HP’s New Palm Pre 2 Designed to be Temporary Placeholder

by Matt Klassen on October 22, 2010

It was clear to all who witnessed it that Hewlett-Packards surprising acquisition of the struggling mobile company Palm was done for one reason: to get HP into the thick of the smartphone race. Now several months later, amidst reports that HP’s first line of new webOS based smartphones is set for release early next year, it looks like HP is trying its hand at selling Palm’s semi-popular Palm Pre line of phones with the release of the Palm Pre 2, sporting the revamped webOS v2.0.

But the problem for HP, and for the Palm Pre 2, is that the mobile market moves fast, so fast in fact that the webOS, once lauded for its ingenuity and innovation, may now be obsolete; the Palm Pre line of phones long forgotten.

So does HP have any hope of breaking into the cutthroat mobile market where the likes of Android and Apple roam? I sincerely doubt it. In fact, I’m struggling to discover why anyone, save a few select webOS devotees perhaps, would give HP’s Palm Pre 2 even a second glance.

That’s when it hit me, I know the reason for the release of the Palm Pre 2. Its true purpose is as a low cost placeholder for HP in the mobile market, a standin until a stronger lineup of smartphones can be delivered in the new year.

The fact of the matter is, to compete with the likes of Android and Apple’s iOS in the mobile operating systems battle, webOS really needs to deliver. While the public has yet to get its hands on v2.0, the problem for HP is that no one has seen, thought of, or cared about Palm’s operating system since back in 2009. I fear that with only a few incremental upgrades, little actual new innovation, and a dearth of consumer knowledge the webOS may suffer the same fate it did before, a slow and painful fade into the background.

So with little in the way of upgrades or innovation, why put out the Palm Pre 2 and the newly upgraded webOS now? It seems to me that HP clearly understands one thing, it isn’t going to dethrone either Android or Apple, at least not any time soon.

Instead, HP is looking to get its newly acquired mobile OS back out on the market on a semi-useable phone in an effort to remind the public that Palm still exists and that webOS, when given a chance, delivers an experience unlike Android or Apple. So does it matter that the Palm Pre 2 is likely to quickly fade away into obscurity?

Although any sort of ultimate judgment on HP’s deployment of Palm’s assets will have to wait till its new line of smartphones is released in the new year, the fact that the Palm Pre 2 won’t turn any heads or that the new version of the webOS shows little new innovation is relatively minor in HP’s grand marketing scheme. That being said, should those 2011 smartphones fail to capture the interest of the public, we’ll be looking at a completely different story.

The simple fact is, it generally takes about a year for companies to fully integrate new acquisitions and new technologies into their business model, and with the Palm acquisition only six months old, it should come as no surprise that HP is starting out slow. Will the Palm Pre 2 succeed? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean that HP, Palm, or the webOS are necessarily doomed to mediocrity in the mobile market, it just means that any true success is going to take some time.

So in the meantime, all the best to HP’s placeholding phone, the mighty Palm Pre 2.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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