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HP Buys Palm for $1.2 Billion, But What Does it Mean for Android?

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.

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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.




  • jerbear

    Good! WebOS is great but they were lacking good hardware. I would love to see an HP Slate running a nice oversized WebOS

  • http://pickledpc.com Pickle

    Figured Palm would be purchased soon.

  • Paul T

    This is fantastic. More competition = more (and better) choices for consumers. I love Android and do not plan on abandoning it, but webOS is a great operating system. Bring it on!!

  • John

    1.2B HTC coudlve afforded that!

  • Dan

    Except HP lately has been building terrible pieces of hardware. I haven’t heard of someone with an HP that hasn’t complained about it failing within months after the warranty has ended. Let’s hope they can fix that with the new Palm phones

  • http://crappytechreviews.com steve

    Isn’t HP the same company that killed IPAQ with fire? Great, another trophy to sit on the mantle at HP.

  • MSGNYC

    Mehh, not a big fan of HP. However, I do like them better then Dell. =P

    Be interesting to see what the two of them (well, one now I guess huh?) will come up with.

  • jjfizzle

    So first boy oh boy did HP over spend on this puppy. Kudos to Goldman I’m sure they made a real good fee on this one. HP has failed just as bad as MS in the mobile platform. If and I do stress “if” they stick to hardware then they might find their way. In the OS world it will come down to Android, Apple, and RIM. Its sad to see the little engine that could fail but hopefully with money from HP they can keep their core following. This deal however puts their relationship with MS in major limbo. Especially since they have their own OS they’ve been working on. Going to be interesting how this all plays out.

  • http://myballs.yourchin.com camelsnot

    My HP quadcore beast laptop works fine. I’m not sure what people are bitching about. Oh yeah.. they never owned an HP. They’ve supposidly heard on the interwebs or from their friend’s sister’s cumguzzling mother that her laptop, which may or may not be an HP, crapped out on her (in reality it was an Apple).

  • fred

    Yawn, dumb move but I would expect nothing less from HP. It is as if Carly Fiorina never left.

  • Jose G.

    I am thrilled that HP bought Palm. Competition will keep Google, RIM, Apple, Microsoft, & others in check. It simply means that Google will have to keep Android on it toes & give it a rival to test its strengths against. This move bodes well for consumers. As long as webOS & Android kick’s Apple butt, I’m all for it. Good luck, HP!

  • timmyjoe42

    Palm made their biggest mistake by not having the old palm software work on the webOS. I’m sure they could make some sort of emulator to run all those old apps. Some of them were pretty great back when I had a Handspring Visor.

  • Dan S

    @timmyjoe42

    Umm… they did. It’s an emulator, it came out last year, like right away.

  • 2FR35H

    Its perfect! but who is to say that because HP bought Palm that they wouldn’t touch Android on at least one device for test purposes to see if it would sell?

    HP has been in the mobile game for a while with the iPaq series, it was a PDA phone of which was rather good.

  • http://creativepath.co.uk/ Dan Davidson

    @camelsnot

    I wonder if you are joking, as not sure who else except MSGNYC mentioned any criticism of HP’s hardware. What I always find amusing however is when someone goes over the top in defence of any brand they happen to own. Let’s get this in perspective, at the end of the day it’s just silicon and plastic we’re talking about here, this is not a religious war where people live and die, oh and yes, Apple actually make some fine hardware with probably the best support available (with a price tag to match, I know because I own an iMac) as do Dell and Acer etc.

  • anon

    who’s gonna bother developing apps for a platform with relatively few users?

    who’s gonna buy a phone with no apps?

  • archboy69

    What a shame that Palm was bought out by HP of all suitors…a company that totally lacks innovation…makes really crappy computers and churns the production of mass production.

    So now Palm OS can but put into more sub par products. What Palm needed was someone who knows how too make quality stuff like HTC like they did for Win Mobile.

  • polarbear42

    @camelsnot good for you having a nice experience with HP. But you can’t have tried using one of their IPAQ’s. Needs to be restarted at least 2-3 times a week. Needs a hard reset every 2 weeks or so. Let’s hope Palm + HP = better mobile devices.

  • MonkeyCheese

    Interesting well best of luck to them. I’ll be getting rid of my Pre for an Evo once it comes out. Like a lot of people have said, WebOS is a great UI the hardware leaves A LOT to be desired. I hope HP upgrades the hardware, advertises the better and leaves the software the way it is. Palm took a wrong turn somewhere with the Pres and Pixis and it unfortunate cause was a great company. Too bad.

  • 2FR35H

    @ARCHBOY69

    Are you kidding me? you think HP computers are crappy? I suppose you believe apple or even gateway is better? Maybe sony? what the hell they have the best computers for the money.

  • destardi

    Android lover here…but really, HP has been greaaaat to me.

    I’ve had 3, one from the low end and one from the higher, with one in the middle as far as cost/specs.

    *never* had a problem, except a minor issue with a CD-ROM drive that the warranty promptly fixed and that was after 2.5 years of constant trudging in and out of my car on the weekend.

    Toshiba? Maybe they’re good, but the 2 I’ve had sucked. One month outside of warranty, my motherboard burned up, and the second one? The mouse buttons became lose and just felt like trash.

    /tomorrow I’m gettin the Incredible so my Droid won’t be lonely. I have to get out more.

  • djt

    @polarbear I manage a reasonably sized school district that was filled with Compaq/HP for most of our computer labs for some time. Every single one is 7+ years old now. Luckily I’ve been able to reduce the number that we’ve had so now I only have two labs left one with 7 year old iPaqs and the other with 10+ year old. Out of all the computers that I manage and brands that I’ve managed, these simply have the smallest breakdown ratio out of any of the 800+ computers that we have.

    I usually go to a local company now to custom build my machine for our schools but I must say that those computers are not bad. They’ve lasted through tons of abuse from stupid kids treating the CD and disk drive like a garbage disposal, no air conditioning and a pretty static/dust filled environment. They have lasted.

    Also at my previous employer I used to run a lot of HP/Compaq servers and they rocked.

    So if HP can bring that type of quality to a mobile device, I am all for it. I’m still an Android fanboy though :)

  • xarophti

    @timmyjoe42, great to see another old Visor fan around. I agree with you. Palm’s big mistake with WebOS was a step too far from the old OS. If I could find a calendar app that worked like the old DateBook+, I’d be a happy camper. iRT Calendar is close; hopefully they’ll have more of the old features in their Pro Version pipeline. We need more real PIM apps and less crap.

  • bml

    I have a feeling HP is only going to make it worse.
    And yes I like HP and have owned HP. I just cant imagine them doing anything great with it

  • Ben

    great, more choice for consumers and makes it more likely that Apple will not dominate mobiles. It makes it tougher for Android too, but more choice for consumers is great. I love it. And anyway HP will never block google apps like how Apple did with google voice(hopefully :) )

  • Dogsby

    RIM is not a player, people, please. At the very least it’s future is dim.

  • Dogsby

    And yeah, there is a grammatical error in my post, which rids it of all credibility.

  • justme

    those who’re complaing ’bout hp quality:
    i do agree, but i hope, that it’ll just be old palm meployees who are now being payed for by hp – that’d mean sane creativty and less limitation for new WebOS Smartphones ;)

  • http://www.derrickisonline.com Derrick

    When I saw that HP purchased Palm I was positive they did so in an attempt to use WebOS on a tablet. They also have the money to invest allowing them to roll out multiple phones and bring WebOS up to speed quickly. Palm’s problem was limited funds forcing them to stick with two device.

    I’m still not sure the developers will care much. I think it’s too little too late. iPhone OS and Android have pretty much taken over. It’s unfortunate because I owned a Palm Pre and I liked it, I just couldn’t get with the fact that the apps weren’t growing fast enough.

    Developers don’t want to develop for 50 different mobile operating systems. Windows 7 Phone, iPhone, Android, Bada, Symbian, Blackberry, HTC wants to build an OS as well, it’s getting ridiculous. They’re going to develop for the platform with the largest audience and an OS with a cool factor (WebOS has the cool factor) but only time will tell if they can grow their audience.

  • twrock

    Despite a lot of bonehead moves over the years by Palm’s management, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the company. From a Palm IIIxe to a Palm TX, with a lot of different units in between, the old Palm OS was “simply” usable in a way that really made keeping track of my PIM and other data a pleasure. Honestly, it wasn’t easy to make the decision and pull the trigger and move to Android. Even now, I will argue that there is still nothing to compare to the ease of use of some of those basic Palm PIM apps. (For example, the functionality of the current Android Calendar app is simply ridiculous.)
    But even though webOS really is a good modern OS, it would have been just as hard for me to make the transition to it as it was to transition to Android. And even if the HP & Palm marriage is a good one, I can’t see myself going back to a proprietary system. Android might not be perfect in that regard either, but it is a lot closer.
    So “good luck” Palm. I hope you can stay in the game and force everyone to up their game, including Google.

  • John

    Hmmmm, I don’t know. Hp just doesn’t seem to be that much of a power house in the smartphone world anymore. However, it would be nice for them to introduce a competitive slab form factor phone with webOS just to see how it will do. It just might be what’s needed to help webOS gain some share. Because in all honesty, the Pre’s design sucked plain and simple. It was a little shoddy overall, and small screens are on their way out. Also a side slide keyboard is a must. Portrait keyboards are only good for wide devices. As for webOS being the best OS? Nah, Android is the all-round best right now. WebOS just has a nice interface. The underlying code is buggy and is in need of a serious make-over. Let’s hope (for the Palm faithful’s sake) HP is serious about helping it out.

  • Roger

    Often competition is good but in this case I think it just strengthens the iphone. Nothing wrong with webOS, but the smart phone is too segmented with Apple being the over whelming dominate leader and Microsoft, Nokia, REM working to regain the ground lost to Apple and Android’s rapid market share growth. So we’re seeing all of them pull out the patent lawyers to to try to get an edge. I think that’s where HP will make money with Palm. So in a market with growing fragmentation consumers and developers who want a safe bet go with the market leader. Apple is the big winner here.

  • jjfizzle

    So it seems that people are missing the point of this deal. The argument is that HP has made a history of failing when buying and merging(need I say compaq). It was a great company that went to shit after HP took over. Having worked BBY for 6 yrs doing tech and repairs I can’t count how many products from their brand came back defective. When are as large as HP you hope scale will deminish customer complaints. Hp will bend over backwards when you buy direct, and that simply is because their margins are better on those sales. The battle of mobile platforms will come down to Apple, Android, RIM and maybe nokia. There will be three segments is the US market:
    1) app lovers who will go android or Iphone
    2) biz users who will stick mostly to RIM and if google can do more with google docs, snag SMB market
    3) BET who will look mostly at android the nokia.
    If HP is smart they will look for a way to change the technology and help google put pressure on carriers and the fcc to update or cell and broadband network. That way hopefully the US can come out of the dark ages. As for the options on tablets and netbooks the palm os could find its home there. The fact is only time will tell if this will work. Having had various HP products I feel their printers are the best thing they have. Their dig cameras were horrible, pc’s are subpar. Their biz division with servers and services is also good. But. If it wasn’t for sony pushing them to change their asethetics that would be horrible too.

    I could only imagine how glitchy an HPalm smartphone could be( or Ipaq 4.0)

  • hazydave

    While I have moved on to Android (and won’t be looking back), I had a decent enough ten+ years using Palm devices. I’m happy to see they’re not just going to vanish. The Pre had issues, so did WebOS, but it was their best work in quite some time.

    HP needs something, too. All of the big PC companies are jumping into tablets and smartphones, now. Pretty much everyone but Apple (of course) is on Android, maybe a few also support Windows Phone 7, had to say. HP certainly has the size to give WebOS a real shot, if it’s not too late.

    As for HP… as an electronics engineer, I certainly had a soft spot for HP for some years… the logo matches some of my oscilloscopes and logic analyzers, even if it’s a totally different company these days.

    I have a great HP laptop… three years old and counting. It had a problem once, their customer and tech support was world-class. This system cost me $1280, direct from HP. A nearly identical spec machine from Apple ran $2999 that year.. and this one supported memory and HDD upgrades, not available to Apple users.

    Less love for their printers. I had a number of HP printers in the past that latest well beyond their expected life… really rugged things. My last one was horrible — it had trouble feeding paper, the duplexer just stopped working, etc. I decided it was time to give Canon another go….

  • Jancis

    anyhow, this means no more crappy WM os on HP mobile devices. HA!

  • dam

    I’m not sure what people are bitching about. Oh yeah.. they never owned an HP. They’ve supposidly heard on the interwebs or from their friend’s sister’s cumguzzling mother that her laptop, which may or may not be an HP, crapped out on her (in reality it was an Apple).

  • http://www.google.com chil

    I certainly had a soft spot for HP for some years… the logo matches some of my oscilloscopes and logic analyzers, even if it’s a totally different company these days.

  • http://cheapcalls.pushline.com/ call

    I haven’t heard of someone with an HP that hasn’t complained about it failing within months after the warranty has ended. Let’s hope they can fix that with the new Palm phones