Palm Made HP Relevant Again

Feb 9, 2011
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Palm Made HP Relevant Again

It’s no secret that mobile, namely smart phones and tablets, is the hottest topic in the tech industry today. It’s almost as if companies who don’t have products in these categories are not even in the conversations dominating industry trade shows and conferences.

Had HP not purchased Palm this would still be the case. However they did purchase Palm and now HP finds themselves right back in the middle of this fascinating mobile conversation, this time with a fresh suite of mobile products.

During the era where traditional clamshell mouse and keyboard PC’s were the hottest topics, companies like Dell and HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, etc were the focus of many analysts like myself and media.  I still track all those companies extensively however the growth sectors for tech are now smartphones and tablets.

Halo Products Drive Mind Share
The bottom line is if you don’t have an object of desire somewhere in your product portfolio it is very hard to capture attention for other products in the lineup. This lesson is proved true for the mass market over and over again. HP tried to combat Apple by buying Voodoo and it didn’t work quite like they planned.

With Palm, however, they acquired an innovative hardware and software team who has proven to make devices of appeal. HP’s hope with these three new devices is that they take a step deeper into the mobile consumer and business landscape. They can do this now with products they did not have the internal expertise to develop. Another hope is that these products may shed light on their many other products in their portfolio.

HP Should Focus on RIM
Apple and Google are in the middle of the rink fighting for consumers. Google has no interest in enterprise right now as their advertising model for mobile is geared entirely at consumers. RIM is the leader in business and Microsoft is nearly TKO of this sector.

HP has a shot to pass Microsoft in smart phones and tablets and begin to eat at RIM’s market share if they stay focused. An ancient proverb says, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” RIM and HP cannot go after business and consumers at the same time and should listen to this wise proverb and choose the battle they have the best chance at winning. In my opinion both RIM and HP are better oriented to battle for the business customer.

The Bottom Line
I’m not going to make a prediction of how successful these new products from HP will be. I will say that they are fresh and that more products running Web OS is certainly a good thing for the market. More importantly HP took an important first step today. They demonstrated that they, along with their newly acquired Palm teams, can create products that will at the very least be competitive. I know many who have written Palm off. Even though the Palm name is gone this story is far from over.

Welcome back to the conversation HP.


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