What Does Palm Mean?

Palm, Inc. is an American technology company that specialized in the design and manufacture of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and similar electronic devices. It is most famous for producing the PalmPilot, which paved the way for the wide adoption of the PDA, the predecessor to the modern smartphone. Palm’s last major product releases were the Palm Pre and Pixi in 2009; both used WebOS which was the first multitasking OS for smartphones.


Palm was acquired by HP in 2010, and then by TCL Corporation in 2014.

Techopedia Explains Palm

Palm, Inc. was founded in 1992 by Jeff Hawkins who was later joined by Ed Colligan and Donna Dubinsky. The company started as a software developer for the contemporary generation of consumer PDAs, called the Zoomer. The Zoomer was manufactured by Casio for the Tandy Corporation, and Palm provided the personal information manager (PIM) software. The device was a commercial failure, but Palm continued to earn revenue by selling synchronization software for HP devices and it also provided handwriting recognition software, called Graffiti, for Apple Inc’s Newton MessagePad.

US Robotics acquired the company in 1995 and the PalmPilot 1000, priced at $299 and with 128K of memory and a monochrome display, was introduced to the mass market. Palm continued to manufacture and sell PDAs including the Pilot, Palm X, Zire and Tungsten lines as well as the Treo and Centro smartphone lines until it was overtaken by Apple in 2007 when the iPhone was released. In the same year and with multiple setbacks in its smartphone OS project, Palm eventually released the Pre and Pixi smartphones with the then-revolutionary Linux-based WebOS. However, the effort was too little too late, as the devices did not get mass market acceptance as they hoped, still being overshadowed by the iPhone and its App Store.

Palm was acquired by HP in June of 2010 and the company was slated to continue producing smartphones as well as slate PCs and netbooks. In February 2011 a new line of WebOS products were announced, but the move was revoked by HP that August, and it discontinued the production of WebOS devices.

HP sold the Palm trademark to a subsidiary of the TCL Corporation which markets the Alcatel OneTouch brand in October 2014.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…