Posted tagged ‘handheld devices’

In the Palm of your hand

April 23, 2010

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.