Smartphone maker Palm has been purchased by Hewlett-Packard (HP) for $1.2 billion.
The move apparently is part of HP’s efforts to establish itself in the smartphone market, using Palm’s well-regarded mobile operating system (WebOS) as a springboard. In the future, WebOS could be deployed on PC tablets and other products, market analysts say.
Palm was one of the trailblazers in hand-held devices but has lost market share to Apple (iPhone) and Research in Motion (Blackberry). Last year, Palm unveiled a well-reviewed touch-screen phone, the Pre, but it did not hit its sales targets. It also faced stiff competition from Google, which is revamping its Android OS for cellphones.
HP’s backing of WebOS allows cellphone makers to be more comfortable about adopting it, analysts say, but HP could take at least a year to make the initiative pay off.
HP says Palm’s chairman and chief executive, former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.
Before the HP-Palm deal, Dell — one of HP’s rivals — may also have been interested in buying Palm.