Palm's Treo Goes Pro

Not many of you agree with me that Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) will burn your portfolio. You may be right: Palm this week bore further fruit from its revamped engineering team with the announcement of the Treo Pro.

The Pro is roughly what you'd expect -- a Treo with a thinner frame, a wider screen, and enhanced capabilities, including Wi-Fi and a built-in Global Positioning System. (Does anyone else think that Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) may as well be two years late with a GPS-enabled smartphone? But I digress.)

It's a nice follow-up to the Centro, a $99 lightweight smartie that has proven to be an unqualified hit. On features, I think the Pro would have a chance to succeed as the Centro has. Certainly the design and feature set suggest to me that hiring Jon Rubinstein, who helped Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) make the iPod a hit, was a very smart move. And yet I'm bearish on the Pro's prospects; I don't see it improving Palm's position versus Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , and Apple.

It's too bad because Palm's timing is perfect. The 3G iPhone has suffered dropped calls, and News.com reports that, while a software patch is helping, German chipmaker Infineon (NYSE: IFX  ) may also be to blame. If so, it could be months before the problem is eliminated entirely.

So, if neither features nor timing is an issue with the Treo Pro, what is? Pricing. Palm is suggesting that retailers sell the device for $549, otherwise known as iPhone territory. Is the Pro really better than the iPhone or the BlackBerry? I say "better" because the Pro is the rebel here. The original iPhone proved that users would dump an incumbent for a rebel when the rebel is the better alternative. History hasn't been as kind to would-be rebels that weren't different enough, or at least differently priced.

The Treo Pro is neither, which means that -- in spite of its name -- it's still very much an amateur.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Nokia at the time of publication. When he's not typing up articles for Fool.com, you'll find him picking growth stocks for Rule Breakers. Get access to all of his writing here.

Apple and Garmin are Stock Advisor selections. Garmin is also a Global Gains pick. Try either of these market-beating services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

The Motley Fool's disclosure policy, after a long and distinguished career, is finally eligible for the Disclosure Policy Hall of Fame.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 712032, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/24/2014 12:42:55 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement