Palm Celebrates 10-year Anniversary of the Pilot
Ten years ago, Palm captured the imagination of road warriors everywhere with
the first Pilot connected organizer, a mighty 5.7-ounce combination of calendar,
contacts, to-do lists and notes. Today, having shipped more than 34 million
mobile-computing products, the company continues to improve the lives of people
and businesses the world over, staying true to one guiding vision: The future of
personal computing is mobile computing.
We at TreoCentral are celebrating Palm's 10-year anniversary by holding a "Hooked on Palm" short essay contest. The Grand Prize Winner will have the choice between a vintage Palm Pilot 1000 in its original shrink-wrap packaging or a new Palm LifeDrive mobile manager.
The original Pilot organizer, which sold for $299, owed its success largely to
two breakthrough features: Its ability to synchronize easily with a computer and
its unprecedented ease of use -- something often called the Palm experience. As
time went on, Palm stayed true to its design philosophy while continuing to
innovate, adding numerous new functions such as email and wireless and
multimedia capabilities, from images to music. Today's top-of-the-line product
is the Treo smartphone, which combines the best of a handheld computer with a
great phone and email experience on some of the world's largest carrier
Over the past decade, Palm products have collected data in space, survived a
Mount Everest climb, closed million-dollar deals, entertained young and old, and
won the hearts of customers around the globe. From doctors and real estate
agents to students, celebrities and CEOs, people have grown to rely on Palm
products in work and play.
"The first Pilot organizer was such a runaway success, even we were a bit
surprised," said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. "But
in one of my first conversations with Jeff Hawkins he convinced me that the
future of personal computing -- REAL personal computing -- was going to be in
these highly mobile devices. That's why he designed the Pilot. And that vision
still holds today. The Pilot and its many Palm successors have become an
extension of millions of people's lives -- keeping them connected to their work
and home, letting them do email and browse the web on the go, allowing them to
keep all their favorite files, music, photos and videos with them. I'm
enormously proud of what we've accomplished, and I'm even more excited about
what's yet to come."
Loyal Customers and Developers
Palm has many important constituencies to thank for its success, including:
- Customers, who have bought more than 34 million Palm devices over the years,
including 3 million smartphones. Among these are individual consumers who stay
organized and in touch with important information. For many of them, the Palm V
handheld -- with sleek style as well as productivity capabilities -- was the
first Palm product to charm gadget fans and trendsetters, marking a tipping
point for mainstream market adoption. Other customers hail from business and
service settings, such as doctors who use decision-support software to improve
patient care at the point of care, at the patient's side.
- Developers, who support Palm products with innovative consumer and enterprise
software applications that today number more than 29,000 for the Palm OS(R)
platform alone, plus hardware peripherals such as keyboards, GPS devices and
barcode readers. When Palm expanded its platform choices for smartphones to
include the Windows Mobile(R) platform, its developer community grew again.
- Retail partners, distributors and resellers, who have sold Palm handheld
computers and Treo smartphones the world over. Palm still works with many of the
original retailers it began working with in 1996, including Circuit City,
CompUSA, J&R, Fry's and Staples. Palm also has a 10-year history with
distributors Ingram and Tech Data, as well as resellers, such as CDW, PC
Connection and PC Mall.
- Carrier partners, representing the largest mobile operators and distributors
around the world.
- Employees, who have worked passionately to deliver on the company's vision that
the future of personal computing is mobile computing.
All of these constituencies have inspired the company and helped it determine
its product roadmap.
Today, while Palm continues to offer a wide range of mobile-computing products,
from simple and inviting $99 organizers to powerful mobile computers with
wireless capabilities, it is focusing its investment in smartphones. These
powerful phones let customers check email, access personal information such as
contacts and calendar, listen to music and take and share photos, plus, with
additional software, watch live television, listen to podcasts or post to
Palm also has attracted a growing number of enterprise users. More than 8,000
organizations have standardized on the Treo smartphone using GoodLink from
Good Technology for email. Currently, 40 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies
use Treo smartphones, and an additional 35 percent are in testing or trials.
Frost & Sullivan recently found that mobile professionals are choosing Treo
smartphones over competitive offerings for its abundant business-ready
applications, high degree of flexibility, choice of operating systems, and power
- Palm's early leaders remain involved in the company's success. Jeff Hawkins
helps guide Palm's product roadmap. Donna Dubinsky is a board member. Colligan,
now president and chief executive officer, was employee No. 20.
- Palm sold 1 million Pilot organizers in the product's first 18 months an
adoption rate faster than the IBM PC, Macintosh and even the microwave oven.
- The original Pilot was the first mobile device that worked as a companion to a
PC, so customers could synchronize their information and take it with them.
- The first Pilot was built on a processor similar to those used by standard
traffic lights and was powered by two AAA batteries (which lasted three months).
- Palm products have touched people's lives, appearing in Broadway shows, major
Hollywood movies, reality TV, New Yorker cartoons, and on the red carpet.
- Palm broke new ground, creating many industry product firsts -- including the
industry's first integrated wireless handheld to provide email and Internet
access, and the first color handheld under $99.