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May - 2010 - issue > Tech Tracker

Flopped once, HP Renews Smartphone Interest with Palm

Eureka Bharali
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Eureka Bharali
‘iPaq’, the word brings a faint recall of a smartphone attempt from the hardware giant HP in 2007, a result of its acquisition of the personal computer firm Compaq. Today, after three years of silent existence, the name is once again ringing in the ears, as HP’s interest in the market is seen to be renewed with the acquisition of Palm.

The hardware firm has inked a deal with Palm to buy the latter’s smartphone business for $1.4 billion and has immediately earned the unofficial title of ‘Palm’s Silicon Valley savior’. However, the deal seems to be the other way round and Palm may soon be termed as ‘HP’s business savior’, a glance at the hardware leader’s smartphone business will explain this.

HP’s offerings in the mobile space the iPaq smartphones based on Windows Mobile OS, are better as a PDA with easy email access; however, they lack in comparison to the focused mobile innovation of its competitors. As Executive VP of HP’s personal systems group Todd Bradley says, “Palm webOS mobile operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices.”

If Palm’s webOS turns to be the prime focus, it could hit Microsoft-HP partnership. While HP hasn't publicly changed its plans to release a Windows based tablet this year, buying Palm "doesn't show a lot of confidence in Windows," says Matt Rosoff, an analyst at the technology consulting company Directions. “The crux of the deal stands in acquiring webOS as it’s Web 2.0 compliant and enables the end users to have a seamless multitasking experience, since it’s capable of integrating various sources of information into one. WebOS also uses Web technologies like HTML 5, Javascript, and CSS hence it saves the pain for developers to learn a new language,” says Mohammad Saif, Deputy Director, South Asia and Middle East, Frost & Sullivan. To sum it up in the analyst’s words, if history can help predict the future, then Hewlett-Packard, who has always made good use of their acquisitions will have a good shot at aptly digesting Palm.
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