John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

HP Oldsmobiles the Palm Brand

Hewlett-Packard bought Palm for its technology and talent, not for its brand. So it’s hardly surprising that the Palm logo and name were nowhere to be found at HP’s big webOS event Wednesday. Not in the signage. Not in the videos or slides included in the onstage presentation and not on any of the new hardware on display. The TouchPad, Veer and Pre3 all sport silver HP logos and “HP” as a prefix, not Palm.

In fact, the only place to really find the Palm brand these days is at the domain, which, while festooned with HP branding, still includes “Palm USA” in its page titles. Evidently this is what HP meant when it said the Palm brand would “move into the background.”

Judging from Wednesday’s event, the storied Palm brand isn’t even a sub-brand of HP. It’s just a handle for a particular division of the company, though HP insists it’s keeping it around.

“Our future strategy is to continue to build the HP brand in the marketplace,” a company spokesman told me. “Palm is a great brand that is synonymous with mobile innovation and we are delighted to have it in our portfolio of brands allowing us future options.”

That’s a nice enough thought, though it’s hard to see HP ever reviving the Palm brand in the future–not after it’s rebranded the company’s products as its own and announced plans to use them to build “the largest installed base of connected users in the world.” If it succeeds at that, will Palm really be a future branding option? Doubtful.

In that sense, Wednesday’s event wasn’t just a showcase for some slick new webOS hardware, but a eulogy to the pioneering company that made it possible, the company that created the market for handheld devices and shaped that first early vision of mobile computing….

Eh, Oldsmobile was a great brand too, I suppose.

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