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Palm makes a comeback! TCL to 're-create' the brand

The Chinese consumer-electronics company wants to resurrect a once-beloved smartphone brand.

LAS VEGAS -- The Palm name, once a leader in the smartphone world, gets another chance at life thanks to Chinese consumer-electronics company TCL.

old-palm-logo.jpg
The old Palm logo.

TCL said on Tuesday that it had acquired the rights to the Palm name and would "re-create" a new company based in Silicon Valley. The company added that it would use input from Palm's fan base, touting that it would be the largest crowd-sourced project in the industry.

TCL has been attempting to build up its brand and awareness in the US. The company is largely known for selling low-cost televisions, but it also has a mobile-device division, which uses the Alcatel OneTouch name. By utilizing the Palm name, which has a long history in the mobile world with the original Treo and Pilot handhelds, and later the WebOS-powered Pre, TCL is attempting to make a splash.

TCL's deal follows Lenovo's much splashier acquisition of another storied mobile company, Motorola, as a way to break into more-developed markets like the US. Palm, however, has been an inactive brand while Motorola was still selling phones before the deal. Still, there may be some nostalgia factor left that could help with TCL's profile.

"Palm has always carried a lot of affect and emotions," the company said in a statement.

The company said it would provide more details and a timeline of the project at a later date.

TCL acquired the name from Hewlett-Packard, which acquired Palm in 2010 with the grand vision of utilizing its WebOS mobile operating system across many products. HP ultimately mothballed its consumer mobile ambitions.

TCL isn't likely to use WebOS. In 2013, LG purchased the WebOS platform, which now powers its smart televisions.

TCL intends to use the Palm name for smartphones, but it's unclear how the company will juggle the Palm name with Alcatel OneTouch, which is making its own push to increase its visibility in the US.

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