HP's Palm Deal Will Give Its Tablet Computer More Fighting Power

Last Updated Apr 28, 2010 6:29 PM EDT

Now that HP has scooped up Palm for $1.2 billion, analysts are discussing how HP will reset Palm's troubled past. However, Palm also gives HP gets a new opportunity to hurt Apple -- namely in the tablet arena. If applied on a bigger scale, the Palm Pre technology could give the upcoming HP Slate a decent run against the Apple iPad, something HP's previous tablet efforts couldn't accomplish.

If you missed it, here's the New York Times:

Hewlett-Packard said Wednesday that it would acquire Palm, the struggling cellphone maker, for $1.2 billion in cash, including the assumption of debt.

Palm had been exploring a sale as it has continued to struggle in the marketplace. While the company has won acclaim for webOS, its new smartphone operating system, its new products like the Pre and the Pixi have failed to draw customers away from rivals like Apple and Research in Motion.

Now computer makers like H-P and Dell are seeking to make bigger inroads into the smartphone market. H-P said in its press release that it plans to use webOS to bolster its future offerings in the space.

HP recently leaked info on its upcoming HP Slate which uses the critically-acclaimed Windows 7 Mobile operating system. Using the PalmOS would be great, but the HP Slate blueprint is already set. The Slate could be out as soon as this summer.

However, depending on how quickly it integrates Palm's expertise, the HP Slate could have some major, last-minute benefits:

  • An app store: The HP Slate will technically be able to use Windows software, but picture it utilizing software specifically made for the Slate, purchasable through the device. HP hasn't mentioned anything of the sort thus far, but Palm has ample experience in this arena.
  • Better mobile power: The HP Slate reportedly has about five hours of battery life, half the power of the iPad, and Palm can educate HP on all the pitfalls of mobile power. After all, the Palm Pre's biggest criticism was the short battery life. Together, perhaps the two firms can address the problem.
  • More respect: A traditional laptop manufacturer would get more respect in the tablet arena, but the recent success of Apple -- now known for more its mobile devices than its desktop computing -- implies that a company with phone experience will make the better tablet. Enter Palm.
Fresh off the deal, it's unclear how much the Palm brand, technology and workforce will live on within HP, but the acquisition will definitely help HP Slate combat the iPad. Considering Apple sold as many as a million iPads in less than a month, HP needs all the help it can get. RELATED: