New Delhi: The maker of mobile phones such as the Treo that allow users to check email and store data, Palm Inc., plans to become one of the Top 3 smartphone vendors in India by next year, even as the company faces competition from Research In Motion Ltd’s (RIM) BlackBerry email phones apart from Apple Inc.’s iPhone, which is yet to be launched in India.
Worldwide, Palm—which pioneered the smartphone around a decade ago—is attempting to regain market share it lost to aggressive new rivals such as RIM, Nokia Oyj and Apple.
“Going forward, we are going to have a stronger and innovative hardware engine—you will see that in the coming products,” said Olivier Rozay, regional director, Asia Pacific, Palm Australasia Pty Ltd. “With the launch of phones such as Centro, which is priced at Rs13,990 in India, we now have a much more affordable product for Indian users,” he added.
While Palm’s Centro handsets compete with Apple’s iPhone, the company’s Treo range of products have to compete with RIM’s BlackBerry range and other smartphones from Nokia.
Until the launch of Centro in India, the lowest-priced Palm handset being sold in the country was the Treo 680 model, with a price tag of Rs18,000.
According to research firm International Data Corp., around 450,000 units of smartphones with capabilities similar to that of Palm’s Treo and RIM’s BlackBerry were sold in India last year.
Palm will also be bundling applications such as Facebook—which allows users to build a social networking platform—with its upcoming handsets in order to attract more buyers. “We are also going to launch the next version of Palm operating system by end of this year, which will be more suited for our sleeker and better-looking devices,” added Rozay.
Last year, Palm hired Jon Rubinstein, a former top executive at Apple closely involved in the development of the iconic iPod, as executive chairman in order to help Palm come up with products to compete more effectively with firms such as RIM.