updated 05:15 pm EDT, Thu March 20, 2008
Intel Celeron M Spring
Palm had the single strongest quarter ever of phone sales in its company history, the company said on Thursday afternoon. Over 833,000 phones were sold by the California designer in its February quarter, which represented a full 13 percent boost over the same period a year before. The company attributed this primarily to the success of the Centro, which launched with Sprint late last year as well as AT&T in February and is widely believed to have brought in more users with a lower $99 price and a more home-oriented focus than the more professional but struggling Treo line.
The budget smartphone had the "strongest start" of any one Palm device in the company's history, according to a statement by Palm chief Ed Colligan. The company founder also pointed out that about 70 percent of Centro buyers were new to smartphones as a whole, though he did not mention how many were converts from non-Palm devices.
In spite of the success, the company nonetheless posted a significant loss for the period. The company changed from a net gain of $11.8 million for the same time in 2007 to a $31.5 million loss in 2008. The company attributed about $21.9 million of this to various factors including restructuring charges and stock expenses.
The mixed results suggest a partial turnaround at the company, which has lost marketshare in the US to Apple, Research in Motion, and other predominantly American smartphone makers that compete more directly with Palm. The company recently hired on former Apple executive Jon Rubenstein to reorganize Palm's business and help revitalize its products. The iPod co-creator is believed to have had a significant influence on the Centro and is helping to rework the Treo line for an update within the next year.