The designers had not only captured the elegant essence of a beautiful form, but recognized that a total repositioning of the product and the features were necessary to save the category
Walter Herbst, IDSA, CEO, Herbst LaZar Bell (HLB)
Zire handheld computer from palmOne Inc
Credit: NewDealDesign LLC; palmOne, Inc.
Client: palmOne, Inc.
With its friendly appearance and $99 price tag, the Zire defined a new era in handheld computing, attracting a huge number of first-time buyers across all demographics: from students to soccer moms to seniors. Smaller and lighter than previous products, the Zire combined the innovation and high quality of palmOne technology with a contemporary look and feel that appealed to a large audience. The design took the PDA out of the business context and made it appropriate for the home/leisure environment creating a new product category: the consumer PDA. First-time handheld buyers made up over 70 percent of the customer base and, by 2004, more than 50 percent of Zire sales were to women, a previously minimally tapped market. Ultimately, the success of the Zire would be instrumental in changing public perception of handhelds from business tools to personal accessories. The design was honored with a Gold award in the 2003 IDEA competition.
The Zire sold more than 1 million units in its first 7 months, making it the fastest-selling PDA ever. By April 2004, the Zire sub-branded family of products had surpassed 3 million units. The Zire also expanded the company’s reach into international distribution channels, leading European sales during the Christmas season of 2002 with 16 percent of the overall PDA market in Latin America.