Friday, December 9, 2011

HP Will Not Sell WebOS, and Will Continually Support It

   After more than a year of misdirection under the reign of former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, the successor to Apotheker, Meg Whitman, has formally announced on Friday that they will not sell off the WebOS division. This all comes after Leo Apotheker announced his intentions to sell off, not only the WebOS team, but the PC division as well. After being fired from HP in September, Meg Whitman took control and promptly cancelled their plans to sell the PC division, while continuing to say that they were not sure what their plans were for the WebOS division yet. Now, HP has reached the conclusion that they should not, and will not sell the WebOS division.

  WebOS was Palm's attempt at competing with in the smartphone industry, but only to be acquired by HP, and be misguided under the poor management of Leo Apotheker. WebOS was an operating system that ran on Palm's smartphones, including the Palm Pre series of devices. As it turns out, the Palm Pre was a costly nightmare for Palm, since it was plagued with bad reviews by almost every single tech media outlet. The Palm Pre hardware specifications were low, and was quite sluggish. Then HP comes out of nowhere and buys out Palm completely. But despite new management, the Pre line up of devices were still bashed by technology journalists and as a consequence, did not perform well.

  The final decision from HP to not sell WebOS is actually a bigger deal than what is first surmised.  Meg Whitman, CEO, and Mark Andreessen, board member of the company, spoke out in an interview with The Verge. Over the course of several questions, Whitman and Andreessen have announced that they will completely open source WebOS. And that translates into HP releasing the source code for the mobile operating system to the public, allowing anyone to write applications, with less hassle, for WebOS, or for modifications to be easily developed. While the average consumer probably wouldn't be excited by such news, technology enthusiasts have been excited by the new possibilities of the open sourced platform.

    While HP has decided not to sell the WebOS division, it is important to note that they will not continue selling the Pre line of smartphones, but instead, they see a future with WebOS running on future HP tablets that, hopefully, will be a little more stream lined and faster than the Touchpad, which was HP's first effort at a WebOS tablet, which was not as successful as one would have hoped.

   The situation with WebOS just got a lot clearer, but will not be completely clear, since we won't see HP's full vision for WebOS until sometime next year. I really do like what Palm did with WebOS's interface and design, and seeing that it will have a better future is one that I might appreciate someday. I look forward to seeing another competent competitor in the mobile space, both tablets, and smartphones from other vendors. And despite WebOS's past, it has a clear(er) future and one in which I could see it surviving as a competent mobile platform.

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