Palm was never able to get good traction with webOS, even though it is an insanely good OS for smartphones. Whether it was marketing failure, unappealing hardware or lack of apps, the buying public didn't pick up phones running webOS in sufficient numbers. Having HP step in to buy Palm was the best thing that could have happened, and we're about to see the proof of that when the expected webOS tablets get announced next month.
HP/Palm is throwing a webOS press event in San Francisco on February 9th, and indications are we'll see phones, tablets and perhaps netbooks running the OS. Of all the product categories HP is considering for webOS, the tablet has me excited as I believe the OS is so fitting for the tablet form that it can take the competition by storm.
WebOS is tailor-made for the tablet, from the great multi-tasking to the innovative (and intuitive) touch control that is part and parcel of the platform. Palm incorporated intelligent gesture control into the OS, a natural for touch operation. The card metaphor employed for running apps, that are updated in real-time even when the app is not running in the foreground, will shake up the way the competition handles multi-tasking. Heck, RIM took the idea for the upcoming PlayBook, as demonstrated by RIM every chance it gets.
A webOS tablet backed by the muscle of HP will be huge, and I can't wait to see it. I like the Android tablet, but Android doesn't handle touch operation nearly as well as webOS. If HP markets a webOS tablet properly, I predict we'll see these things everywhere in short order. That's why I will be attending the webOS press event with great anticipation.