Palm Inc., originally known as Palm Computing, was founded in 1992 by Jeff Hawkins. Together with Donna Dubinsky and Ed Colligan, the company researched and invented the original Palm Pilot. Pilot was one of the first and most successful PDA models, making the “Palm” name synonymous with PDAs and the world’s leading portable computing form factor for nearly a decade.
However, before the Palm Pilot, the company developed the Zoomer, which is marketed as the Casio Z-7000 and the Tandy Z-PDA. This initial attempt by Palm competed directly with the Apple Newton, which was viewed as more memorable but still failed. Zoomer is equipped with PalmPrint and PalmOrganizer, software based on an operating system developed by Geoworks. At the time, Palm considered itself a third-party developer and targeted customers like Apple and Microsoft with PDA products.
The center of attention was Palm’s Graffiti handwriting recognition software. This software is capable of reading handwriting very well, as long as the user accepts to learn the writing style of Graffiti. For example, write the letter “A” by removing the hyphen, like the reverse “V”. However, Palm is very confident about the system and claims to be able to achieve 100% accuracy once it learns to write.
Graffiti’s success resulted in Palm being acquired by US Robotics in September 1995 for $ 44 million.
A year after returning to the new owner, Palm launched Pilot. It is a simple PDA with four main functions: notes, contacts, calendar, and job list. The Pilot quickly dominated the PDA market with more than 1 million units sold in its first 1.5 years.
What’s so special about the Palm Pilot? This device is designed to fit comfortably in your hand and fit into a pocket of pants. Sound familiar? Obviously at that time, it was a revolutionary, a handheld device that users would carry with them wherever, wherever, more often. Pilot runs Palm OS 1.0 on Motorola 68328 CPU clocked at 16MHz. It has a 160×160 pixel monochrome touchscreen LCD, and the same Graffiti input area. The machine uses 2 AAA batteries.
Users can connect Pilot to PC with a special base and synchronize data. At $ 299, the Pilot 1000 is half the price of an Apple Newton, can hold 500 addresses and 600 meetings. The Pilot 5000 is an upgrade, costs $ 69 more, and has five times more internal memory.
Palm was sued by the Pilot Pen company for using the name “Pilot”. That is why the device was later called “PalmPilot”, and then the company decided to remove the Pilot mark on new models like the Palm III and Palm Tungsten.
US Robotic was acquired by 3Com in 1997 in a massive $ 6.6 billion equity deal, which was the second-largest merger in the tech industry at the time. However, the original Palm founders Hawkins, Dubinsky and Colligan were not happy with 3Com’s direction, so a year later left the company to found Handspring. Handspring’s PDA, the Visor, uses software that bought a license from Palm. And in a sudden turn of fate, Handspring re-entered … Palm a few years later.
Palm finally split up and kicked off an IPO in March 2000, with a share price more than twice as much as the first day of the interface. This makes Palm more valuable than General Motors, McDonalds, and even parent company 3Com. Unfortunately, Palm’s staggering stock price plummeted after the dot-com bubble burst, resulting in 90% of the company’s value in just over a year.
Between 1999 and 2006, it wasn’t always on the rose-strewn path, but Palm was always looking for an opportunity in an ever-growing handheld computing market and one The smartphone market is budding. Handspring has had success with Treo devices that support wireless connectivity, and Palm dramatically improved its line of devices before the two merged.
The PDA fight in the following years was fierce with names like HP, Sony, Compaq, Nokia, and Casio entering the market. Palm ahead with a large team of third-party developers up to 70,000 compared with just 200 developers on the Windows side. But that didn’t last long, and the company eventually gave up, launching its Windows Mobile device, the Palm Treo 700w. Although Palm still has PalmOS, but Treo 700w is a product for users who want the familiarity of Windows.
Of course, don’t forget another “giant” BlackBerry, a line of super-popular devices developed by Research In Motion (RIM) in Ontario, Canada. Palm did not stand still for rivals to overtake, and there was a time when someone wanted to buy a mobile device, they would just choose either Palm or BlackBerry. But that also didn’t last long.
In 2007, Apple launched the first iPhone, and the entire mobile device ecosystem faced a huge challenge, seen as “prehistoric creatures” when compared to the modern iPhone. In that year, the brain behind the iPod, Jon Rubinstein joined Palm and became CEO in 2009. The company decided to focus all of its efforts on smartphones in response to the iPhone blockbuster and Google’s Android threat. . At CES 2009, Palm introduced the Palm Pre, a smartphone running a brand new mobile operating system called webOS.
The Palm Pre is a pebble-like phone with a keyboard that slides out, and is the first smartphone to popularize wireless charging through the Touchstone charging dock. Unfortunately, the keyboard is not the best, and it was only sold at Sprint, which was the third largest wireless carrier in the US at the time.
On the plus side, many reviewers praised webOS’s revolutionary UI design. Many concepts pioneered by webOS, such as the tabbed multitasking interface and swipe gestures, were later brought to iOS and Android.
WebOS also allows users to combine multiple internet accounts into a single list to manage. This method also has the benefit of combining multiple messaging services into a single interface. Palm also allows users to enable developer mode by typing in the famous Konami code. The operating system is actually more open than Android, and many developer communities have quickly created many third-party app stores to support Palm’s official app store.
Unfortunately, the build quality prevented the Pre from succeeding, as many began to worry about the sliding keyboard mechanism, screen button conditions, and faulty headphone jacks. While the webOS user interface is truly revolutionary, the hardware below is slower than competing cell phones, particularly the iPhone. In the end, even though the Pre was Sprint’s fastest-selling smartphone, that sales weren’t enough to help Palm hit business targets. The company was eventually acquired by HP in 2010 for $ 1.2 billion.
Under the hands of HP, the webOS continued to be maintained and a few other Pre models were released. The Pre 2 seeks to fix the first generation’s finishing problems with Gorilla Glass. However, the Pre 2 configuration has only been slightly upgraded.
In a last-ditch effort to save webOS, HP announced the HP TouchPad, Veer, and Pre 3 (no longer using the Palm brand). The TouchPad was expected to compete with the Apple iPad 2, but sales were so poor that it was discontinued 49 days after its announcement. A quick sale helped TouchPad sales skyrocket in a short period of time, but that’s only because the price is already so low and developers have figured out how to install Android on the device. Just last year, an Android 9 Pie version was rolled out to the TouchPad, almost 10 years after its failed launch.
HP recognized the reality and discontinued all webOS products, including the Pre 3. In fact, the Pre 3 was never released in the US. HP sells webOS to LG, and the Korean electronics company still uses it on its smart TVs to this day. The Palm brand is now sold to TCL.
Palm no longer exists as an independent company, but its name is still used for a “companion” device (a companion device, used with another major device) released in late 2018. The device The device uses Android Oreo and is expected to be a second device people use instead of a smartwatch. This compact “Palm Phone” is about the size of a credit card and features a simple grid app icon interface that enhances its minimalistic nature.
It is not known whether TCL will decide to officially revive Palm or not. However, we still have to pay respect to one of the companies that once made a huge impact on the widely used smartphones today.