When Hewlett-Packard snapped up Palm last year for $1.8 billion (Dh6.6 billion), it looked like the smartphone pioneer\'s last chance. It needed a saviour, and HP, which itself needed a boost in the mobile technology market, seemed like its best bet for survival. It didn\'t work. With fierce competition from Apple Inc\'s iPhone and smartphones running Google\'s Android software, HP\'s handsets running the webOS software developed by Palm have been just a blip on most consumers\' radar screens. A tablet called the TouchPad, released in July and also running webOS, has also sold poorly. The market seemed too tough for HP to forge ahead: The technology conglomerate said on Thursday that it is shuttering its mobile device business, which includes the webOS-running smartphones and TouchPad. Article continues below Innovation For Palm, the decision sounds largely like a death knell that comes after nearly 20 years of mobile technology innovation, ownership changes and failed efforts to become a leader in the handheld market. While many analysts and critics felt webOS and the Pre were good, consumers weren\'t biting. Subsequent smartphones released under Palm and, more recently, through HP, have also failed to impress shoppers. Speaking at a tech conference late last year, Palm\'s former CEO Jon Rubinstein said competitors simply innovated too fast for Palm to catch up. \"The world moved faster than we expected and we ran out of runway,\" he said. Indeed, since Palm\'s comeback attempt, the popularity of the iPhone has only grown while phones running Android, which first hit the market in 2008, abound. Top spot According to research firm IDC, Apple took the top spot in the second quarter, while Samsung Electronics — a big maker of Android phones — took second place in unit sales. Nokia came in third, while BlackBerry maker Research In Motion took fourth. Rubinstein, currently a senior vice-president of HP\'s personal systems group, said Palm studied a number of alternatives to being bought by HP. He said HP was a good choice because, as the largest computer company in the world by revenue, it could help Palm bring its products to more people. As it turns out, the mobile pioneer will largely cease to exist.