If sources can be believed, the last parts of what used to be Palm will soon be housed within the Amazon corporate empire. A VentureBeat tipster claims that the online retailer is looking to buy some or all of the storied handheld manufacturer from its current owner, HP, who wants to recoup at least some of its losses from its disastrous run with WebOS. While HP has been trying to offload the subsidiary and its properties for some time, Amazon is said to be closest to an actual purchase.
It’s easy to see why Amazon would want what’s left of Palm. Despite WebOS’s failure to find a foothold in the mobile market, it’s a solid operating system, at least as good as Android in a lot of ways. Palm’s engineering and design teams (what’s left of them, anyway) are comprised of at least a few former Apple employees. While Palm hasn’t had a reputation for stellar hardware for the last few product cycles, it does have an impressive stable of mobile hardware and software patents, a lucrative commodity that HP won’t be needing once it exits the hardware business.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Amazon would outright revive the flat-lining WebOS. The retailer is on the verge of launching a version of Android on their Kindle Fire tablet, so utilizing WebOS in any meaningful way would mean redesigning from the ground up, and that’s just not going to happen. Still, seeing Palm’s UI expertise going into future versions of the Kindle Fire OS could only help, and a company investing heavily in mobile can always use a relevant patent portfolio. Some of the engineers at Palm have been making hardware for decades, and would make an excellent addition to Amazon’s internal Kindle team.
Neither HP nor Amazon has commented on the speculation.