Optical/IP Networks

Treo Hits New Highs

As Palm Inc. adds more features to its Treo line of devices to compete with BlackBerry 's Blackberry, the vendor reports that sales of Treos continue to climb.

Palm says that during its fiscal third quarter, it shipped 564,000 Treo smartphones and sold a total of 569,000 Treos, up 102 percent compared to last year.

At least part of this increase is down to enterprise sales, according to a research note from Daryl Armstrong, senior wireless equipment analyst at Citigroup . Thirty-five percent of the firm's unit sales came from the enterprise channel, Armstrong writes, compared to 30 percent the quarter before.

"Palm is also implementing new functionality that should increase [its] competitiveness versus RIM," notes the analyst.

This could help Palm further increase its enterprise visibility, and address the sense in the enterprise user base that the company makes devices for consumers, not businesses.

Jolean DeKort, telecommunications manager at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based ink manufacturer Flint Ink sums up the market perception. "What I've found is that people on the personal end of it will buy a Palm, but businesses stick with the Blackberry end of it," she tells Unstrung.

The vendor is going some way to combat this perception with new corporate email upgrades. It is waiting for carrier certification for its Blackberry Connect push-based email system, which will send push email to Palm devices via the Blackberry server and adds support for Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Exchange and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s Lotus Note email servers. (See Palm To Use RIM Patents.)

Palm is also soon expected to deliver a push email update for its first Windows-based device, the Treo 700w. (see Mobile Email Gets More Pushy.)

Palm, however, like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), will still be competing against Blackberry's large installed user base. And now that RIM's patent dispute with NTP Software Inc. has been resolved, the major motivation to switch has been removed. (see RIM's Unified Theory.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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