Palm is being brought back from the dead.
Chinese electronics maker TCL, which spent considerable coin to rename Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, has acquired the rights to revive the once-dominant maker of digital personal organizers.
TCL said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that it will re-create Palm in Silicon Valley, after having purchased the brand’s assets from Hewlett-Packard late last year. HP had paid $1.2 billion to purchase Palm in 2010, but sold off the company’s webOS operating system to LG in 2013, leaving TCL with little other than nostalgia to work with.
“Palm has always carried a lot of affect and emotions,” TCL said in a statement. “That’s why TCL has set the direction to rebuild the brand involving Palm’s very own community, making it the largest scale crowdsourced project ever seen in the industry.”
The company will set up a new Palm Inc. in Silicon Valley. It also will back the development of new Palm products with 5,000 engineers and seven research and development centers around the world.
TCL, which is a substantial producer of electronics in China, with its line of TVs and mobile devices, is still relatively unknown in the U.S., although it’s looking to change that through high-profile placements in movies like “Iron Man III,” and naming-rights deals like the one in Hollywood.
It also owns the Alcatel OneTouch brand through which it produces lower priced smartphones Stateside. The new Palm products are likely to become the company’s more high-end line of mobile devices.
Palm was founded in 1992 and had various owners, including US Robotics and 3Com. Its devices essentially established the handheld market, especially among business execs, with the Treo and Pilot, and opened the door for rivals like BlackBerry to step in and take over.
Palm isn’t the only mobile brand trying to make a comeback.
Lenovo is trying to breathe new life into Motorola after buying it last year, with three new smartphones it will launch in China this year. The new Moto X rolls out in February.