back to article What does HP want with Palm?

Palm, which defined mobile computing, has been bought by HP, which pissed away its stake in the same industry. So can HP do any better this time around? Palm didn't invent mobile computing; it arguably took the industry several steps backwards in creating a device entirely reliant on its desktop companion. But in doing so the …


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  1. SynnerCal

    Palm, an HP company

    Bill Ray wrote: "Palm, which defined mobile computing, has been bought by HP, which pissed away its stake in the same industry. So can HP do any better this time around?"

    Short answer ... not a chance. HP is too deep in the pocket of Microsoft to be looking at Palm as anything other than a short-term gain - maybe get those Windows 7 Mobile prices down to a level that's more profit-friendly. But I'm probably being unfair, and we'll see a couple of niche products "escaping" their clutches using WebOS.

    BR also wrote: "HotSync didn't just copy over diary appointments and contacts: during the process every installed application is offered the opportunity to backup data, or be connected to a desktop equivalent which would be triggered by the desktop HotSync application."

    Thumbs up for pointing this out - as a long term Palm user I was _really_ shocked when I got an iPod and found that iTunes doesn't do this. So when I had to "rebuild" my latest iPod (Touch 1st Gen) after Apples latest firmware had bricked it, (again!), I was less than impressed to find that while the core apps were back to normal and my ITMS app purchases were there, the configuration files for those apps were lost forever.

    Good article, I just hope that the head-cases in HP realise the potential of their latest purchase rather than asset stripping it. Oh, and if they want to do a budget priced WebOS PDA with wireless etc, then put me down for one, I could do with a replacement for the Palm T3 that's sitting on my desk.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well maybe..

      It would probably be illegal for Microsoft use market dominance to force HP into putting the windows 7 mobile on any future handsets by changing pricing on other products.

      Surely Microsoft have never threatened to remove or reduce discounts to resellers for shipping a different operating system on hardware than Microsofts.

      I suspect WebOS's days are numbered already, before Microsoft starts to really ramp up the push for Windows 7 Mobile. HP have never really done phones, and Apple and Android are already entrenched, (apple more than android at the moment....)

  2. barth

    HP needs an ARM OS ?

    I'm not sure. Wintel seems to be having major issue in the Tablet market, mainly battery life. With WinCE in the doldrums, HP needs something to run on ARM, and may be one of the few companies to have the resources to actually build something nice instead of using Android. Here's to hoping.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    "anyone doing anything interesting in the mobile computing [sic] needs a big stack of patents to back them up, or risk being out-litigated by the competition"

    Good to see patents fostering innovation and competition isn't it?

    1. Rodrigo Rollan

      My thoughts exactly

      When I read the bit about having a stack of patents to protect against other players to be able to succeed in the mobile computer market, my spine chilled just a little. I hope it does not come to that, but knowing the habits of the corporate predator.

      Reading the titles of the patents makes me wonder: using a mobile computing device to make phone calls. Skype is F**ED then: My netbook does that. And using a vertical support for a portable computer....are you serious ?

      I´ll try to patent "Thing that does stuff". If it flies I´ll be rich. Now i Know what came between "Collect underpants" and "Profit" in the gnomes plan.......PATENT !

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Palm Hotsync worked so well

    because PalmOS didn't have files, it had tables of records, with each row having a last-updated date. This meant hotsync was a doddle to just truck through all the tables and copy rows up/down depending on the last-update dates on the device & desktop. How the app worked had no impact, unless it really screwed with the table paradigm, which of course, some apps had to do. You didn't buy those again. (hey, I used "paradigm" correctly in an El Reg posting!)

    If you move to files, with records being opaque chunks of bytes, then the app has to get into the act, and we all know 3rd parties can't write complicated stuff like this and actually have it work.

    Now if only Palm had hardware where the damned touchscreen could stay calibrated more than 20 minutes, and the battery life didn't go from 2 weeks on my III down to maybe 5 or 6 hours on my Tx, I'd still be buying Palm....

    F'ing awesome software, shite hardware. Kind of the anti-Microsoft, there....

  5. F MacIllFhinnein


    Not just anti-M$: anti-Apple, too, if you consider the unholy mess that is iTunes with its inconsistent behaviour and user-unfriendly interface. Then there's the nonsense of locking in users to this poor excuse for software, and claiming the right to interfere with customers that prefer to use alternative products, by screwing up software settings.

  6. Captain Save-a-ho

    Here's what Turd was thinking

    Since Mark Turd and HP just completed their purchase of 3Com, the next thought had to be, "We should finish what 3Com started". The thought after that was, "We can get Palm dirt cheap over buying RIM, HTC, etc". That's the HP model. Don't buy the top tier in a new or emerging market, but purchase the cheapest option that still gets them to middle of the pack (or just below). So glad I no longer work for that fucktard and his employee-hating execs.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Nobody would pay $1.2 billion to push the price of wp7 down, this purchase will benefit them that way, but it also gives them a very useful option in the newly developing slate market without them having to struggle to get decent battery life out of intel hardware or helping to build up the brand awareness of android.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    An ex-Compaq employee writes

    The best non-Psion PDA I ever had was an HP Jornada 720 (netbook precursor). iPAQs were useless in comparison.

    "HP is too deep in the pocket of Microsoft to be looking at Palm as anything other than a short-term gain"

    That would have been undeniable before Vista. But didn't Vista change that picture somewhat for the desktop, and thus for Microsoft in general? Doesn't Windows 7/Office (20)10's failure to do anything worthwhile that prior versions couldn't simply prolong the desktop agony for HP and MS? And without the desktop leverage, how much stranglehold does MS have over HP, or has it now turned the other way round - HP could threaten to have another more serious go at thin client with their corporate customers, and where would that leave Bill's empire? HP probably won't try it, but primarily because their top management are clueless.

    In the non-desktop sector, the same not-reliably-dominant factor applies to Windows CE or whatever they call it this year, only more so. WinCE was meant to be for PDAs, phones, and even consumer electronics such as set top boxes. Who can name a set top box (preferably two) based on WinCE? Who can name an interesting phone based on WinCE that doesn't have someone else's home made GUI layered on top? Windows CE has had it, it's just a matter of time, unless a miracle occurs.

    "Surely Microsoft have never threatened to remove or reduce discounts to resellers for shipping a different operating system on hardware than Microsofts"

    I'm not so sure about that (where's the sarcasm icon). I'm pretty sure joint marketing funding, cheap training, access to technology pre-previews and stuff like that starts to disappear when a PC (or especially netbook) builder starts getting serious about non-Windows OSes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An ex-Compaq employee re-writes

    Er, in my previous post I mistryped. Where the keyboard heard "thin client", obviously what I really typed was "cloud-based LEAN desktop 2.0", yah?

  10. heyrick Silver badge


    How come embedding a web browser in the OS causes screams and shouts and anti-trust lawsuits, yet everybody can bitchslap each other over patents (which may or may not even be valid) to promote their interests and squash the/any competition, yet there's no anti-trust issue here? Isn't stifling innovation with a "patent portfolio" pretty much the same idea as stifling competition by bundling a freebie with the OS?

  11. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Have a read of this

    It's why HP wanted a tablet OS. They dropped their Slate product using Windows 7 as the future could be small lower power devices accessing data and services in the cloud.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patent foolishness...

    "Wireless, radio-frequency communications using a handheld computer"

    OK, so I have an Acer Aspire One in my hand (hand-held) and it is using WiFi to access the network,... does that mean that the Aspire now infringes the above patent? One has to wonder what the heck the patent officers are thinking.. if indeed they think at all.

    Lets look at the others...

    "Wall mount cradle for personal digital assistants"

    A contoured shelf then... very innovative this. I'm sure it required deep thought (not THAT deep thought) and loads of highly trained engineers to conjure up this one.

    "Palmtop computer docking system"

    A USB cable, or perhaps to make it more unique they have the connector protrude through a hole.. er.. access port in the contoured shelf.

    FAIL, FAIL, and oh yes, FAIL!

  13. JD Evora

    Big plans for WebOS

    I do think that HP has big plans for WebOS.

    Buying Palm's IP for protect your self only makes sense if you DO PLAN to enter that territory BIG time.

    WebOS is even for Palm heaters the "best mobile OS on the marked" Palm was not able to make it a success specially due lack of resources.

    Problem solved, Palm gets money and HP gets a way make their products to stand out from the other Android/Windows mobile builders.

    Looking forward for a WebOS device with a better hardware!!!

  14. Gil Grissum

    WEB OS

    If HP keeps the Palm brand alive and releases a WEB OS PRE or something similar onto AT&T's network, that will be my next upgrade. This Blackberry is pissing me off daily.

  15. Rick Cross 1

    Big Fail For Slate

    Several of us have been jonesing for the Slate. Tablet PC running a real OS, millions of programs available and for half the price of an iPad.

    If HP puts WebOS on it, then it'll be nothing more than a web browser. I mean just how many apps have you see for the Palm Pre vs Android, iPhone or Windows Mobile? I think there are even more apps for the Blackberry than the Pre.

    So if HP goes WebOS, I just won't buy a tablet of any type. My guess is that a year from now, the Slate will be on as a closeout.

    Heck at least Apple has a track record of delivering and has lots of apps out there, even if Apple does limit your choices.

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