In a prepared statement released on Tuesday, Sony announced it will halt production of all Cliés in the U.S. for the remainder of this year. The company says it is taking this time to reevaluate the PDA market.
“Sony continues to view mobile devices as a key pillar to our core business strategy. Presently, Sony is reassessing the direction of the conventional PDA market, and will not introduce any new Clié handheld models in the U.S. this fall,” the statement said.
“Product development and sales continue for the Japanese market only. Sony is taking this time to examine the conventional PDA business and how it will transition into the future.”
Sony will continue to support existing warranties and sell the handhelds at least through the end of the year.
PalmSource, developer of the Palm OS, will be hit hard by the news. Without Sony playing in the U.S. market, PalmSources revenue is likely to drop substantially. Its main remaining business will likely come from PalmOne PDA devices.
The buzz around PDAs in general has been that they are a dying breed, so we werent completely taken aback by Sonys announcement. Mobile phones remain every popular because they now let you do much more than just make phone calls—for example, take pictures, send e-mail, message friends and coworkers, surf the Web, and listen to songs.
Voice is the new killer app, and this means theres less need for the traditional PDA. Perhaps Sony is answering the call and is preparing to take the Clié in a new direction. Time will tell.