HP webOS Smartphone to Arrive in Early 2011: Report

HP smartphones running webOS will come to market in early 2011, an HP executive reportedly confirmed. webOS was a major motivator of HP's $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm.

Hewlett-Packard wants to do what Palm could not: Build a strong business around webOS-based smartphones. The PC giant, which purchased Palm earlier this year, will begin introducing smartphones running the operating system in early 2011, Reuters reported Oct. 6, citing comments by Eric Cador, senior vice president in HP's PSG (Personal System Group).
Speaking at an industry event in Barcelona, Candor repeated that HP purchased Palm particularly for its webOS and other intellectual property-a fact HP executives have made clear since announcing their acquisition intentions in April. HP executives have also been frank about their intentions to launch webOS on a number of mobile platforms-including a tablet PC that will compete with the Apple iPad.
"With webOS, HP will deliver its customers a unique and compelling experience across smartphones and other mobility products," Todd Bradley, HP PSG executive vice president, said in a July 1 statement, marking the completion of the acquisition. "This allows us the opportunity to fully engage in growing our smartphone family offering and the footprint of webOS."
Until now, however, no time frame has been offered for the smartphones, though in June, a member of the Palm development team said that a road map was in place and that the team was continuing to work on smartphones. Unable to comment further, as the HP acquisition was still underway at the time, Josh Marinacci told the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital blog, "We are working on future devices. And a new version of the OS. So I think you're going to find the next year very exciting."
Palm launched webOS on the Palm Pre in June 2009, just days before the arrival of the Apple iPhone 3GS. While the device and OS were well reviewed, Palm, which followed the Palm Pre with the smaller Palm Pixi, nonetheless struggled to compete against the iPhone, as well as a seeming tidal wave of newly arrived Android-running smartphones.
HP, while the largest PC maker in the world, has in recent years been left out of the smartphone market. With Palm's IP to bolster it, however, it hopes to follow the leads of Dell, Acer, Lenovo and of course Apple, which have grown their PC businesses to encompass smartphones as well.
With webOS, Bradley said in July, HP will now be able to "participate more aggressively in the highly profitable, $100 billion smartphone and connected mobile devices markets."
HP executives confirmed in August that the HP tablet running webOS will also arrive in early 2011.