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WebOS: Not Dead Yet

HP has killed off all devices running Palm's former platform, but senior management claims there is still life in the platform.

When Palm was acquired by HP in early 2010, many thought webOS would get a new lease on life after not being able to take on the big guns like iOS and Android due to the limited resources of Palm. However, after just a little more than a year later, HP seemingly put the final nail in the webOS coffin when it ceased development of all Pre and Pixi phones as well as the just-released TouchPad tablet.

webOS may not be totally dead yet, according to HP Vice President Todd Bradley.

Bradley was interviewed by Emily Change of Bloomberg TV. Much of the conversation centered around the company's new CEO, Meg Whitman, and the recent decision to keep the PC business. They did touch on webOS, and the future it may have.

HP is very much in tablet business, Mr. Bradley claims. You wouldn't know it the way the company blew the TouchPads out for $100 earlier this year. Even if the company has a bright future in tablets, that doesn't mean it will use webOS. Tablets using Windows 8 may be the biggest threat the iPad will face next year, and HP is sure to be a big Windows 8 launch partner.

"Tablets are one segment in a very large personal computing platform," Bradley said. "I think tablets and specifically webOS have very unique capabilities. You know, what we did was stop making webOS tablets. We are continuing to invest in webOS software. In fact, last week we refreshed with a recent update of that software for over one million users that have webOS products today." He goes on to say the focus will now be to determine how to utilize the webOS assets the company has now that the PC question has been resolved.

Bradley was asked about reports that "HP is considering shutting down the division completely. What should we make of that?" His response: "I think you should make of that as an unfounded rumor."

If you are a webOS fan, I wouldn't get too excited yet. webOS has been put out to pasture at HP and it will be easier to focus on the Windows side of the business when it comes to tablets than it will be to bring the platform back in and start actively developing it again. It also seems clear that there will be no webOS-based smartphones.

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User Rank: Strategist
11/3/2011 | 6:56:27 PM
re: WebOS: Not Dead Yet
Maybe they'll put WebOS into printers, with an app to endlessly harangue you buying expensive HP ink cartridges.

If you rule out tablets and phones, there's not much else left unless you believe in the fairytale of webtops (WebOS vs ChromeOS, anyone?), or the smallish market for thin clients that's being pretty adequately met with Linux variants and Windows Lite.
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