Early smartphone pioneer Palm is making a comeback — at least in name. Chinese multinational TCL Communication, which produces smartphones as the Alcatel OneTouch, recently announced it would relaunch the Palm brand as a U.S.-based company. TCL acquired the rights to the Palm name from Hewlett-Packard.
Although the name Palm will return, the original company won't be resurrected. The last remnants of the original Palm are distributed across LG, which now owns the webOS platform after purchasing it from HP. In January 2014, HP also sold off Palm's patent portfolio to Qualcomm.
HP acquired Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion after the handset maker struggled to compete against Android and iOS with webOS.
The impact on you at home: TCL says it plans to recreate Palm as a Silicon Valley-based company that will put a high price on innovation. It seems unlikely, however, that TCL would have Palm create its own smartphone platform — a strategy that was the original Palm's undoing. Based on what TCL does with the Alcatel OneTouch brand it's likely Palm is about to become another Android smartphone vendor. That's just speculation, however, as TCL has said nothing about its product plans.
When will we see it?
TCL isn't saying when the new Palm will open its doors or when the company will have its first device ready. The new Palm will have access to TCL's various assets around the globe, including its seven R&D centers, manufacturing facilities, supply chain, and the company's sales, marketing, and technical teams.
TCL says it also hopes to rebuild the Palm community as an effort to reignite the Palm brand. TCL CEO George Guo recently told Phone Scoop it will look to Palm fans for suggestions on new devices, operating systems, and apps.
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