The original inventors of the Palm Pilot, who founded Palm, Inc were Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan.
Before starting development of the Palm, Hawkins is said to have carried a block of wood, the size of the potential pilot, in his pocket for a week.
Because Palm, Inc. was a subsidiary of 3Com, the group of founders became upset that they did not have enough control over the Palm product. As a result, they broke off from Palm and founded Handspring in June 1998, which produced the Handspring Visor, a clone of the Palm Pilot that used a modified version of the Palm OS.
Palm Pilot was the name given to several early models of personal digital assistant manufactured by Palm, Inc (when it was a subsidiary of U.S. Robotics or 3Com). More recent models of PDA manufactured by Palm are not named Pilots due to name infringement lawsuits brought on by the Pilot pen corporation, but "Palm Pilot" has entered the vernacular as a synonym for PDA, sometimes regardless of whether a device is manufactured by Palm or runs the Palm OS.