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Palm News - Q1 Fiscal Year 2009

Palm Releases Latest Financial Results With Record Centro Sales + 1 Million Unit Sales Milestone + Verizon Treo 800w + AT&T Treo Pro + NOVA OS + New ‘09 Devices

Palm-Smartphone-Sell-Through Q3 '08

Yesterday’s Palm Q1 2009 Earnings Call provided a number of interesting comments and information from CEO Ed Colligan.

For starters, Palm continued to improve its performance on a quarter to quarter basis but Colligan acknowledged that “As encouraging as our August quarter was, we are still solidly in the midst of a transformation, with some significant hurdles yet to come.”

Leading the positive news is the continued popularity of the Palm Centro which drove record sell-through.  Palm also crossed the 1 million unit sales mark this quarter (up 49% from a year ago) for the first time in its history (see chart above).

Palm-Smartphones-Q3-08

During this past quarter Palm has:

  • Introduced an unlocked GSM version of the Centro and announced the availability of Google Maps for mobile with My Location on the device,
  • Launched the Centro with a number of new Latin American carriers and introduced it in Puerto Rico and New Zealand, making it available in approximately 30 countries around the world
  • Introduced the Treo 800w for Sprint, which was the first business smartphone shipped by Sprint that supports their high-speed EV-DO Rev A network
  • Recently launched the Treo Pro to great acclaim in international markets.

It’s evident that overall sales of the Centro will likely plateau in the coming months but the popularity of the Sprint Treo 800w will shortly (possibly next month) be followed by the Verizon Treo 800w.  The Treo Pro will also launch with Telstra in Australia this month and Europe next month with O2 and Vodafone who will be providing some strong subsidies and thus offering the phones for free in some markets.

Treo Pro

Treo Pro Launches
Clearly it’s the “Super Hot” Treo Pro (now available to pre-order and shipping in just a few days on September 23) that is the most likely to help change Palm’s fortunes.  It has already garnered great reviews in markets around the world and as I’ve mentioned before the form-factor, sleek design and hardware (WiFi, GPS, 3G and more) is so good in fact that I’ve actually now made the decision to make it my new smartphone of choice after quickly overcoming any past reservations that I had about Windows Mobile. 

More importantly, although the Unlocked Treo Pro clearly appeals to a large number of people (40% of Treonauts according to a recent poll) there are others who are desperately waiting for this latest smartphone to become available with subsidies on a US GSM carrier such as AT&T.  In this respect, it was refreshing to hear Palm CEO Ed Colligan discreetly confirm that “carrier supported versions” of the Treo Pro were indeed planned for the US market (before the end of the year).

Growing Senior Palm Team
Separately, Palm also continues to revamp and grow its senior management team by attracting some of the best people in the industry. This quarter Palm named Jeff Devine as Senior Vice President of Operations (Jeff joined Palm from Nokia where he served as vice president of Global Customer Logistics and will nowl focus his efforts on developing a best in class supply-chain model). Palm also bolstered its Windows Mobile team with some great new hires from Microsoft and Motorola. And Teri Klein has also joined Palm as Vice President of Investor Relations from Disney.

Next Generation Devices & New Palm Platform
Finally, there is also the hugely critical matter of Palm’s new NOVA operating system.  Here Palm continues to focus on the seamless integration of software and hardware which the company believes will “emerge as the most important differentiator of smartphones and will ultimately determine who succeeds and who gets left behind”. 

Even though the smartphone market is getting increasingly competitive with Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry, the Motorola Q and Google’s forthcoming Android this same market is also “exploding” with incredible annual growth forecasts of 50% to 60% for the coming years – thus providing Palm with plenty of revenue growth opportunities.  In this respect, Palm confirmed that its highly anticipated new platform development (NOVA OS) is firmly on track to be completed by the end of this calendar year and that next-generation handsets will become available in the first half of calendar ‘09.

Palm Quatro smartphone ???

If Palm’s forthcoming NOVA OS proves to be as good as it’s rumoured to be and that the company develops new smartphones (possibly named Quatro ?) in line with its latest ultraslim, ultrasleek and full-featured Treo Pro then I certainly feel that Palm will have absolutely no problem once again winning the minds, hearts and more importantly wallets of millions of Treonauts, Centronauts and Quatronauts.  I can’t wait to see what the company has in store for us.

In the meantime, here are a few links to help you further enhance the overall experience of your current smartphone:

Centro: accessoriescasessoftware
Treo 800w: accessoriescasessoftware
Treo Pro: accessoriescasessoftware

Also, please remember that you can get 10% Off any one or more of my Editor’s Choice Specials as well as 20% Off any Treo or Centro applications with this month’s Software Specials.

Treonauts are always breaking records


Posted by Andrew on September 19, 2008 at 12:16 PM

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Comments

1
by Greg Smith | Sep 19, 2008 2:27:04 PM

Wishful thinking on the Verizon Treo 800w (in your title)?

Sprint has it now (as pictured); do you have any updated ETA for the 800w on Verizon?

2
by Andrew | Sep 19, 2008 2:33:59 PM

Greg - no absolute confirmation yet on the Verizon Treo 800w but if current rumours are correct you can expect to see it in stores by the end of October at the latest.

See: http://blog.treonauts.com/2008/06/verizon-treo-80.html

Cheers, A.

3
by Greg Smith | Sep 19, 2008 2:58:26 PM

VZ wireless page now discounting Treo 700wx's by $100 "while supplies last".

I'm thinking they have the 800w's but don't want to take a bath on old stock of the 700wx's (maybe a bad taste in their mouth from the 700w issues?)

4
by Where's the beef | Sep 22, 2008 10:27:06 AM

Based on the headline "Q1 Fiscal Year 2009", it appeared possible that Andrew was finally going to start posting truthful news instead of the usual fluff about Palm as seen through rose-colored glasses.

Alas, upon reading the article, it was not to be.

Shame on Andrew for again posting a false picture of Palm.

The truth is that despite the sales of Centro, PALM IS STILL LOSING MONEY.

Palm FAILS to generate a PROFIT.

NOWHERE in the article does Andrew report the FACTS about Palm's Q1.

5
by random9q | Sep 22, 2008 10:27:23 PM

Bah. Amidst the good news, what there was of it, Andrew you tried to sneak one past us.

The release of NOVA OS was, last said, slated for "early 2009". Now for "the first half of 2009". That is, to be generous, the difference between saying "March" and saying "maybe as late as June". 2009. After earlier, much earlier, promising something around late 2007. Let's not forget that Cobalt came and went without a public release, also.

They'd best tread carefully. Given the complete failure of Cobalt, the promise of successor to PalmOS 5 has meandered its way into the territory of vaporware. Much promised. Much hyped. Much anticipated. And much, much sought after in vain.

I've already inventoried my software collection and begun looking at what apps I consider essential for which there are other versions in other mobile OS's. With a new PalmOS or a high-end PalmOS device, they'd be favorites. But if I'm choosing a new device, they're but one among several and haven't truly pulled out ahead even with their best new WinMo device. Even, but not ahead.

Not that I'm the end-all of consumers. Just take my opinion as sample of one from the PalmOS faithful (since about a PalmPilot Pro). I've zero confidence in their ability to get a next-gen OS out the door now, and they've until about March to prove me wrong.

Meh. It's just a company, in the end. I wish the folks who work there all the best, whether that's rescuing their employer or elsewhere another chance later on. The company itself, in the end, if it is the end? Well, companies attrit, sometimes of their own doing and sometimes not. Sometimes they had a creative beginning we all liked, and sometimes they keep that, and sometimes they don't.

Guess we'll see. They're not down and out yet. I'm just saying there's no confidence left here. And that the claim of being "firmly on track" is more than a little dubious.

6
by Andrew | Sep 22, 2008 11:05:19 PM

random9q - I personally feel that the whole matter of release dates has been much too much overblown.

The important facts are that:

1. NOVA OS _will_ be unveiled by the end of this year as promised by Palm earlier

2. While it is true that earlier reports pointed to new NOVA OS smartphones in Q1 '09 the new anticipated release window of "first half '09" sets us back by only one or two months at the most.

Personally, I will wait to see the NOVA OS release by December before making an issue about the hardware release date. If the operating system is as good as promised everyone will be happy to wait if it's not then it really doesn't matter what the smartphones look like or how late they may be.

Cheers, A.

7
by Joe | Sep 25, 2008 12:07:52 PM

Andrew, I don't understand your so-called facts.

1) How is it a fact that Nova "_will_" be unveiled by the end of this year when Palm has a history of missing their dates?

2) How does a "first half" release set us back by "only" 1-2 months? As Random noted, if "early" previously meant 1st quarter and now we're talking 2nd quarter, that's likely to be 3+ months. (It's hard to quantify with vague terms like "early" and "first half", but a "3+ month" delta is just as likely to be a fact as "1-2 months".)

The other problem is that the "unveiling" of Nova doesn't really help consumers. Sure, the demos will be all pretty, but those are just demos. The real validation won't come 'til consumers start USING the OS and uncover all its advantages -- and its flaws. And that won't happen for, say, another 8 months, give or take. That's a long time for longsuffering Palm fans to wait while the rest of the industry cranks out new and better smartphones every few weeks.

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