The Pre Central blog offered up some screens from the forthcoming webOS tablet, the HP-Palm TouchPad, which show Bing as the default maps provider on the device. The screens are reportedly authentic because they were obtained from the webOS 3.0 emulator.
What this also suggests is that on HP-Palm devices beyond its TouchPad Bing could be the default mapping provider. (HP has a toolbar/default search deal with Microsoft.)
Google was the maps application for the initial Palm Pre smartphones. That’s not to say that Google Maps won’t be accessible on new Palm devices via the internet/mobile internet. But this default-app status provides Bing Maps some potential new visibility.
The problem for Bing is that unless HP prices the TouchPad competitively and aggressively it’s unlikely to sell very well. Even then it might not. The same is true for new webOS handsets, assuming the shift is being made across the board.
HP-Palm faces an uphill battle for mindshare and marketshare with its smartphones. According to the most recent comScore consumer survey data, Palm’s share of the smartphone market is tiny and continues to decline.
HP CEO Leo Apotheker said recently that the company would put webOS on every PC it ships starting in 2012, in addition to Windows. Depending on what that looks like — and depending on whether Bing Maps is similarly embedded in the PC version of webOS — that might provide some additional exposure for Bing Maps.