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The New Palm Pre May 28, 2009

Posted by stewsutton in D7 All Things Digital.
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D7 Interview: Jon Rubinstein and Roger McNamee and the Palm Pre

See a shortened video introduction here.

Jon Rubinstein is a former Apple guy who’s now Palm’s executive chairman. Roger McNamee is managing director of Elevation Partners and the guy who recruited Jon for his current position. These guys make a pretty good team.  They both hold a lot of passion for the success of Palm through innovation that we have not seen in a while.

  • A bit part of that innovation is shaping up in the release of the Palm Pre.  Who is going to carry that system on their network is a big question that folks are asking.  Sprint it seems will have first position in the release of the Pre, but others are to follow quite soon. Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam this morning said that Verizon will sell the pre in about six months.

A demo is shown to the D7 audience and we all think the Pre looks pretty cool and it has a slightly different approach to user interface. One of the nice aspects of the Pre is the way that it integrates information from the cloudIt does this by creative use of alien technology 🙂

There is this concept of “pages” or “cards” that host each application in operation and it makes it pretty easy to switch between running applications.  We all watch as the Pre syncs with iTunes. – This is VERY COOL – iTunes thinks that the Pre is an “ipod”

We get a brief statement about Palm’s history of developing breakthrough devices.  Jon and Roger truly believe that the Pre is a breakthrough device and one that offers something different than the Blackberry and the iPhone.

“Palm is a new company today,” says Rubenstein.

Palm and RIM — each have very small market share. That means there’s a great opportunity for Palm to join them.

palm-pre-infoThe Palm Pre – The team has been working really hard for the last couple of years…

When all the initial iPhone contracts run out, they will all run and buy Pre’s – a statement said more in jest than in truth.

Why did you put so much money into this product?  The VC funding is very focused at making the Pre technology successful and survive the long and difficult economic downturn

You have two choices in PHONES today (feature or smart)…  Feature phones / Smart phones – price difference is narrowing Feature phones is narrowing from 100 to 80 percent of the market share

This is going to be a wide market with lots of opportunity (lot’s of white space)?

Why start a new company when you can leverage the assets of Palm

The DNA is there (the way of thinking about making new products – but we brought in a new team).

Out situation is sufficiently bad that we have to “RESTART” – we have been shipping bricks – we have to get back into the game – we have to bet the investment fund – to bet huge amounts of money for success

Fred Anderson – Roger’s partner called me out of “retirement from Apple” to do this deal – this is going to be “huge” – we are just at the infancy.

It is so rare to get to start with a blank sheet of paper

With a new O/S

A whole new set of products…

Twitter as a sorce for “universal search”

This is more of a software problem than a hardware problem – competitors are apple, rim, – people leave the house with keys, wallet, and mobile device

Who is the customer? – They will be people that buy the Pre – people that use the web a lot.

The Pre’s positive feature include:

  • a built-in keyboard
  • a cool “mirror” on the back (for checking on yourself or signaling your friends from a distance using the Sun)
  • really nice integration between applications (less moving in-out between browser and application launch) – they understand how to integrate with javascript / html / and applications
  • consumers have a different choice in the Pre (it’s smaller than the iPhone and offers a different experience) – it won’t be for everybody but it has a nice format
  • The product provides an “alternative” to the iPhone and Blackberry