HP sells Palm trademarks

Palm logoPalm, the legendary smartphone and PDA company, might seem dead and gone, but it's now looking like the name "Palm" will rise again as a zombie brand. For a quick refresher: HP bought Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010. HP killed the Palm brand after about a year of ownership and stopped making WebOS devices entirely about a year-and-a-half after the acquisition. Since then, Palm has been pretty dead.

Lately, though, the brand has started to stir. The diehards over at WebOS Nation have been keeping a close eye on Palm.com, which recently stopped redirecting nostalgic visitors to hpwebos.com and started sending people to mynewpalm.com. The page shows a looping video of a Palm logo along with the text "Coming Soon" and "Smart Move."

No one was sure who was behind the site resuscitation until this document was found, which shows the transfer of the Palm trademark from Palm, Inc (still a subsidiary of HP) to a company called Wide Progress Global Limited. Wide Progress Global Limited doesn't seem to be a company with any kind of real purpose—it's just a shell meant to hide the true buyer. The person signing the paperwork for Wide Progress Global Limited is Nicolas Zibell, who also just happens to hold the title "President Americas and Pacific" at Alcatel One Touch. Couple that with the fact that the "Smart Move"—the text that appears on the new Palm site—is Alcatel One Touch's slogan, and it's pretty clear that Alcatel One Touch bought the Palm brand.

Alcatel One Touch is a smartphone brand owned by TCL Corporation, a Chinese firm that ranks as the 25th-largest consumer electronics manufacturer and the third-largest producer of TVs, after Samsung and LG. The company doesn't have a huge presence in America; believing that doing business under a known US brand might make entering the market a little easier, like Lenovo's strategy of buying Motorola. We've yet to hear anything about Alcatel One Touch or TCL actually doing anything with the Palm brand, but that would presumably be the next step. We doubt the brand is changing hands for no reason.

As for what an Alcatel/Palm device might look like: the company's current smartphone lineup is a bunch of low- to mid-range Android devices, and for the most part they still have menu buttons. If the company does make use of the Palm brand, hopefully it uses it on something a little nicer than the current lineup.

CES is in a few days, and TCL usually has a huge presence. We'll keep our eyes peeled.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: HP, Palm

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