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In the mean time, Palm ignores us the loyal consumers.. I wish Handspring hadn't gotten soo stupid that they didn't realize that ignoring the handheld market which wasn't ready to die that early, was a mistake. Instead they decided to put their eggs in one treo basket. Don't get me wrong, I liked the original treo concept, but some people still want the handheld. I still use my ancient Visor Edge (and occasionally the Palm V) because I don't see anything that will really convince me to get anything newer... The features that look interesting are always crippled. I want 802.11G in a PDA or a smartphone. I can't accept the ridiculous data plans from Verizon. I would go with a treo if they were PalmOS based and didn't seem like they were from the year 2000.
And I really miss the springboard capabalities... That was a good out... If Palm had it's head where the sun don't shine, someone else could step in and make something to fill the demand.
The last thing I want is to see more BSOD winDOHs. I'd rather go to any other platform.
Go Sprint, silly.
That wasn't a mistake, it was a business decision...and a good one given the circumstances. Handspring didn't "ignore" the handheld market, they simply didn't have the capital to invest in both segments at once. Which left them to make a choice between staying the course or moving into new areas, but they couldn't be both places at once. And the PDA business was a bleeding segment for them; they weren't making any money off the Visor line at all, and Sony was slowly grinding them into the pavement with its rapid product development cycle and innovative hardware design. Once Sony entered the market Handspring was yesterday's news.
Handspring's business model was doomed from the start really; its entire strategy centered around one intellectual property...Springboard, whose only real advantage over Palm's products was the promise of memory expansion, which is what the vast majority of Visor users accessed their Springboard slots for; backup and storage. Once Palm began integrating SD slots into their handhelds, and Sony Clie's equipped with Memory stick slots emerged, there really was no purpose behind Springboard, and no angle left for Handspring to play on, except to compete on price...and they didn't have that luxury.
So, with very limited venture capital left raining in the bank that they hadn't already burned through, their choice was to either think outside the box and bet the company on an entirely new venture where no competition yet existed (remember...this was the dawn of the smartphone), or continue along on its doomed course of trying to compete with Sony and Palm...faced with the prospects of dwindling cash, rapidly declining profit margins, as well as the implosion of its business model.
Naturally they decided, wisely so, to invest what little remaining resources they had on a new concept that offered them the opportunity to blaze new trails and stand from a position of strength in a new market. Or to use baseball terminology..."hit 'em where they ain't". You really think that was a stupid move? I think it was the only logical strategy given their situation, and one that would have paid off immensely if the company hadn't already burned through so much venture cap on worthless product strategies like the Visor Edge and the doomed Springboard concept. Handspring's greatest blunder was the Springboard concept, because Hawkins foolishly assumed that mobile technology would essentially remain frozen at one point in time, operating under the same set of constraints, for many years to come. In short, Hawkins believed that feature integration was impossible or impractical, and would always remain so. Wrong!
With Springboard you could add more features and functionality to one basic form factor, extending its capabilities through external peripherals. Nice concept, on paper, but Hawkins failed to take into account that technology always finds a way to overcome its own obstacles. Integrating features like built-in MP3 playback, wireless antennas, and higher resolution screens to PDA in 1999 would have created a device that was brick-like with miserable battery life (anyone here remember the original HP Jornada? case in point). But by 2002-2003 it was common and practical. Not only that, but the hardware became cheaper as well. By 2003 we began seeing Pocket PC devices priced between $199-299. Technology always advances. Any company that builds its product strategy around the idea that "things will pretty much stay the same as they are now" is doomed from the start. You must ALWAY stay one step ahead of the curve. Handspring lived up to that with the transition from Handhelds to Smarphones. They just did it too late, and with too little cash on hand.
Ironically Palm is beginning to make similar missteps in current strategy. They move far too slowly. I fear History may repeat itself unless they get back on the right track and start innovating again.-------------------------------PocketFactory, www.pocketfactory.comElitist Snob, www.elitistsnob.com
TRG/Handera announced the TRGPro soon thereafter, and before I received the Visor it was already doomed - instead of paying for overpriced flash cards in the form of "Springboards" I could just buy an industry-standard CF card of my own choosing and size. Handspring also did the bad move of using non-upgradeable ROM, which sealed the deal for me.
I watched Handspring fluster about with the Springboard phone - sitting in the audience listening to Dubinsky tout the thing I could only think "ok - I have no phone when the thing is unplugged?!? - this is dead." Eventually Handspring corrected themselves and integrated that Springboard into the Treo models - but I avoided them because they had no backup possibility. Preservation of data is key - and I thought it was ridiculous to create or purchase a phone/pda vulnerable to theft and damage and battery death with absolutely no way to protect yourself. Imagine being on a 2-week business trip and your battery fails or the thing drops. BOOM - fly back to Kansas City, bubba.
By the time Handspring had nearly the "right" form factor for a smartphone - the Treo 600 in 2003 (except for battery, RAM and screen) - they were apparently at death's financial door. Palm bought them out, and then proceeded to sit on 80% of the possible innovation with the platform, instead choosing to put their money into buying the "Palm" name and plastering cities with gaudy orange posters, drunken rollout binges, etc. And all those trips up to Seattle probably set them back, too.
Well, now that Blackberry, Motorola, and many other companies have used the past 3 nearly wasted years to copy some of the best of the Treo and improve it (except for the OS), Palm finds themselves playing catch-up to themselves.
Some of it may have been funding vs. the bigger tech companies - but I think the essential issue is losing touch with the innovation that Hawkins formed the original Palm Computing upon. They need more engineers obsessing over the "right size" model-size of wood to fit in a pocket again, rather than the buttclowns who tried sneaking in the cheapest piece of RAM they could into the Treo 650. Function matters. Where are the circa-1995 Hawkins of today?
I didn't have any problem carrying two devices, but I would consider going with the Treo if it seemed like it used fairly recent technology and supported the SDIO modules that could replace the Springboard modules that I have. They were by no means the best possible option but they were the best alternative from where I was looking at. The Edge was the best of the lot because it was sleek and thin, but at the same time it didn't sacrifice the functionality that the other Visors had. I loved the Clies too, but they seemed too proprietary to me.
As far as Palm is concerned, ever since the Palm V debacle, they seem to always release yesterday's technology as the latest thing. They seem to want to squeeze every penny they can from the old technology and then improve it slightly going from day-before-yesterday's technology to yesterday's technology. There was a time (2000) where I was trying to talk my company into supporting the Palm OS, but now that seems like a laughable idea to me.
Lastly I apologize about the long-winded-ness of my posts. I used the < rant > and < / rant > in my first post before realizing that the system would try to interpret that and not display the tags. I needed some place to vent because I have been frustrated the way good companies and good products go down hill.