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View Full Version : Palm Warning Indicative Of 2003 PDA Market?


Ed Hansberry
03-03-2003, 05:00 PM
A few weeks ago I posted on a report from UBS Warburg that stated the <a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7278">2003 handheld market would rise</a> and the Pocket PC would be the primary beneficiary of this uptick. Palm would actually sell less.<br /><br />This <a href="http://news.com.com/2100-1041-990714.html?tag=fd_top">morning Palm warned</a> that revenues for their third quarter (Dec-Feb) would be closer to $205-210 million vs. the projected $250 million.<br /><br />"Palm, which has the largest share of the handheld market, suffered alongside the overall market during 2002. Worldwide shipments of handhelds declined by about 9 percent year over year to 12.1 million units during 2002, according to market researcher Gartner Dataquest. Palm shipments declined about 12 percent to 4.4 million in 2002, the research firm said."<br /><br />Do you think Palm's problems are indicative of things to come for the entire market or is this a misstep on Palm's part that won't affect HP, Toshiba, Dell, Sony and other handheld manufacturers?

Foo Fighter
03-03-2003, 05:03 PM
Hmm, you don't suppose poor Tungsten sales has anything to do with the fact that the TT is an overpriced, lackluster product? I mean, Dell can't keep up with demand for Axim. Nah, it must the economy. Yeah, that it's it.
:roll:

ux4484
03-03-2003, 05:11 PM
I feel that PPC marketshare of PDA sales will increase, and when we get some better Dell numbers, we'll see the increase in that share is mostly Dells.

Overall, I feel that the PDA market will be flat or decline, and that loss will be largely due to high end Palm OS units.
If it does increase, it'll be due to a (reasonably priced) device that is not yet released.

Of course........that's all before the depression hits :?

.......then it's up for grabs

Paragon
03-03-2003, 05:22 PM
Hmm, you don't suppose poor Tungsten sales has anything to do with the fact that the TT is an overpriced, lackluster product? I mean, Dell can't keep up with demand for Axim. Nah, it must the economy. Yeah, that it's it.
:roll:

Foo has stated a very obvious point. Now that PPcs can be had in the same price range or, lower than, many Palm devices, can only have a positive effect on PPC marketshare.........It's now up to the marketing machine.....or lack of!!! As humans we tend to have a herd mentality. Where one goes we all go. PPCs have to be shown as the popular place to go.

Dave

bdegroodt
03-03-2003, 05:23 PM
Having spent a lot of time as a user of both platforms and having recently gone back out to the market to see what Palm was up to (And having had high hopes for the Tungsten W), I would certainly say this is a Palm specific issue.

They missed the boat big time and had 3 revisions of CE/PPC to get their act together. The "Mo" is on the PPC camp now and it's going to be a long fight for Palm to make it back.

Felix Torres
03-03-2003, 05:31 PM
Do you think Palm's problems are indicative of things to come for the entire market or is this a misstep on Palm's part that won't affect HP, Toshiba, Dell, Sony and other handheld manufacturers?

Nope.
Its indicative of the half-baked state of PALM's product line.

It doesn't exactly help your profitability when SONY is out-engineering your folks with new products on a monthly basis and you counter by shipping over-priced hardware with an incomplete OS and application suite and a blister-pack low-ball version of your previous architecture.

Two thirds of PALMS sold last year were ZIRE's.
That tells you all you need to know about the needs and savvy of the typical PALM customer in 2002-03.

Savvy PALM users know the Tungsten Hardware won't be particularly useful until OS 6 comes out and by then competitive pressures will have brought the product way down in price to keep up with the SONY's, DELL's, and HP's of the world. So pay a premium now? If you need anything better than a ZIRE, today, you know you're not going to get any kind of deal from PALM; you go with a SONY or a PocketPC, instead.

As a result, PALM is imploding.
And this implosion is masking the steady growth of the other PDA vendors, both in the PALM and PocketPC camps.
Just as the merger of the HP and iPaq lines, with the resulting decline in combined HP market share, is masking the emergence of Toshiba and Dell as major players.

It'll be a while before the smoke clears and there is a good chance (say, 60%, maybe more) that when it does, SONY will emerge as the only vendor of PALM-based PDAs left in the business, contending with three major Pocket PC vendors and another five or six wannabes.

At that point, the question for the PALM camp is whether SONY licensing revenue alone can keep PALMsource in business or whether SONY will choose to simply buy them out.

Ed Hansberry
03-03-2003, 05:33 PM
Two thirds of PALMS sold last year were ZIRE's.
That tells you all you need to know about the needs and savvy of the typical PALM customer in 2002-03.
I knew it was a bunch, but 67%? Do you have a link supporting that? I'd like to read it.

ux4484
03-03-2003, 05:40 PM
At that point, the question for the PALM camp is whether SONY licensing revenue alone can keep PALMsource in business or whether SONY will choose to simply buy them out.

heh....right on the button......after the depression of course :D

Foo Fighter
03-03-2003, 05:45 PM
What depression?

ux4484
03-03-2003, 05:55 PM
What depression?


hmmm...... super-inflated housing prices, bad tax cut, gold sales up, entering a war......statistacally we're due.

Foo Fighter
03-03-2003, 05:59 PM
hmmm...... super-inflated housing prices, bad tax cut, gold sales up, entering a war......statistacally we're due.

Not likely. The economy is rebounding..slowly..but steady. Recessions are cyclical. This is nothing new, so I highly doubt this economy will deteriorate to the state of depression.

And they say I am "doom and gloom"? :lol:

Paragon
03-03-2003, 06:00 PM
What depression?

My cat died!

ux4484
03-03-2003, 06:18 PM
And they say I am "doom and gloom"? :lol:

Sorry Foo, I don't agree with ya on a rebound.
I think it's going to get way worse, the slight increase in numbers now is the same type of jockeying that occured before the "Great One".

heh....I remember being slammed at daBuzz (by all the econ majors) over two years ago when I suggested the tech market would tank :D, glad I jumped out of the market on a high note :D :D :D

For more of my doom and gloom look at current events feel free to stop by Bad times a-coming (http://www.wessalmon.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=275)

Bradskey
03-03-2003, 06:19 PM
What depression?


hmmm...... super-inflated housing prices, bad tax cut, gold sales up, entering a war......statistacally we're due.

lotta' nonsense

shawnc
03-03-2003, 06:22 PM
Am I the only PPC fan that thinks this is bad news? I think it was Palm that forced MS and hardware makers to step-up with better products and creative innovation. A strong Palm pushes MS, Dell, HP, et al. As consumers, we need Palm to do well. I don't mean to sound anti-MS, but I dread to think of how PPC innovation and investment will be impacted if Palm goes out of business.

Foo Fighter
03-03-2003, 06:33 PM
Am I the only PPC fan that thinks this is bad news?

Bad news for Palm. I would say this is more a case of Palm sowing what they reap. TT is a lackluster product; weak multimedia capabilities, inferior screen, high price, unimpressive new OS. This decline in revenue is merely the side-effect of bad decision making and product strategy by Palm SG.

But I don't see this as "bad news". If anything I would say this is validation for Pocket PC.

Paragon
03-03-2003, 06:39 PM
shawnc still has a very good point though. Competition is good. Without it the need, or desire to innovate can be lost. There are other competitors but not as large as Palm. We all gripe at how slow MS is at dealing with issues. I can only imagine that without any stiff competition that need will NOT increase.

Dave

ux4484
03-03-2003, 06:44 PM
lotta' nonsense


last OT hijack, I promise......

I'll remind you 9 months to a year from now how much "nonsense" it is.


shawn C,

You've a good point.

What amazes me is that Palm's current best selling unit has almost the same specs as the unit that gave them the market to begin with! When you consider that, there is a terrible disparagement in their marketing strategy & pricing with the Tungsten. Why even bring out a high-end unit when it pales by comparison to everyones elses mid to high end unit? Kill the m1xx line, bring out several color/backlit/more mem/low priced Zires and go for the organizer market-thingy. Price each unit $20-30 cheaper than it's comparable Sony unit and they'd get their market share back in no time.

Foo Fighter
03-03-2003, 06:44 PM
shawnc still has a very good point though. Competition is good.

This isn't a big deal. Palm SG will survive this "Edsel" model. It isn't going to kill them. If the leadership at SG is strong and vibrant, they will learn from this mistake and re-examine the high end market....take a look around...see what other competing products offer..and then redevelop a more competitive product, instead of releasing high priced incremental upgrades.

This is a market correction, nothing more.

PetiteFlower
03-03-2003, 06:49 PM
Well it's only logical that Palm take this setback as an incentive to create new and better products to get back what they just lost. PPC is still the underdog so they ALWAYS have incentive to improve to get on top. Palm slipping would be bad news for competition only if PPC already had the majority of the market share.

Now of course just because it's LOGICAL that this would spur palm's creative process doesn't mean it will actually happen. We'll just have to wait and see for that.

Ed Hansberry
03-03-2003, 07:01 PM
Well it's only logical that Palm take this setback as an incentive to create new and better products to get back what they just lost.
You would think.

Let's see, what did they create as a new and better product to get back what they lost with the M50x fiasco? Oh yeah, the Tungsten T.

rgremill
03-03-2003, 07:23 PM
It will not be long before Palm is the Apple of PDAs. They'll be lucky to hold onto 10% of the market. If it was not for Sony, there'd be no innovation on the Palm side.

dbman
03-03-2003, 07:43 PM
Well it's only logical that Palm take this setback as an incentive to create new and better products to get back what they just lost.
You would think.

Let's see, what did they create as a new and better product to get back what they lost with the M50x fiasco? Oh yeah, the Tungsten T.

Actually it was the 515 which fixed the problems with the 505 PDA. The Tungsten was supposed to be Palm's new flagship PDA.

However, after owning a Tungsten for 30-days under Palm's money-back guarantee, it was my opinion that the Tungsten wasn't enough hardware or OS to justify the cost. The OS improvements were insignificant and the slide mechanism was just silly. Also, given what Sony, HP, Dell and others have done with transflective technology, the Tungsten screen is just too small and old technology! Perhaps if Bluetooth had made more in-roads in the US, these faults might have been overlooked.

If Palm wants the Tungsten to keep market share, the price has to drop to well under $300. At that price point or lower, it will be a powerful competitor to HP, Toshiba, Sony and Dell.

MPSmith
03-03-2003, 08:02 PM
What depression?
hmmm...... super-inflated housing prices, bad tax cut, gold sales up, entering a war......statistacally we're due.

I'm tempted to launch into a political/economic diatribe in response to that comment, but that would take us WAY off topic. :roll:

03-03-2003, 08:32 PM
I agree with the people who said the Tungsten T just isn't a very compelling product, especially for the price. The new Axims, iPAQs, and Toshibas offered the same features for less money.

Even if you are committed to the Palm OS, the new Sony SJ33 is $100 less and offers the same feature set. The OS and processor speed may be different but there really isn't a difference for the end user.

Hopefully, the rumors of a new model from Palm will turn out to be true and it won't suffer from the T|T's problems.

I also agree that the PPC needs the competition from the Palm OS. However, at this point most of that competition comes from Sony, not Palm SG.

Steven Cedrone
03-03-2003, 08:49 PM
I'm tempted to launch into a political/economic diatribe in response to that comment, but that would take us WAY off topic. :roll:

Yes, please don't... :wink:

Steven Cedrone
Community Moderator

Ed Hansberry
03-03-2003, 09:09 PM
I agree with the people who said the Tungsten T just isn't a very compelling product, especially for the price. The new Axims, iPAQs, and Toshibas offered the same features for less money.
The review at Brighthand has this to say:
Still, Palm believes that many consumers will pay a premium for the Palm brand, and the Tungsten T's style, just as they do for a BMW, and who are we to argue.

Looks like Steve should have argued. ;) Very few were willing to pay that premium, far fewer than Palm expected. I think this will start flying off the shelves at $299, but is there any profit on that? I seriously doubt it. If there is, Palm was robbing people paying $499 for it.

Cypher
03-03-2003, 09:32 PM
Palm is still trying to get over the "cognitive dissonance" that they used to call the "zen of palm." To wit: Palm made a reputation for itself by being simple and claiming that that was what customers wanted. That theory was shot full of holes by both Pocket PC offerings and their own licensee, Sony who offered customers what they really wanted. Sony offers the only real competition to Pocket PC devices, hampered only by the Palm OS and the proprietary Memory Stick port. Palm continues to play catch up and continues to come up with counter-factual theories as to why their hardware isn't selling.

Palm got it's start by creating something that was exactly what people wanted at the time. What they've failed to do is to stay in touch with the people to whom they're trying to sell.

Macguy59
03-03-2003, 10:01 PM
As much as I like my Tungsten T, Palm HAS to make a quantum leap in their OS. True multimedia capability and transflective displays would help. I was intrigued by the property acquisition of Be, Inc. and hoped that something would evolve from that. Contrary to Ed's opinion, the hardware part of Tungsten is just fine. The display is decent with Bluetooth and a SDIO slot.

Foo Fighter
03-03-2003, 11:48 PM
I agree with the people who said the Tungsten T just isn't a very compelling product, especially for the price. The new Axims, iPAQs, and Toshibas offered the same features for less money.

This is becoming a major issue. OS rhetoric aside, PalmOS devices just don't offer the value that PPCs offer for the price. I mean, come on, why in god's name is Palm giving me a meager 14MB of RAM, a small square reflective screen (which are rapidly becoming obsolete), and no multimedia support....while Dell is offering a gorgeous full sized Transflective display, twice the RAM, and rich multimedia for $200? Something is dreadfully wrong here folks. I still love PalmOS, but there is no reason why I should be spending upwards of $500-$600 for hardware that PPC vendors are offering for half that price.

I find myself asking; what am I getting? Simplicity? Hmm...I thought that was something that was supposed to save you money? Less features = lower price. Not so it seems.

Even if you are committed to the Palm OS, the new Sony SJ33 is $100 less and offers the same feature set. The OS and processor speed may be different but there really isn't a difference for the end user.

Actually, the SJ33 offers a BETTER feature set. It can actually serve as an MP3 player. TT cannot. Audio output from the headphone jack isn't powerful enough..unless you like whisper quiet music.

Hopefully, the rumors of a new model from Palm will turn out to be true and it won't suffer from the T|T's problems.

What really kills me is the Tungsten T would have been a KICK ASS handheld, had it not been for some bad decisions made by PSG. If it had come equipped with a Transflective screen, 32MB RAM, and rich multimedia built right in, even priced at $349-399......it would have flown off the shelves. Instead TT was overpriced and underpowered.

Stik
03-03-2003, 11:48 PM
As I see it...

The marketing of PPC's by Microsoft, HP, Toshiba, et.al., leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. Lackluster or nonexistent at best.

Whens the last time you saw a PPC marketing effort in any 'mainstream' publications such as Time or Newsweek or major newspapers?

The mass population will not buy what they cannot see or understand.

Unfortunately, IMO, these companies, with the state of the economy, are all trying to tighten their belts, ( they have shareholders to answer to! ) which leaves less capital for marketing and advertisements, which leads to my vicious cycle theory.

It certainly seems ( IMO ) that if Dell didn't come out with the Axim and HP with the 1910, the troubles in PPC land would be as gloomy, or worse, than that Palm sales report!

What may change the course of the current trend is when Microsoft's CE.Net OS platform makes its way into new model PPC's this year ( ? )

If the platform is easy for the layman or woman to comprehend and use, things just * might * click forward nicely.

And no, I don't mean easy to use for most that post here. :wink:

I would also think that the administraters here would have a decent idea about PPC usage by new member count and by the amount of posts made ( or lack thereof ) on any of the current PPC's that are listed on this site.

My $0.01 cents worth.

Foo Fighter
03-04-2003, 12:18 AM
The marketing of PPC's by Microsoft, HP, Toshiba, et.al., leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. Lackluster or nonexistent at best.

Agreed. I've been ranting about this for a long time. With Microsoft's appalling lack of marketing support and zero efforts by the licensees themselves, whatever level of consumer adoption PPC has is purely accidental. The only consumer awareness PPC has is when shoppers trip over an iPaq to get to the Clie sitting on store shelves. Shameful. :sleeping:

Scott R
03-04-2003, 12:33 AM
Palm is still trying to get over the "cognitive dissonance" that they used to call the "zen of palm." To wit: Palm made a reputation for itself by being simple and claiming that that was what customers wanted. That theory was shot full of holes by both Pocket PC offerings and their own licensee, Sony who offered customers what they really wanted.
Yes, what the world needs is more hard-to-use devices. :?

Scott

Cracknell
03-04-2003, 12:35 AM
Yeah, all we need is to learn another writing system to operate a computer. :roll: That's easy.

Ed Hansberry
03-04-2003, 12:45 AM
Palm is still trying to get over the "cognitive dissonance" that they used to call the "zen of palm." To wit: Palm made a reputation for itself by being simple and claiming that that was what customers wanted. That theory was shot full of holes by both Pocket PC offerings and their own licensee, Sony who offered customers what they really wanted.
Yes, what the world needs is more hard-to-use devices. :?

Scott
Exactly. Please, do away with the PPC file system. I want VFS!!!! Take away my 64MB of RAM. I want to cram it in 14!!!! And please - give me another alphabet to learn. This writing I learned in kindegarten is driving me nuts!

Paragon
03-04-2003, 12:50 AM
Palm is still trying to get over the "cognitive dissonance" that they used to call the "zen of palm." To wit: Palm made a reputation for itself by being simple and claiming that that was what customers wanted. That theory was shot full of holes by both Pocket PC offerings and their own licensee, Sony who offered customers what they really wanted.
Yes, what the world needs is more hard-to-use devices. :?

Scott

Sorry, Scott

My 9 year old son loves playng with my Dell. When he picks it up I usually say "Here I'll show you...." he just rolls his eyes and says "Dad, I'm not stupid. This thing is easy" :)

Oh, and I have a Visor hanging around....the kids won't touch it!!

Dave

Foo Fighter
03-04-2003, 12:51 AM
Yes, what the world needs is more hard-to-use devices. :?

Every computing device has a learning curve, Scott. I'm about to sell my old M505 to my sister who has never owned or operated a PDA in her life. Do you think she picked it up and instinctively knew how to operate the darn thing? I spent over an hour trying to acclimate her to the nuances of the Palm UI and Graffiti. The GUI was unfamiliar and unintuitive to her. But after lengthy explanations and examples, she slowly started to catch on.

Pocket PC has many problems with its UI, but PalmOS is far from perfection.

Paragon
03-04-2003, 12:55 AM
Foo

After reading both our posts.....I have to ask...How old is your sister? :D

Dave

Scott R
03-04-2003, 12:56 AM
Wow, I hit a sore spot. Look, I wasn't claiming that the Palm OS was perfect in its simplicity. I just can't help but comment when someone makes a comment which derides simplicity. Two things:
1) Simplicity is GOOD.
2) You can have a device which is feature-rich yet is SIMPLE to use. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Please do not interpret these comments of mine to imply that Palm has successfully done both #1 and #2 with their current devices.

Scott

shawnc
03-04-2003, 02:50 AM
shawnc still has a very good point though. Competition is good. Without it the need, or desire to innovate can be lost. There are other competitors but not as large as Palm. We all gripe at how slow MS is at dealing with issues. I can only imagine that without any stiff competition that need will NOT increase.

Dave

Dave,

Exactly! MS has pushed the PPC to the top of the class because they were pushed by a worthy (at the time anyway) competitor. Competition brings out the best in all of us.

I definitely do NOT agree that this is not a big deal. Palm is not a company that I follow but they seem to have been on a downward spiral for quite some time. I think Palm is in serious trouble, and that doesn't bode well for any of us in the PPC camp (IMO).

Ed Hansberry
03-04-2003, 02:53 AM
Please do not interpret these comments of mine to imply that Palm has successfully done both #1 and #2 with their current devices.
You misspelled "or" Scott. :wink: :lol:

bdegroodt
03-04-2003, 03:11 AM
Please do not interpret these comments of mine to imply that Palm has successfully done both #1 and #2 with their current devices.
You misspelled "or" Scott. :wink: :lol:

Wow! Tough crowd tonight!

Jonathon Watkins
03-04-2003, 03:30 AM
Wow! Tough crowd tonight!

It always is - keeps people on thier toes. :wink:

Paragon
03-04-2003, 03:39 AM
It always is - keeps people on thier toes. :wink:

You spelled their wrong. :roll: :D

Dave

Foo Fighter
03-04-2003, 05:05 AM
You poeple are nuts! But who am I to talk? :drinking:

Bradskey
03-04-2003, 06:14 AM
lotta' nonsense

I'll remind you 9 months to a year from now how much "nonsense" it is.


By all means.... :wink:

Bradskey
03-04-2003, 06:16 AM
Am I the only PPC fan that thinks this is bad news? I think it was Palm that forced MS and hardware makers to step-up with better products and creative innovation. A strong Palm pushes MS, Dell, HP, et al. As consumers, we need Palm to do well. I don't mean to sound anti-MS, but I dread to think of how PPC innovation and investment will be impacted if Palm goes out of business.

Yeah, but the only pressure Palm has put on MS and co. is due to sheer market share, not anything remotely related to power and innovation in their products.

Felix Torres
03-04-2003, 07:07 AM
Wow, I hit a sore spot. Look, I wasn't claiming that the Palm OS was perfect in its simplicity. I just can't help but comment when someone makes a comment which derides simplicity. Two things:
1) Simplicity is GOOD.
2) You can have a device which is feature-rich yet is SIMPLE to use. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Scott

Ah, yes.
The great god simplicity rears its head yet again.
Allow me to disagree.
Simplicity ala PALM (and SUN, and APPLE, and LINUX) is no virtue.
It is a crime against technological humanity. ;-)

Simplicity is oversold.

Simplicity is the last refuge of companies that are incapable of delivering features. Period.

When PPCs had color and PALM didn't, PALM said users didn't *want* color when what they meant was "we can't deliver color." As soon as PALM could figure out how to put a pale imitation of PPC color into a PDA, suddenly, color was good and necessary.

When PPCs delivered multimedia, PALM said users didn't want multimedia in their organizer when what they meant was "we can't deliver multimedia." And here we stand, almost five years after the Casio E-100 shipped and PALM *still* can't deliver multimedia properly in the Tungsten. SONY only manages it by splicing an MP3 player into the same box as a PDA and using the PDA as a control panel for the added device.

PALM gets critized for their failures because, no matter how much they repeat their mantra of simplicity, people *do* want features.

The plain and simple truth is that people will *always* find uses for greater features as long as the learning curve is low enough. (Often times even when the learning curve is steep; witness the success of early computer products such as Lotus 1-2-3, Wordstar, and Wordperfect with their mind-boggling infinity of control key combos that users had to memorize. And they did. Memo: don't assume users are stupid. They'll sneer at you and buy your competitor's product.)
Users *will* learn to use the features and find ways to put them to use; witness how cellphones keep picking up more and more features that seemingly have nothing to do with talking. This doesn't mean everybody uses every feature every minute of every day but rather that enough people use each feature often enough to justify its inclusion into the product until it becomes a required feature.

That is how products evolve, whether they be cars, PCs, or PDAs. Once upon a time, cars were started by turning a crank and an electric starter was an extra cost option on luxury cars. Hundreds (thousands?) of injuries later, it became a standard feature in all cars. We moved on past the hand-cranked cars just as we'll move on past Dragonball-based products that require users to learn a new alfabet just to enter a simple text string. Soon Graffitti will seem as much a nightmare as a starter-less car and PALM will join WINTON cars in the hall of fame of forgotten contenders.

Folks, just because the first generation of a product is configured a certain way does not mandate that all future generation have to remain bound by the limitations of the past.

PALM designed the Dragonball PALMs the way they did because it was the only way they could make a profitable PDA that was acceptable to the marketplace in 1994.
No sin there.
Their sin was assuming that what sold in 1994 would sell in 1998 and 2002 and beyond, that a PDA should only do what *they* could deliver and that anything else was unnecessary bloat.

(I have seen PALM users actually claim, with a straight, earnest face, that a PALM organizer is all the computer anybody ever needs, that their is no need for notebooks or even desktops. Honest. I just shook my head and walked away; he was obviously a PALM stockholder...)

By trying to sell people on the idea that feature-rich = bloat PALM has only *delayed* the development of the pocket computing platforms. Given the time to market and market share advantages they had, they should own the market lock-stock-and-barrel and lead in technology rather than being a trailing edge purveyor of blister-pack organizers.

History will remember that PALM made the first successful PDA.
History will also remember that they lacked the vision and the skill to follow up on their early success and tried to *retard* the development of the category to conform to their capabilities by bad-mouthing the competition and misinforming the uneducated populace.

So please, spare me the homilies about how PPCs need the competition from PALM, cause PALM has long since stopped offering any meaningful competition. All they offer is warmed-over rehashes in new boxes and sneering insults about the quality of their competitor's products.

As of now, the PPC vendors get all the competition they need from each other and *maybe* SONY. (Yes, I'm skeptical about SONY's long-term success, too. Just compare their latest do-everything box to something like the SAMSUNG NEXIO S-160 that sells for the exact same price.)

Pocket computing will continue to evolve and it *will* get more sophisticated, which is the true alternative to remaining eternally simple until death rolls you over.

Evolve or die.
Palm has done little if any evolving and so now faces irrelevancy far behind the font lines of technological evolution.

Cry if you must but *I* won't mourn their passing.

AhuhX
03-04-2003, 07:13 AM
Yeah, but the only pressure Palm has put on MS and co. is due to sheer market share, not anything remotely related to power and innovation in their products.

Mostly true in the technical sense, but Palm was ALWAYS ahead of Palm-sized PC's and PocketPC's for years in terms of size, price and battery life. It's fantastic to see PPC's now starting to actually beat Palm in these previous strongholds which goes someway to explain the changing tides in the market.


P.S. I hope some of the Palm software developers that do the Office stuff like DocsToGo start to seriously consider releasing PPC versions of their software given Palm's seemingly dwindling presense in the market. You think one of them would be in a rush to port just to get the initial traction in the PPC market.

gfunkmagic
03-04-2003, 09:46 AM
Alright, let me get back to the main topic here if I may since the palm bashing has already been done to death here :wink: According to Gartner Dataquest, the world wide market slow down for pda's was not specifically targeted to PalmSG:

http://www4.gartner.com/5_about/press_releases/pr27jan2003a.jsp

According to the info in those charts, ALL pda OEMs with exception to Sony, Symbol, and Sharp had decreases in pda shipments and growth. (However the later two companies have fairly insignificant market share while data on Dell is NA b/c of its only recent entry into the market). I agree PalmSG is under-going financial difficulities, but where are numbers for the other OEM's? How are HP's and Toshiba's PPC divisions doing? Does anyone have any info regarding this? I think concluding that palmSG's financial probems are just company specific is presumptuous until there is more information regarding all the players in the market...

Ed Hansberry
03-04-2003, 01:36 PM
Simplicity is the last refuge of companies that are incapable of delivering features. Period.

Cry if you must but *I* won't mourn their passing.

So Felix, tell us how you really feel. :lol:

Paragon
03-04-2003, 02:16 PM
. I definitely do NOT agree that this is not a big deal. Palm is not a company that I follow but they seem to have been on a downward spiral for quite some time. I think Palm is in serious trouble, and that doesn't bode well for any of us in the PPC camp (IMO).


Palm has been in a downward spiral, but I don't think it spells the end for Palm. I'm willing to bet that Sony has set themselves a figure that they are waiting for Palm stock to get to before they dive the rest of the way in. Geeez look at the money they saved in one day last week....a 16% drop is a big saving for Sony. Perhaps that day is getting close, or maybe Sony is waiting for Palm to collapse so they can get it a fire sale prices from the bank. That is probably a very hard call for them to make especially when you consider they have already thrown money in the pot that is being devalued as we speak.

gfunkmagic makes a good point as well......Who says that Palm is alone. We do know that Microsoft is loosing millions on PPC at the moment. Who knows what the individual OEMs are doing with their PPC segments, and if they aren't doing well, how long will they hold on before they jump ship?

Palm doesn't have any other product lines to help cover itself when it's loosing money like most of the others in the industry.

Dave

Scott R
03-04-2003, 03:00 PM
Ah, yes.
The great god simplicity rears its head yet again.
Allow me to disagree.
Simplicity ala PALM (and SUN, and APPLE, and LINUX) is no virtue.
It is a crime against technological humanity. ;-)

Felix, with all due respect, you quoted from me but obviously didn't understand what I was saying. I'm not talking about "simplicity ala Palm." Here's my point #2 again:
2) You can have a device which is feature-rich yet is SIMPLE to use. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Simplicity is good usability. This includes ease of use for new users as well as efficiency for skilled users. It is an art form and not a science. Sometimes you have to sacrifice new user ease-of-use for experienced user efficiency for certain functions, other times you do the opposite. The argument about Graffiti is a good example of this. Is it as easy to use for a new user as Transcriber? Certainly not. But for an experienced user, is it faster and more accurate to enter text with Graffiti than Transcriber? Yes. You decide which approach you like best. Because my PDA is not meant to be used by several people a day, many of which who would never have touched one, but is going to be used by me for at least a year, I'll take the small learning curve in exchange for higher accuracy and faster speed long-term.

The Palm's problem, per se, is that it was designed from the ground up to be a great PIM device and made the most of the technology that was available at that time. It needed to be reasonably priced, reasonably sized, offer reasonable battery life, and do the job it was designed for (PIM) better than the competition (and the competition was a paper day planner). Thanks to them building in the ability to install other apps easily and making the SDK available, crafty developers pushed the limits. But it's still built on that foundation. If you start from scratch, you end up losing access to the library of existing applications. They (PalmSource) are doing a noble job of overhauling the OS while maintaining backward compatibility, IMO, but it will still be hobbled to a degree because of that original foundation/purpose.

The PPC is based on Windows CE. This was designed to be a mini-Windows of sorts and offers the advantages of a "real" file system, and a far more feature-rich environment. OTOH, the GUI was, incorrectly in my opinion, cloned too much like Windows. Windows works great on a 15" monitor with a 640x480 resolution (minimum) and combined with a keyboard and mouse. It doesn't necessarily translate as well squeezed onto a much smaller screen without a mouse (the original handheld PCs). Morphing the handheld PC OS/GUI into a portrait display with even less resolution and no keyboard, adds further difficulties. My point being that the modern PPC is, like the newer Palm OS5 devices, a device which has been hacked from its original design/purpose. The best devices are those designed from the ground up using the latest technologies (within reason, given $$$), to do their required tasks simply. ;)

PALM gets critized for their failures because, no matter how much they repeat their mantra of simplicity, people *do* want features.And yet, the biggest selling PDA this holiday season was what? The Zire, a PDA which technology-wise isn't much different than the very first PalmPilot.

That is how products evolve, whether they be cars, PCs, or PDAs. Once upon a time, cars were started by turning a crank and an electric starter was an extra cost option on luxury cars. Hundreds (thousands?) of injuries later, it became a standard feature in all cars.And which of these methods was the simpler one? ;)

Scott

Janak Parekh
03-04-2003, 04:52 PM
Simplicity is good usability. This includes ease of use for new users as well as efficiency for skilled users.
Not necessarily. I can't mention the number of times a "simple" UI got in my way of trying to get my job done.

But for an experienced user, is it faster and more accurate to enter text with Graffiti than Transcriber? Yes.
Absolutely not. Transcriber beats Graffiti, hands down, unless I'm doing esoteric entry. And I've used both for years. (BTW, I'm finally starting to get better with Fitaly, and it blows everything else out of the water.)

Morphing the handheld PC OS/GUI into a portrait display with even less resolution and no keyboard, adds further difficulties.
Believe it or not, I don't find the Pocket PC GUI getting in my way. At all. The default Palm interface (i.e., Applications) always got in my way. There are hacks, but that's not relevant.

My point being that the modern PPC is, like the newer Palm OS5 devices, a device which has been hacked from its original design/purpose.
Well, you and I will have to disagree. :) The Pocket PC was built on an extensible, general-purpose platform, not "hacked" into a new device. The Palm, on the other hand, was truly hacked upwards; I coded on PalmOS 3, and the number of API limitations and assumptions was absolutely galling.

And yet, the biggest selling PDA this holiday season was what? The Zire, a PDA which technology-wise isn't much different than the very first PalmPilot.
Only because of price. I finally saw and held a Zire this weekend, and I absolutely hate it. The screen is small, mediocre, and has no backlight. The buttons are poorly designed. But, worst of all is the lack of a HotSync button -- that makes the whole setup very kludgy. The m1xx series (well, the Zire is "called" a m150, but I don't count that) were much better units IMHO. The Zire isn't really a relevant factor in this comparison; it doesn't even compare to the Tungstens.

--janak

Felix Torres
03-04-2003, 05:05 PM
]That is how products evolve, whether they be cars, PCs, or PDAs. Once upon a time, cars were started by turning a crank and an electric starter was an extra cost option on luxury cars. Hundreds (thousands?) of injuries later, it became a standard feature in all cars.And which of these methods was the simpler one? ;)

Scott

Actually, the hand-crank was simpler.
The electric starter systems required something like a dozen steps and adjustments of choke, throttle, etc. To say nothing of the added mechanical complexity and stuff.
At the time, the addition of electric starters was seem as feature bloat.
From *our* point of view it is an essential feature.

As for simplicity keep in mind there is a difference between ease of use, with is a UI issue and simplicity of features which is what PALM and company promote. It is easy to provide an easy UI if the product doesn't do anything useful, no? Pet rocks come to mind... ;-)

As for why the ZIRE is the top selling PDA, no mystery.
Its cheaper.
It does less and costs less.
If you follow that rationale, you end up with a blister-pack four-banger calculater made in CHINA and selling for $0.99 which sells by the hundreds of millions. Hardly relevant to sales rates of $300 multi-media pocket computers. Ditto for the ZIRE.

Personally, I've never seen much logic in bundling-in connected organizers like the ZIRE in with pocket computers at all, since the target customers are not the same people at all, except that the computer media insists on lumping them all into the amorphous PDA category so they can claim MS is losing a platform battle.

Of course, the downside is you end up with PALM financials that show the average selling price for PALM devices for 2001 was $169 and the average selling price for PPCs was about $400. For 2002 the average palm price was under $149 and dropping which can't be helping their efforts to secure extra funding.

Which is why the sales problems of the TUNGSTEN are in fact PALM-specific. Sales rate of the TUNGSTEN or the ZIRE don't really tell you anything about the viability of individual PPC products because they are not really competitive. Some PPC vendors have troubles and some don't, but none suffer from the specific problems hampering PALM.

Scott R
03-04-2003, 05:06 PM
Not necessarily. I can't mention the number of times a "simple" UI got in my way of trying to get my job done.
Well, here again you're confusing "simple" with simple. "Simple" is a term you deride which apparently carries with it a lot of baggage which it shouldn't. If a "simple" UI got in your way, it wasn't really simple.

Scott

Janak Parekh
03-04-2003, 05:13 PM
Well, here again you're confusing "simple" with simple. "Simple" is a term you deride which apparently carries with it a lot of baggage which it shouldn't. If a "simple" UI got in your way, it wasn't really simple.
Nah, I know perfectly what you're talking about -- it's the eminent UI debate. I've read a million opinions on both sides of the issue, plus I've taken User Interface courses, and I sit squarely on the "simple usually means less flexible" side. We should probably not belabor this point, because a lot more competent UI gurus have debated this over the years, to no avail. ;)

I think it's part of the reason why a lot of people get very annoyed at the toutability of "simple", especially in Palms.

--janak

Scott R
03-04-2003, 05:13 PM
Actually, the hand-crank was simpler.
The electric starter systems required something like a dozen steps and adjustments of choke, throttle, etc. To say nothing of the added mechanical complexity and stuff.
Ah, but you've again added something to my comments, but perhaps this demonstrates that I left something out if you're not the only one misunderstanding me. I'm talking about "Simpler to use" which is different than complexity. Let's face it, even a basic Palm OS Zire is "complex" in that the average person couldn't build one from scratch in an afternoon.

Look, I'll make one last comment and end it there. Basically, I'll double back to my original comment. Simple [to use] is good. Ease of use for new users is good. Efficiency (simpler to use tasks) for experienced users is good. Making a complex device which is feature-rich and yet is simple to use is not impossible, but it isn't easy either. Both the Palm OS and the PPC OS have a ways to go (though in different areas) in doing this, IMO.

Scott

Scott R
03-04-2003, 05:20 PM
Don't look now, the sky is falling...

HP tries to get 'radically simple':
http://news.com.com/2100-1041-990821.html

;)

Scott

Janak Parekh
03-04-2003, 05:35 PM
HP tries to get 'radically simple':
http://news.com.com/2100-1041-990821.html
:lol:

You know, if we outlawed the two words "innovative" and "simple", we could probably put an end to 99% of the Palm-Pocket PC flamewars on the Internet. ;)

--janak

Paragon
03-04-2003, 05:41 PM
And yet, the biggest selling PDA this holiday season was what? The Zire, a PDA which technology-wise isn't much different than the very first PalmPilot.


You are right Scott........Microsoft....OEMs.......it's called marketing, and availability!!!! If something like the Zire can sell that well mostly because it is visible and on the shelves IMAGINE what YOUR product could do.!!!!

Dave

Bosco
03-07-2003, 07:23 AM
Better late than never.

When PPCs delivered multimedia, PALM said users didn't want multimedia in their organizer when what they meant was "we can't deliver multimedia." And here we stand, almost five years after the Casio E-100 shipped and PALM *still* can't deliver multimedia properly in the Tungsten. SONY only manages it by splicing an MP3 player into the same box as a PDA and using the PDA as a control panel for the added device.

PALM gets critized for their failures because, no matter how much they repeat their mantra of simplicity, people *do* want features.

Still, I disagree with you about the Sony multimedia comment. Sony blows away all other devices when it comes to multimedia. Take a look at the NX70v and NZ90. Nothing even comes close. Higher resolutions, video camcorders, 2 MP camera, Bluetooth and Wifi capable, and still includes this SIMPLICITY of Palm OS. Yes, simplicity. I'm one of those people who believe in that word and I can explain why. Palm OS will be easier to learn for the first-time user (on average). This conveys simplicity in one shot. Simplicity can also be defined in having the PDA be an organizer first with other functions built on top of that. Sony IS doing this. You can have the standard launcher and regular, yet extended for the virtual graffiti area, PIM applications and integrated software that's so simple to use, but there's always the option for 3rd party replacements, but rather with the PPC OS, it's built into the OS. Sure, you can customize it with themes and such, but you're mandated to multimedia no matter how you slice it.

Sony's NX and NZ series offers more multimedia than any other PDA's in the marketplace hands down. Period.

Hey, get this, the top selling handheld in the holiday season was still the Zire, all statistics and opinions aside. The masses still don't want the features. They want a cheap price. They're still Palm Pilots in the eyes of the layman. This is the only reason why Palm can stay as an independent company and not die. Their brand name is the only thing they have, and so far, they have successfully exploited it. They have to learn that in the high end, their brand name doesn't mean NEARLY as much as it does in the low end. More often than not, people will research their buy above $200, and having a STILL overpriced $399 TT compared to Axims and the 1910, it's no wonder why they aren't advancing. They need to learn this the hard way, it seems, and even though I've been saying this for the past year, Palm always has to learn the hard way. It's a shame such a young teenager can plainly see this compared to a board of directors, useless CEO's *cough* YANKER *cough*, CFO's, and countless yes-men.

If they want to really compete, put an m515 with a 320x480 transreflective screen, OS 5 running an X-Scale at 200 MHz, and an integrated MP3 player and widescreen video player on the market for $399. This would easily get Palm back out on the market and SERIOUSLY compete in the high end. If Palm wants to last, they have to reign supreme in all aspects of the market. They're got the low-end covered, but PPC has a much more attractive mid-range, and Sony has the best high end multimedia centric products.

That's my view on it.