MobileSummit & DevCon 2005 Day 2
Although conferences are typically ‘hectic’, I had not anticipated this one so filled with new announcements and thus so little time to gather my thoughts and write about what is going on here. So, in no particular order, here are some of the things that have caught my attention:
- A presentation slide showed the results of a recent poll among PalmOS developers which highlighted how 51% of them were now (finally!) focusing on making their applications “enhanced for wireless use”. This basically means that they are at last giving attention to exploiting the unique wireless connectivity of our Treo and I hope to see many applications in the coming months that will demonstrate good uses of it.
- PalmSource demoed the latest version 1.5 of their “PalmSource Installer (PSI)” that you might remember I had first written about last year in Munich and which I am particularly excited about. In the simplest terms, PSI is a ‘one-click’ application installer that requires literally zero user input and that places the burden of figuring out what to install for your specific device and PC (when required) squarely on the developer and not the end user. I personally consider PSI to be revolutionary and now that Motricity – one of the major PalmOS software resellers – has officially announced full support for PSI enabled applications many people here felt that it would be a very short time until all developers embraced it.
- A PalmOS licensee (not palmOne) will release a keyboard smartphone in Q3
- A ‘major’ new PalmOS licensee is due to come on board ‘soon’
- A palmOne smartphone with Windows Mobile to become available as early as three months from now
This last rumour is perhaps the single most widespread one and where I used to hear this from one or two mouths it is now so prevalent that it almost feels as if such a product were already available today… Needless to say most people are still scratching their heads about it and wondering what good if any this might bring.
Ed Colligan (standing left) and Pat McVeigh at the press briefing (all pictures at the conference are taken with my Treo 650 since I forgot my digital camera at home for the first time ever…)
PRESS Q&A WITH ED COLLIGAN & PATRICK McVEIGH
- Blackberry Connect: Ed Colligan mentioned to our surprise that there was little interest from carriers for the present version of BB Connect on the Treo and that this was the primary reason why it had not yet been made available. At the same time however it is also my understanding that BB Connect is simply not ready to ship.
- LifeDrive: Ed mentioned that carriers such as T-Mobile might express an interest in the LifeDrive for its WiFi capabilities and that the company might offer it as part of its wireless data devices offerings. Similarly, he did not dismiss the option that the LifeDrive may be sold through wireless carrier channels.
- palmOne now Palm: Ed reiterated that this was naturally excellent news and a major future benefit to palmOne. Pat McVeigh, PalmSource’s interim CEO, noted that with only a few hundred clients compared to palmOne’s many millions it was obvious which company could best exploit the brand. In this vein, it was also noted that PalmSource would for its part however soon (within four years) have to change its name but he did not provide an indication as to what direction this might take. Additionally, Pat pointed out that a change of name would actually provide PS with more freedom to approach competing handset manufacturers.
- Multiple Future OS’: indirectly asked about the Windows Mobile rumours circulating and the implication for a company called ‘Palm’, Ed Colligan responded that changes would be inevitable and that Palm should be primarily associated with the hardware and not the software. Considering the passion that Treonauts and other Palm fans have for the ‘combined’ hardware+software experience this last comment naturally raised a few eyebrows.
- Treo Family: Ed pointed out that other handset manufacturers have the benefit of up to a dozen new phone releases per year while palmOne has only had one but he declined to comment on the “possible number of Treo smartphones that could be released in a given year”.
- Carriers: asked about carrier demand and support for palmOne and the Treo, Ed pointed out that it was quite simple and that carriers care only about two things when it comes to new phones: 1) ARPU (the average revenue per user that the phone helps generate) and 2) end-user demand (do people really like and want a particular phone) – both points which the Treo has clearly demonstrated to influence. When asked if there was a particular carrier that he liked above others he replied “We like them all!” which naturally brought laughter across the room.
Treonauts know that good questions bring good answers…