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  1.    #1  
    Lets face facts, the current Treos have been a financial failure for Handspring. It has not been accepted by the public or business. I think I can pretty accurately surmise why.

    The general public will not buy a $400+ phone unless it actually replaces something else of equal value. They also want something that generally looks like a phone. Handspring managed to catch some of the PDA using public but thats it. Even the multimedia poweruser PDA people stayed away.

    Business is willing to spend the money for a Treo. It didnt sell in that segment because of ****ty workmanship, super low battery life, crappy screen in sunlight. Business needs a realiable workhorse to incorperate it en mass.

    Handspring was pretty blind not to forsee the failure of the original Treo. Just what segment did they think was going to buy it en mass?

    Now comes the Treo 600. I see that Handspring has learned some lessons but I wonder if it will be enough. Here are my predictions.

    The general public still will not buy a $400+ phone. It might have sold at that price point en mass if it had a 1.3-2 megapixel camera. Every family needs a camera and technophile dad needs a decent camera to justify buying this thing to the wife. The phone does look sexy enough to catch the well to do public though so that is a plus to Handspring. Needless to say many Palm geeks and some powerusers (****ty screen hurts sales here) will like the phone.

    Business is kind of a question mark. Is the phone built well? Does the battery last long enough for heavy use during a work day? Can the screen be seen outdoors? I suspect 4+ hours of talk time may just barely be enough for business.

    If build quality is good, I suspect Handspring will have much better sales to buisness than the previous Treos. I predict the Treo 600 will either break even or be a moderate success.

    3 things can make the Treo 600 family a hit if build quality is good.

    1) $350 price before carrier subsidies. The phone looks good enough that the general public will consider it for $150-$250 out of pocket after carrier subsides and/or sales or discount sellers (Amazon, etc).

    2) An elegantly designed optional case that incorperates a battery that charges the phone while seated in the case. Business would be willing to shell out an extra $50-$100 if this doubles their usage time.

    3) A power version of the phone which has a 320x320 screen and a much better camera. Poweruser and technophile Dad are willing to shell out an extra $100-$150 for these features. 3 hour talk time is sufficient with daily charges for most people and if not poweruser can pick up the charging case.


    Does anyone forsee any of these things happening? Does anyone think that a $500 Treo with its current specs is going to be a big hit?
  2. #2  
    Originally posted by Dusk
    Lets face facts, the current Treos have been a financial failure for Handspring. It has not been accepted by the public or business. I think I can pretty accurately surmise why.

    The general public will not buy a $400+ phone unless it actually replaces something else of equal value. They also want something that generally looks like a phone. Handspring managed to catch some of the PDA using public but thats it. Even the multimedia poweruser PDA people stayed away.

    Business is willing to spend the money for a Treo. It didnt sell in that segment because of ****ty workmanship, super low battery life, crappy screen in sunlight. Business needs a realiable workhorse to incorperate it en mass.

    Handspring was pretty blind not to forsee the failure of the original Treo. Just what segment did they think was going to buy it en mass?

    Now comes the Treo 600. I see that Handspring has learned some lessons but I wonder if it will be enough. Here are my predictions.

    The general public still will not buy a $400+ phone. It might have sold at that price point en mass if it had a 1.3-2 megapixel camera. Every family needs a camera and technophile dad needs a decent camera to justify buying this thing to the wife. The phone does look sexy enough to catch the well to do public though so that is a plus to Handspring. Needless to say many Palm geeks and some powerusers (****ty screen hurts sales here) will like the phone.

    Business is kind of a question mark. Is the phone built well? Does the battery last long enough for heavy use during a work day? Can the screen be seen outdoors? I suspect 4+ hours of talk time may just barely be enough for business.

    If build quality is good, I suspect Handspring will have much better sales to buisness than the previous Treos. I predict the Treo 600 will either break even or be a moderate success.

    3 things can make the Treo 600 family a hit if build quality is good.

    1) $350 price before carrier subsidies. The phone looks good enough that the general public will consider it for $150-$250 out of pocket after carrier subsides and/or sales or discount sellers (Amazon, etc).

    2) An elegantly designed optional case that incorperates a battery that charges the phone while seated in the case. Business would be willing to shell out an extra $50-$100 if this doubles their usage time.

    3) A power version of the phone which has a 320x320 screen and a much better camera. Poweruser and technophile Dad are willing to shell out an extra $100-$150 for these features. 3 hour talk time is sufficient with daily charges for most people and if not poweruser can pick up the charging case.


    Does anyone forsee any of these things happening? Does anyone think that a $500 Treo with its current specs is going to be a big hit?
    Have you noticed that the target market is corporate users and techies like us? Have you noticed that the cell phone market is extremely competitive? Have you noticed that The handheld market is pretty competitive also? That would be why they haven't gone into making a "typical low cost" phone. Have you noticed that a PDA+phone combo is not a "typical family" item? Have you noticed that every other phone+PDA combo costs about that price range?

    I'd like to see YOU start up a company and do HALF as well as Handspring has. Try pricing your little gadget at $350, and we'll see how long you'll last. You'd probably be gone in the first year, like most others.
  3. #3  
    I think the price of the Treo600 will come down in a couple months. Look at what happenned to the SPH-i500! At initial relaese, that phone was priced at a ridiculous $599 USD! However, about a month afterwards you could buy it from Amazon for $399 subsidized with a contract with Sprint. The same thing will happen with the Treo600 and in fact already once happenned wih the Treo300. I predict we'l see some good deals by Christmas holiday season...
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  4. #4  
    W.r.t. companies buying into PDAs why does anyone think that will happen?

    Right now every company I'm aware of over here on the East Coast uses desktops, laptops, pagers, and cellphones. Look around at any public gathering of people and you'll see gajillions of pagers and cellphones attached to folks sides (and gajillions of same hidden in purses).

    PDAs of ANY type are very grudgungly even acknowledged by most corporations (*). They don't NEED them. They have no USE for them. They're WAY HAPPY with a simple "Call the office" text message and a cellphone.

    They won't buy PDAs.

    Either.

    At least not until they're SO gee-whiz they can't avoid them.

    They're not there yet.

    =====

    (*) It's important to note that there ARE commercial entities that do use and have a use for PDAs - mostly medical types AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK. $But$ $what$ $we$'$re$ $talking$ $is$ $a$ $very$ $very$ $small$ $percentage$ $of$ $the$ $corporate$ $world$.

    In fact, what we're talking is EXACTLY analogous to what we find in the Joe and Jane Enduser customer set - a very small percent goes ga-ga over a neato gadget and buys it.

    But that's NOT enough payback.

    PalmOne needs to sell hundreds and hundreds of thousands of these guys to get back their investment.

    Ain't gonna happen.

    Cool gadget or not.
  5. KKenna's Avatar
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    #5  
    I think the article in the WSJ will assist HS in penetrating the business market. The two most important statements in that article (IMHO) were that it "blew away any PocketPC phone" and that Walt "preferred it to (his) Blackberry".

    If I didn't know any better, I'd say HS paid him for that editorial !

    Let's face it, we're gonna buy the 600 with no nudge from HS and I've already had several calls from my clients based on the WSJ article alone.
  6. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #6  
    Mossberg has been gushy about all Handspring product since the beginning. That didn't increase treo adoption in one market or another. Mossberg review is not analytical, more infotainment type.

    It's a good buzz for treo, but hardly an industry approval.
  7. #7  
    As a person who deals with the b-to-b side of Sprint sales in my town I can tell you that the Treo300 did remarkably well. Maybe we're just some odd subset of the real population but my b-to-b contact just sold 1500 units of the Treo600 to the state and the damn thing can't be delivered for another month! That's not a small medical corporation folks, that's the government and those bastards are cheap. I don't believe that this is going to revolutionize the world, but I think it's going to be a much bigger seller than any of you think.
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  8. #8  
    Originally posted by DrDoom
    As a person who deals with the b-to-b side of Sprint sales in my town I can tell you that the Treo300 did remarkably well. Maybe we're just some odd subset of the real population but my b-to-b contact just sold 1500 units of the Treo600 to the state and the damn thing can't be delivered for another month! That's not a small medical corporation folks, that's the government and those bastards are cheap. I don't believe that this is going to revolutionize the world, but I think it's going to be a much bigger seller than any of you think.
    That's very interesting information! Thanks for sharing it.

    I too think the 600 can do remarkably well. How well will depend on marketing. One possible angle that can make it sell like hotcakes is if/when PalmOne markets it well to existing PDA users as a replacement device for their Phone+PDA. Even if it gets only existing Palm users to upgrade their old Palm devices to the 600, it would spell great rejuvenation of Palm sales.
  9. #9  
    I agree with Dusk. The Treo600 has enough going for it...it has fixed most of the things that met resistance in the 270/300 including its appearance....that it could really take off if the price is right and build quality is good. I think that at $200 out of pocket (or maybe even $300) it will really start selling. At $500 it will have much more limited appeal.

    Conflagrare, have you noticed that Handspring is trying to broaden the appeal of its product in order not to end up with lots of excess inventory a la Treo300? And have you noticed that Dell now sells PDA's at half the price the rest of the market was selling them for last year at this time, and they are apparently doing very well, thank you very much? Profit is a function of volume and margin. Dusk is saying that he believes that if HS cuts their margin on the 600, increased volume will more than make up the difference. Like with Dell's PDAs. And whether you, Dusk, or I can run a company that designs, manufactures, and markets widgets has nothing to do with anything on this board.
    Last edited by scrinch; 09/19/2003 at 04:33 PM.
  10. #10  
    Originally posted by Dusk
    . It might have sold at that price point en mass if it had a 1.3-2 megapixel camera. Every family needs a camera and technophile dad needs a decent camera to justify buying this thing to the wife.
    Try this with your wife . . . tell her u will get Palm's new 1.3 megapixel SD card for $99 and stick it in your pocket when u go someone of interest. I don't even like carrying camera's on vacation because of their size and I hate full pockets. Now a treo 600 and Palm 1.3 SD camera? I'm doing that and my wife agrees.
  11. #11  
    SeldomVisitor, please become informed about an industry before you post about it.

    PDAs are primarily business tools. Businesses give them out in droves and its become a major problem with IT departments what to do about PDAs. Businesses drive the sale of PDAs as they purchase in large quantitys. Every company I've worked for in the past 5 years has some official deployment of PDAs and a large private deployment. Business needs also drive development of software and new models.

    The Treo 600 is a device that is going to be competitive with Blackberry type devices in business environments. Blackberrys are PDAs as well as e-mail readers/massive pagers. If you read some of the posts on this page it seems obvious that there are going to be some large corporate deployments of Treo 600s.

    The pluses of the Treo 600 over a Blackberry is that it is a Palm device. That means there is a huge base of already written programs in place and its simple to support technologically. There is also the problem that Blackberry has some serious legal problems to get over which may seriously hurt the company. I doubt the problems will be fatal as the company that won the lawsuit wants to make money.

    The fact that the Treo can be used with just about any carrier out there will be a boon as well. Some companies will buy and give to employees and some will allow employees to go with their carrier of choice as long as they get a certain device.

    [quote]PDAs of ANY type are very grudgungly even acknowledged by most corporations (*). They don't NEED them. They have no USE for them. They're WAY HAPPY with a simple "Call the office" text message and a cellphone.[\qoute]

    Sales people are some of the most PDA connected people I know. Heck, they might not know how to operate Outlook but they certainly know how to input phone numbers into their Palm Pilot. There are numerous techies that use PDAs for various reasons. I know several that configure network devices with them on a regular basis. I've done this myself. When I was in the Air Force they were developing software that would allow handheld devices to configure aircraft components or download maintenance data. I know several infantry types that use their handhelds for whatever it is that they do. Then there are the mobile users that do everything from track inventory to maintenance. Go pick up a Pen Computing or Handheld Computing and look at the enterprise section.

    (*) It's important to note that there ARE commercial entities that do use and have a use for PDAs - mostly medical types AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK. $But$ $what$ $we$'$re$ $talking$ $is$ $a$ $very$ $very$ $small$ $percentage$ $of$ $the$ $corporate$ $world$.
    Look at my above list. You are correct to a point when you try to say handhelds are not something for every employee. They are deployed far wider then you may think. I know people that work in many different fields and many of them use handhelds on a regular basis for work. Your example of the medical field is one of the few areas where I see PDAs much less then the hype. I know several doctors that have them but they mostly use them as address storage and they're personally owned devices. I do know of at least one teaching hospital that gives all their students Palms but from talking with several of the students they don't yet require their use in classes or with patients.

    In fact, what we're talking is EXACTLY analogous to what we find in the Joe and Jane Enduser customer set - a very small percent goes ga-ga over a neato gadget and buys it.

    But that's NOT enough payback.

    PalmOne needs to sell hundreds and hundreds of thousands of these guys to get back their investment.
    What any manufacturer wants is to sell "hundreds and Hundreds of thousands of [units]". That doesn't mean that they have to sell half a million units to make a profit. Most electronic doodads don't need to sell that many units to make a profit. Tens of thousands is something more likely for them to make a profit.


    I personally can't say that I know the Treo will be a huge seller. I do think that it will sell well. I know quite a few people that are interested in the device including many non-techies or geeks.
  12. #12  
    Originally posted by DrDoom
    As a person who deals with the b-to-b side of Sprint sales in my town I can tell you that the Treo300 did remarkably well. Maybe we're just some odd subset of the real population but my b-to-b contact just sold 1500 units of the Treo600 to the state and the damn thing can't be delivered for another month! That's not a small medical corporation folks, that's the government and those bastards are cheap. I don't believe that this is going to revolutionize the world, but I think it's going to be a much bigger seller than any of you think.
    That is just what I'm afraid of. I hope that HS won't underestimate the demand and thus create a shortage for supply. You might have to wait months to get one at the beginning.
  13.    #13  
    I do feel that the Treo 600 will sell pretty well to business if the build quality is good. That is why I stated it will probably either break even or be a moderate success.

    I feel the product is just a step away from being a huge hit for Handspring and Palm though. They just made so many mistakes with the current Treos that I have my doubts.

    Conflagrare, I suppose you never make any observations about any product or object you dont create yourself. I would love to see you going off on your friends for stating a car is ugly or some soda doesnt taste good.

    Back in the real world of supply, demand, and understanding your market place...any sane person can see Handspring made some huge mistakes with the current Treos.

    Now I am no "Expert" on the marketplace, but my comments were just my thoughts on how things are going. Dell has shown how much of hardware that they can pack in a $350 PDA and still get a profit.

    I understand Handspring does not have Dell's buying power, but the Treo 600 does have lesser hardware than Dell's powerhouse PDAs (Correct me if I am wrong here). My "FEELING" is that they can make a profit at $350.

    I started this tread in hopes of seeing other peoples read on the marketplace and what they feel Handspring should do.
  14. #14  
    Originally posted by craigdts
    Try this with your wife . . . tell her u will get Palm's new 1.3 megapixel SD card for $99 and stick it in your pocket when u go someone of interest. I don't even like carrying camera's on vacation because of their size and I hate full pockets. Now a treo 600 and Palm 1.3 SD camera? I'm doing that and my wife agrees.
    I've got bad news for you, craigdts. If you look at the antenna on the top of the Treo600, it is located right next to the sd slot. Then if you look at Palm's new SD camera, it extends about 1 cm out (wider) than the sd card on both edges. So the Treo antenna will interfere with the camera body, and you ain't gonna get the camera to slip in the slot. I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, because I know how hard it can be to get one's wife to agree about anything sometimes.

    You could try a Veo SD camera, but you wouldn't be getting a flash with it, and it only has VGA resolution. They have a 1.3 MP CF camera, but not a SD camera yet.
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by scrinch


    Conflagrare, have you noticed that Handspring is trying to broaden the appeal of its product in order not to end up with lots of excess inventory a la Treo300? And have you noticed that Dell now sells PDA's at half the price the rest of the market was selling them for last year at this time, and they are apparently doing very well, thank you very much? Profit is a function of volume and margin. Dusk is saying that he believes that if HS cuts their margin on the 600, increased volume will more than make up the difference. Like with Dell's PDAs. And whether you, Dusk, or I can run a company that designs, manufactures, and markets widgets has nothing to do with anything on this board.
    Yes, they ARE trying to broaden their appeal, but the issue at hand is that Treo300 wasn't DESIGNED to be for the regular household wife. A couple years down the road when it's outdated (like now), and others might start buying it. However, at that point, the sale is slow, and margin is low, that you're practically just trying to get rid of it.

    Yes, Dell is selling some cheap PDA's, but those are PDA's, and you compare their price point to the price point of PDA+phone combos. They also has enough financial background to undertake this risk. Handspring MUST recover its research cost as soon as possible before interest accumulates. In the beginning of sales, when production is slow and inventories are limited, it is very advantageous to have a higher price point in order to get the most out of the limited inventory you have. This is the law of supply and demand.

    Economics also states that if you have a constant low price point say $350, you aren't earning the most money. This is because there are people out there willing to pay $500 and Handspring would have given up its opportunity on that extra $150 profit. If Joe is willing to pay $500, and Dusk is willing to pay $350, why sell the Treo to both of them at $350? Why not first sell to Joe at $500 and later, sell to Dusk at $350? Assuming the wait is not too long, Dusk would probably still be willing to buy the device.

    Usually, people who are willing to pay a higher price wants the device sooner, and because of such, company almost always (look at the other 99%) start at a higher price to appeal to those gadget lovers, and bring the price down later (at about midstage) to appeal to a wider audience. As price goes down to the level of Treo300, you might even be PAYING customers to take those phones out of the warehouses to make room for Treo600's. This is the best way to capture the entire triangle in a Supply & Demand graph. Those who knows economics would know what I'm talking about.

    Ok, so it doesn't matter if any of us have the ability to start a company, but I'm just telling that what he is asking for would be a totally irrational decision on Handspring's part.
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by Dusk
    I do feel that the Treo 600 will sell pretty well to business if the build quality is good. That is why I stated it will probably either break even or be a moderate success.

    I feel the product is just a step away from being a huge hit for Handspring and Palm though. They just made so many mistakes with the current Treos that I have my doubts.

    Conflagrare, I suppose you never make any observations about any product or object you dont create yourself. I would love to see you going off on your friends for stating a car is ugly or some soda doesnt taste good.
    No, I just don't make obvious wrong observations like you.


    Back in the real world of supply, demand, and understanding your market place...any sane person can see Handspring made some huge mistakes with the current Treos.

    Now I am no "Expert" on the marketplace, but my comments were just my thoughts on how things are going. Dell has shown how much of hardware that they can pack in a $350 PDA and still get a profit.



    They can do this largely because they have their web sales department. Did you know that there's a 50% mark up at every step of distribution? With Sprint selling at ~$500, Handspring would have to had sold Treo600's to them at ~$250 before they were willing to sign the contract. And yes, you could try to buy them off Handspring at $250 too, if you happen to order them in units of 10,000 like Sprint does.



    I understand Handspring does not have Dell's buying power, but the Treo 600 does have lesser hardware than Dell's powerhouse PDAs (Correct me if I am wrong here). My "FEELING" is that they can make a profit at $350.



    They probably can. But they wouldn't. See my last post.



    I started this tread in hopes of seeing other peoples read on the marketplace and what they feel Handspring should do.
  17. #17  
    If the battery life is good enough I think that if not this release the next release of the T600 will be a huge hit with consulting firms.


    Look at it now. Basically management consulting firms are buying hugely expensive laptops for their force essentially so that they can

    a) Get their consulting email

    b) Charge in time.

    Both of those things could be done on the Treo 600 and it would be awesome if each consultant had an answerable phone, as opposed to just viocemail.

    Basically though T-mobile has to get their **** together because no business wants to buy into a CDMA phone when you

    a) Can't use it outside of US

    b) Have such short battery life

    c) Are basically at the mercy of Sprint when it comes to high tech services
  18.    #18  
    So far the only obviously wrong comment I have seen is the one about creating a product yourself before being able to comment on it.

    Maybe Handspring should price the Treo 600 at $2000 because then they could hit the super rich moron niche before selling at a lower price point.

    I am very well aware of how distribution channels work and mark ups that happen along the way. You are however are not taking into account that Sprint is selling a service. The fact that they can give away phones (A magic tree doesnt grow these) proves that they are willing to not only not make a profit on hardware, but are willing to take a loss. They want the $1000+ that a 2 year service contract is going to be worth to them.

    If anything, the fact that Sprint will pay a commision to Handspring for each new service contract should lower the hardware costs even more. Dell is making money on the hardware sales and not on a monthly service contract.

    I have no access to the official numbers but I have eyes. I see what Dell can sell at $350 and make a profit. I see Sprint taking a loss on hardware sales for service contracts. I know sprint pays a commision for new service contracts. I also know that Dell can drive down prices with their buying power and economies of scale.

    The Treo 600 is a great and unique design. Its individual pieces are nothing spectacular. Aside from its keyboard and huge battery, many other products have superior hardware.

    Taking everything into account, my educated guess is that Handspring could make a healthy profit at $350 if they are no more than 25%-35% less efficient than Dell. Volume sales would make Handspring a huge profit as well as give them marketshare. Without this I feel that there is a good chance the company will dissappear in a couple of years.

    Smartphones have not broken into the mainstream in the US yet. Right now the Treo 600 can be the vanguard of a whole movement. In a year or two, they will just be one of the pack with similar features.
  19. #19  
    Compare Dell PDA's to the Treo600? They are two different devices and markets.

    Dell - Casual PDA users, want Windows, games, maybe a little wi-fi.

    Treo - Phone and productivity oriented PDA. Thumbboard is only option for those seeking business ready email, instant messaging, and data entry.

    As for price, Dell does it on volume and channel, and killer execution.
    HS/Palm relies on channel, and doesn't have the volume (in phone/pda combo).

    Price is what the market will bear, plain and simple...see Treo 300 as example. At 499, it was too high, with few users...at 99-199, there are more people getting them.
    Dell has always been a low cost model, and done well with pricing.

    I guess we will see what the hot Xmas gift is this year...
  20. #20  
    Keep in mind that DELL announced plans to make a PPC SmartPhone in the coming year. And based on their strategy of selling enmasse it could be a good challenge. But getting carriers to sign on is their ultimate challenge.

    Based on what I have read HS is allot closer to getting this Treo right. Starting with the design, keyboard, brighter screen etc. BUT the lack of swappable batteries and no HiRes is a bit of a downer. There may be other Treo's coming and one may have these fetaures or at least HiRes.

    With no decent SmartPhone at VzW until the I700 I jumped to PPC. I like PPC for certain things but I am leaning back to Palm for many more things I really want to do. The problem is I will have to switch carriers and that is not a fun thing until number portability in November.

    Ultimately I see both success and failure. Success with HS but failure with PalmOne. Will they keep or kill the Treo line. Will the better design survive over the TW?
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