PDA News – HP splits divisions, Palm splits stock, Access details platform plans

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HP splits handheld, laptop divisions

Hewlett Packard has announced plans to seperate their iPaq line of Pocket PCs into a new business division. Previously, the iPaqs were handled by the same division which made HP’s laptops. This follows an extremely lackluster year for HP, whose sales slumped due to lackluster devices, almost no new models released, and increased competition from companies such as Dell, Acer, Medion, and others.

It’s hard not to see this as an effort by HP to regroup and recover some of the market that they’ve lost. Despite their attempts at spin, the company’s converged device line has been so sickly that if it were a horse, it would have been shot. Twice. And the nonconverged iPaqs, the bread and butter of HP’s handheld line, have been looking more like burnt toast of late. Ironically, HP’s own worst enemy has been HP itself. The company delivered a full range of poorly designed, underpowered, and overpriced devices back in 2004. Instead of correcting the problem with a new lineup in 2005, the company made minor modifications to most of the devices and continued to sell them.

The new division will be headed by Dave Rothschild, a former executive of Sun Microsystems and Netscape.


Palm initiates 2 for 1 stock split

Palm, meanwhile, is riding a nearly 52-week high in their stock price, and has announced a two-for-one stock split, to take place March 14th. Effective that day, each current share of Palm stock will be replaced by two, each one valued at half the closing share price on February 28th.

This will double the total number of existing shares of Palm stock to about 104 million. According to a company statement, the move was decided upon to put their number of total shares in line with “companies of comparable revenue.” Palm’s revenue has gone up sharply, increasing by 52% over the same time last year.


Access details plans for future platform

At the 3GSM World Conference today, Access Inc. talked about their plans for the next generation of NetFront, their one-time web browser, now future internet platform. The company stated that NetFront 3.4 would be designed around an extensible plugin architecture, and would support buzzword-compliant technologies such as AJAX, SMIL, and SVG Tiny 1.2.

In short, what the company described was a scenario in which the web brower becomes the operating system of the device, and vassal applications provide functionality like video playback or office documents within the browser environment.

Absent was any discussion of Palm OS, or the role of PalmSource properties and designs. Access bought PalmSource last year, sparking speculation as to what role Palm OS might play in the browser-as-OS plan already then being sketched out by Access.


Rogers to deploy HSDPA in Canada

Rogers Communications, Canada’s largest mobile phone service provider, has announced that it will immediately begin upgrading its network to HSDPA. The service, which Rogers claims will be as much as twice the speed of Bell Mobility’s EVDO network, will be available some time this fall.



Update on Windows Mobile push email

If you’ve been waiting for the release of the much anticipated push email package for Windows Mobile devices, we have a good news bad news situation for you. Good news: in a group press release, organized by Microsoft, several more major companies committed to upgrading their already released devices to use the Messaging and Security Features Pack. Cingular, Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone all promised to provide the neccessary ROM updates to enable direct push. They join Palm Inc. and i-mate, who already guaranteed free upgrades, and did so again in the release yesterday.

The bad news? It may still be a little while. Even though the MSFP was released to carriers and manufacturers at the beginning of last December, most carriers are only willing to commit to releasing the update for existing devices some time within the next three months. Although previous reports have pointed towards an April timeframe, nothing is assured.

If you just can’t wait, there are three new devices out that ship with the MSFP preloaded: the iPaq hw6900, the Asus P305, and the Loox T800 series.



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