Hewlett Packard is shelling out $1.2 billion to purchase Palm. While HP used to be a pretty major player in the mobile device space, over the past few years the company hasn’t shown much enthusiasm for the cellphone market, offering just a handful of iPaq-branded Windows Mobile phones and PDAs. But it looks like that could all change soon, with HP promising to invest heavily in Palm’s WebOS mobile operating system.

Engadget reports that HP also plans to leverage WebOS across multiple platforms — which could even mean we’ll start to see the operating system on iPad-like tablets. After all, the iPhone OS works pretty well on the iPad. And a number of companies are building Google Android-powered tablets. Why not a WebOS-based tablet? Or maybe we’ll see the Palm Foleo brought back from the dead as a WebOS-powered netbook?

If there’s one thing that’s becoming abundantly clear in the tablet space, it’s that operating systems that are built with touch in mind are a lot easier to use with slate computers than operating systems that were designed for use with a keyboard and mouse — even if some touch-friendly features were slapped on as an afterthought. Because let’s face it — there’s not a single application that runs on the iPad that wasn’t designed to be operated with your fingertips. You can’t really say the same about the Asus Eee PC T101MT.

You can read more about HP’s plans to purchase Palm at Mobiputing.

Update: Yup, it’s official. HP is thinking about WebOS slates and netbooks… and may even put off the launch of the HP Slate to decide whether it should really run Windows 7 or if WebOS would be a better fit.

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10 replies on “HP to buy Palm… WebOS tablets on the way?”

  1. I thought the Foleo was a good idea. I think it would be an even better one if it had WebOS and released as a netbook. I read at the Palm site that they were working on a tablet pc;IIRC. IMO; WebOS would be a great tablet pc os.

    I am glad HP bought Palm. It is great to see it bought by an American company.

    I am also looking forward to the Pre and Pixi coming to AT&T Mobile. 🙂

  2. True, although it is long past time for desktop developers to start thinking about scalable graphics and different input methods. And I have some hope that we’ll see a Linux variant – desktop Linux and upcoming GNOME, for instance, not just Android and WebOS – that is tweaked for touch. I think the reason that isn’t further along is the same reason we aren’t all on touch hardware – the machines are substandard so far. 😉

  3. Excellent news. I was hoping WebOS wouldn’t die a crib death. Now if HP can just overcome the urge to chrome all the places on whatever devices they make that use the OS that are designed to be touched, and matte all the places you never would like some of their recent laptops… I can’t wait to see if they do anything useful with the OS. I’d love to see it in tablet form, especially one with 3 or 4g connectivity.

  4. The HP people sound like they believe they can use there current ties to major carriers to push Web OS quickly and other mobile devices are sure to come. 2010 is shaping up to be a very very interesting year in tech.

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