Palm targets consumers, businesses with separate brands

Palm will change the way it markets its personal digital assistants (PDAs), placing its future business products under the Tungsten subbrand and its products for consumers under the Zire subbrand, it announced Monday.

No current products will be renamed, said Todd Bradley, chief executive officer of the Palm Solutions Group. Mobile professionals and students expect different things out of their PDAs, and Palm will look to make it easier for buyers to decide which type of PDA best suits their needs, Bradley said.

Tungsten products will be targeted at mobile workers and IT departments, and emphasize security and reliability while the Zire brand will focus on Palm's traditional customer base -- consumers -- with products that will be user-friendly and less expensive, he said.

The traditional Palm brand will not disappear. New consumer products will be called "Palm Zire" and then include the model number as Palm's currently do, such as the i705 or the m500 series.

The company is looking to continue its run at the top of the PDA market with the new branding strategies. The first product to carry one of the brand names will probably be Palm's first product for the new version of sister company PalmSource Inc.'s OS 5 PDA operating system. That device will be launched on Oct. 28, Bradley said in an interview with IDG News Service last week.

Palm, based in Milpitas, California, also announced the first Tungsten product Monday, the Tungsten Mobile Information Management Solution. This server-side software is an upgrade to Palm's existing Palm Wireless product, and allows for wireless access for e-mail and groupware, the company said. It will cost US$2,499 for a 25-seat license, Palm said.

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