After various speculation and murmurings of HTC, Google, and other companies, it was officially announced yesterday afternoon that HP will be buying Palm, who had been struggling with poor sales. The $1.2 billion acquisition is set to be finalized by the 31st of July with current Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein and much of the current Palm hierarchy staying with the company. Many details remain to be worked out including the future role of the Palm branding, but so far it's looking fairly positive for the company, its future products, and the highly regarded WebOS.
During a conference call with company representatives and journalists to discuss the deal, some interesting bits of information were passed on spurring our imaginations to wonder how HP would move forwards with its new property. As it stands, it seems that HP will be supporting Palm's existing product hardware roadmap with future releases of WebOS smartphones, but more intriguingly HP emphasized its view that WebOS is a "prized asset" that it will be looking to "scale it across multiple connected devices." HP's Todd Bradley even went as far as saying that "between smartphones, slates, and potentially netbooks, there are a lot of opportunities here."
So the question now is what new products running WebOS does HP have in mind?
It seems quite likely that it will take the well-traveled tablet route, with a concluding slide during the conference call showing the HP Slate, Palm Pre, and Pixi side-by-side (above). With the HP slate taking up the 10-inch space, perhaps they are thinking of something between 5- and 7-inches to rival the Dell Mini 5/Streak. The mention of netbooks is interesting too, as it would also need to be something that doesn't steal sales from HP's existing line of traditional netbooks. Could it be a smaller ultraportable smartbook? This is all speculation but the possibilities are plentiful.
Coming back to Palm's core smartphone space, it will be exciting to see how the company competes with Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc. with HP's big financial muscle backing it up. What are your thoughts on HP's acquisition of Palm? And what products do you expect to come out of the union?[Engadget]