Remember PalmPilot? China's TCL buys Palm brand to crowdsource a comeback

Palm: the original PalmPilot personal digital assistant
Palm: the original PalmPilot personal digital assistant

Chinese company TCL Communication has acquired the trademarks for legacy mobile brand Palm, and announced plans to revive the company as a US-based subsidiary.

TCL already operates the Alcatel OneTouch brand, selling affordable smartphones, tablets and wearables running on Android.

Now it plans to sell Palm-branded smartphones, though it is not clear what the new devices will look like, how much they will cost or when they might launch.

For now, the company is looking for input from existing Palm enthusiasts in what it described as the "largest-scale crowdsourced project" in mobile. It has also launched the My New Palm website, displaying the original Palm logo.

The Palm brand has always been synonymous with innovation throughout its history.

In a statement, TCL said: "The Palm brand has always been synonymous with innovation throughout its history.

"As such it has consistently acted as a pioneer of mobile technologies. Now is the time to revive and bring back this pioneer spirit."

TCL will base the subsidiary in Silicon Valley in order to take advantage of local talent and forge partnerships with other tech firms.

Palm was predominantly known in the late 1990s for its personal assistant devices, such as the PalmPilot, which didn’t offer voice calls, but did have basic internet connectivity. The company managed a successful transition into smartphones in the early 2000s, but was eventually crushed by poor decisions about software and the arrival of Apple’s iPhone in 2007.

HP bought the brand in 2010, vowing to return Palm to glory, but sold off an internal software team in 2013, and the Palm IP and trademarks at the end of last year.

Read Marketing's 1997 review of the PalmPilot Professional.

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