August 2003

Restore original Graffiti to Palm devices
PalmInfoCenter today has shown a way to restore original Graffiti on newer devices plagued with Graffiti 2. We have not tested it, but feel free to test it yourself if the switch to Graffiti 2 has bothered you as much as it has us. -- Posted Friday, August 22, 2003 by sab

Palm OS on 51% of PDAs shipped in Q2 of 2003
According to a report by Gartner, worldwide PDA shipments dropped 7.3% compared to the 2nd quarter of 2002. Of all PDA shipped, Palm OS devices accounted for 51.4% and Pocket PCs for 35.9%. However, in terms of cost, Palm OS devices only accounted for 41% of US$827 million spent in Q2 of 2003 whereas Pocket PCs added up to 47.7%. According to Gartner, Pocket PC average selling price is 66% higher. The Palm Zire 71 was by far the best selling PDA. In terms of worldwide shipments in the second quarter, out of a total of 2.48 million, Palm accounted for 38%, HP for 15.3%, Sony for 11%, Dell and RIM for 5.3%. Out of a total of 1.24 million in the US, Palm held a share of 46.7%, Sony 12.1%, HP 11.1% and Dell 8.3%. -- Posted Friday, August 22, 2003 by chb

Time to turn palmOne into palmOney
Commentary: I dunno. I guess I'm finally jaded after all these splits, spinoffs, mergers, and name changes. I suppose it gives MBAs something to do, but in the end it doesn't do much for the end user.

This Palm Inc. split has been a long time coming. Internally it happened a long time ago. PalmSource and Palm SG employees were giving grief to those who still referred to the company as one entity, because the distinction was very important to them in how they thought about their work. Perfectly understandable. But to those of us on the outside the product is Palm, the OS is Palm. It's a Palm. And despite the ever-shifting branding efforts ("Please refer to it as a Connected Organizer--no, now it's a Palm OS Handheld"), most people refer to just about any small computer, including Pocket PC devices, as a Palm Pilot. Makes you wonder if they shouldn't have just licensed the name from the Pilot Pen Corporation years ago and gotten it over with. After all, having your name as a part of the lexicon for your product category is more valuable real estate than any address in Silicon Valley, no matter what the trademark attorneys try to sell you.

So now it's palmOne, with the "L" in palm shaped like a numeral one, and a capital "O" in the middle. Provided everyone uses the capital "O" and lowercase "p" people won't pronounce it "palmonie," as in Martini and Rossi Asti Palmonie. They could have dumped the numeral one, in my opinion. It's overkill to put one twice. Isn't that eleven? Makes it look more like a cryptic password than a company name. I suppose I'll get used to it.

Meanwhile the excellent blue ball Palm logo will be lost to history just two years before it was allowed to make an impression. Coca-Cola gave it a little more time before abandoning their now-well-accepted and universally recognized logo, as have Ford, McDonald's, Microsoft, AT&T, Sony, and IBM. Pick a brand and stick with it until everyone knows it; and if everyone already knows it, for goodness sake don't change it.

Now that the business strategists have had their fun, I trust that the creative folks are back to work making great products; and perhaps the biz guys can set about creating a marketing campaign that will make the new logo work to turn their already sizeable market share into some black ink on the bottom line. The new website is a good start. Now it's time to stop changing colors and become the great company we know you can be. -Shawn Barnett
-- Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2003 by sab

National Semi's WebPad/Information Appliance quest over
For several years National Semiconductor was a leading proponent and champion for first WebPads based on its own Geode chips, then Information Appliances based on several platforms. That appears to have ended with AMD's August 6 announcement that it will acquire the information appliances unit from National Semiconductor. The info appliance group contributed less than 5% to National Semi's annual sales, but brings the Geode processor to AMD that it says it will use in Smart Displays and settop boxes. About 2/3 of National Semi's 200 employees that worked in the unit will migrate to AMD, the rest will be cut and their knowledge prsumably lost. This transaction appears to bring to a closure National Semi's years of tantalizing, innovative concept studies in alternate form factors for computing devices. Unfortunately, the company was never really able to combine chips, design, software, and overall purpose of the design into a compelling enough package to facilitate the conversion into marketable products. -- Posted Wednesday, August 6, 2003 by chb