Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quoted - on Microsoft and Palm

It was another big day in Pitkinville: The Microsoft Surface TV-in-a-table kiosk was announced, as was the Palm Foleo mobile companion. These are two somewhat radical products from companies that are undergoing varying degrees of fundamental transition and redirection. I got in what I think will be some of my last media commentary on behalf of Info-Tech, and the results were kinda fun. Come along for the ride...

Business News Network: First, I was on TV again! BNN called me for a 7-ish minute hit on what the Surface announcement meant to Microsoft's future. The interview was with Amanda Lang, and we also touched on the Palm announcement, plus some thoughts on HP and Dell. The interview can be found here, and you get bonus points if you hold in your laughter when the earpiece comes out of my ear. I love the uncertainty of live television, and I love doing BNN interviews, because their anchors have written the book on interview technique and style. I learn something new every time I'm privileged enough to work with them.

InformationWeek: I did a Palm-focused interview by e-mail with editor Richard Martin. His piece, Palm's Foleo Fails to Wow Followers, published today. He quoted me as follows:
Carmi Levy, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, is less dismissive: "By increasing the size of the device to accommodate a larger screen, Palm can potentially bring more satisfying online and multimedia experiences to the mobile user," Levy comments in an e-mail. Indeed, there's a whole class of potential users of mobile e-mail who have been turned off by the thumb-typing experience who may find the Treo, with its companion Foleo, more amenable. Another plus: the Foleo comes with a Wi-Fi connection, making it in combination with the Treo a dual-mode device of the sort many observers have been awaiting.


What the new device doesn't do is address Palm's most glaring current weakness: "Despite all the hype surrounding the announcement of new hardware," says Levy, "the key to success remains the operating system, developer support, and carrier support."

Palm has promised a new Linux-based operating system for the Treo by year's end, with devices based on the new OS available in early 2008. That's a long time off in the fiercely competitive smartphone market. Staff Reporter Priya Ganapati interviewed me for comment on the Palm device. She ended the piece, Palm, New Device Out of Touch, with my quote (I love when I get last suits my endless need to have the last word.) Here's what I said:
Foleo now seems like a sign of the company's desperation.

"Palm has no choice," says Carmi Levy, an analyst with industry research and consulting firm, Info-tech Research Group. "They couldn't introduce another derivative or evolutionary product.

Kudos to Palm for taking a chance with the Foleo, but I am not sure if this is the right bet." Shane Schick, editor of Canada's largest tech trade publication, wrote this piece, Palm Foleo brings PC-like keyboard, display to Treos. He quoted me as a counterpoint to another analyst's perspective:
[Other analyst says this...] “Nokia, Symbian-powered products are strong on the European side of the world, but have done little on this side of the Atlantic. Palm too needs to find a RIM-beater,” he said. “Apple (with the iPhone) has helped define the space. People are looking for solutions.”

Carmi Levy, an analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research, agreed at the time that Palm was struggling to attract a business audience.

“RIM and Microsoft and Nokia offer enterprise-class solutions that are much easier to implement,” he said.

My last day with Info-Tech is this Friday (two days...yikes!) so I was highly conscious throughout the day that things were about to change. My new role will position me well to continue to work with journalists in this capacity. I have every intention of being the talking head that I've always been. I've built something pretty neat with this media-tech thing, so it'll be interesting to see where I can take it now that I'm following a new path.

I look forward to seeing my name under my new banner. It will reinforce that I've done the right things to get myself to this place. (More on that on Friday...I've got news.)

Your turn: Why do significantly different technology products attract so much attention. Why are we fascinated by this stuff?


Carli N. Wendell said...

Gadgets are simply cool, and they continue to make our lives both more enriched and more complicated. Tech infiltrates our lives, and so many components of technology intertwine that the possibilities for communication, business, etc. seem endless. It's really cool that you get to talk about it all the time.

When I was in the hospital a few months back (it was nothing), I used my cell phone (against policy, yes) in the middle of the night to look up women's heart disease on its tiny screen--by the next morning, I knew a lot more about what tests to make sure were done. College courses aren't simply being taught online; they're being taught in online universes such as Second Life. When I think that just 15 years ago or so, there was no World Wide Web, I'm flabbergasted by how much it's changed our lives.

Anonymous said...

I really loved the interview Carmi. You did a fantastic job. It shows that you have really researched what you are being interviewed about. It will be interesting to see how far this product goes in the market place. And the whole "ear piece falling out" episode? You handled that one like a pro. It happened so fast I wasn't sure I even saw it.

Moon said...

Really enjoyed the interview, great job Carmi!...did your earpiece fall out???...hardly noticed u were SMOOTH DUDE...HEHE
New technology is fascinating...and as u say, begins to trickle down to other products...improving along the way. I am a gadget lover myself so all the new stuff gets my attention lol.

wildflower said...

Hello, Michele sent me. Great interview, the ear piece incidence was barely noticeable.

Lifelong Learner said...

Very cool, Carmi.

Anonymous said...

Carmi, can we talk about that table?
It seems too good to be true??? As a photographer the possiblities are overwhelming.

Rachel said...

So great to see you in "person" on the video! You were outstanding and handled the ear piece falling out like a pro!

scrappintwinmom said...

Fantastic job as always (even with the earpiece faux pas). The Palm Foleo thing is kind of like, "um...WHY???" The Surface is pretty cool, but I just don't see the practicality...though I do understand that the future seems to be touch-screen and the death of the keyboard as we know it - do you agree?