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Goodbye Palm, It was Nice Knowing You



About 13 years ago I got my first Palm Pilot and it was magical. It could recognize my shorthand thanks to Graffiti, keep my contacts organized and schedule appointments. There was a seemingly endless supply of third party apps that could do things like turn my Palm Pilot into a universal remote control. I could beam my contacts and data to other Palm Pilot users. When my internship wrapped up and my boss gave me a Palm Pilot V I was in heaven.

My first real smartphone was the Palm Treo 650, which was ahead of its time. It had a Web browser, email, color display, SD card slot and a video camera. I took part of the day off of work to go to the Sprint store to get it the day it launched.

Palm fell on hard times as WebOS and the Palm Pre failed to catch on in a big way in the wake of the iPhone. And today, the Palm party appears to be officially over.

When HP acquired the struggling Palm Inc. last year, it was pretty clear it was after WebOS and not its brand equity. I was happy to see the Palm logo plastered on the side of HP’s IndyCar when I spent a weekend with the team. You see, Palm brings a long history of ultra-mobility credibility to HP.

With today’s unveiling of the HP TouchPad, it appears that the Palm brand is finally riding off into the sunset. While us geeks might appreciate having the Palm name emblazoned on WebOS products, most people probably dont have any emotional attachment to the brand. Many people were expecting HP’s slate to be named something like the PalmPad.

Visiting now leads to a completely HP branded site. Palm is only mentioned in tiny links at the bottom of the page. I’m guessing that we won’t see the Palm logo on any future gadgets, much less the HP IndyCar ever again. Thanks for the memories.



  1. John

    02/10/2011 at 3:45 am

    Had the same feelings when they bought EDS…

  2. Gary Harrison

    02/10/2011 at 4:06 am

    I still keep nursing my Tungsten T3 along, but the curtain is drawing closed. What a chapter in tech history.

  3. Gary Harrison

    02/10/2011 at 4:06 am

    I still keep nursing my Tungsten T3 along, but the curtain is drawing closed. What a chapter in tech history.

  4. Jim

    02/10/2011 at 7:52 am

    I still use my Treo 650 alongside my Nokia N97. It does everything way better than the Nokia except it doesn’t do web. OS is better, faster, and the UI is far superior. Although limited to 2GB and a much older processor it still out performs the N97. Goodbye Palm :-(

  5. Joe T.

    02/10/2011 at 11:34 am

    Wa-What? Three Sony Clie TH55s that won’t quit. Never any problems. Two Centros: the same, and was the last smartphone to not require a monthly data plan.

    Palm Advantages:
    – great PIMs. (But Android is getting Pimlical).
    – no cellphone data plan required(!): desktop sync or memory card backup. (But wi-fi on more phones, so cloud sync is free, if you can find a cellphone company that will allow voice only with a smartphone [possibly Virgin prepaid].)
    – great data entry solutions: graffiti, MessageEase, separate keyboards. (But Swype and built-in keyboards.)
    – Great contacts database. (Google contacts is still lagging.)

    OK, I guess the new tech is almost there. But not free because of the $30/mo. data plan required for the privilege of having a PDA/phone. I’m sticking with my Palms that won’t quit plus my lifetime Peek for e-mail, and pocketing that $30/mo.

  6. dstrauss

    02/10/2011 at 2:37 pm

    RIP old friend. Aother sad victim of the technology wars. Sometimes it is company stupidity; sometimes bad luck; sometimes just being the smallest fish in a really big pond. In Palm’s case, I think it was all three. They were the first real PDA; first real data communications device (remember the gadget that converted the Palm into a two way Motorola pager); first PDA cell phone (Treo 180); first color ultra-light flip semi-smart phone (Samsung 500 with Palm OS); first real smartphone (Treo 600); you get it, a lot of firsts but unable to hold the lead.

  7. Chrisphickie

    02/11/2011 at 3:18 pm

    My first TRS80, my first PC, my first Mac, my first Palm, my first Treo, my first TabletPC, my first Droid (still using the last 2)…and somewhere in there was my first St. Pauli Girl, too.

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