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TCL confirms plans to 'bring back' Palm – provided you tell it how

Firm seeks input on reviving former PDA king 'in a meaningful way'

CES 2015 Chinese electronics outfit TCL Communication Technology Holdings has confirmed that it is the new owner of the Palm trademarks and that it plans to revive the Palm brand as a new, US-based subsidiary.

"Palm brand has always been synonymous with innovation throughout its history," the company said in a canned press release on Tuesday. "As such it has consistently acted as a pioneer of mobile technologies. Now is the time to revive and bring back this pioneer spirit."

TCL already sells Android-based smartphones in various global markets under the Alcatel OneTouch brand. With the acquisition of the global Palm trademarks from HP, it now plans to offer Palm-branded phones as well, including in the US.

Just what those phones will look like, however, is not yet set. TCL said it is hoping to get input from the worldwide Palm enthusiast community, "making it the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry."

"Palm was an original pioneer and we want to keep it that way," TCL chief exec George Guo said at a small press conference at CES in Las Vegas. "We want to attract the people who have ideas on how to revive the brand in a meaningful way."

TCL added that it is committed to maintaining Palm as a US-based company and that the subsidiary would have offices in Silicon Valley, in order to take advantage of the talent and opportunities for partnership there.

The one option that sounds like it's off the table, however, is for TCL to manufacture phones that resemble the Palm devices of yore. Specifically, they almost certainly won't run webOS, Palm's latter-days operating system that was bought by LG in 2013 for use in its line of smart TVs.

"We are open to all ideas, but probably not webOS," Guo said.

Whatever it ends up doing with the Palm brand, however, TCL wants it to re-enter the market with a splash, even as it expands its capabilities in the areas of applications and cloud services.

"The objective goes far beyond proposing a more advanced device," TCL's presser enthused. "It is to deliver absolute breakthrough innovations in Technology, Design, User Experience, Eco-system, Marketing, Supply Chain, and Business Models."

As for the timeline for all of this groundbreaking innovation, TCL said it will let us know at a later date. ®

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