The Palm brand has had a tumultuous journey from its days as the pre-eminent name in smartphones - the company was acquired by HP in April 2010, but the webOS division was shut down just about an year later. In 2013, LG bought the webOS technology from HP, and it was rumoured last week that HP might sell the Palm brand as well, to TCL, the parent company of Alcatel One Touch.
Now, a report says that TCL CEO George Guo has confirmed this development, and said that company will revive the Palm brand.
"We are interested in the brand because we believe the brand has value," said TCL CEO George Guo. "It was once a very strong brand and there are many fans of this brand around the world, including people at TCL."
Interestingly, while TCL wants to bring the Palm brand back to the market, it appears that the company wants much of the research and development to be crowd-sourced from the tech community.
"Palm was an original pioneer and we want to keep it that way. We want to attract the people who have ideas on how to revive the brand in a meaningful way." Guo shot down the idea of using webOS, which is owned by LG, and ran on the Palm Pre, Pixi, and other phones. "We are open to all ideas, but probably not webOS," said Guo. "Palm built by Palm fans is the intent."
Since webOS was sold to LG, the new Palm phones would require a different operating system, and Android seems to be the most likely option - this would mean that TCL would have both Alcatel and Palm Android phones, and it would be interesting to see how the company will segment and differentiate the two brands.
Many companies are starting to have multiple brands though - for example, Lenovo will be creating a second brand to counter Xiaomi, and Micromax has a separate brand for Cyanogen, called Yu, which launched its first phone the Yu Yureka recently.
What's perhaps more concerning is the fact that TCL does not have a clear plan in mind for the once great brand - something that sounds all too familiar if you've followed the fall of Palm.