It all began with the PalmPilot 1000 and 5000, made by what was then 3Com's Palm Computing division. The PalmPilot debuted in 1996 with 128K of memory, a 16MHz DragonBall processor, the Palm OS 1.0, and a display with a resolution of 160 pixels by 160 pixels.
Palm shipped 1 million Palm Pilots within 18 months, but the "Pilot" moniker was eventually dropped from the device's name for legal reasons after complaints from the Pilot pen company.
The Palm V was released in February 1999. Its design was sleek by those days' standards, and the company aimed the new device at the high-end market. The Palm V added basically no new features over the Palm III but was about half as thick.
The Palm VII was the company's first move into the wireless space. It didn't really browse the Web but could run wireless applications that grabbed Web content. It ran over a comparatively slow pager network but showed the possibility for bringing wireless connections to a handheld.
Announced in early 2001, the Palm m500 and m505 (shown here) replaced Palm V and Vx, respectively. The big advance was the addition of a memory card slot, a feature that had been popularized by Handspring's Visor, though Palm bet on the SD slot that was to become a standard in consumer electronics.
The Palm m505 came with a color screen, while the cheaper m500 was a monochrome device.
Because Palm announced the m500 and m505 well before the devices were available, demand for older units slowed and made worse an existing inventory problem.
Although there had been Palm OS-based phones before the Treo, from Qualcomm, Kyocera, and others, the Treo was the first such converged device to not be described using the term brick. Its existence was first reported by CNET months before its planned debut after being discovered in an FCC filing.
Handspring, eventually bought by Palm, debuted its first Treo smart phones in October 2001. The next generation, the Treo 600 and then the later Treo 650 moved from a flip phone to candy bar style and became popular for many business users.
Jeff Hawkins told CNET that the Foleo was the best idea he'd ever had when he unveiled it in June 2007 at D: All Things Digital. The device, which was sort of like a netbook, relied on a Treo for its processing power and connectivity but was scrapped by Palm and never reached the market.
Palm's attempt to remake itself after years of stagnation, the Pre was based on an all-new WebOS. The Pre featured a touch screen and keyboard as well as the kind of multi-touch gestures made popular by the iPhone.