Archive for Palm

Palm Rises Fron The Dead

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 6, 2015 by itnerd

Remember the Palm Pilot. Well, back when smartphones were in their infancy…. That would be around the early 2000’s….. My generation had Personal Digital Assistants or PDA’s. The one to get was the Palm Pilot and I had several of them. They eventually evolved into smartphones before being rendered extinct after the release of WebOS which was their attempt to rescue themselves from extinction.

Fast forward to today and it appears that Palm is back. Chinese manufacturer TCL is in the process of raising Palm from the dead according to this press release:

Palm brand has always been synonymous with innovation throughout its history. As such it has consistently acted as a pioneer of mobile technologies. Now is the time to revive and bring back this pioneer spirit.

To do so, TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (“TCL Communication” or the “Company” which, together with its subsidiaries, is referred to as the “Group”; HKSE stock code: 02618) is very proud to announce that it will create a new Palm Inc., a US-based company that will take ownership of the Palm brand. New Palm Inc. will remain a truly Californian, Silicon Valley, based company leveraging on the talents and partnerships of the area.

Now you might not of heard of TCL, but if you’ve seen the Alcatel Onetouch product line, you’ve seen their stuff. So this is for real. TCL is going to bring the following to the table to support the resurrection of Palm:

Palm will be fully supported by the various assets of TCL Communication:

  • A best in class R&D organization, rich with 5000 engineers across 7 R&D centers around the globe
  • The most modern and efficient mobile devices manufacturing facility
  • A top level quality record recognized by the global tier 1 carriers and retailers around the world
  • A cutting-edge supply chain ready for the flexibility required by the market today
  • A global network already serving more than 170 countries and the most demanding customers of the industry with local Sales, Marketing and Technical teams

This should be interesting to watch. Not only to see a brand rise from the dead, but to see if it will have an impact on the marketplace. Stay tuned.

HP Scoops Up Palm For $1.2 Billion…. Never Saw That Coming

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 28, 2010 by itnerd

I have to admit that I did see Palm being bought out, but I didn’t see HP being the company doing the buying. But that’s exactly what happened today when HP announced that they have purchased Palm for $1.2 billion. Why did they buy Palm. Here’s what HP had to say via their press release:

The combination of HP’s global scale and financial strength with Palm’s unparalleled webOS platform will enhance HP’s ability to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, highly profitable smartphone and connected mobile device markets. Palm’s unique webOS will allow HP to take advantage of features such as true multitasking and always up-to-date information sharing across applications.

Yeah. Sure. I guess they needed to get into the smart phone fight somehow and Palm was the best way to do it seeing as they were ripe for a takeover. But the only way I can see that this purchase working for HP is if HP customers see the value in an “all in one solution” where Palm fits into a larger HP solution. Otherwise, I would say that this is $1.2 billion wasted.

Oh, I did note this from the press release:

Palm’s current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.

There seems to be a bit of wiggle room in that sentence. Anybody want to take bets on how long he stays?

Is Palm Deseprate To Keep Staff? Why Would That Be?

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 16, 2010 by itnerd

That seems to be the case based on the latest 8-K form filed by Palm with the SEC. It has two key points. It seems that Michael R. Abbott has resigned from Palm. Who is this guy? He’s the Senior Vice President of Software and Services. In other words, he’s a key guy for WebOS which powers the miserable failures Pixi and Pre. Not an insignificant loss IMHO.

The second thing from this 8K is that Palm has started a retention campaign for “key employees.” It could be there to keep any more employees from jumping ship. But I think that a buyer might be close and hand at Palm needs to keep “key employees” in house to make the company worth something.

I suspect we’ll find out soon.

Is Palm Up For Sale?

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 12, 2010 by itnerd

Bloomberg is reporting that Palm is up for sale:

The company is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer, said the people, who declined to be identified because a sale hasn’t been announced. Taiwan’s HTC Corp. and China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. have looked at the company and may make offers, said the people.

This doesn’t come as a great shock to anybody who has been following Palm for the last little while. The new WebOS phones like the Pre and Pixi have been a sales disaster (much as I said they would be) and they haven’t really done anything to give any indication that they can be a big player in the smartphone market. Not to mention that their little spat with Apple over iTunes syncing was a major distraction. Hopefully a sale followed by a wholesale management change will help to right the ship. Assuming the buyer just doesn’t pillage the company for all of their IP.

Palm’s Earnings Tank….Not That I’m Shocked By That

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 19, 2010 by itnerd

Palm reported their Q3 FY 2010 results yesterday and just like they predicted, the results weren’t good. You can read all the gory details here, but I’ll hit the highlights for you:

  • Palm reported a non-GAAP net loss of $102.8 million, or 61 cents per share. Wall Street was looking for a loss of 42 cents a share.
  • Non-GAAP adjusted revenue was $366 million. That was a bright spot as that was higher than the $316.2 million the street was looking for.

Although, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein did try to put a positive spin on this:

“Our recent underperformance has been very disappointing, but the potential for Palm remains strong,” said Jon Rubinstein, Palm chairman and chief executive officer. “The work we’re doing to improve sales is having an impact, we’re making great progress on future products, and we’re looking forward to upcoming launches with new carrier partners. Most importantly, we have built a unique and highly differentiated platform in webOS, which will provide us with a considerable – and growing – advantage as we move forward.”

I don’t think Investors believe that. At the close of the markets today, Palm stock had tanked over 29%. So from where I sit, it looks like the beginning of the end for Palm. The company had a lot of potential, but as I said before, they completely missed the boat when Blackberry and Apple as well as Google much later on started taking their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Oh well. Maybe Google will buy them for pennies on the dollar.

Palm Says Sales Are “Below Expectations”…. Shock… Not…

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 25, 2010 by itnerd

A press release from Palm appeared on the wires a couple of hours ago with this admission:

Palm, Inc. (NASDAQ:PALM) today indicated that it expects that revenues for the third quarter of fiscal year 2010 will be in the range of $285 million to $310 million on a GAAP basis and in the range of $300 million to $320 million on a non-GAAP basis.1 Revenues for the quarter and full year are being impacted by slower than expected consumer adoption of the company’s products that has resulted in lower than expected order volumes from carriers and the deferral of orders to future periods. Accordingly, Palm expects fiscal year 2010 revenues to be well below its previously forecasted range of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion. The company will provide more detail on its financial results during Palm’s third-quarter financial results conference call currently scheduled for Thursday, March 18.

For those of you looking for a translation, this means that Palm is not selling as many WebOS products (those would be the Palm Pre and Pixi) and thus won’t make as much money as it had hoped. I guess that proves the Pre and the Pixi aren’t the magic bullets to save the company. Just like I predicted they wouldn’t be when they were announced. The only question now is how long it will take Palm to wither and die?

In case you were wondering, Palm stock has nosedived 17% as I type this. I guess investors are heading for the exits.

Palm Canada Support…. Arrgh!!!!!

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 4, 2010 by itnerd

I must be living in the Twilight Zone of customer service or something as this stuff just keeps happening to me.

Today I had the “pleasure” of calling Palm Canada technical support as my wife’s Centro lost all the data while on a run (but she backs it up daily so it’s not a big deal) and would no longer connect to the Internet over GPRS nor would it Hotsync properly. I got the Hotsync issues sorted, but couldn’t get it to connect to the Internet. Thus the call to support, and the start of my “fun.” After navigating through their “press 1 for English, press 2 for whatever” menu, I got a woman who while looking up my info hung up on me.


I called back and got a different woman who asked for the same info, then put me on hold for almost five minutes (4:20 to be exact… I timed it). She then said that she couldn’t find the serial number of the device and I would have to provide proof of purchase before she could talk to me via fax (she wouldn’t accept a PDF via e-mail). That wasn’t exactly a welcome answer, but I needed this fixed so I offered to whip out my credit card and pay for support (as I’d sort it out after the fact). She refused saying that I would have to fax in my proof of purchase and someone will call me back in a day or two.

So let’s get this straight. I am offering her money to assist me with an issue with one of their products which the recordings on the support line said that I had the option of doing, and she refused my money? WTF?

I admit that I got a bit frustrated (which by the way I tell customers not to do and I should really follow my own advice) at this point and told her that this is really lame and that I was tempted to replace the Centro (which I got my wife for Christmas) with a Blackberry (even though she despises them). The woman told me flat out that “that is your choice.” No apology, no trying to placate me, nothing.

Even Bell Canada is better than that.

One of the things that she did do is point me to a web based chat support system. So I gave that a try. The tech on the other end got right down to work and solved my issue in 10 minutes flat.

So from where I sit, two parts of the same organization have two completely different responses to customers. That is bizarre.

Now I’ve set up call centers and coached people in customer service. In fact I’ve done this for a significant portion of my life. If I were the person at the other end of the phone, here’s how I would have dealt with the situation:

  • Gather the information about the customer and the issue.
  • Confirm the information if possible. If you can’t do that, offer the customer options that allows the customer to solve the issue on the spot and not in a day or two (by offering me the online chat based support, she at least did that part right). Or simply solve the issue and deal with the back end stuff after the fact.
  • If the customer becomes difficult, show some empathy and try to go out of your way to assist them. In no way, shape or form should you have the customer leave the call without their issue being resolved.

Clearly that’s not how things work at Palm Canada. That’s not going to help them sell Pre or Pixie smartphones as customer service is not only what keeps customers coming back to you, but it helps you to sell products as well. So Palm Canada may want to look at their customer service processes and make whatever adjustments needed to have happy customers. Otherwise they will start losing customers. After all, they made life difficult enough for me that I am unlikely to buy one of their products in the future or recommend them to friends and customers.

See how it works Palm?

Palm Announces Two New Handhelds And More [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on January 7, 2010 by itnerd

Since the WebOS revolution began over at Palm, they’ve release two devices. The Palm Pre and the Palm Pixi. You can add two new devices to that list. Palm announced the Palm Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus today at CES. I’ll start with the Pixi Plus. It’s basically the Pixi with WiFi from what I can tell. Yawn. However the Pre Plus is far more interesting. It has 16GB of RAM (the original had 8GB), a standard induction cover for Touchstone charging (it was an option before), and no navigation button on the front panel. A new feature that both smart phones have is the ability to be used as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices that want to surf the Internet. If you use that feature, make sure you have a great data plan or it will get expensive in a hurry. In any case, both phones are coming exclusively to Verizon at the end of the month, no word on international carriers for these phones.

Palm also announced WebOS 1.4 which will have video capture, edit and sharing capabilities. Good, but this news is better. Flash 10 support is coming to WebOS (iPhone users take note). Expect WebOS 1.4 to hit the streets in February.

There’s also going to be 3D games available for the Pre (sorry Pixi users, you’re out of luck) from companies such as EA available soon. From the brief shots that I saw on the web feed I was watching, they look very iPhone like.

Finally, developers who want to make WebOS apps can get to work right away according to Palm:

The Palm developer program is designed to promote a thriving environment for all developers to create, distribute, promote and monetize the delivery of valuable applications to Palm customers. It extends the unique web orientation of Palm webOS, providing innovative opportunities for developers to grow their businesses by leveraging the web as a promotional channel for applications.

Each element of the Palm developer program is designed to help developers promote their work and ultimately drive application sales and downloads. Developers receive a 70/30 split (developer/Palm) of gross revenues generated through sales (after applicable taxes).

Sounds interesting. We’ll see how many people take them up on that offer.

IMHO, the biggest news here is impending Flash 10 support. Seeing as the iPhone and the iPod Touch don’t have Flash 10 support, that’s sure to get the attention of somebody in Cupertino CA.

UPDATE: A press release about Verizon getting Palm smart phones has just appeared.

iTunes Update Stops Palm Pre From Syncing….. Yet Again

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on October 30, 2009 by itnerd

To paraphrase the Cylons, it’s happened before and it just happened again. The latest version of iTunes which was punted out to the planet yesterday by Apple has once again stopped the Palm Pre from syncing with it. So, the only question that really matters is this: Will Palm finally do the right thing and do what RIM has done which is to write software that can access an iTunes library without having to pretend to be an iPod, or will Palm just continue with the same craptastic nonsense of pretending to be an iPod. This cat and mouse game that they’re playing doesn’t help their users who are likely sick of this circus by now.

So Palm, will you finally do the right thing? Will you?

Palm Kicks Out WebOS 1.2.1…. iTunes Syncing Is Back

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on October 3, 2009 by itnerd

I guess that Palm really wants to tick off Apple and the USB Implementers Forum as the just released WebOS 1.2.1 has re-enabled the iTunes sync ability of the Palm Pre. But this update isn’t all about stirring up a hornet’s nest of trouble. This update also fixes a bug that stopped Exchange 2007 from working with the Palm Pre. That’s kind of important if you want to sell these to corporate types who don’t want a Blackberry. But of course, that won’t be what people talk about, now will it.

One wonders how long before iTunes syncing is broken again. Or worse for Palm, how long will it be before Apple sends in the iLawyers or the USB-IF brings the smack down on them.