The PalmPilots That Never Were

Over the years, Palm made some really cool products--and considered making some really weird ones.

Posted by  | Thursday, April 29, 2010

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When HP bought Palm on Wednesday, it got itself a powerful mobile operating system, two phones (plus whatever’s in the pipeline), numerous talented people, and a venerable brand. And it also scored fifteen years’ worth of mobile technology patents. Some of them resulted in iconic products. And some of them…well, didn’t. I’m sure Palm leveraged some of the ideas in the patents you’re about to see. But it also protected a bunch of concepts unlike anything that has ever carried the Palm name–so far.

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Slides: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

14 Comments For This Post

  1. FSX Says:

    I think #11 was actually built; I have one if I remember correctly.

  2. Anon Says:

    The slideshow layout is complete crap. Everything in all 11 “pages” (which exist only to increase advertising serving ratios) could have just as well been one single long page. And had it been one single long page it would have been more useful and I would have bothered to have read through the entire site. As it is, I’m leaving after page 1.

  3. Makea Says:

    I have # 11 in my hand right now. atached to my lifedrive. it was a real product

  4. LarrySDonald Says:

    The joypad would make more sense if you could just plain push the whole stylus into a depression and use it as a joystick rather then unscrewing it.

  5. eep Says:

    #5: “a Webcam-equipped, multimedia-enabled PDA that permitted for videoconferencing and WebEx-like online meetings. Neat–and probably a tad ahead of its time given that the patent dates to 2002, before the dawn of 3G broadband and modern smartphones. Even in 2010, I’m not sure if we have anything quite this ambitious.”

    How about the huge pile of smartphones that have a camera on the same face as the screen, for video conferencing? My Nokia has one. So did my last Nokia. I can (for example) pull up a PowerPoint presentation and watch it during the video conference, or have the web browser open and connect to a web-based conferencing system. Plenty of phones can do this. It’s actually a pretty good idea.

  6. Mike Says:

    I like split keyboards; they work well, either in fold-out form factors, or on tablets. One major problem with the iPad is that its on-screen keyboard is too large to thumb-type on. Splitting it into a left and right half on-screen keyboard would fix that.

  7. Denis Bergeron Says:

    #6, is from Isaac Asimov’s “End of eternity” novel.

  8. Ryan Says:

    I also had #11, worked quite well. I used it for taking notes in class–far more portable than any laptop of the day.

  9. Harry McCracken Says:

    I had and liked a Palm folding keyboard myself–they sold one based on the Stowaway, and then later their own design–but did they ever have one with a numeric keypad like that?

  10. Cosgrach Says:

    #9 is a wigi board.

  11. andy Says:

    #9 = digital Ouija board

  12. Greg Flores Says:

    I used to carry a Palm III C, and a Motorola Star-Tac phone, felt kind of like a member of the crew of the Enterprise. When palm first put the Palm OS on a clam shell style phone, (I don’t remember the name though) I wanted that phone so bad, but the phone never really took off.

    Then, they came out with the Treo. WOW! (I still have my 600, 700, & 755)
    I also have the IR version of the folding keyboard, and you’re right. Great for taking notes in class and sending text messages during lectures (never got caught), just had to turn off the speaker and the vibrate.

  13. Bailey Singh Says:

    Video Conferencing is really a very convenient and very fast way in keeping in touch with your business partners..:.

  14. dave Says:

    No 9 application unclear? Far as I recall, it's for communicating with the dead.

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