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Changes Afoot For Airport Wireless

Airport Wireless says it will be making some significant changes in 2008, and part of that strategy will be transforming all Airport Wireless stores previously marketed under the Palm brand into Airport Wireless locations.

 “As of January 31, we are no longer exclusively co-branding with Palm Inc., says Iris Goldschmidt, co-chief executive officer and president of Airport Wireless. “We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial alliance with Palm over the past five years, but our expansion plans call for us to carry a wider array of products.”

“We still expect to carry Palm products, but we are going to add to that portfolio with products from companies like Nokia and RIM, as well as expand to more stores.”

Palm will be closing all of its retail locations except its headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

“Airport Wireless is a retailing expert, and our alliance with them has been great,” said Charlie Simpson, director of Palm Retail and Web Store for, Palm Inc.  “Their strategy going forward is to focus more on expanding their retail presence to a wider array of products, and our strategy is to focus more on delivering great mobile products and less on driving a retail presence.  This change should be good for both companies.”

As part of the transition, customers will see wider selections of wireless products and accessories in Airport Wireless stores. The company has begun to work with brands such as Nokia and BlackBerry, and will still stock Palm-compatible accessories. It is also talking to Palm about maintaining the manufacturer’s devices in the stores.

Airport Wireless owns and operates 31 retail locations in major airports nationwide, and plans to add 19 more in the coming 18 months.

Many of the locations will be similar to the company’s latest concept, Techshowcase, which was launched at Oakland International (OAK) in December and allows travelers to test out new technology devices while at the airport.