jumped the Palm ship for a time to use an iPaq with that super resolution. At the time Palm was stuck at something like 160 x 160 resolution. I was jonesing for that super-sharp color screen and decided to give it a try even though I'm a Mac guy. Turned out I really only needed the calendar, contacts, and datebook functions about 99% of the time so the seductive iPaq screen really wasn't something I took advantage of. Plus the battery life was crap.
    Last edited by rambo47; 08/30/2005 at 09:28 AM.
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