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  1.    #1  
    Hi all, FYI, take care, Jay

    Palm must build great accessories to survive
    By Dennis Moore on March 20, 2010

    Palm must build great accessories to survive

    Palm is in a tough situation. As reported widely, Palm’s operating results are beginning to cast doubt about the viability of the company. There is no easy solution for the company, but a series of tough measures and creative development efforts can turn things around.

    Palm makes a number of smart phones, notably the Palm Pre Plus and the Palm Pixie Plus [Disclaimer: I am a very happy owner of a Motorola Droid, but have owned Palm devices since the original Palm Pilot]. The Palm phones incorporated a large number of innovations, from wireless charging to sleek styling, but the market for smart phones is very competitive these days. Palm made a number of missteps in entering the market, from bad timing to baffling advertisements. Now, Palm finds itself in a crisis that may leave it unable to survive: the channel is full of aging stock, losses are mounting, and the economy shows no signs of rescuing the company.

    How Can Palm Survive?

    How can Palm survive, with all these issues in front of it? And why do I think I have any answers for them? I’ve been following Palm since the US Robotics days of the Palm Pilot, and owned many Palm devices, from the awful Treo 300 to the wonderful Tungsten TX. I was also CEO of OQO, the mobile gadget company that made sleek, stylish, powerful handheld computers. We faced, and failed to overcome, some of the same issues Palm now faces and must overcome if it is to survive. Other companies, such as Apple Computer, have faced similar problems, and gone on to greatness, and so can Palm.

    Cash

    First off, Palm has to survive, and that means it has to have enough cash to continue operations. The company must cut expenses ruthlessly. The company must also ensure that it has access to capital if necessary, even if it dilutes the current owners. Also, the company should aggressively focus on identifying and eliminating every source of warranty repair claims – this will help it improve current operating margins, as well as help it build a reputation for quality, and create some IP around design for quality that will help it with future products.

    Second, Palm has to find a way through its problems – chief among them is getting through the inventory on hand, finding a growth segment (or a collection of growth segments) it can better serve than other smartphone options, and creating a product pipeline that will not suffer the same problems as the current lineup.

    Accessories

    There is very little difference from one leading edge smartphone to the next – touch screens, video, camera, applications. iPhone phanboyz will tell you that there are more apps for the iPhone, but realistically any good app is available for all platforms (except the Google apps, which are pretty much only available on the Droid now). Smartphones are not really distinguished by functionality or cost any longer. Now, they are pretty much distinguished by the markets they target. iPhones are for those who view themselves as hip, urban, and elite. Blackberry’s are for wonks and businessmen (and heavy text messagers). Droids are for supergeeks. Who are Palms for?

    All this is to say that phones are now accessories, like han****s or shoes. They say something about you. Palm needs to find a target market segment that is underserved with the current competitors, and do a great job of meeting their needs. Looking at its assets, we see a stylish phone with a few interesting accessories, with a built-in keyboard, and with a relatively powerful operating system. To whom could this phone appeal? We can speculate:


    Corporate executives
    Bloggers and other social media aficionados

    IT workers
    Customer-facing mobile workers
    Students and mobile gamers who don’t want to live with the restrictions
    Apple forces on them
    Regardless of what we can speculate, Palm needs to do hard research, and then follow through with the programs that appeal to these users.

    Also, as this is a relatively short-range problem Palm must solve, it must do so without large new product R&D investments and without a new line-up of smartphones. Palm’s options are pretty much limited to adding new channels (e.g., new countries and carriers) and introducing new accessories.

    Accessories are an option Palm should explore. First off, accessories can be sold directly or through the channel, at very high margins compared to phones. Second, accessories can be brought to market more quickly than new phones, at very low R&D effort. Third, accessories can be exactly the customization Palm needs to appeal to chosen market segments – rugged cases, attached printers and scanners, executive cases, waterproof cases, customized cases showing the owner’s twitter name, etc. Finally, if designed properly, accessories can be made to create a “system effect,” if they are upwardly compatible with new Palm phones. This can encourage buyers to upgrade to new phones when available.

    Summary

    Palm needs to get serious about its future – reduce burn, reduce channel glut, create a defensible “core” market segment it can own and grow, and develop products that serve that core segment better than others in the future (accessories and new phones as well). Palm has always had a special kind of magic – Apple’s cool with Google’s geek chic. If Palm can make it through its current tough times, we can hope for a return to the kind of creativity and innovation that made it special in the good old days.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    you mean accessories like this?



    In all honesty... I think palm finally has a the phone that they should have come out with a year ago. And the app store is finally where is should have been a year ago and needed shortly after the phones launch. They just need to show the carriers that its a phone they can sell head-to-head to droid and others and they have to get the word out... just may be close to being too late.

    oh... killing the pixi and coming out with a iphone form factor phone would be cool.
  3. #3  
    I wanted an OQO so bad back in the day. Palm has a great product, and I honestly feel what they need now is to attract more developers who can provide some serious and compeling apps. It could be as simple as allowing developers who do create apps that fill certain needs well a bonus of 100% profit from that app for a limited time.

    e_t
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by edit_text View Post
    I wanted an OQO so bad back in the day. Palm has a great product, and I honestly feel what they need now is to attract more developers who can provide some serious and compeling apps. It could be as simple as allowing developers who do create apps that fill certain needs well a bonus of 100% profit from that app for a limited time.

    e_t
    Good idea--I doubt that Palm is getting enough revenues from apps to make a material difference in their survivability. In fact, if they're not already, Palm could pay some major developers to release some apps on webOS where they might be reluctant to do so given the situation. Plugging holes in the App Catalog wherever possible could go a long way toward making the platform more attractive.

    That does raise the question of why certain features remain unavailable, such as access to the microphone in the SDK. Really, it's a mystery why audio recording and voice dialing still aren't available. And, I know the camera's capable of more than it currently allows, such as macro focus (can't find the thread where I mention this last one, but the tech used in the Pre's camera does indeed seem capable of it).
    Treo 600 > Treo 650 > HTC Mogul (*****!) > HTC Touch Pro (***** squared!) > PRE! > Epic
  5. #5  
    I like how all of a sudden people are experts and know how to solve palms problems.
  6.    #6  
    Hi all,

    This is what I posted to another thread, but I think it needs repeating here as well, Take care, Jay

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovedessert View Post
    Hi all,

    Palm needs to think about designs something like the following the first one: Just loose the styli, add a camera & phone, use a Olcd screen! Palm already owns the patent to:


    Google Image Result for http://www.palminfocenter.com/images/screen_fold.jpg

    Or something like this:

    Half way down the page, under the heading:
    March 10, 2005


    Rainy Day Magazine : March 2005

    Take care, Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  7. #7  
    obviously palm doesnt know how to solve their problems so why not come out with some ideas... bet ya they watch these forums to try and catch a clue.

    Quote Originally Posted by jordan23945bulls View Post
    I like how all of a sudden people are experts and know how to solve palms problems.
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by jordan23945bulls View Post
    I like how all of a sudden people are experts and know how to solve palms problems.
    How true!

    I think they need to listen to us more than, if not equally to the "experts", (since we are the ones who in the end will or will not buy one)!

    Take care, Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by donm527 View Post
    obviously palm doesnt know how to solve their problems so why not come out with some ideas... bet ya they watch these forums to try and catch a clue.
    I sure hope so, take care, Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  10. JRH
    JRH is offline
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    #10  
    Palm will solve their problems by being bought up by another company.....I doubt they will be able to recover...unfortunately
  11. #11  
    I agree that some amazing accessories would help the company immensely. As I suggested in another post, a low profile charging case would both help with the battery issues, and....well.....just be plain cool. The only reason I would hesitate to recommend the phone to anyone at this point is the simply awful battery life. I think they also should look into variations of the touchstone charger. Having hi-def speakers or video out capability with touchstone would be pretty amazing (I suppose they would need to do either of those things through wifi or bluetooth to make it so you didn't have to plug anything into the device)
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by ilovedessert View Post
    I sure hope so, take care, Jay
    after reading and posting and thinking about it... i think with stopped production and excess inventory, they are basically going to kill the Pre and Pixi but have enough to really make it another year and go with one more form factor... the iphone form factor and go for broke with it.

    they have the os in better shape than a year ago as well as app store... new solid iphone like form factor... just like the nexus and hero and most of the others... and just go head to head for one last round.

    i really hope they do it and wouldnt be surprised if thats what they will do.
  13. #13  

    oh... killing the pixi and coming out with a iphone form factor phone would be cool.
    If the pixi had been release with the same internals as the Pre, it would have been a win.

    If the pixi had release with the same internals as the Pre but as a full touch device, it would have been an epic win.
    Master Pants, Lord of the Universe, Groupie of Blaize

    Need help with your webOS device? PM me for help!
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by donm527 View Post
    after reading and posting and thinking about it... i think with stopped production and excess inventory, they are basically going to kill the Pre and Pixi but have enough to really make it another year and go with one more form factor... the iphone form factor and go for broke with it.
    For me, the only form factor change I would like Palm to make is to move the USB port to the bottom of the phone. That would make accessories (docs, charging stations, car kits...) much easier to make. Either that or release APIs for better interaction with Bluetooth and WIFI, so a physical connection is not required.
  15. #15  
    I'm guessing you don't consider the touchstone one of those "great accessories" because that appeals to a lot of people and everyone has been impressed by my pre when I use the TS with it
  16. #16  
    Agreed, the Touchstone is amazing. I love walking into the Verizon store, shifting the display unit to the side and throwing my phone on the TS. Other customers don't even know it is there, much less what it is for.

    e_t
  17. #17  
    so you think they should keep selling the pixi? better than 86'ing the pixi and going with a full touchscreen model?

    Quote Originally Posted by noco37 View Post
    For me, the only form factor change I would like Palm to make is to move the USB port to the bottom of the phone. That would make accessories (docs, charging stations, car kits...) much easier to make. Either that or release APIs for better interaction with Bluetooth and WIFI, so a physical connection is not required.
  18. darkstarx's Avatar
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    #18  
    How come we never had a commercial showing how cool the Touch Stone is? That has to be the greatest thing around..not having to futz with a cord. I have 3 in my house, and 4 Pre's.
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by jordan23945bulls View Post
    I like how all of a sudden people are experts and know how to solve palms problems.
    LOL +1 I noticed that to lately, i just though it was me tho
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by donm527 View Post
    so you think they should keep selling the pixi? better than 86'ing the pixi and going with a full touchscreen model?
    For me, I want a device with a physical keyboard. I don't want a only touch screen device, but that is just me.
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