Well, it looks like pretty much everybody called that one
wrong. There won't be an HP smartphone anytime soon.
Speaking candidly at a Merril Lynch tech event this week, HP supremo Mark Hurd laid the facts down in no uncertain terms, saying it "doesn't in any way make sense" for HP to get into the smartphone market.
Actually, Hurd said, there was one reason alone that HP bought Palm at the
end of April
and that was for its intellectual property.
In a widely-quoted statement, Hurd said: "The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a web operating environment.... We have tens of millions of HP small form factor web-connected devices [iPaqs, etc].... Now imagine that being a web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value [sic] proposition."
Although this statement leaves owners and resellers of Palm devices facing an uncertain future, this news would seem to indicate that HP is going to put WebOS on some kind of tablet device in the near future.
HP has already pledged a major round of
in Palm's R&D operation and its head of IR, Jim Burns, also dropped a monster hint when he said: "
So we are going to be taking this platform, which today exists in smartphones and taking it much broader than that."
So based on this it looks like HP sees the future of mobile business computing as being on iPad style devices.
And it's pretty much curtains for the Microsoft relationship.