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

Spb Software House releases Spb AirIslands for Pocket PC

PictureDial Released for the Treo 650Spb Software House releases Spb AirIslands – a new Pocket PC game based on a unique concept. This game is a combination of a real-time strategy game where you have to build a colony on an isolated island, and a set of mini-games. The 3 included mini-games are used to earn resources you can use later to develop your island. This unique concept allows Spb AirIslands to combine all the benefits of a desktop strategy game with all necessary attributes of a funny Pocket PC game. It submerges you into a unique world of an isolated island with its own history, rules, success strategy and spectacular story line. And, at the same time, you can always play one of the three mini-games when you have 5-10 minutes of spare time (for example standing in a line), thus earning resources for the big game. Amazing qVGA and VGA graphics, fantastic sound, hundreds hours of gameplay, and a game community website make playing Spb AirIslands an experience you don’t want to miss. Check this great game here:

Python for S60 now open source!

All you homebrew artists now have another toy to play with. Nokia has released Python for the S60 Platform software package to the community at large, in line with its continued commitment to mobile open-source software application development. The S60-platform, based on the Symbian OS, is a popular one among users, and now developers can fiddle with Python scripts and applications, easily loading them onto any S60-based device.Hop onto, the world’s largest Open Source software development web site, to grab the source code for Python for the S60 Platform. Nokia hopes that by releasing the code, application developers can create new and innovative programs for S60 handsets, allowing users to maximize the functionality from one of the world’s most popular smartphone platforms.The creator of the Python programming language, Guido van Rossum, is glad that Nokia is providing Python to the public: “I was excited last year when Nokia announced its port of Python to its advanced phones. I’m even more excited now that Nokia is open-sourcing the port.” So are we, Guido. via

Sprint Treo 700w by end of February?

Bear Stearns analysts Andrew Neff, Bill Hand and Ted Chung sent a note to clients regarding Palm’s launch with Sprint of the much-anticipated Treo 700w. Key excerpt: Sprint to offer PALM Treo 700w ahead of schedule, as early as end of February. Based on our channel checks, it appears that Sprint is likely to offer the latest PALM Treo 700w (Windows version) as early as end of February, which would be ahead of schedule (following its launch with Verizon on 1/5) — Sprint version of Treo 700 was not expected until end of March at the earliest based on the historical length of the exclusivity agreements with carriers (i.e., 3-6 months). Sprint is likely to price Treo 700w at $449, at parity with Verizon and a $50 premium to Treo 650. Sprint will offer both models. Stock impact: positive for PALM.

iPAQ rx 1950 Navigator: a car navigation set by HP

HP UK has recently announced its navigation solution HP iPAQ rx1950 Navigator in the UK. It consists of a handheld rx1950, a CarCradle with built-in GPS module and navigation software by ViaMichelin. The rx1950 is powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC and has a 3.5” touch screen, Samsung SC32442 processor, 32 MB RAM, 64 MB flash memory, a SDIO slot and Wi-Fi (802.11b) support.The cradle is equipped with a built-in SIRFstar III GPS-module, a speaker and a sucker mount for the wind-screen. The company marks that the speaker is very loud, so the rx190 Navigator is the loudest navigation device on the market. The total weight of the PDA and the cradle is 320 g. The set is offered for 299 pounds in the UK, i.e. about $530. The sales should start from late January on. via

BenQ ships P50 WiFi smart phone

BenQ’s P50 PDA phone has begun shipping in Europe – almost two years after the company first showed the device to the public.The keyboard-equipped P50 made its debut in March 2004 at the CeBIT show. BenQ showed it again the following May at Taiwan’s Computex show, where we saw it for the first time. The company formally launched the handset in January 2005 and then did so again, in May 2005. Both times, it said the P50 would ship H1 2005.And now here, at long last, it is. It’s got a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS radio – there’s no EDGE support – and incorporates both Bluetooth and 802.11b Wi-Fi. There’s an SD IO slot for expansion, plus a 1.3-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom for pictures and a 2.8in 240 x 320 display to show them on. It’s powered by a 416MHz Intel PXA272 processor but, to show its age, it’s running WiIndows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. There’s 64MB of RAM and 64MB of ROM on board.The handset’s 1230mAh battery provides sufficient charge for up to four hours’ call time and 120 hours on stand-by. The P50 measures 12.2 x 6 x 2cm and weighs 170g. Expect to pay around Euro535/ Pound 366.Since the P50’s launch, BenQ has acquired Siemens mobile phone operation, reforming the two units into BenQ-Siemens. Earlier this month it launched its first line-up of co-branded handsets. via

BenQ Siemens SXG75 Linux GPS phone now shipping

Arriving more than fashionably late to the 3G party, the first UMTS-enabled handset from BenQ-Siemens is currently arriving on store shelves across Europe. Introduced at CeBIT 2005, the SXG75 also scores two other firsts: it’s also the first Linux handset from a major brand name to go into widespread distribution, and even boasts integrated GPS – a feature shared only by communicators such as the HP iPAQ hw6515 and Mio Technology’s soon-to-be-launched Mio A701. Other highlights of the SXG75 include a high-resolution, 2.2-inch display, a 2 Megapixel camera and the ability to conduct video calls, as well as a stereo FM radio with RDS to back up audio and video playback support for a number of formats. Users can choose to store media in the 64 MB of non-volatile memory of the SXG75 or on RS-MMC cards, while business users will be pleased to find a comprehensive messaging suite with e-mail as well as PIM synchronization with desktops.Available now, the BenQ-Siemens SXG75 sells in the 375 EUR range, claiming up to 6 hours of talk time and 400 hours of standby. via