Palm to be Bought by Apple?

Wall Street reporters are having a field day with a letter written by major Palm shareholder, Mark Nelson, calling for the sale of Palm to a larger company. That seems reasonable enough, but now everyone is speculating on potential buyers. A short list from Bloomberg includes Apple, Dell, RIM and HP.Research In Motion Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Apple Computer Inc. are among potential buyers, Nelson, who is the third-largest holder with about 7 percent of the company’s stock, wrote in a letter to the board disclosed today in a U.S. regulatory filing. “Palm will face significant threats to its business,” Nelson wrote. “Now is the time for the Palm board to act, while Palm still has category-leading products, marketplace momentum and a terrific balance sheet.” Competition from devices such as Motorola Inc.’s Q handset and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry may undercut Sunnyvale, California-based Palm’s efforts to increase profit, Nelson said. Palm’s new Treo phone, powered by Microsoft Corp. software, debuted to mixed reviews last month with complaints about the Windows operating system. From BloombergOf course the Apple name is very exciting and seems to mesh, since Palm is in an Apple-esque position in the handheld industry. But would Apple really want a company that offers products based on the Microsoft operating system? Also, Jobs has been vocal about his happiness that Apple left hte PDA business when they did. But at this point it’s more about the smartphones and Palm has built a very good brand with the Treo.Dell is another interesting name. With rumors circulating that the Axim handhelds are going away, maybe they’re looking to replace them with Palm’s units. The Dell rumors point to Michael Dell wanting to get out of all pen-based input though.HP could certainly afford Palm, and with their new management, the company appears to be more nimble and organized. HP has several Smartphone irons in the fire, so could they effectively absorb Palm? HP’s handhelds have not been very good of late though, so perhaps they’re ready to throw in the towel, bringing in experts in the field.RIM has so many legal problems at the moment, it’s hard to imagine they’d be able to divert resources toward buying Palm. Palm deices might make a nice compliment though to their BlackBerry offerings, since many corporations use Exchange rather than RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server. This is all speculation though, these four names might be real or the results of this writer’s imagination. If I had to place a bet, assuming a sale is consummated, I’d put my money on a larger handset manufacturer, though any of these four could be a reasonable fit in unique ways. via

Rumor: New Palm OS Treo in April

Forbes has an article on recent statements made by Caris & Company Equity Research analyst Susan Kalla about Palm. The analyst states that Palm’s stock has seen a sharp increase in recent weeks due to a takeover rumors on Wall Street, but believes the company will remain independent. The real news of the statement is that she believes the new Treo 700 with the Palm OS may be delivered in April, before expectations of May, and may also be released initially at Verizon.The forbes article also mentions that sales of the Treo 700w have been strong and is sold out in many Verizon stores. Kalla also thinks that Palm will also have three new international phones out of four total new phones in 2006, and at least one new model could be for Vodafone. The same analyst previously remarked that the Treo 700p would also have an EVDO radio and would be out before May, in an article last November. via

RAZR slider out in China

A big trend in mobile phones these days is to get them to be as slim as possible, and many will attribute this phenomenon to the Motorola RAZR thin clamshell. Even Motorola itself has taken the concept of the RAZR and made it into a candybar-like design (the recently available SLVR). The only other main design yet untapped is the slider, until now. Some company in China has created a RAZR clone that has a slider-type design and a large TFT LCD screen. This GSM copycat has an adequate 1.3 megapixel camera and 60MB of available memory at its disposal. Interestingly, this RAZR wannabe is even lighter than the real thing at a mere 90 grams (Okay, so that’s only 5 grams less than the original V3).If you’re interested in picking this up and shocking all your friends when you slide open your “RAZR”, you’ll have to head over to China to grab one at a price of around $215 USD. To keep with the four letter Motorola formula, let’s refer to this thing as the RAZR SLDR. via

Gigabyte gsmart to come out outside Taiwan

Last December Gigabyte released g-smart smartphone under its brand in Taiwan. Now there is some info the device will be released with the name i-teq BOND in the Near and Middle East. The release should take place on February 15. I’d remind you that the smartphone is powered by Windows Mobile 5.0. A peculiar feature about it is that it is equipped with a TV and FM-tuners. The i-teq BOND is likely to come out with the English OS version onboard.The specs of the i-teq BOND:
Standards – GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz) and GPRS class 10
2.4” TFT touchscreen, QVGA (240×320 pixels), 262K colors
2.1-megapixel camera
Intel PXA 272 416 MHz processor
64 MB RAM and 64 MB flash memory
Wi-Fi (802.11b), Bluetooth 1.2.1, IrDA and USB
Slot for miniSD cards
Li-Ion 840 mAh battery
Dimensions – 109×53.5×24 mm
Weight – 153 g via