PalmOne pursues big deals


12 Nov 2003

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Fresh from its US$160m merger with Handspring Inc, PalmOne will pursue SME and large corporate contracts in the Irish market with the introduction of robust Wi-Fi PDAs and PDA/phones, the company has said.

The company’s shareholders last week approved the merger with Handspring, paving the way for a force that will soon occupy 25pc of the global PDA marketplace. Tim Mahne, vice president of PalmOne’s EMEA business unit, yesterday said that the nature of the PDA market has evolved. Corporate IT managers keen to avoid infrastructure headaches associated with individuals bringing in their own mix of PDA and mobile devices, are open to buying PDAs en masse to streamline mobile working methodology, he suggested.

“To this end we have signed software deals with IBM and Oracle to integrate [IBM] Websphere and [Oracle] 9i technologies into corporate e-business rollouts,” Mahne said.

He went on to say that PalmOne will work with wireless integration firms such as WASP Technologies in Ireland to roll out SME and corporate implementations. Richard Baird, sales director of WASP Technologies told siliconrepublic.com: “The aim is to boost education in the marketplace right now about what these devices can achieve and also ensure that good IT practice should prevail at all times.”

To illustrate the growing diversity in the PalmOne product range, Mahne indicated that the company’s product range is now divided into three parts, including the consumer-focused Zire devices that include basic €99 PDAs to €349 devices that incorporate the latest in MP3 and video camera gadgetry.

The company’s Tungsten business range includes four devices that range from standard, robust PDAs kitted out for corporate use (including print, Word and PowerPoint capabilities) to Wi-Fi devices and integrated PDA/mobile phones recently approved by O2 in Ireland.

The company’s alliance with Handspring has already resulted in the introduction of the Treo 30600 Handspring integrated PDA/mobile phone which is selling in the UK, France and Switzerland through Orange. “We are currently working with other mobile network firms in the rest of Europe with a view to rolling the device out. You can expect to see these devices retail in Ireland for around €600,” Mahne said.