The Palm brand is to make a return after TCL, the parent company of device maker Alcatel OneTouch, confirmed that it acquired the trademark from HP.
Palm, which initially produced PDAs, was one of the first companies to develop smartphones — in the form of its Treo line. It was acquired by HP for $1.2 billion in 2010.
However, HP was unable to make a success of the business, and sold Palm’s influential webOS operating system to LG early in 2013.
TCL said in a statement that it had acquired the rights to use the Palm brand and plans to create a new Palm company based in Silicon Valley. Adding that it would like input from Palm’s fanbase, TCL said it could be “the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry”.
Earlier this week, WebOS Nation cited documents filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office that reveal HP recently sold the Palm brand to Wide Progress Global, a ‘shelf company’ owned by Nicolas Zibell, president of Americas and Pacific for Alcatel One Touch and its Chinese parent company, TCL.
Another development linking the companies is that the palm.com website now redirects visitors to mynewpalm.com, which features the “smart move” slogan also used by Alcatel.
The move suggests that Alcatel could use Palm, which has strong brand recognition in the US and Europe, in the future. This would help Alcatel’s efforts to break into smartphone markets in which it doesn’t currently have a significant presence.
Any new Palm device under the Palm brand would be likely to use Android, Alcatel’s preferred operating system.
In December, Alcatel OneTouch’s parent TCL said it had seen “a new record sales volume of smart devices” in November 2014, with 5.1 million units shipped – representing year-on-year growth of 70 per cent.
The Chinese vendor also claimed that Alcatel OneTouch will be the first brand to introduce Firefox OS mobile devices into the African market, with launches slated for the first quarter of 2015.