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HP buys Palm for US$1.2 billion. What does it mean for the smartphone industry?

There’s still hope left for Palm and webOS fans out there after all

Week’s of speculation have ended and as you’ve may have already heard, the world’s largest technology company, HP, has just announced that it will be buying Palm for US$1.2 billion. Generally people are happy for Palm as it lives to fight another day.

The brand that arguably ushered in the dawn of the modern age of PDA with its PalmPilot devices and Palm OS is also tremendously optimistic about HP’s acquisition.

But the announcement brought mix reactions from the mobile tech fratenity with some pondering on whether the smartphone pie is big enough for another OS to thrive. The size of the pie is one thing but can HP really compete in the hotly contested smartphone market? Remember the iPaq anyone?

But we’re not just talking about the hardware here. HP bought Palm for one thing – the webOS.

HP has so much confidence in webOS that it claims the “webOS is the best-in-class mobile operating system“. With so much confidence on the operating system what is HP’s long term plan for webOS?

Untimately the tech giant hopes to “compete aggressively in the market with Apple and Google” because they believe that they’ve gotten their “hands on a very compelling operating system“.

But what does this all mean for Malaysians? Well for now, nothing much frankly speaking.

Despite being widely available during its PalmPilot days, modern Palm devices like the Pixi and the Pre are almost non-existent here.

But that could all change with HP in the picture. webOS could now finally go mainstream with more markets having access to it. The combination of HP’s global scale and financial strength with webOS will almost certainly guarantee the platform going into new markets and that’s a good thing.

So back to the question, is the smartphone market big enough for another OS? Well, HP seems to think so. “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” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP.

What do we think? We’re going to definitely see more and more HP devices running webOS, and we’re indeed excited to see how HP’s hardware knowhow is going to take advantage of the platform. The bottom line, we’re looking forward to what HP can bring into the global smartphone market.

It’s time for the rest of the world to experience webOS HP.