We’ve been closely following HP (s hpq) since its acquisition of Palm to figure out the direction the company will be taking with the webOS platform. HP has been clear about plans for tablets and printers running webOS, but less than forthcoming on what might be expected in the smartphone space. A company official has confirmed that HP will be producing phones early next year to capitalize on the acquisition of webOS.
SVP Eric Cador made it clear to an industry conference in Spain that the $1.2 billion investment in Palm was to acquire the webOS technology, and that phones would be appearing next year running the platform. The combination of HP’s expertise in producing hardware and Palm’s webOS software should make new phones that are highly competitive in the hot smartphone space.
The Palm group has continued to develop the next version of webOS since the merger, and it’s looking pretty good. The version 2.0 of the OS is taking the platform multitasking to the next level, with “stacks” of running apps now accurately visually indicating work sessions. The oft-praised webOS searching is getting a permanent position on the home screen, making it easier to search the phone and the web for information. Palm was the first to integrate social networks with smartphone information, and HP will use webOS to open up the Synergy technology to third-party developers to create new uses for the shared information.
The platform is continuing to evolve under HP’s direction, and new phones produced after the merger should be competitive with Android (s goog) going forward.
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