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    Palm increases Euro focus

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    Roy Bedlow, newly appointed vp EMEA for Palm, has told Mobile Europe that the company will have an increased European focus, with investment in personnel and facilities, to enable its products to be closer to the European market.

    Bedlow also said that the company would push on with its plans to develop products based on Windows Mobile OS, as well as its own Palm OS. It would also work with Good Technology, RIM for its Blackberry client and with Microsoft’s ActiveSync as it makes mobile email it priority.
    Palm has recently opened a facility in Dublin, which Bedlow says is evidence of the company’s commitment to put “people and dollars” into Europe.
    “It means we will have live access to the networks, rather than operating off a fast pipe from, say, the Orange network back to our R&D centre in the US. It also means we are closer to the services that European operators need handset support for, as we now have a dedicated team here building on the network and service preferences of our European customers.”

    The core focus will be on the Treo. The handheld business is still “incredibly important” he said, but is in a “different part of the lifecycle.” He also thought there was a case to invest in the training of users and sales staff in the use and capabilities of the Treo.
    One further focus of development will be on 3G phones, as Palm currently has no 3G phones. “We believe the core advantage of the Treo [Palm’s flagship smartphone] is that it is a phone and email device combined. We are working with Blackberry Connect and have licensed Microsoft ActiveSync so all users need to get Outlook access is to enter their user ID and password. We are also working with Good Technology to enable behind the firewall applications for our business customers.” The company will also continue to work to support Vodafone’s RealMail service, which is based on Vistos’s email client.
    Bedlow said that the decision to license the Windows Mobile OS accords well with many operators choosing to “follow the Microsoft strategy.” He didn’t see the company embracing any other OS platforms in the near future. “I think we have enough to focus on right now,” he said.
    There is still plenty of opportunity in the mobile email space, Bedlow said, and he thought Microsoft was really well positioned to take advantage of that “on the IT side.” Palm will build on the Microsoft OS, he said, adding to the ease of use, ”developing above and beyond” the core specification.