In a surprising move, HP has announced that it’s cancelling all of its WebOS products, including the Pre and TouchPad, and is unsure of what to do with the OS itself. As someone who has had a keen interest in WebOS due to its openness and overall potential, this news is a bit upsetting, and to be honest, it’s also a little hard to fathom from any angle.
Though featured on the Pre for some time, the first non-smartphone WebOS product was HP’s TouchPad, which hasn’t enjoyed the same sort of success as the competition. But, as the TouchPad had a shelf life of less than two months, some are questioning (me included) whether or not HP had ever planned to take WebOS seriously.
One of the reasons I had faith in WebOS is that HP seemed a lot more dedicated and open to its OS than others, like Google. It offered rich documentation and developer tools and seemed to lack a lot of the restriction that other mobile platforms have. With such freedom in development, we could have seen something amazing here, if HP had just given it time to flourish.
At this point, HP is unsure what it’s going to do with WebOS. It might sell it off to another company, open-source it (unlikely), or continue to use it in non-mobile products (hey, I’d use a WebOS HP toothbrush if one was offered!). If it’s sold off to any other company though, it’s bound to be used in less-than-noticeable ways. HP has money, after all, and market presence. If it couldn’t get the results its shareholders were looking for in the first few months of it launching, I am not sure another company would be able to surpass what success it did see.
In other news, it looks like HP is also planning to ditch its PC business, which is even more notable than its WebOS news, but is less interesting (to me). HP is a huge player in the PC market, and a fair amount of its revenue comes from it. But apparently, $500 million in the last quarter isn’t impressive enough, and the company would rather focus on other things, such as its business or IT customers, rather than the home consumer.
What an interesting week this has been…