HP entering the mobile arena, acquired Palm

“Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices” — said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP — “The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.”

With this move, HP is becoming an integrated hardware and software company like Apple and RIM rather than a device maker licensing other vendors’ software like Dell or HTC.

Palm has been a pioneer of the smartphone and PDA markets, seen by many as the natural legacy to the Apple’s Newton, but its platform fell off into irrelevance to the point that the company began licensing Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, a move that nearly doubled Microsoft’s market share but which did little to help Palm.

After Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007, Palm hired Jon Rubinstein (now serving as chairman and chief executive officer) who had served before as the iPod chief at Apple, along with a number of former Apple engineers, and began the development of the webOS.

HP is a long term partner of Microsoft, but has seen little traction for its PDAs and smartphones based on Windows Mobile.

Palm’s webOS is fresh and provides a good user experience. It has all it takes to become a serious competitor to Android, Symbian and the upcoming Windows Phone 7.