In recent history, palmOne (NASDAQ:PLMO) has often been ignored while investors seemed to favor Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) for its wildly popular BlackBerry. But last week, the company known for its old-school PDAs turned the tables with an earnings report that very likely gave some investors reason to take a second look.

Last Thursday, palmOne said fourth-quarter profit increased by 33% to $17.7 million, or $0.35 per share, topping analysts' estimates, while sales rose by 26% to $335.8 million. If you take a look at our nifty Fool by Numbers piece for palmOne's quarter, you'll quickly see some thumbnails of important financial details. For example, you'll notice that palmOne's free cash flow increased a whopping 534% to $30.5 million, compared with the same quarter last year.

It seems that things are looking up for palmOne, although a few months ago, many investors may not have expected it. After all, with the traditional PDA market shrinking, many saw uncertainty for the company, which had so much riding on the success of the Treo.

Meanwhile, considering the relentless buzz about Research In Motion's BlackBerry wireless device, palmOne was arguably being underestimated and overlooked. (That's one of the compelling reasons why David Gardner selected palmOne as a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick last April.)

Last week's report indicates that the Treo smartphone is catching on quite well so far. Treo sales increased by 250% over the same quarter last year, with a 57% uptick in sales compared with last quarter.

Many statistics show the smartphone industry as still in its infancy, and if so, that means a compelling opportunity for companies like palmOne. Of course, there are plenty of other companies that hope to provide smartphones with broad functionality to consumers and corporate clients.

For the time being, though, things look strong for palmOne -- and this comes just in time for the company to get back to its Palm roots in a few short weeks, when it will change its name back to Palm Inc. and trade under the ticker PALM.

If you're interested in palmOne and the industry, here are a few Foolish Takes:

palmOne is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. To find out what other stocks Tom and David Gardner favor, click here for more information.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.