There was a time when the pda market was new… Apple was the original leader of the pda market. In 1989 Apple started work on the newton under the lead of John Sculley. In fact the term PDA or Personal Digital Assistant was coined by apple .You may ask what this has to do with palm but it has alot to do with it since the Newton even tho it was largely successful it was big and clunky.
In 1992 palm started work on a pda/tablet hybrid device called the Zoomer… it was built by Casio and was sold by Tandy. It ran a GeoWorks OS with custom set of applications but it really didn’t take off.
Graffiti and HotSync were a sucess and was used on many pdas… Eventually they decided they wanted to make their own PDA right from the ground up (Hardware/Software). US Robotics provided the money and manufacuring behind it… When released in 1996 the Palm Pda then Pilot was a huge sucess due to its size and function but the Pilot pen company objected to them using the name and forced them to change it.
Over the years various models were released ans the feature sets/OS got enhanced over time. 3Com had bought US Robotics but the integration of palm into 3com didn’t go so well and the creator of the palm pda left to form Handsrping… they released a Palm OS device called the Visor that could use a phone card and eventualy they released the Treo a pda with built in cell phone.
Later on 3Com decided to spin off Palm into Palm Inc but part of the shuffle was the resulting company was split into two parts… PalmSource for the OS and Palm For the hardware. Eventually Handspring was bought by Palm and became PalmOne…. later on they aquired the rights to the Palm name back from PalmSource and changed their name back.
Less and less hardware company’s licensed the os over the years in North America (Yes the start of the death of the PDA market) more so due to the prohibitive licensing. The last true Palm OS was version 6 Cobalt but it was never adopted by any hardware makers even palm them self… the previous version 5 Garnet was continued to be used on most devices including their own.
Shockingly PalmSource was sold to the Japanese comany Acess but palm bought back the Palm OS rights. Palm even branched out to using Windows mobile on newer Treo models starting with teh 700w… as of this publishing date they currently only focus on the windows mobile Treo models but things may change with a new smart phone announced that runs a new os of their own.
Overall id say Palm is a shadow of their former self and unless they really change things they are doomed to failure.