updated 05:20 pm EDT, Wed April 28, 2010
HP explains Palm deal in conference call
HP in a conference call discussing its buyout of Palm revealed that the deal was meant to get webOS and spread it beyond phones. Executives called webOS a "world-class" mobile platform and said it would put the software on "multiple connected devices" that it said could include tablets and netbooks. Palm's OS has true app multitasking and a heavy focus on the cloud that can be used to HP's advantage, the companies said in the call.
Most of HP's contribution would come from its sheer size and reach, as it planned to invest heavily into Palm and help spread its devices worldwide. HP can afford to sell phones in areas that Palm couldn't afford to reach on its own, officials said.
It added that HP likes the idea of an "integrated solution" where it controls both the hardware and software and cited articles pointing out that Palm had potentially beaten rivals like the iPhone and BlackBerry. It still intends to support Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Windows Phone despite the move.
Palm's "valuable" patent portfolio was also important, according to HP. As one of the first to make a smartphone, Palm has patents covering large parts of the technology and has been able to use multi-touch on the Pre and Pixi even though Apple has patents relating to the technology.
HP couldn't yet say when it would expect to have webOS tablets as it needs the deal to close in July before it can commit to the idea. Palm's existing phone roadmap won't change in the near future, and HP doesn't plan to get into the content business.
The new revelations may pit HP more directly against Apple and Google, both of whom have chosen to make tablets based on phone platforms rather than follow HP's existing direction with its Windows 7 slate. Using a mobile OS has so far had major advantages in battery life and in the costs of the underlying hardware.