WebOS headed to HP printers and tablets

Just a couple of weeks back, this column reported the announcement of HP that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which HP will purchase Palm, a provider of smartphones powered by the Palm webOS mobile operating system, at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion. The transaction has been approved by the HP and Palm boards of directors.

We said that the decision of HP to acquire Palm is more because of its webOS and for HP to be a contender in the mobile phone market and to power its much anticipated HP Slate Little that we know that HP has something up its sleeves- putting webOS into its printers.

In a quarterly earnings report, HP CEO Mark Hurd said the company plans to use WebOS in a variety of products, including tablets and Web-enabled printers. With this remarks of Hurd, we can expect HP to release connected printers, with touchscreens, that will make printing from the web much easier without the use of computers – and webOS can make this a reality. HP will also make printing from smartphones and other mobile devices easier from consumers.

Having its own operating system will actually put HP’s job a lot easier and cheaper – they will have control over their hardware and software. Can you imagine HP servers, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, laser printers, inkjet printers, multifunction printers, smartphones and future HP devices working seamlessly under one operating system? No compatibility issues, not much learning curve and not much adjustments.

If this comes into reality, we can expect user interface from one device to another would be the same, functionalities of one may become available to the other device and most of all, resources would be saved thus making the device more efficient and more affordable.

At the end of the day, the HP acquisition of Palm seems to be pointing to the right direction – to provide users a better experience among HP platform and devices. I already said that the US$1.2 billion price tag is cheap compared to other acquisitions that I have seen by other companies, with this strategy from HP, it made the US$1.2 billion price tag even more affordable considering the possibilities it brings to HP.

The first WebOS HP product is expected to be the “Hurricane” tablet, which should be somewhat like the “Slate”, except running a streamlined WebOS variant.


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