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Palm Dividing Handheld Brands

Techstination feature for Tuesday, September 24, 2002

New names for those handhelds from Palm. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Palm has been making the most popular PDAs around for years. But with a soft market and increasing competition... .it has been a struggle of late for the company. After deciding to divide the company in two... .one to create and license the Palm operating system... and the other to make hardware... .it has now come up with a new branding strategy... .one for the enterprise market... and one for consumers. David Christopher is Palm's senior director of handhelds...

"The consumer line is called Zire and the point is about simplicity. The enterprise market is going to be called Tungsten, the sub-brand is going to be called Tungsten and it's about manageability, accessibility, security and performance."

Products for the new sub-brands will be announced in the coming weeks... .it would be a fair guess that Zire will translate to cheap... .and Tungsten to expensive. About whether there are really differences between what consumers and businesses want in a handheld, Christopher says...

"Yeah, absolutely. The consumer market wants something that's fun, that speaks to my lifestyle as far as style, that may or may not do all of the things that an enterprise IT professional wants in their products for example."

Where did the names come from?

"Tungsten actually is a precious element as you know and it was originally found in light bulbs and on the edge of razor blades. And to IT professionals it does mean performance and strength and power."

The name Zire... .was just kind of made up. Palm will be phasing out the current M series line of devices over the next year or so Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.