HP didn’t just drop $1.2 billion on Palm to simply sit on the assets. There have to be major plans in the works to leverage webOS and slam out some killer consumer devices. This could be huge for not only both companies, but for you and me.
Of course a webOS tablet makes sense. The OS is already optimized for web content and can run on nearly any hardware right now. All HP engineers would need to do is, well, install it. WebOS could lead to some legitimate iPad contenders with Flash support natively built into the slick OS that already has an established developer’s channel.
HP doesn’t do small. It thinks huge, so expect multiple webOS phones targeting the high, mid, and low price points. The company has the manufacturing might and cash to even release loss-leaders in order to leverage the brand and build upon the webOS customer base quickly. HP doesn’t need an instant best seller in order to eventually be a major player in the arena.
The PMP market might not be what it used to be, but connected players like the iPod touch and Zune HD are still selling well. There’s nothing stopping HP from stripping away the cellular goods and outing a sexy media player — or two.
The DreamScreen launched last year to lots of criticism partly because of the lame UI. webOS could change that. HP could even market it as a baby-slate or something less than a tablet but slightly more than a digital photo frame.
HP is a huge presence in the corporate world and currently uses Windows Mobile on many of their connected devices. However, webOS is a much more modern operating system and while some companies might scoff at the huge upfront cost of either switching totally over or running both systems, it could pay dividends later on. Plus let’s not forget that Microsoft is moving onto Windows Mobile 7 and will not support 6.xx forever.