Palm, Inc. has made no secret of its plan to release a Windows Mobile-powered Treo in Europe in the near future. But one former Palm/PalmSource executive questions how well this device will do.
Michael Mace isn’t European, but a recent post on Mobile Opportunity covers what his European friends have told him about their attitudes toward smartphones.
Mr. Mace says:
Go to lunch or dinner in any country in Europe, and when everyone sits down they’ll take out their mobile phones and put them on the table.
Then everyone at the table surreptitiously checks out everyone else’s phone. There’s a subtle hierarchy of status associated with which phone you carry. I haven’t decoded all of it yet, but definitely you get some extra status for having what’s perceived to be a stylish phone. Brand also plays a role, although I think that varies from country to country.
I’ve been told by several European friends that slapping down a Treo on the table gets you labeled as a geek. And not a nice geek in the American sense (visionary and probably rich), but geek in the bad sense (socially misfit and physically underdeveloped). The keyboard, which American users tend to regard as a badge of business power and importance, comes across as pathetically computer-obsessed to a lot of folks in Europe.
Additional comments from Mr. Mace can be found on Mobile Opportunity, his personal blog.
More About Michael Mace
Michael Mace is the former Chief Competitive Officer and VP of Product Planning at Palm, the VP of Strategic Marketing at PalmSource, and director of Mac Platform Marketing at Apple.
He now works for Rubicon Consulting.