After buying the brand for $1.2 billion in 2010, HP has now sold off the trademarks associated with Palm, a spokeswoman for the company told CNBC.
The long-dormant palm.com now redirects to mynewpalm.com, and the maker of the revolutionary Pilot has now officially been freed from HP's portfolio. All begging the question: Is this the year that Palm rises from the dead?
The new website features the Palm logo and looping text that reads "Coming Soon" and "Smart Move." The latter is the slogan for Chinese wireless company Alcatel Onetouch, as originally noted by webOS Nation.
In order to revive the pioneering brand, Alcatel Onetouch—a division of Chinese tech firm TCL—would have needed to purchase the trademarks from Hewlett-Packard. When HP purchased the brand for $1.2 billion in 2010, the company promised to continue to produce devices using Palm's software, but it has since shelved these projects.
Research from webOS Nation indicated that HP may have, in fact, sold the relevant trademarks to TCL. On October 31 HP transferred ownership of the Palm name, trademarks, and logos to Wide Progress Global Limited. More digging found that the brand's new owner is a shell company that shares an executive with the Chinese firm: Nicolas Zibell was recorded as a vice president at Wide Progress Global, and he is also president for Americas and Pacific of Alcatel Onetouch and TCL.
Representatives for TCL and Alactel Onetouch did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The exact reasons for reviving the Palm brand are as yet unknown, but webOS Nation theorizes that it could serve as a way for Alcatel Onetouch to build some brand recognition in the United States—where it currently only does a small business.