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Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of Palm for $1.2 billion is widely expected to change the smartphone landscape, not to mention save the Palm brand from implosion. What’s less certain is how the deal might affect the nascent tablet PC market.

HP has a number of decisions confronting it, including how to best integrate Palm’s products into its existing channels. In addition, HP finds itself the new player in a smartphone market that’s increasingly become a competition between Google Android and the Apple iPhone. But HP executives are also likely calculating how its newest software asset, the Palm WebOS, can help it with regard to tablet PCs.