The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: Mixing and Matching, 2 New Palms Emerge "Palm, the company whose ingenious 1996 Pilot organizer spawned the current age of palmtops and smart phones, has a long and complicated history. But if you want the general idea, go look at a lava lamp.
Inside, you'll see blobs of melted wax, colorfully separating and rejoining, splitting and recombining, as they float through illuminated liquid. Palm's founder, Jeff Hawkins, and his team were one globule, breaking free of Palm in 1998 to found Handspring, only to be reabsorbed into Palm last October. Palm itself was another bubble, absorbed first into U.S. Robotics and then into 3Com in the 1990's, spat out as an independent company in 2000, and then splitting itself in half last year along hardware-software lines. (The two resulting companies are called PalmOne and PalmSource. Confused yet?)
Even so, these two new Zires are carefully focused, nicely priced palmtops that will reward people who have waited this long (and frustrate people who bought only recently). The designers' achievement is all the more impressive considering that they labored during the chaotic period when Palm and Handspring were merging, and PalmOne and PalmSource were splitting."