Palm will unveil its new operating system, codenamed Nova, at CES 2009. The firm claims its Nova-based cell phones will bridge the gap between the BlackBerry and the iPhone. Read more at BusinessWeek.
Executives won't be specific about Nova, though Palm is not looking to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone or BlackBerry. The general idea is to create a platform that's flexible enough to support a wide range of customer desires. No single product can satisfy all the unmet needs of today's digital consumers, McNamee says. Today, people carry iPods, cell phones, and Amazon.com (AMZN) Kindle e-book readers. But there's no mobile-phone software that can handle complex games like those played on a Nintendo DS handheld, or let a working parent manage both corporate e-mail and family calendars.
The iPhone comes closest to handling such divergent needs, but is so packed with features that its battery power is quickly depleted, McNamee says. "Because of power limitations, nobody dominates the whole market," he says. He believes over time, the iPhone will be the device of choice for the 10% of cell-phone users interested primarily in mobile movies and other professionally produced fare. BlackBerry will remain the go-to phone for people interested in basic communications and so RIM will command greater share in the long term. What about Palm? During an interview at Elevation's offices, McNamee declines to say how much share he expects Palm to get, when Anderson pipes in, "Two percent would be just fine." With more than a billion cell phones sold each year, every point counts.