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UC Week in Review: HP, Palm Deal Breaks


April 30, 2010

Saying it intends to deploy the webOS mobile operating platform across a wide spectrum of wireless devices, tech giant HP today announced that it's coming to the rescue of smartphone maker Palm, Inc. with a $1.2 billion acquisition.

In a Webcast announcing the deal, Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's personal systems group, called the deal strategically and financially "transformational."

"We believe that the acquisition of Palm is a transformational deal in the connected mobility market, opening up opportunities for further growth," Bradley said.

Google and Motorola declined to comment on the deal when reached by unified communications this week, and Apple, Nokia and RIM could not be immediately reached for comment.

What is clear, analysts say, is that the deal will position HP for growth in the mobile market, though definitive steps must be taken in order to ensure success.  Some say the deal indicates HP's desire to become Apple-like, while others question what the move means for the developer industry.

Ronald Gruia, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, told unified communications in a recent interview that the webOS mobile operating system will strengthen HP's position in the long run, including a strong patent portfolio - with 1,650 patents - in addition to operator relationships and differentiation in the mobile devices market.

A couple of other interesting announcements were made this week:

Tommy Hilfiger signed a five-year managed services contract with BT which calls for BT to provide a videoconferencing solution for the lifestyle brand which includes "virtual fitting rooms." This solution was developed along with TANDBERG which is now part ofCisco TelePresence Technology Group. The virtual fitting rooms will enable immediate in-person communications and collaboration among Tommy Hilfiger's designers and manufacturing facilities.

The University of Tokyo released a video highlighting gesture-controlled phone possibilities.

Without touching the "touch screen," a gesture-controlled phone would allow for a user to simply move a finger over a key or command, and the device would obey, without even having to come in contact with the actual phone. It's a technology that Nokia might have an interest in as well according to a recent rumor.

As more and more technology devices are busting into the handheld device-type market, the need to stay above the curve is more adamant than ever in the mobile space.

Now, everyone knows that Apple tends to try and be the "do all, end all," of technological advances, especially with the iPhone and iPad, but there is another initiative in the works that could create an even bigger mobile storm than the iPad.

With the recent Nokia rumor about the possibility of gesture-controlled phones, the company, which has claimed it's waiting to progress its lack of touch-based interface phones to "do it the right way," seems to be eyeing a new type of mobile gateway.

Without touching the "touch screen," a gesture-controlled phone would allow for a user to simply move a finger over a key or command, and the device would obey, without even having to come in contact with the actual phone.


Alice Straight is a unified communications editor. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Alice Straight




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