iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android now in HP-Palm’s sights

I guess it’s innemitable. With recent announcement of Hewlett-Packards purchase of Palm Inc. the idea of a “iPhone killer” will eventually surface.

Of course, why would HP bother to snap up the ailing mobile device pioneer if it doesn’t have Apple’s top selling smart phone in its sights?

Actually, HP is gunning for more — the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phones and Ipad’s market share.

During HP’s media briefing on Wednesday, Todd Bradley, executive vice-president of the personal systems group at HP, assured Pre and Pixi users are safe for now as he expressed support for Palm’s, critically acclaimed WebOS.

Bradley also revealed what the public could expect in the very near future from the HP-Palm union.

“With Palm, HP acquires a strong operating system to deliver a unique customer experience to over 2000 apps and growing, a platform to deliver mobile cloud-based services, and an opportunity to drive preference to the market among consumers,” said Bradley. 

While the Pre and Pixi smart phones are very consumer oriented, he said, HP intends to pursue a broader commercial deployment of Palm products. Healthcare and government vertical markets were among those he mentioned.

 What products could he have in mind when he said HP sees “opportunities beyond smart phones and into additional connected mobile form factors”?

“Devices slightly larger than smart phones but no bigger than the iPad” but incorporating capabilities of both machines, could be rolled out by HP in the very near future, according to Adam Leach, analyst for Datamonitor.

HP computing resources and Palm’s WebOS might be a perfect match for developing hybrid mobile devices or MID (mobile Internet devices), an idea which has languished in the backburner for many manufacturers until the recent e-reader resurgence and of course the iPad launch.

Currently the HP Slate  may be the company’s closest offering to fill this space. The $500 gadget, however, falls short of the iPad and is basically an Intel Atom-based netbook. 

HP and Palm will probably take advantage of the iPad’s lack of Flash support and offer a similar WebOS-based product that can work with both Flash and HTML5.

 The Palm-HP duo is perhaps in the best position to provide ideal business-ready consumer mobile device, according to James Alexander, senior vide president for Info-Tech Research Group in London, Ont. 

Alexander noted that very frequently now, smart phone users in the enterprise space, have been bringing iPhones and demanding that IT integrate the devices with the corporate network. “IT managers have been holding up their noses because of security consideration, but are doing as the executives ask just the same.”

 Palm’s WebOS has the social media integration and consumer features that many users crave, while HP’s extensive experience in corporate technology can provide the stability and security that IT requires.

That being said, the mobile device market is simply to crowded with competent players and excellent products. To successfully leverage the Palm brand which it rescused from the brink, HP can’t afford to simply push out “also ran” mobile device.

There is now a bigger onus for the Palm-HP partnership to offer best of breed devices.

What new products would you like to see from HP and Palm?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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