Palm: the future lies beyond the PC

Yankowski pours cold water on previous CES speeches, arguing success is measured not in terms of technology, but in terms of human value

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By  Justin Etheridge Published  January 9, 2001

In the face of keynote speeches from Microsoft and Intel, which sought to reaffirm the status of the PC, Palm’s CEO Carl Yankowski stepped up at CES 2001 and urged the world to look beyond a PC-centric vision.

The future, at least according to Palm, is not about monster machines and power PCs. It’s about invisible, intuitive technology; simple to use and easy to carry.

"Unlike PCs, handhelds are wearable. We carry them like we wear a piece of clothing," said Yankowski. "Their overall design makes them utterly simple to use, regardless of where you are. They can make your day and change your life."

The argument ran that the simplicity of the Palm device, and the handheld generally, will appeal to the public where ungainly technology cannot.

"If we are to target the consumer experience, which is where the real battle for dollars will be waged, then we have to measure the success of our products not in terms of technology, but in terms of human value," said Yankowski.

To back up his vision, Yankowski made a world-first eWallet purchase live on stage, buying an atomic watch, cell phone and robotic dog via an embedded Visa card in his Palm. The moment was not wasted on Palm’s CEO, announcing: "The world's first eWallet transaction took just 30 seconds."

Several film clips, demonstrating the importance of simplicity and elegance in design, echoed the speech. Palm also announced a partnership with Sprint PCS to deliver CDMA-based wireless solutions for Palm OS handhelds in the US.

The goal now is to market the Palm not just as a handheld but as a true wallet, with 'point-and-pay' capabilities.

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