What. Is. Happening?
Two weeks ago we found out that palm.com was redirecting to mynewpalm.com. It was weird to see activity on the old domain after so many years of silence, and now thanks to a heads-up from @LuneOSfans we've seen another update: the orange globe palm logo.
There was plenty of speculation about what was going on here, with nothing really concrete. The domain was registered by the same company that registered by the same company that managed the registration for gr.am. But what was going on with the Palm redirect? Perhaps somebody had purchased the Palm name and was setting it up for their new ocean-view condominiums or something.
But now if you visit, you get a Palm logo with the cycling text underneath of "Coming soon" and "Smart move" (set in the Copperplate font, so sorry about that). It's a repeating mp4 video (here's the file) and nothing more right now (there's nothing hiding in the source that we can see).
It's worth noting that this is the second-to-last Palm logo. They dropped the circular orange background and went with just the angular wordmark from inside well before the HP purchase. But maybe that old logo's being used for nostalgia's sake, to tug at our heartstrings.
Either way. What. The. Hell?
Now we finally know why Alcatel Onetouch bought the trademarks to the Palm brand. As announced at CES 2015 by TCL, a Chinese company known to some as Alcatel and others as RCA, the Palm brand will form a subsidiary that will sell devices under the Palm name in the U.S. Naturally, it would seem this […]
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As rumored last week TCL, the parent company behind Alcatel Onetouch, has announced that it is to resurrect the Palm brand and that will remain a truly Californian, Silicon Valley, based company.
TCL Communication is a Chinese electronics giant that makes a variety of products including smartphones (under the Alcatel Onetouch brand) and TVs. Actually TCL is the third largest TV manufacturer in the world after Samsung and LG. TCL has acquired the Palm brand, as well as all the trademarks and logos, from HP and it now plans to revive the name that has long been associated with innovation and a pioneering spirit, especially in the early days of mobile tech.
The largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry.
However there is a catch, actually quite a good one. TCL doesn’t just want to re-badge its Alcatel Onetouch phones and start churning out Palm devices. TCL wants to rebuild the brand and hopefully capture some of its former glory. To do that TCL has decided that the Palm community should play a key role in the re-building of the brand. As TCL puts it, to make it “the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry.”
TCL aren’t just looking for ideas about the next Palm device, but rather to find new ways to “deliver absolute breakthrough innovations in Technology, Design, User Experience, Eco-system, Marketing, Supply Chain, and Business Models.”
In whatever form Palm is revived, TCL is confident that it will get the very best support that the company can offer, including access to TCL’s 5000 engineers from its 7 R&D centers around the world, and the use of its mobile devices manufacturing facility.
The Palm brand has had a rough time ever since the failing company was bought by HP in 2010. Following the disastrous reception of the HP TouchPad (which used Palm’s WebOS), HP cancelled all of its Palm and WebOS products. Then in 2013 HP sold its WebOS team, along with a license to the WebOS source code and underlying patents, to LG Electronics for use in its Smart TVs.
Now that TCL has bought the brand rights it looks like we could once again see Palm devices for sale. Is that something you would like to see? Please let me know in the comments section below.
The company that was acquired by HP in 2010 and put to rest the following year will return. Following the purchase of Palm-related trademarks, TCL announced today that a new Palm Inc. will be stationed in Silicon Valley. The location shows how serious TCL is about reviving Palm, saying that it is time to “revive and bring back this pioneer spirit.” Palm will be able to take advantage of TCL’s assets outside of Silicon Valley. Primarily, TCL will offer access to its 5,000 engineers and seven research and development centers located around the world.
We do not know when the first Palm device will be released, but what we do know is that its parent company is fully committed to ensuring its success.
Hit the break for the full press release.
TCL Communication co-(re)creates Palm
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – 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.
To do so, TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (“TCL Communication” or the “Company” which, together with its subsidiaries, is referred to as the “Group”; HKSE stock code: 02618) is very proud to announce that it will create a new Palm Inc., a US-based company that will take ownership of the Palm brand. New Palm Inc. will remain a truly Californian, Silicon Valley, based company leveraging on the talents and partnerships of the area.
Palm has always carried a lot of affect and emotions. That’s why TCL has set the direction to rebuild the brand involving Palm‘s very own community, making it the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry.
The objective goes far beyond proposing a more advanced device. It is to deliver absolute breakthrough innovations in Technology, Design, User Experience, Eco-system, Marketing, Supply Chain, and Business Models.
Palm will be fully supported by the various assets of TCL Communication:
- A best in class R&D organization, rich with 5000 engineers across 7 R&D centers around the globe
- The most modern and efficient mobile devices manufacturing facility
- A top level quality record recognized by the global tier 1 carriers and retailers around the world
- A cutting-edge supply chain ready for the flexibility required by the market today
- A global network already serving more than 170 countries and the most demanding customers of the industry with local Sales, Marketing and Technical teams
The exact timeline of the roll-out of the Palm project will be communicated at a later date.
TCL Communication, the 5th largest global handsets vendor, is operating globally under the ALCATEL ONETOUCH brand and TCL brand. It has already reached breakthrough positions, in multiple regions of the world.
During the past 3 years, TCL Communication has evolved from a leading position in feature phones to a top player in Smart Devices with a comprehensive portfolio of Smartphones, Tablets, IoT, Wearables, Mobile Routers. Today the company is adding new dimensions to its legacy hardware capabilities, turning itself into a true mobile Internet player with applications and cloud services in areas such as health care, education, smart home, video conferencing, music, etc.
About TCL Communication
TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (“TCL Communication” or the “Company”; HKSE stock code: 02618) together with its subsidiaries (collectively the “Group”) designs, manufactures and markets an expanding portfolio of mobile and internet products worldwide under two key brands — ALCATEL ONETOUCH and TCL. The Group’s portfolio of products is currently sold in China and over 170 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, TCL Communication operates its highly efficient manufacturing plant and R&D centers in various provinces of the PRC. It employs over 16,000 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and overseas.
TCL Communication is one of the few companies in Hong Kong or mainland Chinawho owns or licenses 2G, 2.5G, 2.75G, 3G and 4G-patented technologies. It is also able to independently develop products and solutions for the GSM, GPRS, EDGE, CDMA, WCDMA, TDSCDMA and LTE. For more information, please visit its website at http://tclcom.tcl.com
Come comment on this article: TCL revives Palm, new company will be stationed in Silicon Valley
TCL is resurrecting the Palm brand with a brand-new Palm, Inc. based in California. As we reported last week, TCL purchased the Palm brand from HP late last year, although at the time it wasn't clear what the company had planned. It's not at all clear what TCL intends to do with the Palm brand, although they seem to recognize the history that the brand carries.
Palm has always carried a lot of affect and emotions. That's why TCL has set the direction to rebuild the brand involving Palm's very own community, making it the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry.
Where TCL's Alcatel Onetouch has long produced entry-level and mid-tier smartphones, and it seems that TCL wants Palm to be a division that produces "a more-advanced device", with "breakthrough innovations" across the hardware, software, and even sales models.
TCL's full weight will be behind Palm, touting 5000 engineers and 7 research-and-development centers around the world. When we'll see more from TCL and Palm isn't clear, but we do one thing: Palm is coming back.
The story of Palm is a twisted one, with Palm being founded as an independent company in 1992, being bought by US Robotics in 1995, and then 3Com in 1996, being spun off in 2000, split in half in 2002 and renamed PalmOne, merged with Handspring in 2003, rebranding as Palm, launching webOS in 2009, selling to HP in 2010, getting canceled in 2011, webOS getting open sourced in 2012, and the remnants of the Palm company (minus the branding) being sold to LG in 2013. It's rare that a company receives a second life as Palm did, and rarer still to be revived after being left for dead.
Regardless, the Palm brand carries a lot of emotion for many, so it's good to see it coming back and we hope TCL produces a phone that's worthy of the name Palm.
There was a time when the Palm brand name was all the rage in the tech space. I actually owned a Palm Pilot, one of the best touch personal organizers of the time, but being 13 years old, the only thing I really cared about organizing was my hair. It was the world’s first look […]
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Oh how I remember dropping by my local CompUSA in the 90s to buy the first Palm Pilot. Now after the brand (and WebOS) has been killed by HP, it just might be coming back from the dead.
It appears Alcatel Onetouch has bought the Palm trademarks from HP by means of a shell corporation called Wide Progress Global Limited. The transfer of the trademarks was signed by the President of the Americas and Pacific of Alcatel Onetouch.
What exactly is Alcatel OneTouch planning? We have no idea, but it’s like they will launch a phone under the Palm brand sometime next year. Alcatel does make a lot of Android phones, but they aren’t a household name. The Palm brand might not help the Alcatel brand per se, but it could very well jump start their sales. We will have to keep an eye on this one.
Come comment on this article: A Palm smartphone running Android? It could happen in 2015
We've been wondering for a while what is up with Palm.com domain, and it's looking more and more certain that HP sold the brand and trademarks to Alcatel Onetouch. The first hints of this came from the teaser when the website started redirecting to mynewpalm.com, with a looping video of the Palm logo with the text "coming soon" and "smart move" beneath. "Smart move," as it would be, is the slogan of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Alcatel Onetouch (a brand of Chinese electronics firm TCL). That's not exactly a lot to go off of though, but it was enough to raise suspicions.
That's where webOS Nation Forum member Ederic Eder comes into play. He did a bit of diging and found that on October 31st Palm, Inc (still technically a subsidiary of HP) transferred ownership of the Palm name, trademarks, and logos to Wide Progress Global Limited.
The transfer was executed on the Palm side by Rishi Varma (HP SVP Deputy General Counsel) and Wide Progress Global Limited was represented by Nicolas Zibell. We wouldn't expect either of those names, nor Wide Progress Global Limited to be familiar to you. It doesn't take much research to find that Wide Progress Global Limited is what's called a "shelf company", a corporate entity that's created and the tucked away for the day somebody needs to do something without exposing who's really behind that something. It's different than a shell company in that it was created with no intended purpose — it's "put on a shelf" until it's needed. A quick search revealed that the Palm trademarks are the only trademarks currently held by Wide Progress Global Limited.
Nicolas Zibell is, according to the trademark transfer, a VP at Wide Progress Global Limited. But that's nothing — Nicolas Zibell is also President, Americas and Pacific, of Alcatel Onetouch and TCL. Alcatel Onetouch isn't a huge brand, though they have sold well over 300 million handsets. The company's strongest positions are in Asia, with very little presence or brand recognition in the US.
So we have HP transferring the Palm trademarks to a shelf company that just so happens to be led by the same guy who is in charge of Alcatel Onetouch America. Interesting, no?
We reached out to Alcatel Onetouch and Nicolas Zibell directly, both neither have responded to our requests for comment.
If we assume that the trail of crumbs to this point is correct (and we see very little reason to assume otherwise), then the real question is this: what is Alcatel Onetouch going to do with the Palm brand?
There are a couple of approaches to consider. The most basic is that Alcatel Onetouch has in the past produced phones with a model name of Palm, and they just are working to protect their own branding. Though why that would necessitate a shelf company transfer maneuver, we couldn't tell you.
The more intriguing option is that Alcatel Onetouch plans to use the Palm brand going forward, either as part of a line of phones, or as their own brand. While an Alcatel Onetouch Palm line of smartphones seems like a reasonable proposition, Alcatel Onetouch America rebranding as Palm (or perhaps even all of Alcatel Onetouch) would be a very interesting move.
Like we said, Alcatel Onetouch has very little brand recognition in the US, while the Palm name has significant recognition and customer goodwill. What was probably a few million dollars to buy the Palm trademarks (perhaps several million, though we have no way of knowing right now) brings instant brand recognition that would cost far more in advertising dollars. Of course, Alcatel Onetouch as Palm would still have to follow up with an advertising campaign for "The new Palm" (see the new URL at play there, eh?) as well as delivering quality products.
The most impressive smartphone that Alcatel Onetouch offers right now is the Fierce 2 on T-Mobile. It's a rather unimpressive slate-style Android 4.4-running smartphone with a 5-inch 540×960 display (220ppi — the HP Pre 3 of 2011 had a pixel density of 260), octa-core Samsung Exynos 5 processor, 5MP rear camera, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB internal storage. It doesn't even have LTE. It's primary redeeming factor is its price, at just $126 off contract on T-Mobile (or just $50 on MetroPCS)
Palm was something truly impressive. They pioneered the PDA and the smartphone. Palm webOS revolutionized the way we approached multitouch user interfaces so thoroughly that you can pick up literally any smartphone made in the past few years and find something that was lifted from webOS.
Alcatel Onetouch has carved out out a comfortable little niche for itself serving the lower end of the smartphone market. We hope that if they're truly planning to go full bore with the Palm brand that they start producing hardware that's worthy of the name.
Most fans of smartphones would say that Palm’s popular webOS software died much too soon. In 2010 after HP bought webOS, they killed it off and allowed it to (slightly) live on as an open OS called Open webOS. Following the launch of Open webOS, LG acquired the operating system, but only the websites, documentation, source code and team behind the client side of webOS. After the LG acquisition almost two years ago, we haven’t really heard much of the operating system aside from a few rumors of LG bringing it to a smartwatch and the TV. We may be hearing much more about it in the future, though, thanks to some recent reports uncovered from the USPTO. According to webOS Nation, it seems as though Alcatel Onetouch, and Android device manufacturer, (sort of) purchased the brand as well as all trademarks and logos from HP earlier this year.
The documents that have been uncovered from the United States Patent and Trademark Office show that the brand and all trademarks and logos have been transferred to a “shelf company” called Wide Progress Global Limited. A ‘shelf company’ is a legitimate company that’s inactive, meant for people who need a quick jump on starting a business. So, how does this relate to Alcatel Onetouch? The vice president of the shelf company is Nicolas Zibell, who is also the President, Americas and Pacific, of Alcatel Onetouch and TCL. So, the President of Alcatel Onetouch transfers Palm’s brand, trademarks, and logos to a shelf company that he’s also the VP of. There aren’t too many reasons why transferring the remainder of Palm to a shelf company would be warranted, unless Alcatel Onetouch is planning on resurrecting the brand.
Alcatel Onetouch has released devices in the past named Palm, so this could be a giant ploy to protect themselves from legal issues. Though, there wouldn’t be much reason to transfer it all to a shelf company, just to avoid getting sued. The only other valid reason this is happening is because the company is actually going to do something with the brand. Now remember, we haven’t heard official word that Alcatel Onetouch is bringing back Palm, but it seems as though that’s the only reasoning behind all of this trouble.
Alcatel Onetouch isn’t the most prominent brand out there, especially in the United States. They offer a few lower-end phones, though the entirety of their smartphone line is very low-cost. Only time will tell whether or not Alcatel Onetouch will actually do something with the Palm brand, but right now, it seems pretty likely.
Still hauling that Palm Pre around without a care in the world? Sorry to say but there’s a nasty surprise coming your way just after the holidays. HP has quietly announced that it’ll pull the plug on the catalog and cloud services that support webOS devices from January 15th of next year. That doesn’t mean that your hardware will shut down, but living with the gear is going to get considerably harder. Firstly, you won’t be able to purchase, download and restore apps, and you won’t be able to restore your phone from a backup either. Setting up a new device has also gone the way of all things, and if you lose your password, you won’t be getting it back. This is probably the excuse you need to buy a new phone, but don’t worry, because as long as we remember webOS in our hearts, it’ll never truly die, okay?