In the Palm of your hand

A rumour is circulating in business circles that the Chinese computer company Lenovo, which bought IBM’s personal and laptop computer business a few years ago, is about to acquire Palm, the makers of handheld devices. Although I haven’t used a Palm device since about 2004, I still feel a little sad that this innovating company is about to lose its separate identity. For me, like for many other people, the term ‘Palm Pilot’ is still synonymous with handheld computing, even though it has long lost its leading status in the market. In fact, Palm’s newer devices have no longer been called ‘Pilot’, and abandoning that label was probably a mistake in branding terms.

I remember my first Palm Pilot, which I bought in 1997. It’s still in my drawer, and I’ve just taken it out and had a look at it; and to be honest, from today’s perspective you’d wonder why I ever bought it. It was really just a handheld personal organiser which I couldn’t even sync because I had nothing on my computer to sync it with. I had to enter all the data manually, including the calendar. Its handwriting recognition software, thought of as revolutionary at the time, misread absolutely everything I wrote. So for example I can tell you that on this day, in 1998, I had a lunchtime meeting of the ‘Fallitg Enelntine’ – I think that was the ‘Faculty Executive’. I have no such interestingly named meetings now on my iPhone.

Time has moved on, and the stylus-powered approach of the Palm Pilot is no longer in vogue. Still, it was nice to have been part of that technology revolution at the time. So good luck, Palm, and I hope that something survives within Lenovo.

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3 Comments on “In the Palm of your hand”

  1. Jilly Says:

    I’m going to establish a Fallitg Enelntine Committee in my department right now. It’s what every forward-thinking university needs…

  2. kevin denny Says:

    Its an anagram of Fleeing Talent Nil . Clearly there had been concern in DCU at the time about a brain drain & Ferdinand had concluded it was a non-issue.
    Alternatively, a disgruntled worker was threatening arson by incinerating some cloth and it was decided to Let Flannel Ignite.
    Any takers on Felt genital linen?

  3. Philip Wolstenholme Says:

    I remember my Handspring Visor, a little different to my HTC Hero now – but it was what got me hooked on mobile/pocket computing.

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