Palm CEO Ed Colligan Talks Up Palm OS 2.0

In an interview with Australian tech site APC, Palm’s CEO Ed Colligan revealed the company’s plans for the next generation Palm OS they company is calling Palm 2.0 along with plans for a new “prosumer” brand that will “slot between the Centro and Treo lines”.

How Palm Is Dealing With Competition

The interviewer did not shy away from asking Colligan difficult questions surrounding the future of the company. Competition in the smartphone space is fierce. BlackBerry owns the Enterprise market, Windows Mobile devices have seen huge gains, Apple has burst onto the scene with the iPhone and Google is preparing to deliver it’s Android OS which will surely prompt a slew of Google phones into the market. With this crowded and competitive space, how does Palm compete. "Palms got maybe 15 million customers and 50 million devices around the world, its brand thats globally recognised. We sold a million Centros in the first five months of it going on sale with one carrier in the US, so to say were not an active player in the market is not really accurate," said Colligan. He certainly reads the continuous barage of negative media coverage surrounding Palm products and likens his company to Apple when they experienced their dark days. "If you look at Apple and one of our board members, Fred Anderson, used to be CFO at Apple at one point in time Apple was in a very difficult position and (Anderson) was there at that time, trying to figure out how they had the resources and the cash to see the next quarter through. Apple was on the cover of every magazine, (we saw) all these articles about the demise of Apple, and now theyre one of the most successful brands in the world."

Next Generation Palm OS 2.0

Collligan referred to Palm’s next generation operating system, codenamed Nova, as Palm OS 2.0. Interestingly enough, Colligan pointed to his Centro saying, “This is something different to this.” Palm’s next-generation operating system with much more capabilities, driven around the Internet and Web-based applications. Palm is banking on their ability to integrate software and hardware to enhance the user experience. From Colligan’s comments, it appears that Palm will deliver multiple devices under the new brand. "We think its going to be stunning and breakthrough in its execution, and were working on some very exciting new devices to go with it." One might even be the illfated Palm Foleo.

New Product Lines

The launch of the next generation Palm OS will also bring a new product line that will fit between the existing Palm Centro and Palm Treo Smartphones. The Centro is considered Palm’s consumer line and the Palm Treo is now being thought of as strictly enterprise. From Colligan’s comments, it certainly appears that we’ve seen the end for the Palm OS on Treo branded smartphones. "Were going to continue to look at those three line areas consumer, prosumer and enterprise. Treo is today more of our mainstream prosumer product which is extended into the enterprise, but over time youll see some branding work done on the top two to make sure theyre really well delineated," continued Colligan. One must wonder if Palm is simply distancing themselves from the Treo brand that has been the subject of harsh criticism of being a stagnant form factor, if not platform.

Apple’s return to glory started with the iconic all-in-one design of the highly sucessful iMac, a hardware product that help usher in the release of Apple’s linux based operating system. Their breakout success however due to the iPod/iTunes, where they were arguably first to market. In 2009, Palm will to their linux based operating system to usher in new devices under a new brand. Palm has a difficult challenge as they attempt to create that "wow" product in a field that includes the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Bold. Given Palm’s rich history of innovation, they are certainly one company that can pull it off.

Source: APC Mag

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