Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Palm: A Bleak Future
I work at Siemens. I work at a company that has products I have used but was never aware they exist until I took a dip into the company's portfolio.
I mean who would have thought that the first ever color LCD slapped into mobile phone was a Siemens mobile. Who started playing mp3's on their mobile but the Siemens phone. Who provided the best tumble dry technology in a washing machine with a self cleaning system was a Siemens.
And the products and technological breakthroughs ranges from consumer merchandise to industrial grade components. From mere circuit breakers to the apex of automotive's VDO technology, from the handheld ultrasound system to the prodigous turbine technology, Siemens has had products that not just challenge tomorrow but creates every products you have in your daily existence today.
What's wrong with Siemens is that it has good engineering, bad marketing.
How many companies ever had good engineering but bad marketing dichotomy.
Take Palm for example. They have defined handhelds for millions of us, yet everytime they released products ended up as a latest shoveful of dirt in an already sinking financial grave.
They revolutionized our way of mobility by introducing the Palm m500 series. With their acquisition of Handpsring last 2003, they even catapulted into the pinnacle of fame by introducing a handheld that could be both a PDA and a mobile device.
They introduced the composites of a hard drive and a mobile device into singular integration via LifeDrive.
But they were stuck to the era like an unwrought slackhead left behind in the race of technological clock.
Lately, they churned out Centro, which could have dispelled the flints of tech forum and re-earned trust from developers, but it was half- baked. It seemed that they failed to position their products into the ever-dynamic market. I mean who would ever want to fiddle thumboard whose size is as dimunitive as a grashopper eyes. Also, it keeps on recycling similar OS from products to products, and that the reassurance of Garnett never raised into full swing. Yes, they may have Windows-based devices but it beleaguered to competitors' offering as it ended up getting priced higher.
Todays mobile bandwagon is invaded by the presence of netbooks, but is it not commensurable to Foleo? Even a Apple's digital folder graciously named "MacBook Air" is a smack off of Foleo.
What makes it failed is that it is a good engineered device but a lousy marketing offer.
They positioned it as a mobile phone copanion. What the F! Who would want to lug arund another device in his already packed utility belt other than Batman. Cumbersome effort, I mean I neither need another piece of metal in my shoulder nor my mobile phone device need another companion which does only saving precious PIM data and doling out large screen for internet browsing.
Yes, I need at least a 10inch screen for my online essentials. But would it have changed the way it gets market reception if it was named "Flybook?" As it is seemingly light and compact cousin of a notebook? (and since netbook by that time wasn't still born in our consciousness?) Intead of a mobile phone companion?
Foleo can't be another coffeemate on a coffee. It has the fortitude to reinvent itself, a "must" which goes awry, and never made it own flight.
Unlike Siemens which has a multitude of indutrial proliferation, Palm is a consumer products company that requires to address consumer needs, or create one.
A classic example of good engineering, bad marketing.