Did iPad kill HP's hardware business?

After Apple introduced the iPad I wondered out loud on iPad Live whether it would leave any air in the room for eventual tablet rivals. It turns out I might have been right, but also might not have been right enough. The iPad, and now iPad 2, might not have left any air in the room for any hardware rivals, tablet or PC.

HP is not only killing off their webOS hardware and looking to license the software, HP is spinning or selling off their laptop and desktop computer business as well. Why?

The tablet effect is real and the TouchPad is not gaining momentum in the marketplace.

And since we know there's no tablet market, just an iPad market, the real meaning there is pretty clear.

I was a PalmOS user since the Visor and while I never owned a webOS device, I have tried them and liked them and it's disappointing to see HP cut and run like this. Sure it's easier to say "make better hardware" or "get better carrier deals" or "ship more mature products faster" and really difficult to do, but that was the job HP signed up for.

Maybe Amazon or Facebook, or a jilted Android manufacturer will pick up webOS and show HP what a company of will can really do?

Keep reading PreCentral.net for ongoing coverage and let us know -- did Apple and the iPad kill HP's hardware business, and who would you like to see run with webOS?