Sprint and HP Drop Alliance

July 9, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Sprint and HP have decided to break up. At the end of a long relationship between the carrier and the WebOS, it’s not clear who left whom.

Apparently Sprint has dropped WebOS from its lineup, thus ending their hope for an iPhone rival. Not only has the carrier dropped the Pre 3, but HP doesn’t have anymore hardware to showcase on the platform in the future.

Sprint’s admission of the Pre being a disappointment in the market was openly heard. And this, we must say, has been a complete reversal of the carrier’s attitude from the spring of 2009.

That year, when the original Palm Pre sprang up, Sprint pinned its hopes on the Pre being a real challenger to the iPhone and even orchestrated a high-profile launch on June 6 2009, just three days before Apple’s WWDC event.

The release did trigger an increase in demand which even lead to a minor shortage in supply, and this convinced Palm that iPhone users would begin to switch over. Pre’s multi-tasking abilities and its advanced social integration gained applause.

But the iPhone stepped up its game with their superior features for low price and this dimmed Sprint’s enthusiasm. The Sprint exclusive also ended up being a liability for Palm as it led to the Pre missing a chance to preempt the Motorola Droid on Verizon, leading not just to a key advantage for Motorola but arguably the crucial sales spike that catapulted Android into competition with the iPhone in the US and even worldwide.

Sprint’s disappointment in Pre saw its attention diverted to the HTC Evo 4G, an Android flagship whose design was successful enough to end a three-year subscriber drought.

The end of dealings between HP and Sprint would hammer HP’s growth as it loses a carrier at a crucial time. Both the companies have refused to comment on the alleged break-up.

This might turn out good for both companies after all, seeing as they get a wave of fresh options. We will have to wait and see what whirls up next.

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