The VAR Guy

October 31, 2011

3 Min Read
HP: Do Windows 8 Tablets Spell Certain Death for webOS?

It looks like HP is keeping its PSG group after all. Part of that move, made by HP CEO Meg Whitman, is a result of  Windows 8 tablet opportunities and a shifting PC landscape. But it also means the life of HP’s webOS hangs in the balance. Does webOS stand a chance? The VAR Guy has some thoughts…

A tip of The VAR Guy’s hat goes to the LA Times, who reported on CEO Meg Whitman statements during an analyst discussion. According to Whitman, HP will be moving ahead and developing Windows 8 tablets, especially since she finds the collaboration between HP and Microsoft “extraordinarily compelling.” The VAR Guy agrees, Windows 8 has the most potential of any version of Windows to date.  But part of focusing on the future of personal computing means  Whitman will also be growing HP in slow and steady fashion, by…

“…doing a small number of things really, really well — set them up, knock them down, set them up, knock them down.”

What things could those be? Re-energizing HP’s lineup of personal computers, focusing on Windows 8 and restoring brand trust would be three priorities, according to The VAR Guy. But no where in there does The VAR Guy see webOS. Why? According the LA Times, Todd Bradley, the executive vice president of HP’s personal systems group, said that HP “is still figuring [webOS] out.” Bradley elaborated…

“We are continuing to focus on Microsoft-based tablet that we have and one that will develop on Windows based. I think from a webOS perspective that’s kind of the next piece of work to complete…. The whole team [is] working very, very hard and as quickly as we can to make the right decisions about that product.”

The VAR Guy thinks the right decision is to either let webOS die a quiet death (while supporting existing users), or release webOS into the wild to be open-sourced. The VAR Guy guesses the reason the team is working “quickly” is because there’s precious time and resources needed to put webOS back into the spotlight, and the longer it’s away form the spotlight, the more it will cost HP to restore webOS from life support. But our resident blogger also believes webOS could have reached a point of no return. It may simply not be profitable to keep webOS around anymore, for any reason. And despite sold-out Touch Pads at $99, webOS-based phones aren’t even in the public consciousness anymore. All eyes are on iOS 5, Android 4.0 and Windows Phone 7.5.

HP may want to take whatever patents they picked up with Palm, and apply them to the future of Windows 8 tablets to create something really special, but our resident blogger thinks webOS has likely reached the end of the line. With the Kindle Fire on the horizon for a holiday launch, there’s just too much noise and platform competition in the mobile marketplace. If HP truly wants to get back on track with their consumer lineup, webOS can’t come along for the ride.

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