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NYTimes: Palm Leading, Windows Lagging

There's been much talk/hype/rumours of a possible future Windows Mobile Treo and also repeated announcements of new Microsoft-powered "Treo Killers" by one manufacturer or another.  It was therefore refreshing to read a recent NYTimes article stating that "Windows-powered mobile devices [are] lagging behind the Palms and BlackBerrys of the world".

Now, the Windows Mobile group, led by Ya-Qin Zhang (pictured), is placing much hope for a renewed "killing" effort on its forthcoming 'Magneto' (to be unveiled at a conference May 9-10 in Las Vegas) which claims to have new productivity and multimedia features.

Naturally we've all heard this story before and the fact remains that Microsoft's mobile and embedded software groups has suffered its third consecutive year of losses (no less than $224 million last year) and that its hardware partners (licensees) continue to announce feature rich devices that ultimately fail to deliver (the BenQ P50 and Motorola MPX are but two of the latest to have been killed before even hitting stores).

Additionally, the NYTimes points out that on the smartphone front, Windows Mobile "faces powerful competitors like Symbian, owned by a consortium of cellular handset makers, and PalmOne and PalmSource, the scrappy Silicon Valley companies behind the hit cellphone organizer called the Treo".

Separately, the NYTimes also points out that although Gartner includes Symbian phone sales in its analysis of the smartphone market the fact remains that "Most of Symbian's market share comes from the Nokia Series 60 phone, which is more phone than organizer".  Were it not for this slight 'oversight' on Gartner's part the Treo would be leading all the charts.

The winner of this battle between PalmOS, Windows Mobile and Symbian will be determined by a combination of forces including carriers (marketing the smartphones), manufacturers (adopting one OS over the other), IT teams (deploying smartphones across corporations) and customers (deciding which smartphone warrants purchase).

Finally, it is worthwhile remembering that most people will buy a smartphone for its hardware first and its OS second while those who know a little bit more will seek one that seamlessly combines both hardware+software to deliver a superior experience.  A recent Canalys report stated that "With demand among businesses for sophisticated mobile email growing rapidly, all vendors need to consider how they will address this need, not only in terms of device design and software integration, but in their routes to market".  In this respect, until a worthy contender makes its appearance we will continue to lead the smartphone wars with our "Killer Treo".

At Microsoft, a Smart Guy Has His Hands Full With the Smart Phone Business [NYTimes]
Nokia claims half of all smartphone sales [VNUNet]

Treonauts are always one step ahead of the curve...

Posted by Andrew on April 29, 2005 at 06:28 AM

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by Brock Tice | Apr 29, 2005 10:32:12 AM

I used nothing but palm for a long time, then got a PocketPC machine as a hand-me-down. As a PIM, I found it poorly thought out and useless. I was very happy with my Treo 600 to get back on the to the Palm platform.

Good to hear this -- I don't want Palm disappearing. That would leave me stuck with the rest.

by Hector | Apr 29, 2005 10:58:55 AM

I have used many of the Windows powered phones from the l SPV series to the motorola Mpx220 to my Audiovox SMT5600. The Audiovox was the only one that actually came close to a decent phone. When the treo 650 came out I tried it and I have never looked back. My treo does everything I want to do and does it better than any phone I have used before it. I suspected that windows mobile was a little behind because the average person finds it a pain to use while Os' like symbian and palm are friendlier. Why people dont want to give the treo its due is beyond me. GO PALM.

by Mark | May 1, 2005 11:50:01 AM

I have had a Palm device since the very day the Pilot 1000 was released. I have owned many of the incarnations since. My current favorite is the Sony Clie TH-55, which is somewhat of a dream machine. If it had phone and mobile internet, it would be the ultimate device. The battery lasts forever and the screen is amazing...the flip protector is great and I love this machine. Yet, I am willing to give it all up for the Treo 650. That IS the perfect machine, insofar as it is the first device that does what I need since I first pondered the problem of mobile connectivity during a road trip in 1993. I know there have been PPC phones that do similar work, but I have owned several PPC and CE machines and hanve always come running, screaming back to Palm. Its ease of use, plethora of excellent, yet inexpensive programs, ease of use, solid OS, and, oh, have I mentioned its ease of use? Amazing. I am not the most patient guy in the world, but I have been willing to wait for months so far for Verizon to get off their butt and give this to us. I hope the wait is almost over. I want to keep dreaming up ways to use it, but it would be better to actually be ABLE to use it!!!


by Gary | May 3, 2005 6:15:39 PM

You know, Microsoft gets a lot of stick from just about eveywhere, particularly for the reliability of their Operating Systems. Recently I bought a very expensive Treo 650 (unlocked) for use in Europe. The concept of the phone is great, but the reliability is apalling!, the makers of this phone or the programmers of the ROM need their collective butts slapped in the Open Media for making such a shaky unreliable piece of Junk. The Treo 650 I have consistenly goes into an endless reboot cycle, (imagine a desktop PC that crashed every five minutes without any "input" from the user whatsoever). The Treo is so hyped by gadget freaks that they have overlooked many additional annoying shorcomings. for example, battery life is very poor, speaker mode volume is weak, my guess is that the treo euphoria will begin to wear off as more of this stuff becomes well known. (If you don;t believe this post go and have a look at some of the blogs out there about "TELT")


by Andrew | May 3, 2005 6:30:25 PM


I'm really sorry to hear that you've been having problems with your Treo 650.

I've never had the looping reset issue which you describe but at least we're aware that it's a 'well known issue' within the Treo community. palmOne provides information about how to resolve this here: http://kb.palmone.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE?New,Kb=PalmSupportKB,ts=Palm_External2001,case=obj(26419)

As for your additional shortcomings, I disagree with the battery point and have personally found it to be quite amazing compared to the performance of other smartphones, the speaker volume is not something that I have found an issue with.

Naturally, I understand your frustration when such issues arise and I would have preferred you not to have any problems whatsoever with your Treo but the fact remains that the Treo is the very best smartphone available today.

I hope that you will be able to resolve this soon and begin to enjoy all the fantastic things that the Treo has to offer.

Cheers, A.

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