"Orange like Palm phones best in Europe" - PalmOne boss

by Guy Kewney | posted on 04 November 2004

It's email which means that people who own Treo smartphones spend more on data traffic than anybody else, says PalmOne. No, that's not just American statistics: it's Orange, in Europe, where people actually pay for data on a per-meg basis, says President Ed Colligan.

Guy Kewney

The difference, said Colligan, is ease of use. "The killer application, which has to be foolproof to succeed, is email."

Colligan was talking to analysts today about his push, next year, into Europe with the new Treo 650 phone, which is already shipping in the North American markets.

"The important question is one people rarely ask," said Colligan. "People say that smartphone users spend more on data than ordinary phone users - well duh! that's because they're high data users. The question that matters is: which smartphone device generates the most revenue for the carrier? and according to Orange, it's the Treo."

Consultant Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis said the normal survey failed to show this data. "I've seen a lot of ARPU figures - average revenue per user - which show that this or that smartphone generates more traffic, but they only rarely show whether this is caused by the device. Mostly, it's just a high-data user."

<1/> Colligan in London today

He said that the question which matters is what a give user will spend on GPRS data in a month with a Microsoft Windows Mobile smartphone, compared with one based on Symbian, or one based on PalmOS.

Colligan said that this was exactly the information PalmOne had asked Orange for. "We wanted to know how Treo owners compared with SPV owners or Symbian smartphone users, in terms of data - and they confirmed that Treo phones generate more income, from the same users. That is, if you switch these users from an SPV to a Treo, they spend 27% more on data."

Usability and email was the key, said Colligan. "With VersaMail, now built into the Treo 650, we've done all the work. We've got the settings for every major ISP around the world. You don't have to know your SMTP settings; just your user-name and password, and the name of your ISP - and then you can collect POP3 or IMAP email from anywhere in the world."

Another key to future revenue and sales expansion in email was Exchange, he said. "We now have the ability to synchronise your email with the corporate Exchange mail server, from anywhere. The important thing is the ease of setup for the IT department. Again, ease of use means that we can let the IT people create a remote access link just by saying 'yes' to the question 'Can this person have remote mail?' and the user can set up by knowing the name of the server."

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