Palm, Inc. A company taken for granted with countless proofs of its worth to society and tech in general. Let me refresh you of how Palm’s contribution has changed tech as we know it.
DISCLAIMER: Most of the information I will be posting here are factual but I won’t be going into detail. Just Google it yourself.
Palm (then 3Com) introduced the first handheld device other than a mobile phone. Mobile phones back then only took calls and laptops weren’t as light as they are now. There was a reason why they were called LAPtops then and notebooks now. So a small company capitalized on a technology where they saw had great potential; mobile computing.
That’s where the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) came to be. It was a mini computer that can be carried around in your pocket. A “pocket computer”, you may say. It did not have the full features of a computer same as to our smartphones have today, but hey, they can get you by. From jotting down notes to holding your contact list. PDAs were the wave of the future and Palm/3Com was smart enough to get them together.
Fast forward to a few years in the future when the first few smartphones came out. I am not so sure which came first but I’m sure that Palm was part of it. From the first Treo to its now defunct Pre line. Palm, believe it or not, was way ahead of its time. They were just not too great with marketing to convince the rest of us that.
Let me list down technologies you thought started from elsewhere that actually started from Palm.
Most of the technologies that Apple listed seemed like they were the first ones that had it or invented it, Palm already implemented it years before their time.
Ringer Switch – Did you know that Palm already had the ringer switch on their Treos as far as the Treo 600? The iPhone was released in 2008 and the Palm Treo 600 was released 2003. 5 years prior to iPhone’s release, Palm has already saved thousands of calls from interrupting church, school, a court hearing and the like by just a flip of a switch; a physical switch to put everything in silent without needing to go to a profile for it.
SMS Chat – The Treo SMS interface already had their SMS in chat form, this time from the Treo 300 (released 2002)
The image above was taken from a Treo 680.
Wireless Charging – Third-party accessories had to be acquired for you to wirelesslessly charge your smartphone like the Powermat. Palm already had that with the Touchstone.
(Image courtesy of http://www.amazon.com)
Yes, it’s a separate purchase, but wouldn’t it be better to get a device that you are sure is compatible?
Smartphone Companion/Netbook – When the Netbook first came out, everybody thought that someone already has come up with a stripdown version of a notebool only lighter. Next, RIM came out with the Playbook to be used as a Blackberry Companion where you can sync your BB apps like BBM or email and view them on a bigger screen. Sorry, folks. Palm was way ahead of you with the Palm Foleo (though they scrapped the entire idea weeks before launch.) which was, basically, a netbook (linux powered) that you can sync your SMS and Email from your Palm device and view them on a bigger screen.
(Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org)
Augmented Reality – The PS Vita bragged of being the first handheld device that took advantage of the Augmented Reality platform where, with the help of it’s back camera, can transform any area into a warzone. Well, you guessed it, a third party developer has taken advantage of the Treo’s VGA camera and made a game called Arcade Reality. It may not be as high-tech as Sony’s, but hey, it was awesome back in 2006.
Palm had a lot of things going on there. They were just not so good in their marketing arm. I feel bad that HP had to close the whole company down. I thought acquiring Palm was a good move for them because they had a lot of good ideas.
Now, hope some iOS or Android developer would develop an app where you can bluetooth sync your smartphone and send SMSes, Email, from a Tablet bluetooth connected to an iPhone or Android phone without needing to get all the information over. I mean, it would be nifty having to send texts using my iPad or G.Tab, right? Guess what? There was an app Palm had.
*Sigh* what a waste.