Let's welcome Palm to the land of the living dead

I’ve been bearish on Palm as a standalone platform since they launched last May and today the sadness-tinged chickens have come home to roost: Palm is now part of HP and, like the iPaq before it, the Pre and Pixi will slowly be subsumed into the company’s line-up.

In fact, I couldn’t be happier for Palm. A recent perusal of HP’s line-up including their new Envy line of laptops show that, unlike Dell, they can produce a beautiful and powerful product at a nice price. Palm, in short, needed out of the hardware business and this gave them that chance.

It’s hard to run a standalone hardware company these days. Name one product besides TiVo that has mass appeal and adoption and is produced by a company whose sole purpose is the production of that product. The boutique model of hardware manufacturing is dead and the big guys – the Dells, the Apples, the HPs – are the only ones with the scale and energy to propel products into the market. In a world where Sony can barely make a sale anymore, how many Palms did they think they’d move?

Fanboys will rage and claim their beloved WebOS will live on – and maybe it will in HP’s portable line – but one course of action I could see is the WebOS UI being HP’s equivalent of HTC’s Sense but with a built-in kernel and underlying OS.

Don’t cry for Palm. They had a good run and they caught the world’s attention. This HP acquisition will change Palm irretrievably and probably for the good.