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Does HP + Palm = Facepalm?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the sum-less-than-whole dept.

Businesses 236

ChiefMonkeyGrinder submitted a bit of commentary on yesterday's news that Hewlett-Packard was buying Palm. From TFA: "When I first read the news that HP was buying Palm for $1.2 billion, my first reaction was that HP had lost its marbles ('clueless' was how I tweeted it). Why, I wondered, did it need to pay $1.2 billion for a dying platform when it could have used the increasingly popular Android for nothing? (OK, it probably picked up a few useful patents, as well.) I also thought that it didn't have the resources to enter the extremely competitive area of smartphones."

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Well (5, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029148)

I totally thought âÅ too.

As we say in Foursquare, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029286)

This purchase is totally

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029378)

i thought that too ... no wait ... hardware is the other 50%.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029410)

For the day /. supports unicode :)

Re:Well (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030164)

I totally thought âÅ too.

That was my first reaction, but then I thought "âÅbee" which sounded like "maybe" and I thought that maybe HP will try to tie their new handheld devices to laptops as a "bundle". Then I thought "boy, that is the stupidest idea I've had in a long time" ... which is why I fear HPalm might do it.

I would have much rather seen Palm go to Cisco. AFAIK HP doesn't have a lot of non-MS OS experience in their consumer devices. I wonder how they'll handle this.

HP is trying to compete with Acer (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029178)

HP competitor Acer (number 2 in notebooks worldwide behind HP) is coming out with a line of smartphones of its own, and it needs this purchase to leapfrog them.

Re:HP is trying to compete with Acer (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029618)

HP already has a line of smartphones running Windows Mobile which they bought off Compaq. I have one in my pocket.

Re:HP is trying to compete with Acer (4, Interesting)

Jezza (39441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030098)

Haven't you just answered the question? HP has been in the PDA/Smartphone space since forever. Now you'll admit that Windows 6.x is hopeless in 2010 (that ship has sailed). Looking across at Android, things aren't pretty. Vanilla Android isn't cutting it, so everyone has to brew their own "secret sauce", lets look at how that's working out?

Motoblur, is quite frankly a mess.
Rachel, the Sony Ericsson UI looks great, but it wedded to a really old build. According to those in the know, they are having a hard time moving it to the latest build.
Sense UI, seems to be the clear winner. HTC have had this working on several builds of Android, most users like it.

So the odds aren't exactly stacked in favour of "doing Android" - there are pitfalls.

So what's up with Palm? Well the Pre looked great on paper, so what went so wrong? Three things really. First is build quality, the device looks great, but the "feel" is somewhat lacking. The perception is the unit feels cheaper than it looks and is. Perhaps there isn't really a problem, but that isn't how it feels when you encounter a Pre. Second, the lack of apps. This is a problem only time will solve. Third is the perception that WebOS might not be around for long. Probably it being under the HP banner solves the last one.

So what's needed? New devices to run WebOS. Sounds like exactly what HP can provide.

So why are HP so keen. Think about the number one smartphone (yes, the iPhone). What's different about it? The hardware and software are built by one company, and no other company can build "clones". That's exactly what HP get from this. So me this sounds good.

Off the topic a bit, don't Palm own BeOS? HP could do something with that too... It's just a thought - if you want to be like Apple, well you need your own OS.I doubt anything will really happen with that - but it would be nice to see HP do something with BeOS (and it would be the greatest comeback since Lazarus or NeXT Computer).

Re:HP is trying to compete with Acer (2, Interesting)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030422)

Aside from the multitasking on WebOS actually causing the device to be a bit more sluggish than a comparable iPhone launching apps, it actually *IS* probably the best device interface out there after the iPhone. It's a bit small, IMHO, they could have made it the size of the iphone and still added the sliding keyboard, and had a tremendous beautiful display.

I did notice that even with 12 cards running, worst case performance really wasn't much worse than best-case performance. Though 12 cards did eat up battery life.

Re:HP is trying to compete with Acer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32030500)

>> Android, things aren't pretty. Vanilla Android isn't cutting it.

Oh. I can write anything here to make it a fact? Let me try - you are a dick.

Re:HP is trying to compete with Acer (5, Interesting)

edmicman (830206) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030640)

What went wrong was that they premiered on Sprint. If they'd been on Verizon from the beginning, VZW would have had it's flagship next-gen smartphone six months earlier, and Palm would have it's device on the largest network in the US. I cannot for the life of me understand why Android and Palm phones debut on 2nd class carriers like TMobile and Sprint. Like it or not, there's really only two players in the business that can offer true national footprint - AT&T and Verizon. Not going on one of those cripples you right out the gate.

Re:HP is trying to compete with Acer (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030436)

HP already has a line of smartphones running Windows Mobile which they bought off Compaq. I have one in my pocket.

Damn! I though you were happy to see me.

Smartphones for sure (1, Troll)

SplicerNYC (1782242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029182)

A ready-built entry into the market. Just dump the Palm OS, bring in Android and there you have it.

Re:Smartphones for sure (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029536)

There is no way that it would be worth 1.2 billion just for a couple of ok-but-not-thrilling phone bodies(and the patents, while nice, probably won't change HP's world too much; because they are already big enough to be locked in the Patent Cold War with all the other major players who have both patents and products).

If they didn't want WebOS, they wouldn't have bothered.

You may have heard of this thing (5, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029194)

called expertise. Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users. These things will all be good for HP if they're really serious about competing in the mobile arena. Many companies fail because their business plan/marketing sucks, and not because they don't make a good product. I'm ambivalent about Palm's stuff, but other people, like my father, is absolutely fanatical about his Palm gear.

My guess is that HP, like Apple, sees computing appliances as the death knell for general purpose computers. They want to make sure they're still around for awhile.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029246)

Exactly. They can't just "have" Android because it is free. They have to develop a device, they need people who know how to do that. Now they can make an Android-like.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029350)

And also Android is "free", which means that whatever HP produced would have to be "free" also - maybe they want to have the option to not do that?

People around here seem to think that Android is the magical solution to all ills and ailments...

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

timepilot (116247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029496)

Well maybe not the solution to *all* ills. Just the iPhone's ills.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

labiator (193328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030022)

1.2B is way too much for what they could have gotten at a fire sale in bankruptcy court. I am not happy as an HP shareholder. That said, mobile devices are overpriced, so maybe that is the idea, an open device for a real life price without carrier lock in.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029308)

called expertise. Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users.

The problem is is that modern HP is going to treat them like the rest of their past decade acquisitions: like crap. I'd bet a good chunk of the talented folks are going to get shoved out or just flat out quit from salary declines or getting the "HP Way" crammed down their throats.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (3, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029606)

There's the right way, the wrong way, and the HP way.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029488)

Also WebOS has a better UI than Android and as good or arguably better than the iPhone.
Not to mention that HP will get the revinue from the Appstore. Really the Palm OS is very good what almost killed it was that stupid limited SDK they pushed. Javascript+HTML just doesn't cut it for every app. Add in the very restricted access you got to the hardware and you are limiting the software you can write.
I had the SDK and within a day I had given up on using it.
First thing I wanted to write was a simple flashlight app. I want to us the LED that they use for the flash but drive it at a lower intensity. I also thought that an more code sender with the flash might have been fun. You couldn't do it. Actually you could on a jail broken phone but not using the official SDK.
Okay fine. I then started to work on the programs I really wanted to write. I wanted to write a pod catcher and a music sync program. The way it would work is when the program detected that the Palm was plugged in and charging it would download your podcast and the music sync program would detect when your palm was plugged in and connected through wifi to you home computer. It would then contact a small sync server that I was going to write as a banshee plug in and syn your Palm. These where two different programs but a lot of code would overlap.
I started to dig into the docs but I couldn't find any way to get the chargeable state! THERE WASN'T ANY!
It was as if the people writing the SDK never wrote a program of a mobile device in their life.
The reason I would would only do the sync when chargeable is that was when you could be sure that you wouldn't drain the battery.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030268)

The SDK has been improved greatly recently, and in the near future they're going to offer up much greater access of the underlying phone itself. There's no such thing as a "jailbroken" Palm Pre, just one in developer mode, or with root access granted (which is trivial to accomplish). Getting samba running on it is trivially easy, for example, allowing new media to be added to the phone over wireless. I'm rambling now. I'll shut up.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030556)

Can you get the charge state yet.
Yes I know that the Palm was never in Jail but most people understand that term.
My goal was to learn the SDK and produce some apps that anybody could use including peoples grandmothers.
I am a big fan of just works. I figure that most people plug their phone in at night so having it auto sync your podcasts and media while you sleep would be brilliant.
Of course the other feature I would to see is a ring volume timer.
I would love a feature where I can set my ringer to zero after 11PM but turn it up at say 8:00am
Even better would be to set certain number to ring anytime like right now my mother is having a lot of health problems so I would love her number to always ring. I could see people wanting their kids phone number to always wring as well.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (5, Funny)

Anders (395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029544)

Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users.

HP has 15.0.0.0/8 and 16.0.0.0/8 so I don't think they need any more IP!

Re:You may have heard of this thing (4, Informative)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029576)

Palm has a lot of talented employees, .

Not anymore they don't. I'm a hiring manager in Silicon Valley and I can tell you that any Palm engineer with sense has been interviewing and most have gotten away already.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030244)

Ever heard of this thing called "poaching talent"? It's a lot cheaper than buying the entire company at face value. Heck, it's what Wall Street did with Lehman employees. You dump the baggage and take the goods.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030624)

Yeah, but in this case I think that along with the talent, HP also wants the devices and the patents of those devices.

I agree with the other posters here that this is about HP having a unified device and OS strategy ala the iPhone. As much as I like the iPhone, I would really like to see HP able to compete in this arena, and I also really want to see windows mobile fail. Basically, I'm rooting for every mobile os and platform that isn't based on one companies last ditch attempts to expand their PC OS monopoly to other platforms....

Re:You may have heard of this thing (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030282)

Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users.

If you say so. However, the "lot of IP" Palm has doesn't appear to have kept its "faithful users" around and attracted new ones enough for the company to remain in business by itself.

In other words, the evidence contradicts your hypothesis.

Re:You may have heard of this thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32030558)

I might also point out - Palm is still a name that is recognized. Maybe not as much as Apple or Google, but it is still an important brand (And considering that Apple and Google probably aren't on the auction block and if they are aren't selling themselves for $1.2 Billion)... Not only does HP get a brand, it get's expertise, patents and a decent OS in WebOS. $1.2 Billion is starting to sound cheap.

No... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029212)

That would be if facebook buys palm.

Re:No... (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029382)

Oh god I laughed so hard. A shame you weren't logged in so karma means nothing to you!

Re:No... (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029984)

lets hope that hairydivas.com doesnt buy Palm then

iPom? (3, Funny)

rhainman (952694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029226)

Instead of the iPaq, we'll have the iPom.

Re:iPom? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029430)

Talking of the iPaq, I had been wondering what Apple would have to say if HP decided to resurrect that old Comaq brand name.

If I was boss of HP and I wanted to really annoy Steve Jobs, that's probably the easiest way they could do it.

Why? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029628)

Why? Why would the Compaq brand name annoy Jobs?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32030128)

GP means the iPaq and related i-something names, which have yet to be abandoned as trademarks and could, possibly, be used to threaten Apple's trademark space.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32030208)

Why? Why would the Compaq brand name annoy Jobs?

"Talking of the iPaq" ... "decided to resurrect that old Compaq brand name"

u be trollin'? Reread the post if not.

Re:iPom? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030460)

I'd totally buy an iPaq phone if it came installed with Linux. I still have my iPaq from years ago, and it's not dead yet.

Re:iPom? (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030612)

I still have my iPaq from years ago, and it's not dead yet.
no, it's just resting. beautiful plumage, the ipaq.

Re:iPom? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030656)

What do you mean "resurrect"? AFAIK they never stopped using it [hp.com] .

No. (4, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029236)

But the article basically explains why anyway. The majority of mobile platforms are Linux based, and keeping WebOS strengthens the Linux ecosystem. And objectively, driver support is where most of the issues are going to come into play. Between RIM, iPhone OS, Android, and WinMo, the market is already too fragmented for anyone hoping to reach everyone with a single native application to do so. What's going to be important is what you can plug into your phone (monitor, keyboard, printer, flash drive, etc. ) Apps are icing on the cake, and browser apps for the most part can get all the functionality of a native app. And given that the majority run Webkit, you can even get away with not testing on too many platforms. (Screen size and dimensions are the bigger issue anyway.)

Re:No. (0, Troll)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029334)

What's going to be important is what you can plug into your phone (monitor, keyboard, printer, flash drive, etc. )

Yes.

When I'm in the market for a mobile phone, the first and last thing I look at is what printers it supports.

Don't be a moron.

Re:No. (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029402)

I'd be more concerned over what printers than monitors! I might have the extremely rare occasion of wanting to print something over bt or wifi, but monitor? FFS, the damn thing has a screen...

Re:No. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030216)

Oblig: That's not a screen [yousaytoo.com] , THAT'S [item2hand.com] a screen

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029834)

Actually, with a small enough projector the mobile phone becomes an ultra-portable computer.

Re:No. (1)

TheNumberless (650099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030430)

How are smartphones not already ultra-portable computers? And if they're not, why would adding only a projector change that?

Re:No. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029924)

You still think that you're going to have a desktop in 5 years, don't you?

I've got news for you: by 2015, most computers will be phone/tablet/netbook form factor devices that you plug into some sort of a dock when you want to sit down at a desk. Having established Linux kernel drivers so these function with existing devices is going to be a key issue.

By 2020, you will not be able to buy a phone without the ability to dock it in this manner.

Re:No. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029366)

The majority of mobile platforms are Linux based

No they aren't. Of the most used Mobile OSes the vast majority are not Linux based. Unless you care to show how Symbian, BlackBerry OS, iPhone OS or WinMo are Linux based. You can't even claim that Linux-based mobile platforms have even a majority market share as the previous 4 OSes market share combined is around 94%.

Re:No. Try it ... (2, Insightful)

DalDei (1032670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030168)

Post back when you actually *try* to write a complex WebKit app that runs well on all the webkit platforms unchanged. WebOS / Android / iPhone Its a sheer and utter fantasy that because its "WebKit" its "write once run everywhere". Maybe someday, but not today.

Lots of Patents (5, Interesting)

BillLeeLee (629420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029264)

The author does state in the article that he was mistaken about the amount of resources HP has, which amounts to at least $25 billion USD in cash on hand, at least 10x more than HTC and Lenovo (the other big Palm suitors from the past week) have in cash.

When compared to the other major companies in the mobile space, like Nokia, RIM, HTC, or Motorola, Palm seems like a very 'cheap' purchase in order to acquire an entire new line of business, along with their entire patent portfolio.

Additionally, it seems other articles mention the same patent concerns since Apple is now going after HTC (but not Palm).
http://www.businessinsider.com/apples-htc-patent-suit-could-be-another-reason-for-someone-to-buy-palm-2010-3 [businessinsider.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/apple-vs-palm-the-in-depth-analysis/ [engadget.com]

Re:Lots of Patents (1)

neurovish (315867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030112)

The author does state in the article that he was mistaken about the amount of resources HP has, which amounts to at least $25 billion USD in cash on hand, at least 10x more than HTC and Lenovo (the other big Palm suitors from the past week) have in cash.

He probably thinks HP is just a company that makes printers and also has a side business selling desktops and laptops that don't have a lot of market share. I see HP as the largest server vendor in the world. From a somewhat recent IDC report from the fourth quarter, 2009:

For the 31st consecutive quarter, nearly 8 years, HP is the #1 vendor in worldwide server shipments. HP shipped more than 1 out of every 3 servers worldwide and captured 36.9 percent total unit shipment share.

I think they can easily absorb a struggling handset maker, especially one with Palm's history and IP portfolio.

Re:Lots of Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32030492)

Not only are they a juggernaut in the server space, but they are also a respectable player in storage (and now networking) as well.

I'm kinda surprised at how many "HP is still around?!?" type responses I've been seeing here. I guess /. has alot more visitors who are only familiar with the consumer side of hardware nowadays.

I haven't really checked out WebOS at all, but a lack of resources on HPs part would be the last thing I'd worry about with this acquisition.

Seems to make sense to me. (4, Insightful)

brennanw (5761) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029266)

WebOS is a fantastic OS from a user perspective -- the card metaphor for multitasking is very intuitive and the whole design of the interface is easy and elegant and *fun*. It would be a perfect fit for that tablet thing HP is working on.

I have a Pre and despite a few issues with battery life and a wish for a larger screen I think it's a great phone. Most information about the phone is provided by members of the computer press who are too lazy and entranced by their iphones to bother giving the matter any serious thought.

Re:Seems to make sense to me. (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029316)

If nothing else, I'm hoping this means we will see more hardware that uses WebOS, specifically phones. I think a WebOS-based tablet would make for a great iPad competitor as well. ::shrug:: if nothing else, as (many) others have said, at least HP now has access to all of the patents, IP, and talent that Palm had. Hopefully, this purchase will bear fruit for consumers soon.

Re:Seems to make sense to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029880)

The first thing I thought when I heard HP was acquiring Palm was that a tablet with WebOS could be pretty badass. I have a Palm Pre as well, and while I'm not thrilled with the hardware, I am quite the fan of WebOS.

Re:Seems to make sense to me. (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029810)

my only issue with the Pre is.. how on gods fucking sake can i in a text box go back and edit the first part of the line after it is moved out of view..

sorry but it's just realllllllllly fucking annoying

Re:Seems to make sense to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029970)

put the cursor in the text box. hold the orange key on the keyboard (you'll notice the cursor now has 4 directional arrows around it. swipe your finger up, down, left, or right anywhere on the screen while holding the orange key -- it will act as though you've pushed the up, down, left, or right arrow on your keyboard. You're welcome.

Re:Seems to make sense to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029980)

It's easy. Maybe learn to use your phone. Press and hold the option key on your keyboard (orange on my Sprint Pre), then just scroll on the touchscreen. Do you have any other usage questions that I can answer for you?

Expansion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029276)

They're probably just looking to expand out of the consumer computing devices market their pretty much locked in right now. This could be HP setting itself up to become a conglomerate company or it could be the first step to them completely changing their product base.

I like it because it's crazy (2, Interesting)

timster (32400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029298)

The best thing that can be said about this is that it's a really bad investment to pay a billion dollars for Palm. HP is showing a lot of guts in refusing to accept the presumptive Apple vs Google conflict as the definition of the mobile computing war. Generally I would say that HP doesn't have the corporate culture to be anything other than a big irrelevant company like Dell, but if they keep taking big risks and standing behind them that could change. Most likely they will fail, but it would certainly make the next decade more interesting.

Re:I like it because it's crazy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029558)

You've obviously biased against HP.

HP will continue to shit on companies like Dell; in the past, in the present, and into the future.

I don't think anyone here is going to argue that Dell makes a better server, workstation, or laptop of various styles than HP.

Re:I like it because it's crazy (1)

johnncyber (1478117) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029824)

I don't think anyone here is going to argue that Dell makes a better server, workstation, or laptop of various styles than HP.

Umm, I will. At least when it comes to laptop I have had horrible experiences with Dell. Of the three laptops that my company has from Dell each has had serious problems. 2 laptops of the same model failed at roughly the same time with a bad motherboard / graphics card. The third has had to be repaired by Dell on no less than 4 occasions in the past 2 years. Again for motherboard and other card failures. About the only good thing about Dell is their on-site repair and support (which does not come cheap mind you.) On the other hand my HP laptop has had next to no problems in the same time frame, other that a crappy AC adapter that is starting to fall apart.

Re:I like it because it's crazy (1)

timster (32400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029886)

Sure, they make quality servers, etc, whatever. The point is that these are just product categories defined by someone else. Microsoft pretty heavily determines what your laptop is going to be like because they control the software. The chip manufacturers determine your performance/power options. Etc.

That's the cost of an industry-wide dominating platform -- tends to make all the end-user products the same. HP has done well competing against Dell/Acer/etc on implementing the platform, but that isn't very interesting and it leaves a company completely vulnerable to what others do. The industry is going through major changes right now and it is a bad time for a big company to sit around and follow trends set by others.

scaling of webOS (4, Insightful)

ScottyB (13347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029332)

In some of the news reports on this, I saw repeated references to the fact that "webOS can scale" or something to that effect. I don't know too much about webOS vs. Android vs. Chrome, but my guess here is that HP is buying Palm for tablets and MIDs, not for smartphones. I doubt HP has much desire to go against the HTCs and Samsungs of the smartphone world in hardware, and they're not naturally a software company (a la Google and Microsoft with their respective mobile OSs).

More likely, I would bet, is that HP has doubts that Android will scale well to tablets (current offerings in the market notwithstanding), with their relatively higher computing power than phones, and their experience with the Slate is probably indicating that Windows 7, despite being a good desktop OS, is not scaling too well down to the netbook level and below. Thus, they might be leaving open the option of pushing a tablet/MID level of computers based on webOS to compete with the iPad on iPhone OS.

And, if that doesn't work, as others have said, Palm has both a valuable name and lots of talented employees that can become HP's mobile arm, thus allowing them to have their asses covered and prevent shareholder panic.

Re:scaling of webOS (2, Insightful)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029362)

More likely, I would bet, is that HP has doubts that Android will scale well to tablets (current offerings in the market notwithstanding)

I'd submit that the current Android tablet offerings are precisely why HP would have doubts that Android won't scale well to tablets.

Re:scaling of webOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029580)

Unless the device has cellular radio, Google won't give you access to the full power of Android. I wonder why Google wants your device to be online.

Re:scaling of webOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029700)

BINGO!
So far none of the reviews for Android tablets that I've seen have been exactly stellar. Windows7/Vista tablets fall into the same lackluster category. Positive reviews tend toward the speculative, talking about what great potential Android has, instead of what it does well NOW. Android excels in technical capability, there's a lot that it CAN do or has the potential to do.

WebOS excels in user experience. While it can't do everything Android can do (e.g. emulate the desktop metaphor with icons and widgets) what it does is make a simple clean and consistent experience for users to do what they need to do with minimal fuss. WebOS is the middle ground between the iPhone/iPad OS and Android and that's really a great position to be in.

Re:scaling of webOS (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030368)

The current tablet offerings are with sub-optimal SoC's. ARM9 stuff because it's CHEAP. Of course it's going to give you the impression you have and think HP has.

With an ARM11 or the right multi-core ARM9 it becomes more believable.

With something in the class of a Cortex A8/A9, it becomes very much something that's scalable to tablets, etc.

However, it really needs the JIT support to gel in Dalvik or it'll be somewhat less useful to people in that space- and that's not yet in place. Upshot is going to be the NDK and people using it to sidestep performance issues where it's merited.

I'm not sure that it was due to the "fact" that "WebOS can 'scale'" that they made this decision. It's probably a factor. Just as them owning the app framework in question was a factor.

Re:scaling of webOS (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029418)

My bet? HP is going after BlackBerry.

The competitive market for corporate-friendly smartphones is virtually nonexistent, and BlackBerry's product line is outright sad, especially compared to the wonderphones coming out of HTC, Palm, and Apple. However, they continue to dominate the market because nobody has been willing to directly compete.

HP have a large base of loyal corporate customers, and the experience to sell products to these customers. They could conceivably take down Blackberry with a decent product and good marketing.

Re:scaling of webOS (1)

TheNumberless (650099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030606)

Your post is insightful, but this bothers me a bit:

They could conceivably take down Blackberry with a decent product and good marketing.

Forgive me for singling you out, but why would competition from HP necessitate that RIM be "taken down"? Isn't it more likely that it would spur RIM to improve the blackberry line? And wouldn't that be better than replacing one virtual monopoly with another? There seems to be this pervasive idea among geeks that there is one superior technology, and therefore all others must die. The last thing I want is a monoculture, no matter who owns it.

Re:scaling of webOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029516)

HP's mobile arm

I see what you did there

Wouldn't that be more of an issue (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029662)

... if tablets were an actual market? Where's the customer base for this? If tablet computing, and not the mobile expertise, is the justification for that price, they're really crazy.

Re:Wouldn't that be more of an issue (1)

TheNumberless (650099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030682)

There is some indication that the iPad has sold more than a million units already. Now, it's a sexy new gadget that could turn out to be a flash in the pan. But if competitors bet that it is, and lose, they could stand to 1.) lose a ton of money and 2.) hand Apple a virtual monopoly. Nobody but Apple wants that.

Re:scaling of webOS (1)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030448)

Java and Linux (the two core technologies Android is built around) have proven to be two of the most scalable technologies of the past 15 years. Android will scale.

That reminds me of joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029346)

Is your hand bigger than your face? Lets see, turn your palm towards your face...

Well, what's the punchline? (1)

d1r3lnd (1743112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029468)

Oh right, this joke doesn't work on the internet. Thanks for trying, though.

Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32029372)

IMHO, this purchase is about control and product differentiation. HP wants to take control of the whole stack, not just the hardware, and they want their mobile device to stand out from the crowd, like Apple's does. If they had built a phone that runs Android or Windows Mobile, they'd be at the mercy of Google or Microsoft, respectively, when it comes to developing the software. And, said software wouldn't be significantly different than the same software running on anyone else's devices.

Neither Google nor Windows. (1)

Hozza (1073224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029408)

To me there's 2 fairly clear things to be said about HP's buy:

  They don't like Windows Mobile 7, they already use Windows Mobile in their devices, but they must have decided 7 was uncompetitive and too closed down by Microsoft.

  They don't like Google, they like selling big expensive enterprise servers, so selling a device which emphasizes connecting the the gCloud was kind of out of the question.

Of course HP has a long heritage of mobile design via other buyouts, the original iPaq from Compaq came out of a research project from DEC. It'll be interesting to see how their heritage melds with that of their one time main competitor in mobile devices.

Re:Neither Google nor Windows. (2, Interesting)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030076)

I think there's two possibilities. Either way, HP's management sees that there's a serious shift to mobile computing happening, and that they really need to get in on it if they want to remain a big player. But the big question is whether or not they have a plan to do this.

Possibility #1: HP wants to try to make decent mobile computing devices, and they think that they've got the best chance to be successful if they can control both the hardware and the software. That's Apple's strategy, and it seems to be working well for them. While I understand the benefits of what Google's trying to do with Android, the ability to fully control both the hardware and the software and fine tune how they interact makes a lot of sense. The WebOS seems like a pretty decent pile of software, so why not use that as a starting point?

Possibility #2: HP has no idea how to effectively compete in the mobile market, so they're just buying something that at least at one point had some hype and potential, and hoping that someone comes over in the deal that can give them a clue.

Either way, with the aforementioned shift to mobile computing definitely occurring, 1.2 billion dollars for Palm seems to make some decent sense for HP.

HP always been a weird company (3, Insightful)

JaCKeL 1.0 (670980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029414)

They are able of the best and the worst at the same time: Their old COMPAQ laptop division who's now called Elitebook are in the top best machines. But their consumer branch (Pavillon) are the worst machine ever made. They have a good marketing, they are everywhere and everybody use their product but not many people loved them. When you have warranty the service is great but if you don't and it is a common issue, they will deny the problems, and wait for a court order before making a recall which they will fix by putting exactly the same flawed part. I have tons of broken HP machine coming to my office and it is always a well-known common problem. They make good printer, but they load their half working driver with crap, spyware, crapware... They also are responsible for the ink markup, they encourage customer to buy a new printer every time the ink runs out. They spy their competitor and their customer. I don't know where they are going with palm, I don't even know if it will be for better or worst....

Re:HP always been a weird company (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029612)

This defect? http://hplies.com/ [hplies.com]

Re:HP always been a weird company (1)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030646)

My workstation is an elitebook and I get a couple of bluescreens a day(!). On the other hand, my Dell Precision M70 from 5 years ago runs as good as new... although that may just be the benefit of running Ubuntu at home versus XP at work. But even with XP on my M70, I never had the same kind of issues I have now with the HP.

That's not to say that the EliteBooks (and enterprise-grade systems in general) aren't worlds better than their consumer-grade trash, but still, there are far better options.

A history of incompetence... (3, Interesting)

jjb3rd (1138577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029494)

When I was a young buck working my first developer job in college Compaq had the best little handheld ever created...it was the iPhone of 1998...it was iPaq. It ran Windows CE, which is shit today because it's hardly changed since 1996. However, in 1998, it was amazing. We developed some software for them (and the customers went with $4000 ruggedized B&W models as opposed to the $500 or $600 iPaq, which was awesome. HP bought Compaq, started making the iPaq with cheaper and cheaper parts. it got shittier and shittier and slower and slower and Microsoft focused on bastardizing it into a phone and HP said meh. Then iPhone comes along (which I have and love btw), and everyone's like, oooh, it's never been done before, well arguably not as good, but still, iPaq as a bad-ass machine in its day and HP fucked it...guess what they'll do with Palm, who it could easily be argued beat out iPaq only to fuck themselves with incompetence. While I'm at it, fuck Android...bring on the flamebait. The irony of the parallels between the phone computer was between Apple/iP* and Google/Android and Apple and Microsoft back in the day is clear. Microsoft copied from Apple and released an open, but shoddy platform. Google is copying from Apple and releasing an open, but shoddy platform. I may be alone here, but I hope Apple wins this one. I'm sure I'm alone in being excited about actual innovation coming out of Redmond with Windows Phone 7...but it looks like their glossing over some clunkiness (typical).

Re:A history of incompetence... (3, Informative)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029716)

When I was a young buck working my first developer job in college Compaq had the best little handheld ever created...it was the iPhone of 1998...it was iPaq. It ran Windows CE, which is shit today because it's hardly changed since 1996. However, in 1998, it was amazing. We developed some software for them (and the customers went with $4000 ruggedized B&W models as opposed to the $500 or $600 iPaq, which was awesome. HP bought Compaq, started making the iPaq with cheaper and cheaper parts. it got shittier and shittier and slower and slower and Microsoft focused on bastardizing it into a phone and HP said meh. Then iPhone comes along (which I have and love btw), and everyone's like, oooh, it's never been done before, well arguably not as good, but still, iPaq as a bad-ass machine in its day and HP fucked it...guess what they'll do with Palm, who it could easily be argued beat out iPaq only to fuck themselves with incompetence.

While I'm at it, fuck Android...bring on the flamebait. The irony of the parallels between the phone computer was between Apple/iP* and Google/Android and Apple and Microsoft back in the day is clear. Microsoft copied from Apple and released an open, but shoddy platform. Google is copying from Apple and releasing an open, but shoddy platform.

I may be alone here, but I hope Apple wins this one. I'm sure I'm alone in being excited about actual innovation coming out of Redmond with Windows Phone 7...but it looks like their glossing over some clunkiness (typical).

Whilst I do agree with your comments about the iPaq as someone who has seen the whole HP/Compaq/DEC train-wreck from the inside* I feel bound to point out that the bad things happened when Carly arrived on the scene and got a whole lot worse when they aquired Compaq - a lot of bad performers on both sides were promoted to way above their own level of competence and unfortunately the few digital staff who had survived became very resentful of the situation.

In short from my perspective it was the two great engineering firms HP and DEC that have become sullied by a culture of mediocrity that Compaq brought to the party.

* my wife was a DEC engineer and I was a HP contractor pre-merger

Re:A history of incompetence... (1)

SunLitLaz (944762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029978)

I agree, the early iPaq was a solid rockin' machine. Even in 2000 when I had one it was an amazing device. I've had several Blackberries and now happily carry the iPhone, and I won't go back. People say that the Blackberry is the only "corporate" option for a phone, and yet the iPhone (at least the 3GS, that's when I entered the iPhone scene) has direct built in support for Exchange server. Anyone here had the pleasure of running a Blackberry Enterprise Server? That thing is awful. I for one haven't seen anything yet that lives up to the title of "iPhone killer" that seems to be placed on every new gadget that comes out. If another company makes one better, markets it right, adds in all of the extras that makes the iPhone great and Apple doesn't innovate and keep up, maybe there will be a new king of the hill. But I don't think it will happen overnight.

My take (2, Interesting)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029532)

Posit:
The HP buyout offer was announced after the closing bell yesterday - $1.2bn, or $5.70 - and after-hours trading traded $PALM around $5.88.

Proposition 1: The only reason someone would pay more for these shares than the tender offer is if they think another offer is coming, and the last time I checked, the only other interested party was Lenovo.

Proposition 2: I anxiously await a bidding war between two desktop manufacturers for control of $PALM, a company with a beautiful, technologically sound, poorly managed OS. Why? Because they *also* own Be's old technology - a beautiful, technologically sound, poorly managed OS.

Proposition 3: To properly modernize BeOS, whoever buys them should work cooperatively with the Haiku project for things like, say, Wi-Fi or USB, and in return offer Haiku patent amnesty under $PALM's patent-folio umbrella.

So, who do I want to win? Neither, really, since whoever buys them will focus on the handsets alone and neglect the fact that they FRICKING OWN BE, INC., and thus an opportunity to develop a netbook-OS that doesn't suck.

HP's attempts at open-source relations have been like a high-school backseat tryst: HP climaxes early, loses interest immediately and leaves the eager and supple open-source community sexually frustrated, so to speak. Lenovo has been, at best, benign and neglectful. They at least offer the open-source alternative to Windows on their hardware, but it's not exactly advertised, and because M$ subsidizes hardware with OEM buy-ins, it's actually more expensive an option.

Perfect world option: I'd like to see Google buy them, incorporate the niceties of WebOS into Android, and what's useful from Be's 15-yr-old OS be merged into ChromeOS. Competitors would cry foul but, come on, Android phones already outsell Palm phones, and both are dwarfed by Apple and Blackberry

Re:My take (4, Informative)

wbo (1172247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029686)

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Be's IP bought by PalmSource and not by Palm Inc? Keep in mind that PalmSource and Palm Inc. are not the same company (although they worked closely together.) That would mean that Be's IP is currently owned by Access.

I remember PalmSource using some things from Be in PalmOS 6 - which unfortunately never got used in any devices before Access bought them.

Re:My take (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030540)

BeOS is owned by Access, who bought PalmSource, the previous successor in interest to the OS.

I won't repeat, but (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029534)

I posted on the earlier summary about how even my ancient Palm Tungsten E2 functions very well as a retarded little laptop and won't bore anybody by repeating myself. I will, however, note that with a thorough upgrade and proper marketing, this small device (or it's grandkid) could effectively replace a lot of bigger, more power-hungry devices.

TFA is a troll (2, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32029850)

Seriously, did the article writer not read ANY of the readily available information about the purchase?

Possibly he was too busy wanking off onto his Android, as he is apparently a MASSIVE Droid Fanboi.

However, had he actually read up on it he would have noted that HP is MASSIVELY interested in WebOS. Particularly in bringing WebOS into the TABLET market to compete directly with the iPad. Hell, the HP execs practically reached through the internet and slapped us all silly with their enthusiasm for WebOS on a tablet! [slideshare.net]

Of course, there is also the fact that while HP had a very strong showing in the early days of smart phones, their recent offerings have been very lackluster. With HP acting as partner and "sugardaddy" to Palm, Palm can begin to put out some really impressive smartphone offerings, along with HP offering the fantastic WebOS on an HP tablet. It's a great combination, and the WebOS platform has a great future ahead of it.

HP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32030040)

HP is currently garbage. It makes sense that they would make a move like this. Not one of their products is worth purchasing, and their customer 'support' is appalling.

too much changes of hand already (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030068)

sorry for palm loyalists, but you know a company have no future if it changed hands several times already.

palm started as independent, was sold to US Robotics, then became part of 3COM when they acquired USR, then spun off, splited in software and hardware, merged software and hardware again, now they're HP... uffff !!! got tired just of typing that. thing is, no one at palm knows how to sell their stuff right or survice in a cut-throat environment. when they were pretty much alone in the PDA market, they were doing fine. now against heavy competition in the smartphone busines ? not so much. if the didn't get bought, they'd have ended just like comodore, bankrupt despite the excelent amiga computer.

now the disturbing stuff:

despite the benefit that now i'll be able to buy a palm pre with employee discount, i think palm will end up as apolo and compaq. compaq is now just a brand for a line of el cheapo PCs, appolo was used some time ago in a line of cheap printers. in this newest acquisition, all the brain capital from palm will be diluted inside the body of this behemoth, the products that directly compete with other HP offerings will be axed, and the brand re-used for some other HP products.

yes, i know. sad but true.

[disclaimer] i know this by experience. i used to work for EDS, now "HP enterprise services".[/disclaimer]

It's about the O/S (2, Interesting)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030100)

There is no evidence that Android and its model – a free ubiquitous operating system running on a plethora of devices – will ever dominate the profitable end of the market. That’s a commodity market where being adequate and low priced is what it takes. Free and open doesn’t mean success in consumer markets. Linux on the desktop anyone?

Apple has demonstrated very well the advantages of a tightly integrated optimized stack especially in mobile devices. They and RIM together account for the great majority of the profits accrued in the entire cell phone market. Apple’s personal computers are far more profitable than generic PCs.

I see HP wanting to go up against Apple in the mobile device space using Apple’s own business model. Why would they care to enter an Android market where it’s so hard to differentiate themselves? If they want to push volume with low profit margins they already have that with their PCs. Do they want to repeat that? I doubt it. They’d end up losing to the Koreans and Chinese.

Palm has been successful – technically – producing devices coupled to operating systems that offer significant consumer value. What they lack is capital. They also lack a Steve Jobs figure – a visionary willing to take risks who isn’t answerable to anyone in the short term. (He has his track record to back him up.) Will HP identify or hire such a visionary and then will they give that person the freedom to execute on their vision? If they do they will be a formidable competitor to Apple. If all they offer are some technical skills, capital and manufacturing capacity, then they will be competing in the lower less profitable tiers with the likes of HTC, Motorola and Nokia.

Re:It's about the O/S (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030496)

RIM accounts for the great majority of the market, it's a fallacy to lump Apple in with them. Apple is a bit player right now, just like Android.

And Android's growing a lot faster than Apple's offerings.

The author of TFA is short sighted IMHO (1)

russg (64596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030118)

HP has plans to be one of the last standing in the consolidation of technology companies.
The patent portfolio alone is likely worth the purchase price even if it is only used defensively.
HP likely has no plans to ONLY do devices on WebOS as diversity in business is the best way to win.
Most everyone thinks WebOS is a great platform and has only lacked the advertising budget and deep pockets to drive it forward. The Mobile market for smart devices hasn't reached adolescence yet and HP just cheaply put themselves in a great position to be one of the last standing in the mobile market.

Um (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030186)

"A few useful patents?" Palm was making touchscreen handhelds before touchphones were conceived. They likely have a plethora of patents that the iPhone and other touch phones clearly violate. I really had hoped HTC would have bought them or maybe Google. Thus shoring up the patent situation and leveling the playing field. Essentially, that would have given the big 3 (MS, Apple, Google) a near equal amount of fire power thus staving off a global, thermo-nuclear patent war. HP did okay with iPaq's but I just don't see them as a phone player.

Palm Pre better suited for tablets than Android (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030232)

I see this more as a move to back up the tablets they are making, than an attempt to get into mobile (though they also have that now as well, with shipping phones to support and enhance).

Android is not as well suited to the tablet space, exactly because of the physical buttons (the Pre has one physical button like the iPhone).

The issue is that with the larger form factor of the tablet, physical buttons become awkward to hit. Also what side do you put them on - with a tablet it can make sense to use it in any orientation, but the more buttons you have to hit the harder they are to find when you need them, and Android has that menu button you have to use often while using apps.

The buttons android offers make a lot of sense in something that is always held the same way in the hand, but doesn't scale well to larger form factors.

One example. [youtube.com]

Re:Palm Pre better suited for tablets than Android (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32030550)

In the new Pres, they've actually done away with the button. It's now, except for the volume controls and keyboard, a buttonless phone.

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