HP could still build webOS tablets, according to CEO Meg Whitman. That comes despite the death of the company's TouchPad.
may have dumped the TouchPad in history's dustbin of new tech, but the company
apparently hasn't abandoned the idea of producing tablets loaded with the webOS
news comes from HP CEO Meg Whitman, who, when asked by The
Verge whether HP planned to manufacture more hardware running webOS,
replied, "The answer to that is yes but what I can't tell you is whether that
will be in 2012 or not."
also alluded to a reconstituted webOS team working "in a quite different
direction than we've been taking it in the past." Tablets apparently remain a
possibility. "I would think tablets," she added. "I do not believe we will be
in the smartphone business again."
announced Dec. 9 that it will make webOS, which it inherited as part of its
$1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in 2010, totally open source. The company will
continue to invest in the platform and work to prevent it from fragmenting,
although the extent of any monetary investment remains unclear.
had high hopes when it rolled out the TouchPad in July, with then-CEO Leo
Apotheker glibly predicting that webOS would soon find its way from the company's
tablets and smartphones to desktops and laptops. However, within six weeks of
the TouchPad's July 1 release in the United States, anemic sales drove HP to
terminate the project, along with its nascent smartphone efforts.
Dec. 11, HP sold off the last batch of TouchPads via its eBay portal, at a
severely reduced price.
did consider selling off webOS, but Whitman ultimately decided the open-source
alternative made the most sense for the company: "As you go through these
structures, you look at the pros and cons of the alternatives, and this was one
that was affordable for HP to invest in in the long haul, but also had a great
opportunity to fill a market need." Her measures of success for the open-source
webOS will include whether developers are gravitating toward the platform, and
if other hardware manufacturers begin using it to build their own devices.
or not, HP isn't depending solely on webOS for its tablet efforts. During an
Oct. 27 conference call, Whitman suggested that HP would partner with Microsoft
for a set of Windows 8 tablets, which would succeed the Windows 7 tablets the
company already markets.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.