Although the issue has been debated time and again, the industry never seems to tire from battling over who will win out in the mobile devices market; now, a new report from Strand Consult concludes that due to the convergence of PDAs and mobile phones, neither Palm nor Handspring will survive since they don’t have the distribution power necessary for operating in the smartphone and what Strand Consult refers to as the Smart Handheld Devices (SHD) markets.
Neither Handspring nor Palm have the financial muscle necessary to compete with Nokia, Ericsson/Sony, Siemens, Motorola, and now also Microsoft, according to the report which goes on to say that the PDA value chain and price structure means that products become 30% more expensive at retail level than those shipped through the value chain of the mobile industry.
Nevertheless, there is a difference between Palm and Handspring on the one side and Microsoft on the other. The difference is in their respective customer bases and associated applications. Microsoft’s 2.5G Smart Phone platform may be new, but it will be able to piggyback on Microsoft’s existing customer base, which, thanks to its Office, Exchange and Hotmail applications is many times bigger than that of both Palm and Handspring. And, most importantly, the MS Smart Phone platform will offer integration with these very widely distributed applications.
Microsoft may be the dark horse in the SHD race against giants like Nokia. But, contrary to Palm and Handspring, Microsoft has a fighting chance. As things stand, Palm and Handspring do not, according to many sources.