Generally speaking, I think HP-Palm combination makes a lot of sense - Palm as a part of HP cloud strategy, Palm's rich patent/IP asset and developer community support, and their common DNA as Silicon Valley natives.
I think that the key question is where HP/Palm position its WebOS in the increasing crowded smartphone battlefield.
iPhone has established itself with fashion statement, as well as its ecosystem with iTunes, and it is basically a comsumer electronic device, with "viewing" as the main purpose.
RIM Blackberry is still popular among business people, not only because it has a strong grip in corporate mail server market with Blackberry Enterprise Server, but also its superiority as the "input device". Geeks look down on Blackberry apps, but for layman business users, small number of apps are well integrated into BB's basic functions (mail, address books, calender etc.), much easier to use than iPhone. RIM is way ahead of the game in the subscription model for SME market of anybody else.
Google's Android is going after the mobile advertisement model, so it is rapidly expanding its platform to many handsets. Some may or may not be as cool as iPhone, but it does not matter - as long as the platform is broad, Google can make money.
Microsoft has failed to eat up RIM's market, where they logically has a strength. But their new Phone7 platform does not sound like a match for RIM-type customers. Phone7 emphasize "social network" and "integration with Xbox" - sounds like a teen market. Their new Kin1/2 model is exactly that. Sounds like a strategy confusion for me.
And Palm. Their Pre model was positioned between iPhone and Blackberry, but the focus was not too clear. HP says Palm is a key element for their mobile cloud strategy. Logically, HP's market is the enterprise market, and I don't think they are going for consumer electronics strategy like Apple. So are they going to directly compete with RIM? Or are they going after any "Blue Ocean"?
I am curious.