Nokia to buy Motorola. Samsung to buy Palm and other wild mobile rumours

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palm-pre-o2.jpgNext year will see a huge shake up in the smartphone market with the big players consolidating by buying smaller brands. That’s the opinion of financial site 24/7Wallst.com which has published a list of ten brands that will disappear in 2010.

In among predictable casualties like Borders, Blockbuster video and Newsweek are two of the big three US mobile phone makers Motorola and Palm. The site predicts that in 2010 Motorola will finally get round to splitting the company with the cable and wireless equipment companies apparently likely to get a $4.5 billion price tag.

As for the handset division, in spite of its mini renaissance through the warm reception given to the Droid and Cliq phones in the US, the company would be vulnerable to outside buyers,. The Koreans would certainly take a look but the website is backing Nokia who it says ‘does not need the Motorola brand, but it could use a successful Android handset.’

24/7WallSt predicted that Palm would bite the dust this year in April, but the company has soldiered on for another year buoyed by the success of the Pre. However the website says that things are too tough in the smartphone market to sustain Palm and that ‘both LG and Samsung, the No.2 and No.3 handset companies, have weak smart phone lines. Each is jealous of its brand. With a market cap of $1.7 billion, Palm is a cheap way to move further into the high-end handset business.’

From this side of the pond it seems unlikely that Nokia would go shopping for Motorola. If it wanted to produce an Android phone it could easily deliver one next year. Also Nokia’s strength is in both Europe and emerging markets, so it might see another run at the US market as a strategy that is too risky.

Samsung and LG have both perfected the art of producing good quality mid range handsets, but have never really managed to deliver trailblazing smartphones. I can see one of them snapping up Palm before too long, but maybe then delivering a Pre 2 with a Google Android operating system.

Ashley Norris