The Engadget Guide to How Palm Became Palm Again

Palm logo

Dammit, we knew that getting the palmOne logo tattooed on our asses was going to be a huge mistake: palmOne officially changed its name (back) to Palm, Inc. today, capping thirteen years of name changes, acquisitions, spinoffs, splinterings, and mergers for the Palm brand. Since you can hardly be expected to keep track of all the twists and turns of the saga that is Palm, we've thrown together this little timeline of events that should hopefully help you keep track of who is who now.

- Palm Computing founded by Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky.

1993 - Palm Computing's software turns up on the Zoomer, a $700 handheld made by Casio and sold at Radio Shack that didn't do so well, which is why you've probably never heard of it.

1995 - Palm Computing is acquired by U.S. Robotics.

Palm Pilot 5000

March 1996

- Palm Computing introduces its first successful handheld, the Pilot 1000, which (originally) sports a whopping 128KB of RAM. The Pilot 5000 (pictured at right) follows soon after.

May 1997 - 3Com buys U.S. Robotics, discovers that they?ve also purchased Palm Computing.

September 1997 - Pilot Pen sues Palm Computing over the use of the name ?Pilot? in its products.

December 1997 - Palm Computing decides to start licensing the Palm OS to other manufacturers. IBM?s WorkPad becomes the first manufacturer besides Palm to introduce a Palm-powered handheld.

Palm Cpmputing

March 1998

- 3Com/Palm Computing sue Microsoft for its proposed use of the name ?PalmPC?. Settlement allows Microsoft to use the term ?Palm-sized PC?. They eventually go with ?Pocket PC?.

Qualcomm pdQ

June 1998 - Here?s where it starts to get hairy: Dissatisfied with the new direction 3Com has taken Palm, original founders Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, along with Ed Colligan, leave to launch Handspring.

September 1998 - Palm licenses the Palm OS to Handspring.

June 1999 - Qualcomm introduces the pdQ (pictured at right), the first Palm-powered cellphone. It disappears pretty damn quick.

September 1999 - 3Com announces that they?re spinning Palm Computing off into its own separate company.

September 14, 1999 - Handspring introduces its first handheld, the Handspring Visor Solo.

Novemeber 1999 - Sony announces that it has licensed the Palm OS.

March 2000 - Palm Computing goes public as Palm, Inc.

August 2000 - Sony introduces its first Palm-powered handheld, the Clie.

June 2001 - Palm, Inc. creates a new subsidiary for its hardware business called Palm Solutions.

Handsprint Treo 180

July 2001 - Palm, Inc. announces plans to create a subsidiary for the Palm OS.

October 2001 - Handspring introduces the Treo 180 (pictured at right), its first smartphone.

March 2002 - Palm, Inc. announces that their new OS subsidiary will be known as PalmSource (Trivia: PalmSource was originally the name of the Palm OS developers conference).

August 2002 - Just like how old people start sleeping in separate beds, PalmSource and Palm Solutions move to separate campuses.

October 2002 - Palm, Inc. introduces the Tungsten T, their first Palm running on Palm OS 5.

October 2002 - Sony invests $20 million in PalmSource.

palmOne logo

June 2003 - Palm, Inc. announces plans to acquire Handspring, the company founded by the original founders of Palm, and spin off PalmSource as a separate company which will develop the Palm operating system.

August 2003 - Palm, Inc. announces that after spinning off PalmSource and acquiring Handspring, the newly combined company will be known as palmOne.

October 2003 - Palm, Inc. shareholders formally vote to spin off PalmSource and acquire Handspring.

May 2004 - Sony announces that it will no longer sell Palm OS-based handhelds outside of Japan.

December 2004 - PalmSource acquires China MobileSoft and begins porting the Palm OS to Linux.

new Palm logo

May 2005

- palmOne drops $26.7 million to acquire sole rights to the Palm brand name from PalmSource.

July 14th, 2005 - The circle of life is completed when palmOne officially becomes Palm, Inc. again.