Palm Deal Gives HP Chance to Revitalize Smartphone Business
Hewlett-Packard has long been a marginal player in the smartphone business, but with the Palm acquisition complete, it's back in the game. Palm must make the most of this opportunity to find new success in the world of enterprise mobility, working within HP's corporate culture.Hewlett-Packard's completion of its Palm acquisition July 1 means that the smartphone business has a new, highly important player that could change the landscape in ways that matter to enterprise users. By buying Palm, HP gets access to its current devices, the Pre and Pixi in both regular (for Sprint) and Plus (for Verizon Wireless) editions, but it also gets WebOS. While the devices and the existing sales outlets are important sources of revenue for HP's new division, they're not the main reason this acquisition took place.
HP really needs a new mobile operating system. For years now the company's generally well-designed devices have been saddled with one version or another of Microsoft's stodgy Windows Mobile OS. This meant that users had an interface that was impossible to love, that was inefficient and that didn't offer a ready source of the kind of applications that every other smartphone from Android devices to Research In Motion's BlackBerrys was featuring. So HP's iPaq was selling, slowly, to business customers that already had a deal with HP, could get it for a low price and needed a device that would work with their Exchange servers.