Palm wants to reclaim smartphone birthright

When Palm was swallowed up by US tech giant HP earlier this year, many thought that the brand would disappear without a trace.

The fear was that HP would strip the ailing gadget-maker of its assets and intellectual property leaving the PDA pioneer out in the cold.

As it turns out, HP has given Palm the resources it needed to survive and there are even signs that a major injection of cash and bodies is helping Palm to fight its way back to being a contender in the portable gadget market.

Palm boss Jon Rubenstein told the audience at a recent Web 2.0 that his company had squandered its birthright to the smartphone market because of a shortfall in resources, but that with HP's help things were changing.

"We’ve actually pulled a couple hundred people out of HP and made them part of Palm," he said. "We’re using them to broaden our scope and we’re just cranking away.”

And what Palm is currently cranking away at is a new range of smartphones and... surprise surpsrise! A tablet PC.

There's no doubt that Palm has the pedigree to make an impact on the portable PC market. The company practically invented the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with the Palm Pilot, and led the field for smart(er) phones with the Treo in its various forms for years.

The main question is, having dropped the ball so spectacularly that it had to be bailed out by HP, does Palm have the impetus to catch up with the likes of Apple, which has totally transformed the way we think about phones and tablets?

We'd like to think if there is one outfit with the innovation and expertise to take on Apple at it's own game - and let's face it without competition its the punters who suffer - it's a newly-invigorated Palm.