The year was 2005 and things didn’t look all that awful for Hewlett-Packard and Palm when it came to selling mobile devices. In fact, things looked quite good.

H.P., for example, sold $836 million of its iPaq personal digital assistants in 2005. It held 15 percent of the P.D.A. market, trailing Palm’s 19 percent and Research In Motion’s 21.4 percent. That same, fateful year Gartner chirped that P.D.A. shipments had reached a record 14.9 million units, up 19 percent from 2004.

When it came to the embryonic market for smartphones, Palm was outselling R.I.M., shipping 1.95 million Treo smartphones versus 858,000 Blackberries.

Alas, 2005 marked the P.D.A.’s last hurrah. People were quick to opt for a hand-held device that could make a call over one that couldn’t, and they really seemed to like keyboards.

A quick look at this chart shows what this transition meant to the fortunes of H.P. and R.I.M.

It took H.P. until 2007 to cram phone functions into the iPaq. H.P.’s device looked an awful lot like a Blackberry but few people or companies thought of H.P. when it came time to buy a smartphone.

The funny thing about the last five years and H.P.’s woes is that smartphones have just moved closer and closer to PCs. They can process proper software, have serious storage capacity, play music, access the Internet and the list goes on.

But the smartphone market seems to require a certain amount of pizazz and pluck that H.P. lacks. It’s a market that fails to play to Mark Hurd’s buttoned-down strengths.

And so, H.P. has bought Palm, a deal that will see a flood of intellectual property and engineers arrive in Palo Alto.

Will Mr. Hurd’s shop know how to manage these creative, free-wheeling mobile types?

Perhaps Mr. Hurd can ditch the suit and tie a couple days a week and instead don jeans and a mock turtleneck as he tries to rally the new troops. The uniform has worked for Steve Jobs who showed that a computer company can see beyond the computer.