Will 2011 mark the end of the Palm brand?

When HP gobbled up Palm early this year, there was no shortage of speculation on how HP would manage the Palm brand. Now comes the official word from Richard Gerstein, HP’s Senior VP of Worldwide Strategy and Marketing for the Personal Systems Group on this very topic. We’ll say it’s odd to have someone invovled in branding decisions wielding a title that’s a paragraph in length. Job titles aside, an interview of Gerstein in Brandweek revealed some insight into HP’s plans and how they plan to brand webOS phones.

BW: Speaking of which, are you going to keep the Palm name?
RG: Clearly, what we’ve announced is that it will be branded HP. It will HP computers and phones (sic). We are still working through the role of the the Palm name after that.

There will be plenty of Palm breathren who won’t be pleased to hear that Palm branded phones will cease to exist. As someone who has used a Palm phone in some capacity since the early Palm Treo days, it will be sad to see the old brand go.

Let’s not forget that HP purchased Palm for webOS and not their hardware prowess. By releasing under the HP brand, this provides webOS with a reboot of sorts when they release their new ‘superphone’ next year. As for the role of the Palm name, that’s also unclear. Does it make sense to have a sub-brand under HP when referring to webOS? HP Superphone powered by Palm webOS? That sounds muddled. Palm will forever be associated with phones. As the company starts to utilize webOS on printers, appliances, etc., it wouldn’t make much sense to include a ‘Phone OS’. Perhaps they go that route in 2011 for continuity and then drop the ‘Palm’ name the following year.

Are you ok with the Palm branding going away? Do you simply not care as long as they deliver an incredible superphone running webOS? What’s your take? Let us know in the comments.

Brandweek via webOSroundup

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