There had been a bit of speculation that acquisition-hungry Google may consider buying the flailing Palm. That was probably just wishful thinking, similar to the rumors that HTC may have a go at the company but later stated they had little interest in taking over where webOS had left off. Or maybe Palm would switch their hardware over to running Android in an effort to regain it’s position in the market? Outside of Android even more speculation flew around, with some going so far as to say Facebook should and could acquire Palm to create their own brand of social-networking phones. Now all the speculation can be put to rest as it has been announced that HP just finalized a deal to purchase Palm for $1.2 billion dollars.
It looks like little will change as far as the internal operations of Palm goes. Even CEO of Palm John Rubinstein will retain his position with the company. But now Palm will brandish the powerful leverage of HP, a company who has flirted with mobile devices in the past and currently has plans to enter the tablet arena with the Windows-based HP Slate.
So what does this mean for Android? Well the immediate result is you can throw out any idea of Palm switching to Android as its OS. We would imagine instead that HP will use its stock piles of cash to maybe make a new handset or two with an improved webOS. It wouldn’t be too unrealistic to imagine Palm’s OS becoming HP’s go-to tablet operating system (a much more intuitive choice than Windows). And all this equates to just a bit more competition in the mobile space, assuming HP can salvage Palm from its ever decreasing place in the market.
Along with webOS, HP also inherits the various patents that have been developed at Palm, and adds its support to Palm’s ability to enforce them — just a few more toes that the likes of Android will have to worry about stepping on (not that they weren’t already there to begin with).
For now we can only sit back and wait for all to be revealed as far as HP’s exact plans with Palm, but it is an interesting turn of events and could have a huge impact on the smartphone market. But with Android’s ever-growing presence and iPhone’s dominant share it will be a tough climb to the top for the once top-dog Palm.