HP Slate with webOS: The potential iPad rival from HP's acquisition of Palm

HP Slate with webOS: The potential iPad rival from HP's acquisition of Palm

Summary: HP has bought Palm for $1.2 billion. What I'd really like to see from the marriage: an HP Slate running webOS.

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We can dream, right?

Just five minutes ago, computing behemoth Hewlett Packard announced that it would be acquiring mobile handset maker Palm for $1.2 billion.

The knee-jerk chatter from the announcement is hey, HP iPaq meets Palm Pre!

But what I'd really like to see: an HP Slate running webOS.

Sure, it's a pipe dream. After all, HP's got strong ties with longtime partner Microsoft, who badly wants back into the mobile space, too -- in a Windows-powered way.

Furthermore, Palm hasn't demonstrated webOS on any device but two: the Pre and Pixi smartphones.

But I'd sure like to see it happen.

When Palm's mobile operating system webOS was launched, I wrote that I thought the operating system would really give Palm a one-up on its competition. Unfortunately, it was slow to market, and has since only developed two phones to run what otherwise is an innovative platform.

Adding HP to the mix allows Palm to scale. For sure, that means more mobile handsets.

But I'm thinking that HP's bankrolling of Palm could mean development of webOS for a tablet.

And that, my friends, is what gets me excited.

See, the iPad is all alone in the market right now.

Windows 7 simply isn't optimized for a "slate tablet" style device, thought it suits convertible tablet laptops just fine.

Meanwhile, HP announced its Slate device in January, and Dell is preparing Android-powered Streak & Looking Glass tablets as well.

HP's acquisition of Palm means the mobile wars extend to slate tablets: iPhone vs. Android vs. Palm, all over again.

Is there any proof of such a possibility? Not at all -- the news is less than an hour old.

But if you're looking for an iPad-like device without ponying up dollars to Apple, well -- you might just get your wish.

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Topics: Banking, Enterprise Software, Hewlett-Packard, iPad, Mobility

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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37 comments
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  • Windows 7 might not be but ...

    the very fact that Google is challenging iPad with an AndroidPad rather than a ChromeOSPad tells us the WebOS thing just doesn't cut it no matter what hype they throw out there. If Google is not willing to walk their own walk, you bet that WebOS doesn't have much better chance at it.
    LBiege
    • I was thinking the same thing

      I can see an iPad, an Android pad, and even a WinPhoneOS pad, but not a WebOS pad.

      It hasn't helped sell their phones, why would it help move pads?
      John Zern
      • One argument...

        ...is that webOS helped sell plenty of Palm
        phones, but Palm itself hurt its chances moving
        them by not being able to properly support them,
        financially.

        (Exhibit A: Those Palm ads on TV probably cost the
        company considerable funds.)
        andrew.nusca
        • news flash

          webos didn't help palm sell plenty of phones, on the contrary they sold
          less phones in 2009 than in 2008 before webos was introduced. and no,
          it wasn't the fault of a (horrible) ad campaign. people simply didn't like
          the product, no matter how much pundits loved the multitasking feature.

          it seems again that buyers coudn't care less about all the pundits wet
          dream feature lists. the hardware was crappy and felt cheap, the os
          looked like just another iphone copycat. why would anyone buy such a
          phone? because of multitasking?
          banned from zdnet again and again
          • RE: RE: news flash

            People who make the argument that this merger will
            flop because webOS has not caught on have paid no
            attention to how Palm got here. WebOS is a
            phenomenal OS but was tethered to a company that
            was already starting from behind the eight ball,
            lacked funds, and the marketing know-how to push
            the devices. REPHRASED: This is NOT a reflection
            on webOS but rather a company that lacked the
            resources to make it a major player.
            vara411
          • i understand

            .. the argument and the webos love. but, the pre and the pixi have been
            widely available in the us and international for almost a year now. still,
            no one bought them. only bad marketing?
            banned from zdnet again and again
          • And no app store

            And no developers. HP will have to develop an ecosystem in order to compete. And then market the heck out of it. And get lucky because they're way late to the party.
            Info-Dave
      • To be Fair, its not the OS on the iPad that drives people to the device.

        Apple made a pretty device and put an old known OS on it. They didn't do anything innovative with the device. Enter HP. They now have WebOS, which no one has seen any of the other things it can do except on the Pre and Pixi. We had not seen the iPhone OS on any other device other than an iTouch or iPhone. So, HP can really do some things here if the WebOS can be extended to other platforms and devices. We could very well see a WebOS-based slate. I actually like the WebOS on the Pre/Pixi. Apple now has to worry that they won't be the only slate in the space that does not run Windows - HP can too. The possibilities are endless.
        andrej770
      • webOS was NOT a flop. PALM was.

        I REPEAT: People who make the argument that this
        merger will
        flop because webOS has not caught on have paid
        no
        attention to how Palm got here. WebOS is a
        phenomenal OS but was tethered to a company that
        was already starting from behind the eight ball,
        lacked funds, and the marketing know-how to push
        the devices. REPHRASED: This is NOT a reflection
        on webOS but rather a company that lacked the
        resources to make it a major player.
        vara411
    • I am not understanding the comparison

      So because one company can't do something another can't? Explain that! Don't forget where HP is on the fortune 500 list. They didn't get there by always going on conventional wisdom. You can bet they did their research and they have plans up their sleeve. We could see WebOS iPAQ's. Yeah, MS would not like it, but they would understand; what choice do they have? None!
      andrej770
    • There is no Android Pad.

      A passing remark of things they might be looking into.

      Dell, however, looks to have some nice offerings coming int he next 6
      months or so.
      Bruizer
    • What? Both Android and WebOS are cell phone OSes based on Linux

      So, WebOS on tablets would be just a natural as
      Android on tablets. Chrome OS is also based on
      Linux and designed for Netbook class computers,
      but, would not be surprised to see it on larger
      tablets too. But, one of the big reasons that
      Chrome OS is not on tablets yet is because it is
      not ready yet. You can not use it until it is
      released.
      DonnieBoy
    • RE: Windows 7 might not be but...

      Could you explain your logic here? Just because
      Google doesn't want to use their unstable,
      Android-Market-lacking ChromeOS on a pad reflects
      on webOS how, exactly?
      vara411
      • It reflects that HTML5 is not up to it

        We were told "H5 is mighty and some more blah, blah, blah ...", "this what you use to build future app blah blah blah ...", "desktop is gone blah blah blah ...".

        As the loudest pumper of H5, if Google doesn't put their feet where their mouth is you know that H5 is still pipe dream at best.
        LBiege
  • RE: HP Slate with webOS: The potential iPad rival from HP's acquisition of Palm

    Think of it. Palm with it's OS and knowledge of touchscreen, plus HP hardware backing it. If webOS developers can stay on board, it would be a strong challenger to the Android and iPhone crowd. I love my Pre, however, the hardware can be improved. Plus HP can really market webOS devices with it's advertising power. I see it as a potential win-win, if everyone plays their cards right.
    tnl3dgarn@...
  • HP Slate with WebOS would rock.

    Give it a real OS designed for the application.
    Bruizer
    • Please define a

      <i>"REAL OS"</i>

      If a real OS is a Desktop OS running on a slate then you need to review a little history, that Desktop OS's don't hack it on a device that relies on finger interaction as the primary means of input.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • Until Win7

        Perhaps - at least up until Win7 with integrated multitouch

        Win7 on my tablets works extremely well

        Also, don't confuse applications that may still have mouse-focued design elements with the OS - there are a whole lot of lousy apps on both the Android and Apple App Stores
        archangel9999
  • I'd rather a WM7 Slate instead

    :)
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • windows 7 slate

      aren't there plenty of windows 7 slates available? why not buy one of
      these? too crappy?
      banned from zdnet again and again