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1/2/2008
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Ambient Hires Former Palm CEO

Carl Yankowski will head the company, which develops information displays for tracking weather, sports, stocks, and other data.

Ambient Devices, which commercializes patent-pending technologies developed at the MIT Media Lab, on Wednesday hired former Palm CEO Carl Yankowski to head the company.

Yankowski resigned from Palm, the maker of the popular Treo smartphones, in 2001 after the company's decision to separate its hardware and software businesses. Palm split its platform solutions group, which oversaw the Palm operating system, from its hardware business. That same year Palm struggled to stay afloat, underperforming financially and deciding to lay off 250 employees, or 10% to 15% of its staff.

Previously Yankowski also had served as president of Sony Electronics and as CEO of Reebok. His consumer product experience will help Ambient build its consumer brand and roll out new mass market products, the company said.

Newly appointed Yankowski will replace Ambient's current CEO, David Rose, who said he is leaving to pursue other interests. Rose co-founded Ambient in 2001 with COO Pritesh Gandhi and CTO Ben Resner to create everyday products that display active information without a PC or an Internet connection. He will remain a shareholder in the company.

Ambient sells specialized products such as Weather Forecasters, portable color-changing units that can sit in the kitchen or on a bedside table to display the daily forecast in 150 U.S. cities; an Ambient Orb, a glass ball that glows different colors to reflect changes in the stock market, traffic congestion, and other information; and an Ambient Umbrella that glows when it's about to rain.

Ambient has over a dozen dedicated information displays for tracking weather, sports, the stock market, and other data.

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