February 15, 2011, 2:10 PM GMT.

HP Shows What $1.2 Billion Palm Purchase Has Bought

By Ben Rooney

A mobile phone with very slick interface that is substantially different to all the others, a huge established tech company backing it, but a tiny ecosystem and almost no momentum. Sounds familiar? This time it isn’t Microsoft and Nokia, but HP, extremely keen to show what it got for $1.2 billion in buying the troubled Palm.

If having a winning strategy was just a question of ticking boxes, HP would be sitting back and waiting for the cash to flow in. Differentiated product that stands out? Check. Integration with Facebook and other social networks? Check. Chic and intuitive interface? Check. Enormous marketing muscle and global distribution chain and sales channels? Check and check.

But alas for HP (and Nokia), it isn’t that simple. Without a doubt, WebOS is a lovely product; clean, very easy to use, and above all intuitive. But, through the eight cavernous halls and among the 50,000 delegates of Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona, the buzzword is “ecosystem