“Palm” and “Smartphone Leadership” No Longer an Oxymoron
For Palm, the coming year won’t be an easy one. The company is still in hairy financial straits after posting an $85.4 million loss in its last quarter, and there’s much to be done to reinvigorate its brand, especially as competition in the…[sigh]…“superphone” market continues to heat up thanks to Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).
But according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky, Palm (PALM) is coming around and 2010 will be an inflection point for the company, which will thrive as it enlists more carriers worldwide to expand its installed base–carriers like Verizon (VZ) and France’s SFR, which both announced the addition of the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus to their handset lineups at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday.
AT&T (T) will be joining Verizon and SFR, although Palm seems to be a bit coy about this officially).
“Palm’s growing global distribution and developer momentum are a clear signal to us of Palm’s unique strengths and differentiation amidst competition, and bodes well for future Smartphone leadership,” Abramsky wrote in a note to clients today.
“While addressing awareness challenges,” the analyst added, these “significant carrier agreements and innovations are clear signposts towards Palm’s successful turnaround–which in our view investors should not dismiss.”
So, even though Palm’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 1.4 percent in the third quarter from 2.7 percent a year earlier, things are looking up. “While addressing near-term turnaround challenges (e.g. awareness), we foresee further upside for the shares as Palm’s product portfolio broadens, its install base expands, it gains scale and momentum–and investor concerns dissipate,” Abramsky concludes.
And if things shouldn’t quite pan out that way, Abramsky notes, there’s always this: “Palm also remains an attractive acquisition candidate.”