PDA pioneer opens Dublin R&D headquarters

28 Oct 2005

Handheld computing pioneer PalmOne is to create 35 high-level positions for engineers through the establishment of an IDA-supported European research and development (R&D) headquarters in Swords, Dublin.

The centre, which was opened this morning by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD, will develop software applications for Palm Treo smart phones for mobile operators in the EMEA region and will create 35 high-level positions, mainly for engineers specialising in wireless-software development, for which recruitment is already under way.

The centre will focus on core, leading-edge mobile technology to help PalmOne accelerate the delivery of next-generation smart phones to European carriers and their customers. Europe is regarded as one of the world’s premier markets in the deployment of next-generation wireless networks.

Due to the differences in global wireless communications systems, PalmOne believes mobile solutions are best delivered with targeted R&D activities and close collaboration with European mobile operators, which is their basis for establishing the Swords Centre to service the EMEA region.

“One of our corporate initiatives is to deliver more smart phones to more carriers faster,” said Ed Colligan, PalmOne president and interim chief executive officer. “We’re delighted to announce this expansion of our engineering efforts in Europe. We’re confident the developments out of Dublin will benefit future Treo smart phones sold to carriers and customers around the world.”

He also said: “After careful consideration of a number of locations, we were convinced by IDA Ireland and our own analysis that the specific R&D skills crucial to the success of this centre are readily available in Ireland.”

The new centre is located at Airside Business Park in Swords, alongside PalmOne’s existing European operations and supply chain group, which has been based in Ireland since 1999. It will have responsibility for choosing and developing core, leading-edge technologies, such as 3G/UMTS, to help PalmOne accelerate the delivery of next-generation smart phones to European mobile operators and their customers; supporting the mobile operators in their certification processes and helping field-qualification teams; implementing radio technology and mobile operator-specific services and applications; and focusing on quality assurance across the complex European networks and infrastructures.

François Bornibus, EMEA vice-president of PalmOne, said: “The European carriers are known for cutting-edge technology including the introduction of 3G networks and advanced messaging applications, and this centre will help the company align its products to take best advantage of high-speed networks being deployed in Europe.”

Stressing Ireland’s commitment to fostering a growing R&D community, Minister Martin added: “The impact of attracting an R&D investment to Ireland from a company such as PalmOne, a high-profile brand leader with a reputation for innovation in wireless and communications, underlines this country’s ability to successfully implement such high-end R&D projects.

“PalmOne represents an important addition to the emerging wireless sector in this country, a key target area for IDA Ireland. It is also an ideal fit with IDA’s strategy of adding higher-value knowledge-intensive activities and strategic mandates to existing operations here,” Martin said.

By John Kennedy