Chinese companies bring back Palm, Motorola brands

Updated: 2015-01-08 01:16

By CHANG JUN in Las Vegas(China Daily USA)

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Chinese companies are resurrecting two iconic US tech names.

TCL will bring back the Palm name, and Lenovo will start selling Motorola phones in China this quarter.

TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd, headquartered in Shenzhen, said Tuesday that it is "very proud to announce that it will create a new Palm Inc, a US-based company that will take ownership of the Palm brand. New Palm Inc. will remain a truly Californian, Silicon Valley-based company leveraging on the talents and partnerships of the area."

"Palm has always carried a lot of … emotions," the press release said. "That's why TCL has set the direction to rebuild the brand involving Palm's very own community, making it the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry."

TCL, the fifth-largest global handsets vendor, operates globally under the Alcatel Onetouch brand and TCL brand. TCL shares are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

TCL CEO George Guo spoke about the acquisition at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday. It was a long-expected strategic move.

Guo did not say how much TCL paid for the smartphone pioneer, whose Palm Pilot used to be a necessity for elite business professionals.

The new Palm facility in California will help TCL diversify and expand its business into other areas, such as high-end smartphones.

TCL acquired the name from Hewlett-Packard, which bought Palm in 2010 with the grand vision of utilizing its WebOS mobile operating system across many products. HP ultimately mothballed its consumer mobile ambitions.

HP originally bought the webOS in its purchase of Palm in 2010 at a cost of $1.2 billion, and sold it to LG for the latter's production of smart TVs.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Beijing-based Lenovo Group Ltd will sell Motorola phones in China in the first quarter of 2015, following a Motorola market absence of more than two years.

The Moto X will be sold in February, with the Moto X Pro and Moto G to be sold later on, Bloomberg reported. Lenovo purchased Motorola Mobility from Google Inc for $2.9 billion in October.