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2009: Palm Pre
2009: Palm Pre
The darling of the late '90s, Palm was seriously suffering by the start of the current decade. Management miscalculations, the dot-com bust and competition ravaged the company that popularized PDAs (personal digital assistants).

As the handheld device market switched its focus to smartphones later, everyone wondered who could take on the iPhone. Palm -- possibly the unlikeliest of contenders -- stepped up to the challenge at the 2009 CES with the Palm Pre.

The Pre, which launched exclusively on the Sprint network, blew reviewers away with its touchscreen, full keyboard and new Linux-based WebOS platform. PC Mag wrote: "Step aside, iPhone, sit down, Bold, this is the Palm, maybe the device, I've been dreaming about...There's a real prospect that I have witnessed Palm's phoenix moment. It's rising from the ashes."

CNET slathered the Pre with a slew of rewards, including Best in Show, and early reports said the device's June launch was the best in Sprint's history.

But the iPhone 3GS debuted later that month, selling 1 million units in its first weekend. Pre sales slowed considerably. Some users complained about broken sliders and malfunctioning power buttons.

As a result, the Pre failed to save Palm. In April 2010, HP agreed to buy the battered company for $1.2 billion.

NEXT: 2010: Tablets everywhere
Last updated January 04 2011: 11:17 AM ET
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