Handspring’s Chief Operating Officer Ed Colligan, speaking at a CIBC World Markets investor conference, said they have been shocked by the number of people that prefer entering data into their PDA’s via thumbpad or mini keyboard instead of Palm’s popular graffiti method.
Three of the four PDA’s Handspring has released in the past few months have had keyboards embedded in the device, abandoning graffiti altogether. Their latest effort, the Treo 90, has met Palm head on to fight for the entry-level color PDA. For many new buyers, they find the task of entering appointments, phone numbers and such via mini keyboard much less daunting than learning a new way to write.
With the handheld market getting tighter and inventory levels climbing for manufacturers, everyone is struggling to differentiate their product. In the Palm OS world, Sony’s been focusing on entertainment and terrific color screens, while Handspring has focused on integrated wireless devices and Palm has attacked the mid-range market.
Handspring has alluded to the possibility of abandoning the graffiti input system altogether in its future product releases. It might be a bit early to kill of graffiti entirely, but this move definitely signals a change in the Palm OS device world. Still no word either way from Sony or Palm regarding their plans to implement an integrated keyboard in future PDA s.