Palm Is Making A Smartphone Comeback

Palm Is Making A Smartphone Comeback
Image: Reuters

It’s taken a long while but it seems the Palm brand will be revived. After languishing for a few years, TCL plans to bring out a new range of Palm-branded devices. They’re already a player in the smartphone business, making devices for Alcatel and BlackBerry. Hopefully, tthe company can introduce a Palm that isn’t just a clone of every other smartphone on the market.

TCL announced at CES early this year that they were planning to bring the Palm brand back. The Palm rubber is expected to hit Smartphone Road in 2018.

The new devices won’t run PalmOS – that’s now owned by LG – and WebOS is stuck at HP. So it’s a fair bet these new Palm devices will run Android.

When Palm was big in the 1990s, they had very little competition. Psion was around and Microsoft was getting things going with Windows CE and the Pocket PC through partners like HP and Compaq. But the market is very different today.

Samsung and Apple lead the market with challengers like Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi coming up fast. Palms big opportunity probably lies in North America where those challenger brands are less known and the Palm brand probably still has some cachet. But whether TCL can create product that is differentiated from the market leaders remains to be seen.


  • At the risk of sounding overly pessimistic, this isn’t going to fly. And this coming from someone who owned quite a few Palm PDAs over the years.

    In the pre-smartphone era, yes, Palm was king. Mainly since they alone had all the killer features such as syncing, PIM integration into Office, and quick text entry. While they’ve been out of the market, everyone has not only caught up but overtaken. An analogy is BlackBerry, also once market leader due to unique features, but now battling oblivion.

    If launched as yet-another-mid-level-Android-phone, I can’t even see the nostalgia factor generating many sales. The market is already saturated and former Palm users have moved on. Their only hope would be to target some desirable uniqueness … for example, they could recreate the marathon battery life their PDAs were legendary for. Otherwise, cue a short honeymoon and back into obscurity.

    • i respectfully disagree.

      when microsoft bought out nokia, microsoft drove nokia into the ground with the failure of windows phone 8.

      now, nokia is making android phones and their revival is well under way. i don’t see why palm can’t do the same by using android to target the baby boomer generation and business orientated demographics.

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