The “third business” that Palm has been working on was confirmed this week by CEO Ed Colligan in response to a question from its former VP of product planning Michael Mace. Several sites reporting on it keep bringing up this clue co-founder Jeff Hawkins left during an interview with the Portland Business Journal in 2005:
I always think of mobile computing as personal computing. This long-term vision has led us through everything — first the organizers and now through the smart phone space. It’s like everything a personal computer is. Continue down that path. What are the implications of a world where everyone has a super high-speed Internet connection in their pocket and many gigabytes of storage, super-fast processors, audio, visual and multimedia? What are the consequences of that? How will that change computing when you have all that stuff available to you all the time? I try to think into the future. That’s how we come up with new products. So I’m not going to tell you what it is, but it’s following the consequences of mobile computing.
I originally thought that the third product would be something in the education space, perhaps a modern-day eMate; in fact, that’s what I thought Handspring would do when it was in stealth mode (boy, was I disappointed!). In any case, though, that ground is somewhat staked out and the big PC guys have already laid claim to most school districts convinced that the way we will use technology 20 years from now will look anything like it does today
So, given that and the above quote as well as Hawkins’ interest in human and artificial intelligence as well as his history in personal organization, I’ll throw in my guess that it’s a life recorder, perhaps a manifestation of one subject of Microsoft Research, which the group describes as “a fulfillment of Vannevar Bush’s 1945 Memex vision.” Trying to build such a thing would require everything that Hawkins cites — a true “LifeDrive” — or perhaps some sort of massive mesh network.