PalmCentral.com GoPDA Press Release
New Design, Expanded User Features Unveiled for PalmCentral.com;
Expertise and Brand Awareness of Palm Site to be Leveraged Across Other Handheld Platforms
(Business Wire; 04/21/99)
CHICAGO (April 21) BUSINESS WIRE -April 21, 1999 -- GoPDA today unveiled a bold new design and expanded user features for its PalmCentral.com Web site -- one of the computer industry's leading portals for users and software developers of Palm-brand personal digital assistants (PDAs).
The new PalmCentral.com features a comprehensive redesign including an enhanced user interface, new content and an e-commerce engine that will allow users of Palm software to purchase and download applications.
PalmCentral.com is initiating an e-commerce business strategy for its expansive software catalog based on continued strong hardware and software growth and emerging vertical market applications for Palm-brand PDAs.
The announcement was made by GoPDA President and CEO Chad Roberts at the Chicago Mobile and PDA Expo, the industry's largest conference and trade show for vendors and users of so-called "Fourth Wave computing technology." Fourth Wave technologies include mobile, wireless, PDAs, portable handheld PCs and smart phones.
GoPDA, based in Fort Worth, Texas, recently completed a venture capital funding from a multi-billion dollar Texas investment firm to fuel its aggressive growth strategy. Ultimately, this network of sites will satisfy the needs of all PDA users, regardless of platform.
"Initially, we see ourselves as the one-stop source on the Internet for software and information dedicated to Palm users," Roberts said. "Ultimately, our goal is to create the definitive PDA destination -- with all hardware, all software, and all information for all PDA users."
PalmCentral.com is one of the top Web sites dedicated to Palm PDAs, having served more than 5 million visitors since its inception.
By investing the resources to build a world-class site and implementing an e-commerce strategy, PalmCentral.com believes there is enormous potential to increase traffic and revenues, and then extend the business model to other handheld computing devices through the GoPDA network of sites.
"We have been given a blank check," Roberts said. "The mandate I have been given is to spend whatever is necessary, as quickly as possible, to make the GoPDA network the biggest, most comprehensive destination on the Internet to find everything related to PDAs."
New Features and Capabilities
In redesigning the site, Roberts said that PalmCentral.com focused on expanding services to build current customer loyalty and attract new users. Software fulfillment and transaction processing, customization, site membership and user reviews are among the significant features.
With the redesign, PalmCentral.com manages the complete software distribution process and collects payment on behalf of the developer in exchange for a transaction fee. "PalmCentral.com now provides the best channel for the distribution of Palm software. Developers will get wide exposure for their products resulting in increased revenues for their efforts, while freeing up time to dedicate to programming," said Roberts.
Another new service allows users to become members of PalmCentral.com. Through powerful database technology, users can create a customized experience called "My PalmCentral," based on specified preferences. This will allow users to quickly see the information that is immediately relevant to them rather than a one-size-fits-all generic offering.
According to Roberts, users also can read or submit individual comments and reviews on available software products prior to purchasing them at PalmCentral.com. As the infrastructure develops, this content will be managed by the database and provide a rating system driven by user feedback.
To further establish relationships with the software development community, PalmCentral.com will soon incorporate targeted content and links such as development tools, tips from other developers, and source code. PalmCentral.com will also be working hand-in-hand with key developers to create new and useful software for the Palm, Roberts said.
"Users are constantly bombarding us with new ideas for software they need to make their lives better," he said. "We will team up with developers to make sure they have the necessary financial and marketing resources to make those products a reality."
Other new enhancements at the site include a more comprehensive bookstore, through which users can purchase PDA-related books; message boards to discuss PDA-related topics; and chat areas where PalmCentral.com will host regular discussions with members of the Palm community.
Roberts also said the company is exploring a partnership with a major fulfillment provider to dedicate a portion of the site to hardware and peripheral sales including Palm PDAs, designer cases and styluses and other accessories. Like the rest of the GoPDA concept, this will also be extended across other PDA platforms, he said.
"If you want it, we'll have it: hardware, software, information, and whatever else you need for your PDA. If we don't have it, it must not exist."
For more information, contact PalmCentral.com at www.palmcentral.com
Note to Editors: The following is a Backgrounder on the company's Business Strategy.
GoPDA's Business Strategy Focused on E-Commerce Company's One-Two Punch: Internet Growth, PDA Leadership
Business success in Fort Worth, Texas, historically has been derived from those things considered Texan -- banking, agriculture and livestock, and natural resources. But today's smart money is turning to two phenomena rooted in Silicon Valley -- techie gadgets and electronic commerce.
GoPDA, based in Fort Worth, intends to ride the so-called `Fourth Wave of Computing Technology' to an industry leadership position that combines the explosive growth of the Internet with the red-hot success of personal digital assistants (PDAs). Fourth Wave technologies include mobile, wireless, PDAs, portable handheld PCs and smart phones.
The GoPDA network of sites will eventually satisfy the needs of all PDA
users, regardless of platform, by offering a comprehensive selection of hardware, software, and information.
The company recently completed a venture capital funding from a multi-billion dollar Texas investment firm to fuel an aggressive growth strategy and solidify the position of its flagship site, PalmCentral.com, as a leading Internet community dedicated to software developers and users of Palm-brand PDAs.
The market for these devices is exploding, providing a substantial community for PalmCentral.com to serve. Demand for the latest Palm model -- the Palm V -- launched in early March of 1999, is already outstripping supply. Scott Lundstrom, vice president and service director for AMR Research, a leading industry and market analysis firm, says that PDA applications "are being developed at a furious pace by numerous new and established application vendors focusing on the expanding market."
According to International Data Corp., Palm computing products from 3Com Corp. control nearly 73 percent of the U.S. personal companion market. The IT research firm estimates that the total market for hand held computers will grow from 4.5 million units in 1998 to about 14.1 million units through 2002.
The strategy behind PalmCentral.com is simple, but sound: create value-added content and provide a service focused on common "communities of interest" to generate electronic revenues from the Internet. In this case, the service involves providing a site for independent and commercial software developers to provide applications that PDA users can download from the Web.
Palm owners get access to thousands of the latest software titles, coupled with the ease and convenience of on-line browsing and shopping, while software developers get wider exposure to their products and increased revenues. In return, PalmCentral.com gets a transaction fee for each application purchased.
Such e-commerce transactions are expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. In fact, a 1998 study of over 1,000 chief information officers by Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group predicted the electronic commerce market is poised to experience 300 percent overall growth in the next two years, as the Internet itself continues its explosive growth.
PalmCentral.com is one of the top Web sites dedicated to Palm aficionados, having served more than 5 million users. By investing the resources to build a world-class site and implementing their e-commerce strategy, PalmCentral.com believes there is enormous potential to increase traffic and revenues, and then extend the business model to other PDA platforms.
GoPDA's President and CEO Chad Roberts says that PalmCentral.com has broad appeal to both "power" and "casual" users. "Our ultimate goal is to build the definitive PDA destination -- with all hardware, all software and all information for all PDA users."
CONTACT: Cummings McGlone & Associates
Neil McGlone, 214/219-2909
KEYWORD: TEXAS ILLINOIS INDUSTRY KEYWORD: COMPUTERS/ELECTRONICS COMED TELECOMMUNICATIONS