back to article HP: webOS will still run PCs and printers

After killing off its webOS hardware division last Thursday, HP has been working to assure the world – read: webOS developers – that there's "a dance in the old dame yet". "We have opened the next chapter for webOS," developer relations headman Richard Kerris wrote in a blog post, putting a forward-looking spin on the mobile …

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  1. Busted
    Coat

    Nice one HP....

    In less than a week you've managed to create so much confusion around webos that it's an epic FAILURE! You've done such a good job of killing any chance for webos to be a rival platform the consipiracy part of me thinks you might even have been paid off to do so.

    Que webos to become a skin for windows 8 in the mighty HP Microsoft partnership????

    I know it's late I'm off....

    1. Lance 3

      Epic failure?

      HP is just being HP. They have visions of grandeur but lack the abilities to execute that vision.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Visions?

        It seems like more often than not these "visions" would better be described as hallucinations, or even fleeting mirages.

      2. Jon B

        not only that..

        .. they've also managed to spread the webOS debacle across to the consumer PC business aswell, with the mistimed announcement at the same time, of plans to spin off that division. Consumers are thinking they better not buy a HP PC either in case they get cancelled too

        1. Goat Jam
          Angel

          Visions of Granduer

          More like delusions of granduer.

          <-- HP exec

          1. Armando 123
            Coat

            Or ...

            ... delusions of competence.

  2. Bad Beaver

    Worse and worse

    Every single day.

  3. Robert E A Harvey
    Facepalm

    Mismanagement

    If this lot had any less of a clue, they would be a franchise on a British railway or a political party.

  4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Minor wrinkle

    The boys over at Acacia Research claim to own the patents on Palm software and are under the impression that HP would have to go through them to license WebOS. At least according to the WSJ "Mr. Ryan said his company's reading of contracts associated with the original split of PalmSource from Palm would suggest that H-P would need a license from Acacia to pursue those options."

    Oh joy, the fun software patents bring... "as we dance to the masochism tango." Regards to Tom Lehrer.

    1. dave 46

      Patents?

      That's covered by copyright surely?

  5. ceebee
    Thumb Down

    does anyone...

    believe anything coming from HP at the moment?

    does anyone believe there is any future in WebOS?

    does anyone think that it is worth developing apps for WebOS?

    I think that the answer must be a resounding NO!

    1. David Dawson

      Its a shame

      It really did seem like a nice system. You can develop apps for it in a web browser!

      Oh well.

  6. Chad H.
    FAIL

    Why

    Should other manufacturers use WebOS to create that "variety of connected devices" if HP isn't willing to put its money where its mouth is?

  7. Charles Manning

    Have HP hired Elop??

    Sure looks like it.... and they never really recovered from being Carlied.

    And I'd give my left nut if they made a decent calculator. My HP48s are getting a bit long in the tooth. Progress.... Bah!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      This is the new HP, the software solutions company

      They're going to survive in this competitive IT market by licensing out an operating system which they've undermined all confidence in, selling a Unix platform which has the sword of Damocles hanging over it, and possibly LightScribe.

      Icon is a picture of a burning platform.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      In fairness to Carly

      Messrs Hurd and Apotheker have shown no hesitation in sticking their knives into HP's twitching corpse.

      Those most at fault are those members of the board that have appointed the last 3 CEO's all utter lacking in Vision. Which considering that HP was founded by people with vision is a pretty damning indictment.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Yay! I trust HP!

    Not all is lost, and now I have a very good reason to invest time and money developing for it!

    Where's the heavy sarcasm icon?

  9. billranton
    Meh

    Hewlett Printers?

    Cos that's all they'll have left. Good job those ink cartridges have a healthy profit margin.

  10. Chris Miller
    Unhappy

    Los Gatos power station

    If they could only attach a generator to Bill Hewlett's grave, I'm pretty sure they could supply the whole of Silicon Valley.

  11. Jolyon Ralph
    FAIL

    Wonderful!

    I can just imagine all those useful apps that us developers can make for WebOS running on a printer.

    Not.

  12. Asgard
    Unhappy

    2011 The year HP and Nokia both shot themselves in the foot

    Sadly its shaping up to be a landmark year for incompetent corporate mismanagement in the tech industry. The year we lost WebOS & Symbian. :(

    Its sickening how both WebOS & Symbian have died through a complete lack of management support, rather than for technical reasons. Both could have done really well if only their brainless management had been any good, but then I can't help thinking their brainless management has been the core problem which has held them back from success for years and in the case of WebOS that rot goes way back to the early days of PalmOs corporate mismanagement (and I say that as a fan of Palm devices and as an ex-PalmOs developer. I was a fan of Palm devices over a decade ago and I still have 3 of them in the cupboard even now, as I can't face getting rid of them, so I'm deeply sickened to see how its all ending when it could have been so good).

    I also wonder how many WebOS & Symbian developers have been thrown out of work and into an uncertain future by all this madness. :(

    1. bazza Silver badge

      @Asgard: Symbian had other problems

      I agree that Nokia have been a poor custodian of Symbian ever since they got hold of it (EPOC32) from Psion. Some things written a long time ago by ex-Psion people are quite clear on that point.

      However, it's well known that Symbian is a difficult OS to develop native apps for, far harder than OSes that have come from mainstream mains powered hardware. The reasons for the difficulty are clear; achieving ultimate performance on a battery power device mandated a way of doing things at odds with the normal programming paradigms we all learnt when young. This really showed through in final products. Even today Symbain phones generally have very good battery life in comparison to iOS or Android driven machines.

      I reckon that Nokai were never able to assemble a large enough team of programmers who *really* knew Symbian. In essence they could not put enough development into it to allow it to compete on bling, user interfaces, etc. as well as on the purely technical matters of battery consumption and RAM requirements. I suspect that the reason why they didn't have a big enough pool of the right sort of programmer was money; acquiring that sort of rare-skilled programmer / developer is expensive in salary and/or training. Maybe if they had got it right straight away there would now be a much bigger pool of programmers, but they didn't, so there isn't.

      But in a way Symbian is beyond rescuing. Even if Nokia could salvage the mess and turn out a decent user experience, there's almost no point anymore. People are now completely used to having to charge up their fondleslab once a day or more. And people want to download apps, and those apps aren't going to be native Symbain apps. It's too hard and time consuming to be worthwhile for the average mobile phone eye candy app developer. So they will have to be written in something hideous like Javascript, and bang goes all those carefully crafted power saving design features.

      In a way it's a bad sign for the whole computing industry. A fundamental requirement of portable devices is long on times, even if we've gotten used to having to charge up once/twice a day. Given the poor rate of improvements in batteries this really means less power consumption, which is something that the rest of the computing world would like too. So far the truly successful means of achieving this have been:

      1) better chips

      2) that's it.

      So far software has not really played a significantly successful role in reducing power consumption, and arguably the modern trendy things like Javascript have made it worse. Yet Symbian shows that if you do get the software right you can make significant improvements without having to do anything at all to chip or battery design. Are we as an industry just too lazy to actually pursue that 'free' performance boost?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    It's not dead

    It's just resting! It's tired and shagged out after a long squawk.

    Penguin because there isn't a parrot icon.

  14. Craig Vaughton
    Alert

    WebOS; the Black Night?

    "Oh, oh, I see, running away then. You yellow

    b*****ds! Come back here and take what's coming to you.

    I'll bite your legs off!"

  15. bertino
    FAIL

    Maybe......

    This price drop of the touchpad is a GENIUS bit of marketing, allowing HP to get a foothold in the fondleslab market, and they never had any intention of ditching them.........

    Slaps self with big wet fish, sorry, this is HP.....

  16. Armando 123
    Windows

    On the plus side ...

    ... at least Steve Ballmer has someone he can laugh at. Poor chap has had a hell of a time the last decade or so.

  17. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    HP Printers

    Why do I need fart apps on network printers?

    Suppose playin tetris whilst waiting for a large print job would be nice, might wear out the buttons.

  18. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Doh.

    Buying Palm was their chance at reviving their mobile division. HP's iPaq range of PDAs were quite popular early in the last decade.

    But it seems they had stomach for the fight. Pulling a product after less than two months of sales is seriously crazy.

  19. 2cent

    Apple expectations ruin HP

    This is where executives who actually feel responsible start doing crazy things.

    People, greedy people, start to look at Apple profits and add fire to the head guy.

    Someone who is usually quite stable.

    Being the shining Knight that they are, they start making decisions, having faith in there ability to control the situation.

    Regretfully, they do not look around at all the intelligent people they hired in PR, OS development, sales and marketing and say, let plan this out. What are my options.

    WebOS is good, really good, and despite nipping at the heels of the product, no one denies it.

    It isn't an Apple iPad and it shouldn't be. HP's long view is gone with the warped glasses of comparable profit on the horizon.

    HP has made a terrible marketing mistake here, but if they eat there own dog-food for a while, they will end up with what HP provides, stable well engineered technology. If they make a Pad device as good as their printers with the same amount of patience, they will win in the end.

    Dare I say, business and industrial cloud connected devices that make their current clients happy.

    That's what brings new business in.

    The guy should get a grip and start doing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I recognise the words

      but I fail to grasp your point.

    2. Armando 123

      Think Vegas

      When people get desperate they start reaching and doing things they normally wouldn't do when able to think normally. I've seen it in sports, I've seen it in poker games, I've seen it when guys pursue women, and this is where we see it in business. Apple, whatever their flaws, sell things people want to own. Other companies can't do this, they want/need to, and not knowing how or having some flaw or missing some piece, they get desperate.

  20. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    I can't wait

    Angry Birds on a printer! Somehow I think it's going to be a slow game.

  21. cduance

    How?

    How can the future of WebOS be bright when there are currently no supported devices for developers to write apps for? How can you say that PCs will run WebOS in the future when you are looking at selling off that division? Who in there right mind is going to continue to or even look at writing apps for WebOS devices when there are none, you should have signed up other licensees before saying you will no longer create hardware devices as this would minimise the fallout as others would be there in the market to pick up and carry the WebOS ecosystem and developers.

    I think the recent fire sale has shown that the price was the issue and the main barrier to breaking into the market. Had you sold the touchpads for 200 dollars less or the equivalent in each market and made a small loss on each device in order to earn a small commission on each app sold you may have come out ahead, as making a loss on each PS3 seems to be working for Sony. At the very least you would minimise the losses from each device that you have sold for half the cost it takes to make them, added hundreds of thousands of touchpad and WebOS users which would excite thousands of developers (having my app be one of three hundred available is better than being one of three hundred thousand) and if you still wanted to get rid of the hardware you could show prospective licensees that you have a captive market that is ready to consume cloud services and new apps, show that growth is still easily achievable making the purchase of WebOS more profitable and expected on WebOS and not have shot yourself in the foot.

    Quite frankly that is just bad business by short sighted 'businessmen' that think they are untouchable due to the size of the company they work at.

    Had I been a shareholder I would be incredibly pissed off that my money had been wasted and at the very least if selling off the hardware division was the way forward I would be extremely annoyed that everything above had not been completed in order to secure the best price for an asset that I had developed

  22. GoGlen
    Facepalm

    I heard a graphics card will run WebOS

    It's being developed by Bitboys Oy :)

  23. Twm Davies

    No change

    http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/08/i-have-no-personal-knowledge-of.html

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