Carl Yankowski, who piloted Palm during the peak of the PDA boom, was tapped Wednesday to head Ambient Devices, a company that embeds wireless data into everyday products.
Yankowski, who was also president of Sony Electronics and CEO of Reebok in the 1990s, replaces David L. Rose, one of the company's co-founders, who is leaving "to pursue other interests."
Ambient's products include a $125 umbrella that lights up when rain is in the forecast, as well as displays that can show weather forecasts or sports scores.
The company was launched in 2001 to help commercialize technology developed at MIT's Media Lab, and the institution's Nicholas Negroponte is on Ambient's board of directors.
That was the same year, coincidentally, that Yankowski resigned at Palm, after the handheld maker had a brutal year, with huge losses spurred by a massive inventory glut. In 2004, he was named to lead Majesco, a video game publisher.