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Eugenia Loli's Journal: The Future of Palm PDAs is VoIP 4

Journal by Eugenia Loli

It is not a state secret as to how doomed the PDA market is. The market has moved to another level and business people who needed PDAs now buy phone-PDAs (aka smartphones). Here's the problem though: for companies that they don't do cellphones or their main market is PDAs this is a big problem because they see their market vanishing quickly. This is why a [true] rumor says that DELL is currently building a PocketPC phone too. HP, DELL's biggest PDA competition, has moved to PPC phones too.

But the big question is: where does this situation leaves Palm?

Palm already has 2 active smartphone models out there selling right now, but their main bulk of sales are STILL their PDAs. The PDAs that their sales decline overtime.

On two seperate recent occasions where Palm execs were interviewed, they made mention of a mysterious "new category of product" that they will add between their existing PDA/Lifedrive and smartphone product lines.

I am pretty sure that this new category is nothing but PDAs (of the Tungsten TX caliber) that have VoIP functions. I mean, think about it. VoIP is taking off, plain PDAs are dying, and Palm simply needs a shot of adrenaline to keep their product line still relevant to today's business needs. Sure, it's still the same wolf in a new dress but the relevance of VoIP today can help that product line to at least not become obscure.

Such a VoIP PDA is _very easy_ to implement by someone like Palm. All they need to add to a PDA like the Tungsten TX is two more buttons left and right for "receive" and "hang up" a phonecall, a microphone and a SIP application that can be written by their software staff (I hope not ;) or get bought/ported from a third party company. With a retail price at around $300 VoIP makes such a product both an excellent PDA and a business IP phone. The future of Palm, Inc. is phones and so it makes sense to grandually move their entire line to this market, being IP or Cell phones.

Now, if they could also replace their ugly font with a nicer, smaller, anti-aliased font, slightly color the application buttons' interior with a soft gray color and add A2DP/AVRCP/printing support to their Bluetooth stack, PalmOS 5.5 would rock and look more friendly to the eyes. ;)

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The Future of Palm PDAs is VoIP

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  • I wonder if we'll see chips that handle Skype's encryption in hardware appear soon.
    • Even if it happens probably won't happen on PalmOS. The OS can't really handle Skype's heavy library without pre-emptive multitasking, it barely runs on Windows Mobile too.
      • But I bet a dedicated ASIC or FPGA could do it, and they could likely integrate that into their chip. Unless the bottleneck is throughput itself...

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