It's only been a couple short months since HP announced its intentions to buy Palm, but apparently all the investors are happy and the lawyers are rich, because the two companies have just announced that the $1.2b transaction is official and the buyout is complete -- Palm is now part of HP. Yes, it's the end of an era -- Palm's been a part of the tech landscape in one confounding way or another since 1992 -- but it's also the start of what could potentially be a webOS renaissance, as HP plans to use Palm's ideas and OS on everything from smartphones (phew) to tablets to even printers. We still don't know exactly how Palm's people and structure will be folded into HP, or what exact role CEO Jon Rubinstein will play, but Palm's already lost some important people, and managing that transition while still keeping the product roadmaps on course will be the next great challenge for these two companies. Here's to the best -- now how about some of that rumored new hardware?

P.S.- Now that things are official, we can't help but wonder about the fate of the HP Slate -- there have been rumors of its death since the buyout was announced, and HP's gone from crowing about it to total radio silence. We honestly don't know one way or another, but we'd sure love to find out.

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HP / Palm buyout officially complete -- get ready for webOS printers