30 Tablets in Q4 2010: packed train arriving at empty station

[There are 30 tablets coming by Q4 2010, but who is going to buy them? Guest author Jonathan Goldberg, Research Analyst at Deutsche Bank breaks down the supply and demand equation behind the emerging tablet market, and discusses why the impending tablet wave might be a full train arriving at an empty station]
This article is also available in Chinese
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30 Tablets in Q4 2010

The key issues

The tablet market is opening up, with at least 30 tablets coming by Q4. Here are a few key issues:

  • There are indications of at least 30 tablets coming to market by Q4. And there are reports of at least 80 to be launched in the next six months.
  • There is no hard data available about consumer usage of tablets. This might mean that most of the tablets will be undifferentiated and it is unclear who, if anyone, will buy them.
  • The leading brands in the space this Q4 are Apple, Dell and Samsung. Other major brands are expected to enter the market in 1Q11, including HP Palm, Motorola and RIM
  • Most of the tablets are using Android, but we hear that Google has been trying to discourage many of these projects. They do not support Android for use in tablets with the current Froyo V2.2 of the OS. This means some of the tablets coming this year may lack access to the Android marketplace, Google maps, etc.
  • All of the tablets we have seen run on ARM-based processors. Major suppliers will be Qualcomm for the 3G baseband and integrated applications processors. We have seen tablets using applications processors from Marvell, Nvidia, Samsung and Texas Instruments. There are also a number of designs using silicon from Atheros, Broadcom, Skyworks and Triquint. In theory, this could be good for these vendors, but the looming glut of product may dampen enthusiasm for the category.
  • Pricing will be a key determinant. Most reports peg low-end models at $300 or less. However, there are reports of prices ranging as high as $900. I believe there will be few takers for tablets priced above the iPad.

Overall, everyone likes the idea of a tablet, but I think it will take a year or two before the market shapes up. There are just too many devices coming online amid very initial interest from consumers. Eventually, the tablet may become a preferred media consumption device for consumers, filling the gap left by underpowered netbooks. There is likely room for both netbooks and tablets in the market, but it is too early to gauge the size of the tablet market.

What’s a tablet?

Any discussion on tablets needs to start with a definition. For our purposes, we will define them broadly to include anything that is not a smartphone or a laptop. These devices have no hinge as laptops do, but cannot easily fit in a pocket. This covers considerable ground from e-readers to true tablet computers.

Most of the tablets coming to the market today are less mobile than smartphones, but have essentially the same computing power. The iPad is the best example of this. The electronics of an iPad are identical to an iPhone – same processor, same memory. It does have longer battery life, but no one would argue that it is less portable than a phone, since it does not fit in a pocket.

These facts seem somewhat incongruous, leading to several interpretations. The first is that with time tablets will see an increase in computing power. In fact, there might be a few of these more powerful tablets in the works for next year. Another interpretation is that Apple has just confused the market, which they can get away with because of the power of their brand. They positioned the iPad to fit into their own product line-up, not to meet industry expectations. It will be interesting to see if any of the tablets coming out later this year have noticeable performance deficiencies, in the form of hang time and slow app loading. A more gloomy interpretation is that this is a dead-end form factor. While I’m more optimistic than that, I believe the OEMs should seriously question what ‘need’ a tablet addresses for consumers.

 

What is the Tablet Market?

To better assess the potential for the market, we need to deconstruct it a little. First, it is worth considering who has bought a tablet so far. Then we should consider what they are doing with those devices, and finally compare that to what the devices are capable of. As with all such new products, there is very little hard data available, but here’s what we know so far.

Who is buying tablets? So far, there are really two products that fit into this category – the Kindle and the iPad. Amazon has not released any data on Kindle sales, but they continue to roll out new models, so it must be doing well by some internal metric, and most reports indicate Kindle is helping to expand overall book sales by Amazon. Apple has sold over 3 million iPads since its launch last quarter, and Deutsche Bank estimates are at 12 million unit sales for this year. That’s an impressive number for a new product, but a small number relative to everyone else’s expectations for the category. It is still unclear who is buying these. By some estimates, a very large percentage of iPad buyers are already iPhone owners. There is a lot of synergy between the two with easy syncing of content and Apps via iTunes.

There is also a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the iPad has broadened the demographic group of iPhone buyers. For instance, some people have bought the device for parents and grandparents, reaching a group who is uninterested in the Apple brand but like the ease of use of the device.

What are people doing with tablets?

While waiting for further hard data on iPad usage, we can look at iPad developer activity and app downloads as a decent proxy.

Developers, for their part, seem very interested in the iPad. In the graph below you can see iPad apps versus iPhone apps, in terms of available apps in iTunes plotted against days since the release of each of the two products. iPad apps have outpaced iPhone apps in growth, although we should take into account that writing an iPad app today is much easier than writing an iPhone app when iOS first got a start, three years ago.

According to Distimo, developers for the iPad also seem to be taking advantage of a wider variety of iOS features such as in-app purchases. The Distimo data also shows that as a percentage of apps, games are more prevalent on the iPad than the iPhone. Prices for iPad apps also tend to be higher than comparable (sometimes identical) iPhone apps. From this, we infer that developers see this as a worthwhile market, and possibly one with a superior demographic for paying for software.

iPod&iPad apps vs days after launch

What it all boils down to is a lack of actual data. While there have been some consumer surveys done on the space by tablet vendors, this is really a virgin market. No one knows what consumers want from a tablet or whether they even want one at all.

I am actually somewhat optimistic about the tablet as a concept, but I think the excitement will outpace demand in the near term. There is also a gap between laptops and smartphones, that gap will find interest from some consumers, as was the case with initial excitement for netbooks. Consumers want low-priced computing devices that have larger screens than a phone. This market was artificially capped by Intel and Microsoft who sought to stave off cannibalization of their laptop business. The end result was that consumers lost interest in underpowered netbooks, which struggled to multi-task or play high quality video.

The first devices available run iOS and Android, but they will by no means be the only offerings. Google is likely to enter the fray soon with Chrome, an OS originally built for netbooks, but equally applicable for tablets. Google has even made comments that Chrome is the preferred OS for tablets. Beyond this, however, there will be other options. HP will likely have a Palm webOS tablet out soon. Blackberry has announced a new OS for their PlayBook device available early next year. And even MeeGo has to be considered a potential entrant. Although I’m skeptical about this OS’s prospects, many reports indicate that MeeGo is actually very well suited for a larger form factor like a netbook or tablet. Perhaps the only entrant I would not add to the list is Windows 7 (Big windows not Windows Phone), since conventional widom is that this OS is just not suitable to the touch-screen form factors that are quickly becoming standard for this class of device. There is a video making the rounds on the blogosphere that shows how clunky the Windows 7 interface is with touch-screen input.

In this year’s race to launch tablets, it seems like few companies have given much thought to the software experience. Most of the companies launching tablets appear to be using Android. This is despite that company’s weak support for Android on this form factor. It appears that many of the Android tablets launching this year will NOT have links to the Android marketplace as the FroYo (2.2) release is not really designed for tablets starting from the screen resolution. I believe Google is encouraging hardware makers to hold of on Android tablets until the Honeycomb release due out next year. This implies that many of the Android-based tablets coming out this year will have very few apps and limited ability to download them. Effectively, these tablets will be large, expensive browsers.

Competition

The tablet field is expected to be very crowded, from as early as 4Q10. Below is a table compiled from a range of sources, including news reports and blogs. There might be some discrepancies, especially on pricing, but many of these devices have been officially announced.

List of tablets planned for 4Q10

And this list is by no means complete. There is also this user-generated list of Android tablets coming for Christmas. At the time of writing there were 22 models listed. As if that were not enough, here is another list of all 73 tablets rumored or announced so far.

In terms of official developments, Samsung has officially launched its Galaxy Tab, RIM has announced its tablet and, most recently, reports emerged on the web that Amazon was preparing its own Android tablet and Android marketplace.

A key question will be pricing. There is no seen official word on this, but some press reports indicate the Galaxy Tab device will cost $900+ without a carrier subsidy. As PC World points out many of the tablets coming to the market are charging a premium to the iPad. Maybe Samsung can pull that off, but few other tablets will be able to command a premium to an Apple product.

Conclusion: Who benefits from tablets?

The answer to that is that there are too many tablets coming to market too soon. With no hard data about consumer usage, it’s likely that most of the products will have a hard time differentiating themselves. This will probably lead to a glut that will mean pricing pressure for most of these vendors.

From the component level, the biggest beneficiaries are the screen vendors. Capacitive touch screens are not cheap, and are probably the most expensive component in the bill of materials. So far we have seen few tear-downs of any of these tablets. The iPad BOM is very similar to the iPhone and iPod touch, running an Infineon 3G baseband, Skyworks and Triquint’s front-end modules, and the internally developed Apple A4 processor. It is likely many of the Android tablets are using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or other MSMs for 3G connectivity. Also, there are reports that tablets makers are trying out Nvidia’s Tegra, TI’s OMAP and Marvell’s Armada for applications processors.

Finally, investors will have a hard time tapping into this. On the one hand, price competition from a multitude of Android tablets would imply lots of volume. On the other hand, design wins are not free; they cost upfront engineering resources. A glut of product could lead to inventory back-ups and order declines in Q1. For the time being, my view is that tablet volumes (other than the iPad) are likely to remain small relative to PCs and handsets. Nonetheless, we should expect a shake-up next year as suppliers pick their battles carefully.

– Jonathan

[Jonathan has been a Research Analyst at Deutsche Bank for 8 years and focuses on wireless technologies and the Mobile Internet. He can be contacted at “jonathan.goldberg (at) db (dot) com”]

An X-ray of Mobile Software: The 11 vital organs of mobile

[Sales of mobile phones remain healthy, but can the same be said of the software designed for them? Guest author Morten Grauballe offers a biological metaphor to check the pulse and visualise the evolution of the mobile software business.]

The app store “Long Tail” has recently dominated strategy discussions in the mobile industry. The Long Tail is a captivating and inspiring notion that challenges companies to think beyond mass production and mass retailing. The mobile software market is, however, far from mass production and mass retailing. Tight coupling of software and hardware, combined with platform fragmentation, have created a mass market for mobile phones, but not for mobile software. Hence, the tail is wagging the dog (and its organs) in the mobile software strategy discussion.

I ‘d like to use a biological metaphor – the notion of the 11-Organ System – to represent the core value-adding elements in mobile software and discuss how Apple, China Mobile, DoCoMo, Google, Nokia and RIM have utilised these core organs to their benefit. The 11 Organs interact to create the mobile software.

The Long Tail App Store
The Long Tail concept was coined in a 2004 article by Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson to describe the notion that a large share of consumer needs rest within the tail of a statistical normal distribution. From a marketer’s perspective, this means you need to sell large quantities of unique items – each in small quantities – often combined with large quantities of a few very popular items.

The idea was coined to describe phenomena in online retailing where companies such as Amazon for books and eBay for auctions were able to cater – profitably – to very small, unique segments of the market. The digital economy allows these retailers to decouple stock from purchase. Later, the notion was proven to apply to some of the most successful business models today, namely Apple’s iTunes music store and Google’s search advertising model.

Lately, the Long Tail has been used to describe and propagate one of the biggest hype waves in the mobile market, namely the app store. Apple recently passed 200,000 applications in its store; fanning the enthusiasm for all major players to develop their own app store strategy.

Whereas books, auctions, music, and to some extent search are well-understood businesses with relatively straight-forward Long Tail effects, the essence of the mobile software business is generally not well understood and analyzed. So, before we pin the app store Long Tail on Eeyore, it is worth taking off the blindfold in an attempt to understand the essence of mobile software.

The Organ Systems of Mobile Software
Like biological systems, the software on mobile phones has value-creating subsystems. The Long Tail app store is like the tail on mammals. It does not have a function without being attached to a healthy body full of strong and interconnected value-creating systems. Apple knows this. Google knows this. Nokia knows this. DoCoMo knows this. They all have strategies in place for these value-creating systems.

Mammals generally have 11 organ systems (see note at the end of the article for a biology refresh). To stay true to my metaphor, I break down the most advanced smartphones into 11 organ systems – five core infrastructure systems and six application level systems. There are of course many more ways these systems can be broken down (see VisionMobile’s Industry Atlas for examples).

The five infrastructure core systems are:

  • Operating system: On a high level, the key value of an operating system is to be found in the abstraction of the hardware into a set of APIs against which applications can be written. More fundamentally, this process of abstraction has a significant impact on the characteristics of the system, including usability, battery life and privacy. There is a long discussion taking place within the industry as to whether the OS is a commodity or not – I believe not, but I ‘ll leave that debate is for future article. Let’s instead list the current choices available in the mobile market: Android, Bada, Blackberry OS, Brew Mobile Platform (BMP), iPhone OS, LiMo, Maemo, MediaTek OS, Nucleus, Series 40, STE OS, Symbian, Web OS and Windows Phone OS.
  • Application Execution Environments (AEEs): Most phones have one or more AEEs that attract developers and hence enhance the ability to “wag the tail”. The list of AEEs is long, but should include Java, Flash, widget and and web runtimes. AEEs and operating systems are generally complementary, but as the recent spat between Adobe and Apple has shown, these value-creating systems do not always coexist peacefully.
  • Software Management System: From a strategy analysis perspective, this is probably one of the fastest developing value-creating subsystems. Software management addresses two ‘bodily functions’:
    • The in-the-hands user experience. Apple has made 22 versions available for its phones since June 29, 2007. That is one release every 6 weeks. Most of the features released have addressed the user experience by enhancing features or the usage of features. In the end, this generates revenue and builds an ongoing relationship with the user.
    • Repair and correction. The ability to protect the phone depends on the strength of the security system (see below), but also on the system’s ability to respond to issues in the system, whether malware or not. Software Management allows us to respond with new pieces of software when needed.
  • Security System: The security system is very similar to the integumentary and lymphatic systems in humans. It protects the system from external threats. Parts of the security system should be built into the operating system, but other parts are application-level components, such as lock and wipe of the device.
  • Business Intelligence System: Similar to the nervous system, the business intelligence system allows you to understand what is going on in the entire organism. This ranges from understanding usability issues over performance problems to actual defects in the system. You want to know what works and what does not work for the particular user, which apps are used the most, which services work and which not, how does service usage vary across devices, etc.

The six core application systems are:

  • Peer-to-Peer Communication: Voice communication is often overlooked in strategy discussions of mobile software, but it is one of the most used applications on any mobile phone. It might be a baseline feature, but it needs to be done well. Integration with other value-adding subsystems is quite important too.
  • Peer-to-Peer Messaging: This includes everything from SMS over instant messaging to push e-mail applications. Similar to peer-to-peer communication, it is generally not considered sexy at this stage of the market. It is however the second largest revenue generator after voice communication and thus should not be disregarded.
  • Search: Most phones already have Web search functions. However, the future of search is in the location-based services (LBS) area, where digital search is combined with the physical presence of the user. Advertising is a part of this subsystem as it connects sellers with buyers of products and services.
  • Content Creation: The biggest craze in the market is social networking. Every new phone has social networking capabilities galore closely integrated into the contact manager. Content creation, however, also includes pictures, video and other types of media produced by the consumer. Most of the data produced by the consumer needs to be shared somehow. That is where the key value creation of the mobile phone comes in.. sharing!
  • Content Consumption: Compared to creation, content consumption is so yesterday. The consumer expects easy access to a catalogue of games, music, video, etc.
  • Browsing: This is such a crucial application that I have classified it as a system of its own. The browser is used as the basis of many of the other systems. Actually, most of the other applications can run via the browser and hence it is even possible to classify the browsing subsystem as an infrastructure subsystem.

Choose your Organs before Pinning on the Long Tail
There is no need to have the perfect business model for each of the mobile software organ systems above, but you need to have considered all of them and, if possible, have three or four strong organs to support an independent software strategy that can then carry a Long Tail app store. Let’s consider a few examples:

  • Apple has been the most aggressive on the OS side, publishing native APIs to developers and building a large developer community. Apple’s software management strategy is well-synced with its OS development and is a real strength. With iTunes Apple also is very well placed in media consumption. Apple’s weaknesses are in the areas of AEEs and search.
  • China Mobile has recently put its weight behind the OPhone, which is running a completely customized branch of Android. The OPhone version of Android is managed by a company called Borqs. At launch, handsets were available from Dell, HTC and Lenovo with plans for further handset models from Samsung, ZTE, Phillips, Motorola and LG. By having Borqs in between Google and themselves, CMCC achieves greater ownership of the operating system and its APIs. This is, of course, expensive as Borqs need to track new versions of Android and migrate China Mobile-specific changes across to the new versions of the OPhone OS.
  • DoCoMo has traditionally been focused on content-consumption and browsing with its i-mode services. i-mode nicely mixes Java, Browsing, Flash and e-mail into a very strong application suite. Customers know what they are getting. These services are built on top of two different operating systems, namely Linux and Symbian. So far, DoCoMo has not exposed native APIs to developers, but has focused on Java. The content market is therefore very strong in Japan, but the software application market is not well developed. Recently, DoCoMo has released its first Android handset, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, which gives it access to the Android market. This is the company’s first experience with an application market.
  • Google has combined the introduction of the Android operating with a strong suite of applications (Gmail, Google Maps, GTalk and Android market). While on the surface Android is an open source project, you only get access to the application suite if you agree to Google’s commercial terms.  There is no surprise that Google’s strengths come from its applications – it has less control of the core infrastructure components.
  • RIM has full control of its OS and has used Java as the AEE to create a third-party community of developers. The real strength in the RIM offering, however, is peer-to-peer messaging and this is the subsystem that ties RIM to its users. Over the last three years, RIM has made improvements to the subsystems that are more focused on mass-market consumers, such as content consumption/creation, but it is not considered to be its strength.
  • Nokia is active in all the subsystems above. Focus is probably one of the weaknesses of the Nokia offering. Traditionally, Nokia has been focused on peer-to-peer messaging and communication, but recently it has moved aggressively into search and content consumption, which are emerging as their new areas of strength.

Taking inspiration from Blue Ocean Strategy, it is possible to create an Organ Map. I have included an example below. (Each area included in this map warrants its own discussion, so please take it as an educated view rather than a universal statement of truth).

Getting started on your own Organ Map
Any serious player looking at the app store Long Tail needs to look at the organ system above and decide how to build a serious software strategy first. Some companies, like HP with their Palm acquisition, are at a cross-road and should make tough choices up-front. Others are in the middle of executing on their software strategy and need to evaluate progress. In both cases, key questions to answer are:

–        Which organ systems are the focus of my strategy?

–        What is the right mix of core organs to application organs?

–        What level of control do you want to exert over each organ system?

–        How will the chosen organ system allow me to build a relationship with my customer?

–        How do the organ systems interact to realize value for the customer?

–        How are my organ systems mapping against the competition?

Through the discussion around these questions, you should document the criteria by which you and your organizations determine the scoring of each organ system. That will answer questions like, what is a high-end offering in the browser space and who is offering this in the market.

To have a truly independent strategy, the choice of organ systems need to include at least one core organ system over which you can exert a high-degree of control. This does not have to be complete ownership of the organ system, but you should be able to determine the roadmap and direction of the organ system.

The Long Tail as a Greenhouse for New Organ Systems
Once you have a nice set of organ systems up and running, the real point of the Long Tail app store is to act as a greenhouse for new organ systems. By monitoring the sales statistics and trends on your app store, you get a very good view (from your business intelligence system) as to what the next organ system might be.

It is no coincidence Apple just added iAd to iPhone OS v4. They are on top of their business intelligence game and have been tracking advertising in their app store for a while. As apps or features develop into viable businesses, they get promoted from the tail to the body. They become new organ systems for the value-creation machine called Apple.

What are your own thoughts on strategy as a biology metaphor? What other examples of use of software-based organ systems have you come across? What Organ Systems does HP currently have that would render Palm as successful business? Which new ones should they build?

– Morten

[Morten Grauballe is EVP Marketing at Red Bend and ex VP Product Management at Symbian, and has been in the mobile industry long enough to boast both scars and medals]

Note 1: The 11 major organ systems of the body are:

(1) The integumentary system is the organ system that protects the body from damage – it includes nails, skin, hair, fat, etc. This is the largest system making up ~16% of the human body.

(2) The skeletal system is the structural support system with bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.

(3) The muscular system is the anatomical system of a species that allows it to move.

(4) The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of its body

(5) The endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone to regulate the body. The endocrine system is an information signal system much like the nervous system. Hormones regulate many functions of an organism, including mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.

(6) The circulatory system is an organ system that passes nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), gases, hormones, blood cells, etc. to and from cells in the body

(7) The lymphatic system in vertebrates is a network of conduits that carry a clear fluid called lymph. It is used to fight diseases and transport fluids from the cells.

(8) The respiratory system’s function is to allow oxygen exchange through all parts of the body.

(9) The digestive system is the organ system responsible for the mechanical and chemical breaking down of food into smaller components that can be absorbed into the blood stream.

(10) The urinary system is the organ system that produces, stores, and eliminates urine.

(11) The reproductive system is a system of organs within an organism that work together for the purpose of reproduction.

Palm: $1.2B Down the Shredder

[The acquisition by HP will not save Palm. Guest author Michael Valukenko explains why the sum of Palm and HP is close to zero]

As an old-time Palm user, I was always secretly hoping for resurgence of this familiar and trusted company. At a rational level however, I didn’t believe that the new Palm stands a chance in rapidly changing smartphone market. See my earlier analysis in Who can save Palm here at the VisionMobile blog.

HP’s acquisition makes Palm part of large and financially solid company, but doesn’t compensate for its other weaknesses. Smartphone competition today boils down to competition of service platforms with Apple and Google leading the way. Considering the realities of today’s smartphone market, there are very few real synergies between HP and Palm.

The three missing synergies

Today people don’t buy smartphones for their hardware, but for what they can do with them. This largely means software platform and services built around the phone. Both Apple and Google excel in this area, albeit using very different approaches.

Palm’s WebOS offers a slick UI and a promise of simplified app development by fully adopting the web paradigm. But it lacks a clear differentiation (a killer use case) and an ecosystem unlocking the device into hundreds or thousands different things people could do with it. Let’s face it: It wasn’t that WebOS devices didn’t sell well because Palm lacked marketing dollars. They didn’t sell because they weren’t good enough compared to competition. HP marketing money and distribution muscle won’t save the day.

Today’s leaders – iPhone, Blackberry and Android – all have clear differentiation: iPhone is all about entertainment and Internet and is backed by large iTunes user base. Blackberry sells mobile email and is backed by corporate IT adoption and a strong distribution network. Android seamlessly integrates with Google services promising free and open Internet. The vague notion of “HP Experience” looks pretty pale in comparison.

Critically important, app developers and Internet companies already have their hands full with iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, not to mention the upcoming Windows Phone 7. What does HP have to offer in exchange for some mind-share? Any bright ideas?

Last, but definitely not least. Mobile operators/carriers take on the lion’s share of smartphone promotion and subsidy costs, hoping to attract new subscribers and increase ARPU of existing ones. What can HP/Palm offer to convince operators to take marketing and subsidy dollars from iPhone, Blackberry and Android, and put them into HP/Palm?  I don’t see much. Do you?

Clear differentiation, developer mindshare and operator subsidies  are all critical today for the success of a smartphone platform. All these were and remain Palm’s weaknesses regardless of its financial situation. HP does not complement Palm in any of these critical areas.

Chasing the Apple dream
A quick glance at HP earnings breakdown reveals HP as an electronics equipment company at its core. The company generates most of it revenues from selling printers, laptops, desktop PC and servers. Smartphone unit sales are catching up to laptop sales, while laptop margins are getting thinner and thinner. It is easy to see how tempting would it be for HP management to try to emulate Apple’s model of selling high-margin devices.

However Apple owes much of its success to its vertical integration, which allows blending hardware, software and services into iconic products. This vertical integration is ideally suited for breaking new grounds and creating new product categories. It is critical factor in Apple’s ability to create such products as Apple Lisa, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

As explained by Clayton Christensen in this seminal paper, vertical integration is an advantage in emerging product categories, where it helps to overcome technical challenges. Vertical integration however becomes a disadvantage in maturing markets, where flexibility, customization and modularity are of greater importance.

It is difficult to see HP successfully reproducing Apple’s model. The opportunity to be the first with iPhone-like product does no longer exist. 

Is this good news?
The deal doesn’t look particularly bright for HP shareholders. But may be in the broad scheme of things the deal is great news for many other people: Investment bankers will pocket multi-million dollar commissions, Palm’s investors and management will be spared from their misery, HP executives will boost their ego, business newspapers will sell some ads, and bloggers (including myself) will have something to write about.

How do you think the acquisition will shape up for Palm and HP?

– Michael

[Michael Vakulenko has been working in the mobile industry for over 16 years starting his career in wireless in Qualcomm. Throughout his career he gained broad experience in many aspects of mobile technologies including handset software, mobile services, network infrastructure and wireless system engineering. Today Michael consults to established companies, start-ups and operators. He can be reached at michaelv [/at/] WaveCompass.com]