Hewlett-Packard (HP) yesterday announced it has completed its US$1.2 billion acquisition of Palm and revealed plans to take on Apple’s iPad with webOS-powered tablet PCs. “HP’s global scale and financial strength plus Palm’s award-winning webOS experience, as well as its acclaimed Pre and Pixi smartphone product lines, enhance HP’s ability to participate more aggressively in the highly profitable, US$100 billion smartphone and connected mobile device markets,” noted a statement. “Under Jon Rubinstein, former Palm chairman and chief executive officer, the Palm global business unit will report to [Todd] Bradley [executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP]. Palm will be responsible for webOS software development and webOS based hardware products, from a robust smartphone roadmap to future slate PCs and netbooks.”
Earlier this year, HP unveiled a prototype tablet, called the ‘Slate,’ that ran on Microsoft’s Windows operating system but hasn’t provided many details since. Speculation has mounted that HP plans to reshape the project in light of the Palm acquisition. Certainly HP – the world’s largest PC manufacturer – is making a major move into the mobile space. Earlier this week it announced plans to buy mobile music provider Melodeo.