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

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

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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