OK, so now we all know the excellent news that HP is purchasing Palm and after sitting back for a few minutes and thinking about the good old iPAQ days I think this deal may end up being even bigger than we think in the long run. With Microsoft moving Windows Phone 7 much further into the consumer space, there may be a real chance for a webOS-powered HP series of devices to challenge RIM in the enterprise market. Like RIM, Palm prefers hardware QWERTY keyboard devices and if we look at the last few years of HP smartphones we see hardware QWERTY devices as well. This form factor appeals to the enterprise user and with Palm's slick webOS operating system I would think workers would much rather have one of their devices over an aging BlackBerry. RIM isn't standing still either with BlackBerry 6 coming later this year, but I don't think it looks as "consumer friendly" as webOS and we could have a real enterprise battle in the future.
HP and Palm are both trusted names in the business and I think having them join forces is a good thing for the consumer and enterprise customer. webOS will have to improve and adapt a bit to address and meet the security needs of the enterprise, but the OS is quite flexible and Palm has been spending a lot of time and money lately improving the developer tools. I think it would have been great if Dell had purchased Palm instead of HP too for many of these same reasons. The Dell Axims were great PDAs and the new Dell smartphones look pretty amazing.
The funny thing is, many of the HP iPAQ were made by HTC. Hmm, so will we see an HTC made webOS device with an HP label on it in the future?