If you've been as dependent on Microsoft Windows for all of your computers as HP has been, how do you free yourself from the tug of Redmond's gravity? Apparently you make some acquisitions that give you the building blocks for an alternative ecosystem. First, HP purchase Palm in large part for its webOS, and now it's picked up Phoenix Technologies HyperSpace assets, which includes instant-on solutions.
Phoenix has previously licensed the technology, which entails a version of Linux that boots nearly instantly, to companies like Samsung for its netbooks and notebooks. HyperSpace was designed to be used for simple Internet tasks like e-mail or Web surfing, where you wouldn't want to wait for Windows to go through a full boot. While there's a version (Dual) that gives you an either/on boot-up choice (HyperSpace or Windows), the Hybrid version allows both to run simultaneously, allowing you switch back and forth between the two OSes. In addition to booting up in just a few seconds, HyperSpace requires far less horsepower to operate, helping to extend a mobile device's battery life.
While it's unclear how easy it will be for HP to merge the HyperSpace assets with webOS, it's clear that the company is looking to create an alternate platform for tablet PCs and other mobile devices that isn't completely dependent on Windows. (Whether it is even considering using Android in the meantime isn't clear.) It'll need to do so quickly, as it's already ceded Apple a big lead in tablets -- can HP deliver a competitor before Steve Jobs announces and iPad 2.0?