The highs and lows of a pre-Pre Palm

It's easy to forget that Palm revolutionised mobile computing

2002 Palm Inc. spins off its software business as a separate entity – PalmSource. It buys it back in 2005, after snapping up Jeff Hawkins and Handspring to get its hands on their Palm OS-powered Treo smartphones.

Treo 180

PHONE AND PDA: The Handspring Treo 180 – an uneasy combination of dual-band GSM phone and Palm PDA [Image:]

2002 Palm continued to develop its PDA line-up, producing the m100- and m500-series handhelds, the cheap-as-chips Zire range, and the stylish Tungsten models. But the increasing sophistication and convenience of mobile phones fast made standalone PDAs more redundant.

Tungsten t

MOBILE DOOM: Good-looking PDAs like the Tungsten T were being ignored in favour of mobile phones [Image:]

2002 So Palm put all but a few of its craziest eggs into the smartphone basket. Better (but not prettier) Treo phones followed, including: the Treo 270 (with a colour screen), the Treo 600 (in a candybar form factor), the Treo 650 (the first Treo with a camera), the Treo 700 (alternate versions of this model ran Windows Mobile) and the streamlined Palm Centro.

Palm centro

CENTRO LINE: The Palm Centro – like the Palm Treo handsets but smaller and prettier

2007 As for 'craziest eggs'... Palm boldly announced the Foleo in this year - an instant-on, Linux-powered subnotebook designed to be used with its Treo smartphones. Palm subsequently shelves development of the device – ironic considering the eventual popularity of the netbook market.

Palm foleo

FOLEO FAIL: The Palm Foleo could have kickstarted the netbook craze...

2008 Palm reports a second quarter net loss of $506.2 million and the share price tumbles off a cliff to $1.85. An injection of $100 million by private equity firm Elevation Partners keeps the company on life support.

2009 Palm drops a bombshell and takes this year's Consumer Electronics Show by storm with the announcement of the Palm Pre and webOS. Watch this space...