By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
With the shipment of the Zire and Tungsten lines, Palm unveiled a new product development strategy that has the company developing products based on a series of core beliefs it has instituted.
Todd Bradley, Palm president and CEO, outlined these ideals at the company's annual analyst meeting held here last month. The "Palm Beliefs" were designed to debunk several myths that have surrounded the handheld computer market for the past several years.
The first is that PIM (personal information management) matters and needs to be included in all devices. "This is enormously important for the consumer market," he said. Next is that wireless connectivity to networks and the Internet is overrated. "Wireless is not the most important feature, but seamless connectivity, using all types of technology, is," Bradley said.
Palm is no longer over-hyping the speeds and feeds on its new products, but instead focusing on adding useful, innovative features. An adjunct to this theory is it's not necessary to place all the capabilities of a desktop computer into a handheld, but only enough to take and easily access the data that the person needs.
Finally, Bradley debunked the idea that only early adopters are interested in buying handheld products. He said this stage has passed and these are mainstream products.
Bradley and the Palm executive team are banking that by following these rules the company can grab a large share of both the entry-level market with the Zire, and for the first time have a large impact on enterprise-level sales with the Tungsten models.
Bringing new people into the Palm product fold is of particular importance because it sets the company up for future sales as these people decide to upgrade, Bradley said. This is also the course Palm hopes current owners will take with the Tungsten T and W.
"The Tungsten T customer is similar to the original Palm V person. They understand the usefulness of technology and will upgrade to a new product if it proves its worth," said David Christopher, Palm product manager for the Tungsten.
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