HP’s Jon Rubinstein on phones, tablets, and birthrights

Yesterday, Palm front-man Jon Rubinstein sat down at the Web 2.0 Summit to talk about his company’s past glory and present predicament. Mr. Rubinstein was cautious, but optimistic, when briefly discussing Palm’s — now HP’s — future plans.

“Palm created the PDA space with the Pilot and the smartphone space after it with the Treo,” said Mr. Rubinstein. “So by birthright, Palm should have owned the smartphone market, but it just lost its way.”

After likening Palm’s missteps to those of Apple, Inc. in the 1990′s, he continued: “We needed more resources. We could not compete in a fashion that would allow us to be one of the premier companies in the marketplace. And HP needed a strong mobile strategy around which they could innovate–one that would allow them to control their own future and not rely on the kindness of strangers.” If we’re not mistaken, that was a small, not-so-subtle, shot at Google’s Android operating system.

When asked about his company’s future plans, Rubinstein said, “We’ve got some great products in the works; some smartphones, a great tablet coming. I think we have several products that will be hits when they come out.” Earlier in the interview, the chief noted that HP’s goal is to “deliver a unified experience” around webOS in an attempt to capitalize on the trend of more and more consumers moving to advanced mobile devices.

Hopefully, we’ll see some of these “great products” come to market in early 2011.

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