The Palm Pilot was a personal digital assistant (PDA) that was developed and marketed by Palm Computing, Inc. from 1996 to 2009. The Palm Pilot was one of the first successful handheld computers in history. It helped to popularize the PDA market.
Vision of the Founders
Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan invented The Palm Pilot. Hawkins had previously worked on the GRiD Compass, one of the first commercially successful tablet computers. He was convinced that there was a market for a simpler, more affordable handheld device.
The Palm Pilot was designed to be easy to use and to focus on the most important tasks that people needed to do on a daily basis. It had a simple interface that was based on icons and a stylus. The Palm Pilot was able to perform a variety of functions, including:
Keeping track of appointments and contacts
Creating to-do lists
Calculating math problems
Browsing the internet
Sending and receiving email
Connecting to a cellular network
Using a variety of productivity apps
Not a Phone
There are a few reasons why the Palm Pilot was not also a phone per se.
Cost: Adding cellular connectivity to a device in the 1990s was expensive. The Palm Pilot was designed to be a relatively affordable device, and adding cellular connectivity would have made it more expensive.
Battery life: Cellular connectivity also drains battery life quickly. The Palm Pilot was designed to be a portable device that could be used for extended periods of time without having to be plugged in. Adding cellular connectivity would have reduced the battery life of the Palm Pilot.
Size and weight: Cellular modems in the 1990s were bulky and added weight to a device. The Palm Pilot was designed to be a small and lightweight device, and adding cellular connectivity would have made it larger and heavier.
In later models, the Palm Pilot could be connected to a cellular network using a separate device called a PalmNet Communicator. The PalmNet Communicator was a small, handheld device that plugged into the Palm Pilot’s serial port. Once the PalmNet Communicator was connected, the Palm Pilot could be used to make and receive phone calls just like a regular phone.
The PalmNet Communicator was not included with the Palm Pilot, so it had to be purchased separately. It was also relatively expensive.
Success then Obsolescence
The Palm Pilot was a huge success when it was released in 1996. It sold over 1 million units in its first year, and it helped to create a new market for handheld computers. The Palm Pilot was also credited with helping to popularize the use of handwriting recognition software.
The Palm Pilot continued to be successful throughout the 1990s. However, it began to face increasing competition from other PDAs, such as the BlackBerry and the Treo. This was also the period when the iPhone and other smartphones began appearing. In 2001, Palm Computing was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. HP continued to develop the Palm Pilot line of products, but it eventually discontinued the line in 2009.
The Palm Pilot was a revolutionary product that helped to change the way people use computers. It was one of the first successful handheld computers, and it helped to popularize the PDA market.
Here is a brief history of the ownership of the Palm Pilot brand:
1992: Palm Computing, Inc. is founded by Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan.
1996: Palm Computing releases the Palm Pilot, the first handheld computer to use a graphical user interface and a stylus.
1999: The company is acquired by 3Com.
2001: 3Com spins off Palm Computing as a separate company.
2005: Palm Computing is acquired by Hewlett-Packard.
2009: Hewlett-Packard discontinues the Palm Pilot line of products.
- Year Started: 1996
- Year Ended: 2009
- Origin Of Name: Descriptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan
- Owner While In Use: Palm Computing etc.
- Owner Successor: Hewlett Packard
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: smartphones
- Naics Code: 334111
- Location Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California USA