On Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, HP announced that they would buy Palm, the maker of webOS and the Pre/Pre+ and Pixi/Pixi+ smartphones.
image from Precentral - http://www.precentral.net/
Palm, the company that actually launched and popularized early smartphones with it's Treo line, had struggled for many years and then was buoyed up by the release of it's new operating system, webOS. webOS is well liked and critically acclaimed, being described as the most elegant, user friendly, smartphone OS out there. It's synergy system keeps users always up-to-date and in sync with other services. It is also the only one that does true multitasking. In spite of webOS's initial excitement, Palm was unable to capitalize on that and sales of their new smartphones have not been as good as they thought and the company has been struggling. Enter HP.
HP, one of the largest technology companies in the world and a major computer manufacturer, is planning on keeping webOS and most of Palm's team and run them as a separate business unit. They are planning to scale webOS across multiple platforms, and in interviews have discussed a webOS powered tablet and slate. HP's global scale and financial strength combined with Palm's webOS will allow HP to "participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, highly profitable smartphone and connected mobile device market."
So, what does this have to do with education? One, Palm's webOS is a great platform and easy to use. HP can expand the market of webOS further into education. HP is talking about new devices like tablets and slates which will be great for the education market. This also means more competition in the market place which benefits consumers by lowering prices. webOS is extremely easy to develop apps for. Most high school computer science students (and many other students) already know web languages, which is what webOS is based on. This means that students could develop their own apps for educational purposes. With HP backing webOS, we will also see more and more developers creating apps for it. Palm has great support for developers also. HP and Palm have some very talented developers and engineers and the combination of both should lead to some very innovative products in the future.
Palm and webOS already have a lot of great apps for education and more are available all the time. webOS is easy to use, powerful, has a great web browser, supports Flash, has thousands of apps, supports 3D graphics, has true multitasking, and is easy to develop for.
HP and Palm have always been good towards education and I don't see that changing. HP already is involved with education through partnerships, discounts on products, and resources for students and educators. HP has their Teacher Experience Exchange which has lesson plans, resources, discussions, and more for educators. HP also offers free online technology training for educators. Palm has the Palm Foundation which provides financial and product-donation assistance to high-quality, effective non-profit organization. Palm also encourages developers to create educational applications.
In short, I feel that HP's purchase of Palm will lead to many good things for education - a great operating system on new devices with great potential and use in education.