Will Elevation save Palm?

When investors look at early stage companies one of the biggest decision criteria underlying their investment decision is the quality of the people.   “Better to bet on a C idea and an A team than an A idea and a C team,” the saying goes.  With great ideas being somewhat plentiful, and the kind of adaptable idea-executing work being a challenge, it’s easy to understand.  Success is about execution.  And that requires a few things including, as Charles Schwab said, Vision  (“A man to carry on a successful business must have imagination. He must see things as in a vision, a dream of the whole thing.”) and as Vince Lombardi said, Teamwork (“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”)

This past week, struggling hand–held maker Palm announced it was taking a sizable minority investment ($325m) from private equity firm Elevation Partners. The deal raises the question – are good people, and a change of perspective enough to fix a troubled, established company.  I don’t know the answer, turnarounds are tricky beasts, especially in consumer-facing product companies, but it’s a question worth asking.

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iPhone Delivery Date

Apple News Flash

TV commercials and a posting tonight on Apple’s website have confirmed the official arrival date for the much anticipated Apple iPhone will be June 29th. The date is a week or two later than rumored deadlines but still within the June time frame Apple promised its faithful. The TV spots, which will likely be on YouTube and other video sites by morning, featured some of the phones unique features and explicitly said “Coming June 29.”

The phones, which will be available in two models for $499 and $599, are arguably the most anticipated new consumer product of the decade. The faithful and the pundits are both vocally speculating whether the product will live up to the hype. Officially now, on June 29th, the jury will able to begin consideration of its verdict.

Cellular Standouts: Some Cool Phones

The iPhone is going to be delayed –Oops, no it’s not!…
Disney-TV Coming Soon to a Theater Sprint Mobile…
Motorola’s playing Napster’s Music…
Next Generation Phones Unveiled at Motorola.


This week, tech headlines allocated an unusually high amount of space to mobile phones and mobile entertainment media.  I’ve been lumping mobile entertainment into categories for music or movies, but starting today, articles and news directly related to mobile entertainment (and their role in the converging world of Media Entertainment and Technology)  will have their own category on Metue.

Though I will reorganize older content to include the category as appropriate, I want to start it off right. So to do that, here’s a nod to gadget lust;  a look at a few of the über-cool phones out there including both concepts and production models. (As always on Metue, if you’re looking for images, click the pictures for larger displays ).

The Concept Phones:


Alloy Polygon (Concept Phone – may never be manufactured)
hp Alloy gets the award for the “coolest phone that may never be made.” The phone, which was designed by well known UK based product design firm Alloy Total Product Design  turns heads with its unique style.  Sporting a clamshell design, the phone, like the Pantech IM-R200 discussed below, forgoes a keypad for 2 screens.  On the Alloy model, both screens are touch sensitive and can be controlled with a finger tip or a stylus.  Like the Nintendo DS Game system, one of the screens is primarily for navigation, the other for viewing but the screens can be adjusted for portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) viewing. Turned sideways, one of the screens can be used for viewing TV or Movie content.

Nokia 111 (Concept phone)
bd The prize winner for the second coolest phone that may never be made. The Nokia 111 model was the winning design in a Design College Contest Nokia ran last year.  It’s another concept phone thay may never be made but it has the promise of being something original. The phone’s innovation is a twist on a candy-bar style phone – literally. The phone has a pivot mechanism that allows it to sit “L” Shaped on a table or flat surface.  The Back is a screen so when sitting, it can function (theoretically) as a video-phone or display video content.  Technologically, the phone isn’t real…and probably won’t ever be.

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iPhone gets FCC Approval

Popular Apple-tracking website Apple Insider is reporting today that a major hurdle for the on-time delivery of Apple’s iPhone has been passed without issue. Documents reprinted on Apple Insider (which can be downloaded in 4 parts from from Apple Insider’s site here, here, here and here) show that the new handset received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorization.

iphonePer the statement: “The Apple Inc. A1203 GSM Cellular Telephone with Bluetooth and Wifi, FCC ID: BCGA1203, is in compliance with the limits for general population uncontrolled exposure specified in FCC 2.1093. The device was tested according to the measurement standards and procedures specified in FCC OET Bulletin 65, Supplement C (Edition 01-01) and IEEE p1528/D1.2, April 21, 2003.”

For confidentiality reasons, Apple was able to have some schematics and exhibit notes permanently omitted from any public documents. Apple was also able to temporarily remove test photos, other images and the phones user manual.

This is a positive bit of news for Apple, and a step towards reassuring the many waiting for the device that the iPhone is, in fact, on time – a time line that yesterday was questioned following the release of what turned out to be a hoax internal document suggesting otherwise.

Now playing: on your cell phone

On Tuesday, Disney’s ABC Television group announced it would make available, beginning immediately, episodes of some of its popular programs, including Grey’s Anatomy, Lost and Ugly Betty to video-equipped phones on the Sprint network. The four most recent episodes of programs will be available to subscribers who use participating data-plans at no extra charge. At some point in the future, commercials will be added to the content.

The deal will be the first attempt by major media to offer full-length programming on phones, or over cellular. (Verizon has been offering short form video content).

In a statement that clearly shows Sprint made the deal in an effort to compete with the upcoming Apple iPhone (which can play video’s, including TV shows, downloaded through iTunes) Sprint’s VP for wireless data services said “You won’t need to buy episodes individually or sync to a PC to access this kind of content.”

Personally, I’m still not convinced that consumers will find much more than a novelty factor in having TV available on-demand on their phones. With so called time-shifting devices (Tivo, DVR’s etc) allowing consumers to watch programming at times that suit their schedules and not only when originally broadcast, the market for ultra-portable on-demand services seems small. If i can see a program anytime on a much bigger screen, why watch on my cell phone? It’s hard to believe this kind of service will appeal to anyone beyond the extremely bored, or the die-hard fan.


In a separate, unrelated announcement that was timed to coincide with press releases for Motorola’s next generation phones, Music subscription service Napster announced it was making its music service available on Motorola phones. The companies will share promotional efforts in North America, the UK and Germany. It was not clear how, or if, the partnership would include cellular carriers. In either case, as with the Sprint/Disney announcement, this release is another clear effort to compete against Apple’s upcoming iTunes and iPhone combination.

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