Palm

Chris Nuttall

HP is unveiling a long-anticipated tablet device today based on the WebOS operating system it acquired in its $1.9bn deal to buy Palm last year. I am liveblogging from the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, where the news conference is taking place. Read more

Joseph Menn

We have one new fact to report and one new prediction to make about Hewlett-Packard’s webOS-based tablet computing gadget or gadgets, which will not be on display in Las Vegas. Read more

Joseph Menn

Hewlett-Packard is announcing an entertainment-oriented  refresh to its notebook computer line today–and the most notable addition comes with its own 3D glasses.

The HP Envy 17 3D’s glasses automatically turn on when the user is watching a 3D Blu-ray DVD on the machine and then turn off again, giving the glasses a projected year of battery life.

In a test, I found the background shapes to have distracting shadows, but HP said it is tweaking the technology and will ship before the winter holidays at $1,600 or more. Read more

Joseph Menn

Hewlett-Packard will bring out a tablet-style computer running Windows after all.

That was the word today from HP’s third-quarter earnings call, which should reverse speculation around the time of HP’s Palm acquisition–and its accompanying enthusiasm for Palm’s WebOS mobile operating system–that the company was killing the Windows slate.

“You’ll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future and a WebOS-based product out in 2011″, said HP personal computer division head Todd Bradley. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The US has moved ahead of Europe and Asia to become a clear leader in the mobile phone industry, according to the chief technology officer of AT&T.

“I get so tired of hearing that [ we are far behind Europe and Asia],” John Donovan told the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco. Read more

The FT’s Lex column writes that while Hewlett Packard’s acquisition of Palm may make a degree of financial sense for both companies, the challenge will be to meaningfully integrate Palm without alienating existing partners.

HP is a long-term partner of Microsoft, and is soon to release the first real competitor to the iPad: a touchscreen slate running Windows 7. In promoting Palm, the two companies will have conflicting priorities for the development and marketing of some new products, while playing nice on the full scale PC side. Read more

Richard Waters

A year ago, Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee was talking up the potential for Palm’s latest gadgets to put the iPhone in the shade – and getting into hot water with the SEC in the process (which led to this self-parodying video).

So Wednesday’s hurried sale of Palm to HP marks an ignominious retreat – even if Elevation Partners, McNamee’s buy-out firm, at least managed to protect its downside.

All-in, Elevation put $460m into Palm between 2007 and 2009 in what amounted to a big bet that it could corner a piece of the new smartphone market before slow-moving giants like Microsoft and Nokia (not to mention HP) finally got their act together. Read more

With talk swirling that floundering handset maker Palm is looking for a buyer, the FT’s Lex column assesses the likelihood of a deal:

As for the price-tag, Palm’s enterprise value is about $950m but if Palm’s biggest investor Elevation insists on breaking even, Barclays Capital reckons a bidder would have to offer between $1.2bn and $1.5bn. That is in reach of Chinese computer-maker Lenovo, one of the rumoured interested parties. For Nokia, also an oft-mooted acquirer, it would represent about a quarter of its annual spending on research and development. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The first 4G phone in the US, the HTC Evo unveiled by Sprint at the CTIA show on Tuesday, ticks just about all the boxes for my ideal phone.

We await details of pricing and plans and exactly when the handset will be available this summer, but the features are mouth-watering enough to satisfy the thirst of smartphone addicts for the time being. Details after the jump. Read more

David Gelles

Ebay is betting big on mobile shopping. Last month we revealed what a hit the Ebay iPhone app already had proved — ringing up $400m in sales.

“More than 4.6m people have downloaded the Ebay app,” we wrote, “using it to buy not just books and clothes, but also a Lamborghini, a $150,000 boat, and a Bentley.”

Now Ebay is rolling out a suite of new and upgraded mobile offerings. In addition to a refreshed Ebay iPhone App and a updated mobile website (m.ebay.com), it is also debuting a new app called Deals. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apparently robotic hamsters are the cute must-have gift this Christmas, but, as they’re in short supply, the Palm Pixi might make a good alternative.

Palm’s newest smartphone, made available on November 15 on the Sprint network in the US, has a cuddly form factor you can almost fit in your palm and an interface to coo over. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Working from home on Friday, I noted 17 cars, 10 people and a squirrel come and go in our small cul-de-sac.

Not that I spent most of the time looking out of the window – I was just trying out new motion-detecting webcam software from Vitamin D, inspired by the way humans recognise patterns. It has been released in a free public beta from Monday. Read more

Richard Waters

It’s been apparent for some time that the spate of touch-screen smartphones now hitting the market will dent profit margins in the hottest part of the mobile business, but Wall Street seems only now to be digesting that fact.

The slumping share prices of Research in Motion and Palm over the past fortnight make this case eloquently. Two weeks ago, not coincidentally, was the weekend that Verizon began its guerrilla marketing campaign for Motorola’s Droid (see Chris Nuttall’s first impressions last week). Since then, Palm’s stock is off 35 per cent and RIM is down 20 per cent, while Motorola is up.

It’s clearly ridiculous to think that one handset can cause this much damage: what is sinking in are the implications of the much bigger wave of competition that is about to hit. Read more

David Gelles

Chris Nuttall

Apple customers may have downloaded 1.5bn applications from its AppStore in the past year for their iPhones and iPod touches, but the service does not represent the future for the mobile industry, according to Google.

Vic Gundotra, Google Engineering vice president and developer evangelist, (pictured centre) told the Mobilebeat conference in San Francisco on Thursday that the web had won and users of mobile phones would get their information and entertainment from browsers in future. Read more

Richard Waters

  • The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as ICANN, picked as the nonprofit group’s chief executive Rod Beckstrom, who until earlier this year served as cyber-security czar at the US Department of Homeland Security. Like his predecessors, Mr Beckstrom didn’t accomplish much there, but it later emerged he had a skeleton staff and equivalent funding. ICANN is as close to a governing body as the internet gets, but its core mission is minding the process by which Website names and numeric addresses are assigned.
  • Some early buyers of Windows 7 will get it for the knock-down price of $49.99. Rob Enderle thought the limited-time special offer was a direct response to the $29 Apple is charging for an upgrade to Snow Leopard. Michael Gartenberg called it a “missed opportunity” to give all Vista users the chance to move beyond the much-maligned operating system.

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The FT’s John Gapper writes that Apple, which just released the new iPhone 3GS, has become the hub of a creative network that is helping it stay ahead of its rivals.

It seems odd that companies can gain an advantage by working with others and by sharing knowledge. Yet being part of a network not only can help a company to gain from others’ knowledge but also can reinforce its market position, as Apple’s contest with Palm shows. Read more

Chris Nuttall

  • Lots of activity on the iPhone front. The reviews are now out for the iPhone 3GS and they are generally very positive. The phone goes on sale on Friday, but its new operating system update – 3.0 – became available on Wednesday and sparked an avalanche of downloads. Meanwhile, Apple’s ongoing irritation with its rival, the Palm Pre, continues. It has already made thinly veiled threats about the Palm device’s similar use of a multi-touch screen. Now, it is warning that newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players – a reference to a popular function on the Pre.

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  • Access to the internet is a human right. So said France‘s constitutional council, striking down a controversial law that would have given officials the power to block the internet access of persistent copyright violators. The government of Nicolas Sarkozy had sided with content creators in backing the idea.
  • Palm completed its Apple make-over. Jon Rubinstein, the former Apple wizard brought in to mastermind the well-received Pre, was named chief executive officer, taking over from Ed Colligan.
  • Microsoft is to stop selling its Money personal finance software, according to Cnet. Money has never achieved the same popularity as Quicken from Intuit, a company it once tried to buy. Microsoft had signalled its fading interest in the product by failing to take it online as Quicken has done, to compete with newcomers such as Mint.com.

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