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Hewlett-Packard (HP) has snapped up Palm for £787 million, after weeks of speculation as to which tech giant would buy the US mobile manufacturer.

Palm has failed to find its audience in the smartphone market despite having the well-received Pre and Pixi mobiles on shelves around the world for several months.

It was hoped that it could take on Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) at the top end of the market, but its mobile phones’ failure to score with the mass market led it to seek bids for a takeover.

HP is ostensibly acquiring Palm for its webOS smartphone platform, which is already fully formed and proven to be a capable base for smartphone development.

However, some tech watchers believe that HP will take the webOS and use it in portable computing devices, which is obviously an area in which HP already has considerable experience.

Todd Bradley of HP said: "The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share.

"Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities and HP intends to be a leader in this market."

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