Palm Inc., The Comeback Kid Of 2012
Palm made an enormous comeback in the mobile device market starting around 2012. Fueled by their breakthrough in existing voice and sensor technology, Palm elevated the application of these technologies to a true semantic level. Palm’s breakthrough technologies were patented under the names KeenVoice™ and WiseSensor™ accordingly. Palm’s technical leap gave rise to an entirely new “next gen” of Smartphones commercially called Mobile Life Mates (MLMs.)
The Smartphone officially died somewhere around late 2012.
Palm’s flagship Mobile Life Mate was called the Palm Tapestry™. Wildly successful, it surpassed even you-know-who in sales and brand power. The Tapestry name was in honor of the Palm software engineer responsible for the voice and sensor technology breakthroughs … her grandmother happened to be a huge fan of the Carol King Tapestry album.
Palm’s KeenVoice technology enabled a very easy, natural and flawless voice login by the Tapestry’s owner while keeping an “old school” login around – for old time’s sake. The beauty of Palm’s Semantic Voice technology was in how naturally human it seemed, while offering a quantum leap in ease-of-use and security.
Palm’s roll-of-the-dice partnership with a US materials/design manufacturer for the Tapestry’s unique and sleek skin casing paid off as well. The Palm Tapestry’s skin is able to absorb and display photographically things (like a chameleon absorbing its surroundings) of personal liking to the Tapestry’s owner. Women would coordinate their Palm Tapestry to a wardrobe item they were wearing, or match it to their baby’s face. Teenage guys would cast their girlfriends, grandparents loved casting their grandkids on the skin canvas, and guys would do camouflage, tattoos, you name it - as for teenage girls, and what they’d display, well, the sky’s the limit as they say. Palm Tapestry owners couldn’t get enough of this feature (which became affably refered to as "casting") because it was so much fun, and, of course, very personal.
Palm Tapestry owners would experiment with all kinds of crazy imagery and some really over-the-top stuff (if you know what I mean) on the skin. Palm realized that those are the punches you sometimes have to roll with when you have a hyper-popular-state-of-the-art consumer technology working for you.
A few times a year Palm’s Website would have a contest called “Show us your Tapestry” where Tapestry owners would pick winners amongst themselves for some slick prizes from Palm for the best and most creative skin canvas. A huge hit with Social Media, these contests were a natural for “going viral” because of their uniqueness and popularity.
The dynamism of Palm’s skin feature seemed to bring an inanimate object to life. It unleashed the personal creativity in just about every Tapestry owner, adding its own unique touch to Palm’s successful comeback.
Not to rest on their laurels, Palm was “seeding” the Internet and the Social channels about their soon-to-be-released Tapestry Studios Website - made just for all those Palm skin artist aficionadas.
Palm was not about to confine their technical leaps to the new MLM market which they created. After all, Palm's ingenuity revolutionized the handheld computing market in the 90's.
Early in 2013 they looked at other industries and markets, both horizontal and vertical, where their KeenVoice and WiseSensor technologies could be applied.
Palm’s discussion with Ford Motor Company near the end of 2013 previewed how their WiseSensor technology could alert a mechanic in the service area when a tool is inadvertently left under the hood, a mechanic could be alerted when the radiator cap isn’t on tight enough, or if he forgot to put the cap back on, the same with lug nuts and any part of a car that needs disassembled and reassembled for service.
Ford’s VP in charge of global product development issued a memo in early 2014 to all C-level personal, including Ford’s CEO, highlighting the potential of Palm’s WiseSensor technology for the betterment of Ford’s Quality Control and Assurance Program. He said: “Integrating Palm’s WiseSensor technology into Ford’s Quality Control Program would mitigate inventory loss, save time, improve Ford customers after service safety and reduce lawsuits. In summary, Palm’s WiseSensor technology would help cut down on human error to a relevant extent.”
Ford saw Palm's WiseSensor technology fitting well with their DNA, and would serve to fortify Ford's already strong "brand position" in the delivery of the highest quality products and services while incorporating a distinct competitive advantage.
All in all, capitalizing on their technical advantage, Palm passionately believed their Tapestry was much more than an “accessory,” but a true mate – there, just for you, helping you weave the “tapestry” of your life. Palm’s brand messaging centered on this philosophy, and successfully so.
Palm’s successful reemergence and growth in the marketplace didn’t go unappreciated with their people at the top. In the spirit of “giving back” Palm’s relentless work to use its technology to improve the lives of the physically impaired and handicapped was considered to be a “sacred cow” at the highest levels of management, which they refused to taint by profit.
Fast Company, Inc, Business Week, Wired, and all the major US business publications loved letting the world know that Palm was the “Comeback Kid,” thanks to good old Yankee Ingenuity. The biggest accolade though came from Time Magazine, who christened the Palm Tapestry as their "Mate of the Year."
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