HP is going to acquire smartphone maker Palm. In a conference call after the announcement, a high-level HP executive raised the possibility that his company might produce tablet computers running Palm’s webOS.
Palm has been struggling in recent years, since it made a weak transition from PDAs to smartphones. The release of the webOS last year raised hopes that the company was back on track, but sales of its Palm Pre and Pixi have been anemic compared to the Apple iPhone and Google’s Android OS.
HP intends to keep offering phones running the webOS, but it is considering other devices too.
Tablet and Smartphone
Todd Bradley, the head of HP’s personal systems group, told reporters “Between smartphones, slates and potentially netbooks, there are a lot of opportunities here.”
If HP produced a tablet running the webOS, it would follow a recent trend. Quite a few companies are bringing out tablet computers running smartphone operating systems; the Apple iPad is based on the iPhone OS, and several companies are prepping Android OS-based tablets.
In addition, HP is already producing a tablet computer running a full version of Microsoft Windows 7. Using the webOS on a similar device would give it a range of products in this category.
More about the Palm webOS
The webOS is replacing the venerable Palm OS. It is a multi-tasking, touch-oriented operating system able to wirelessly synchronize a wide variety of data with online services like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, as well as Microsoft Exchange.
The webOS includes an on-device app store, and a growing collection of third-party software is available.