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HP Expanding webOS Platform To All PCs

David Gilbert

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HP Expanding webOS Platform To All PCs

HP’s webOS platform has a very loyal following but the company’s new CEO has announced plans to try and make the software more popular, saying that webOS will ship with every HP PC in 2012.

In what is a big boast, Leo Apotheker told Business Week that next year all of HP’s PCs will come with webOS as well as Windows in a bid to “create a massive platform” for developers. While both Apple and Android devices have several hundred thousand applications written for them, webOS has only 6,000. HP recently launched the TouchPad tablet as well as the Pre 3 and Veer smartphones running webOS and played up the embedded TouchStone technology, which allows the devices to communicate with each other.

Apotheker, who took over from Mark Hurd last year as chief of HP, has made predictions in the past which have proven to be far from true. He told the BBC back in January: "HP will stop making announcements for stuff it doesn't have. When HP makes announcements, it will be getting ready to ship." However following the announcement of the TouchPad last month, customers still face months of waiting to get their hands on the device.

In the Business Week interview published today, Apotheker pulled no punches saying: “HP has lost its soul. The first thing I wanted to do when I joined HP was listen to the people. The rank and file usually know about all the shortcomings.” HP are planning another major announcement next week on 14 March when the CEO will reveal what he has called his "secret answer" and "vision of what HP is capable of in the future... the starting point." We’ll be covering this announcement as it happens next week but in the meantime, do you think webOS on all PCs will be a good idea?

Source: Business Week

KultiVator

March 9, 2011, 8:59 pm

It's certainly an interesting way to drum up support for your platform. Remains to be seen how the differences between PC and handset/tablet user interface are bridged - as one would suspect that many touch and multi-touch apps may not translate very well to mouse & keyboard control.

Also the widely varying screen resolutions could cause some issues, e.g. between what a user experiences from a particular app on a Veer vs a FullHD desktop PC.

Time will tell - but this could be the shot in the arm WebOS needs to gain some ground and some unique angles over the competition.

Chris

March 9, 2011, 9:17 pm

Nah. Sticking Palm OS on a PC that already has Windows installed is like relegating it to the position of an instant-on secondary OS, something like Splashtop or Asus Express Gate. If you've never heard of those I wouldn't be surprised, because hardly anyone bothers to use them. They're a handy addition, but nothing more. Devs aren't going to invest their time on a platform that users aren't going to use themselves, even if it does technically increase the number of WebOS devices in the wild.

If HP want to compete they should really produce an iPhone-alike device like everyone else. Take away the hardware keyboard and make a consumer-friendly phone - intuitive, sleek and desirable with big-screen appeal. WebOS could be a USP in a market flush with Android devices, if only it had the hardware to make everyone sit up and take notice.

Speaking of which, are the handsets in that picture just fan mock-ups?

J4cK1505

March 9, 2011, 9:42 pm

This will probably baffle its less tech savvy consumers

MSIC

March 9, 2011, 10:18 pm

Putting webOS on regular PCs seems to serve HP's needs, rather than those of the customer.
I can imagine a good use on their touchscreen models, certainly, however on a non-touchscreen, keyboard and mouse-driven desktop computer with Windows installed as a primary OS it devalues webOS and is a useless cost to the user.
Make it a no-cost option at the point of order possibly, no more.

KultiVator

March 9, 2011, 10:20 pm

@Chris / @J4cK1505 - I suspect this will be implemented as an application layer on top of Windows - not as a separate environment you have to boot into.

One would hope this will be as transparent as running a well-implemented Java app, such as OpenOffice.

Again, time will tell.

Gk.pm

March 9, 2011, 11:42 pm

I understand it's great way to up the number of "users" of webOS, and make it look better for potential developers, but I think it will just confuse and/or be ignored by users.

For example running real native apps developed using their PDK, ie games, will be a real problem. Those are currently only compiled for ARM, so unless this is emulated (not a great idea for 3D games) they won't run on the PC.

jingyeow

March 10, 2011, 2:10 am

Will it threaten windows? No.

However if microsoft doesn't up it's efforts with touchscreen desktops, then it could be the defacto alternative operating system for quick access to apps on touch screen laptops.

Midnight-Alchemist

March 10, 2011, 5:35 am

Um - can someone please tell me what the two devices to the left of that photo are?? I recognise the Pixi, the Pre, the TouchPad......but not he side-sliding qwerty phone, and what appears to be a fully touchscreen only model.

WestHej

March 10, 2011, 1:23 pm

What's the landscape slider in the picture?

David Gilbert

March 10, 2011, 5:50 pm

@Chris @Midnight-Alchemist @Westhej The image is a mock-up of possible and actual webOS devices, though we could be seeing the 'possible' ones coming next week at the launch.

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