HP to Tackle Android, Apple in Mobile Market
There will be a beta version of WebOS running on Windows in a browser by the end of this year, with webOS shipping on Windows PCs in 2012. "We're a little puzzled about what he's up to with webOS. We don't necessarily see the logic of what's going on. Maybe the dream is that you buy all of their tablets, or smartphones or PCs, and there will be a version of webOS to run widgets on top of the devices."Yet Dulaney said there's no guarantee the widgets developed for smartphones will run effectively on a tablet or a PC, let alone that consumers will want them. But Gold said WebOS could be a side process that has instant start-up and not require the long boot times of Windows. Ideally, this would get users on the Web or into their e-mail almost instantly. Moreover, Windows has a weak touch-based interface, so this could be a way for HP to implement touch on a Windows machine, he said. IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell is fairly certain HP and Apotheker are on to something. By putting webOS onto its PCs and laptops, it could draw developers to port apps for its webOS smartphones and tablets. "What you could do is run not only apps in a webOS environment but also synchronize your data from your PC running Windows into webOS into a seamless fashion," O'Donnell said. "There will be a lot of devices that could potentially run it." This will lure developers to webOS. The challenge, O'Donnell said, is in execution. How will HP get users to run webOS on their HP PC? That remains to be seen. "I'm not sure it's all been baked yet and they may still be trying to figure all of this out," Gold said. "It's a huge company with undoubtedly conflicting groups and strategies... it will be interesting to see who wins out."
This is not unlike the user interface experiences provided on existing Android smartphones running Motorola's Motoblur, or HTC's Sense UI.