Posted by: Cliff Edwards on August 20, 2008
Ever heard of a little handheld company called Palm?
The company that helped popularize smartphones with the executive set even before the word smartphone was born is trying to get back in the game with its new Treo Pro device. The first major design revamp of their business-class devices in a couple of years, the Treo Pro comes with Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 software to make it fairly easy for companies to connect their workers to the mother ship.
Though a little company in Cupertino not too far from Palm seems to be getting all the buzz these days with the iPhone, Palm execs say the Treo Pro won’t really compete with Apple because it’s aimed a business people who still want built-in QWERTY keyboards to do their messaging.
Not surprisingly, then, Research in Motion’s Blackberry Bold is squarely in their sights.
Trouble is, Palm’s high-end, $549 GSM device isn’t getting a lot of love, at least initially, from AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States. The company plans to sell it beginning this fall only from its own website and kiosks around the country.
It could simply be that Palm didn’t have enough time to get fully certified for AT&T’s network. Or, more dire, there might be no room on the shelf, with AT&T offering competing products from Apple, RIM, Samsung and others for the important upcoming holiday period.
A Palm exec was quick to note that the Treo Pro is getting widespread support in Europe, where carriers plan to subsidize the device to lock in customers to new contracts.
Palm could use all the help it can get. Its market share has dwindled despite the relative popularity of the consumer-friendly Centro with younger cell phone purchasers.
The company, under relatively new management, promises big things to come in the next year. Here’s hoping it can deliver before the competition steals enough application developers to make moot all the shiny new devices it excels at creating.