A Chinese consumer electronics company has announced that it is "co-recreating" the storied but now defunct Palm brand. There is one problem, though. The company still doesn't know what to do with the new Palm.
The announcement was made by TCL, 25th largest maker of consumer electronics in the world, at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company has confirmed earlier reports that it has acquired full exclusive rights to use the Palm brand name, trademark, and logo from its previous owner, Hewlett-Packard, which purchased Palm in 2010 but ultimately abandoned all efforts to develop WebOS-based devices a couple of years later.
However, TCL has no detailed plans as to what it plans to do with Palm. Instead, the company is hoping that the technological community and Palm's nostalgic fan base, whose heartstrings get a tug at the thought of the Palm Pilot, Pixi and other devices, will think of something for TCL.
"Palm was an original pioneer and we want to keep it that way," said TCL George Guo in an interview with PhoneScoop. "We want to attract the people who have ideas on how to revive the brand in a meaningful way."
Guo said TCL is looking to crowdsource ideas on new Palm devices, operating systems and apps in an effort to create a new "Palm built by Palm fans." He himself is one of those fans, Guo said, which is why he is well aware of the full value of the legendary Palm brand.
"We are interested in the brand because we believe this brand has value," he said. "It was once a very strong brand and there are many fans of this brand around the world, including people at TCL."
It is not yet clear how TCL will carry out its plans to reach out to the community, but the company believes the revival of the beloved brand will be the "largest-scale crowdsourced project ever seen in the industry."
TCL also has not laid out its plans on how to work out Palm's relationship with Alcatel Onetouch, another smartphone company owned by TCL that is also planning to enter the American market.
One thing is clear, though. The new Palm will certainly not use the WebOS platform in its future devices. LG currently owns the rights to WebOS, which now runs on its lineup of smart televisions.
"We are open to all ideas, but probably not WebOS," Guo said.
TCL said the new Palm will be based in Silicon Valley, right in the very heart of America's technological hub, and will take advantage of the talent located in the area. In other words, TCL will be hiring American engineers and marketers to rebuild Palm while providing full support from its team of 5,000 engineers and a sizeable budget.