Following our recent post on the entertainment capabilities of the Treo 600, there's a interesting article in the NY Times by John Markoff (free access for the next 5 days only) which discusses the strategic and design changes taking place in the development of a new generation of smartphones with devices such as the BlackBerry, Sidekick and others by SonyEricsson, HP and Motorola. He also notes that many will be coming out with built-in WiFi capabilities - Palm are you listening?
More importantly for us he goes on to mention that "Cellular executives say they think that a market previously limited largely to business travelers and technology enthusiasts will broaden as networks add digital audio and video entertainment services to their offerings." Finally someone is picking up on this!
An SVP at T-Mobile goes on to state that these devices have until now been a niche but that they have high hopes for a range of devices coming out right now. I would respond that the industry first needs to get its act together before it can reasonably expect to see these devices becoming mass market. There's a ton of work to be done there and I don't see anything at all anywhere being done about it.
Time has come for these and other companies to shed their product-centric approach (push the product) and focus on what really matters - us - by taking a customer-centric approach (deliver solutions!). Until they get this right I can assure you that there's zero chance of these devices ever becoming mass market.
Finally, a PalmOne executive goes on to state that he feels that the company "has a defensible advantage because of the physical design of the Treo 600". Hello!?!?!?! Anybody listening!?!?!?!?! The product is only a small part of the equation! Can they not see it?
Ultimately here is the warning: Palm cannot afford mistakes because if it does not succeed in its transformation efforts to position the Treo line to a wider audience the company may very well not be around in a couple of years time (even if it has proved the ability to reinvent itself in the past).
You may be interested to visit a 'little experiment' that we've been working on with our Treo 600 bloguide...