back to article HP has another crack at fondleslab market

HP will make another run at the fondleslab market. During a conference call regarding HP's astonishing decision to keep its PC biz after all, the company said it will bring out a Windows 8 tablet and is evaluating what to do with webOS, the TouchPad tablet operating system. Although ex-HP CEO Leo Apotheker killed off the …


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  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    They'll never learn

    If its cheap and no win then win:win!

  2. Neill 1


    They're dropping WebOS to replace it with windows? Now the new windows may be a fantastic OS but HP are waaay off here.

    From personal experience HP/Palm devices were always let-down by terrible hardware. The WebOS was one of the best user interfaces around, pretty, intuitive and for the most part reliable. Changing your OS and crossing your fingers isn't going to make it all ok HP, get your head outa your @ss.

    It's a shame nokia didn't buy Palm instead of HP. Could have produced something to rival andriod.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Re: Daft

      In my experience (Palm Tungsten T5) there was nothing wrong with the hardware or software. It's faster than my Android phone, never ever crashed when using legit software, and still runs all day as a backup geocaching device. And it's a great sounding MP3 player.

      Proper sync to PC / MS Office and plays nicely with Linux too!

      Fail indeed...

      1. Neill 1

        Fair point.... we've just had different personal experiences. 2 friends and I had palm pre's at one point. Unfortunately the hardware failed on all 3 (6 if you include the replacements we all received) to varying degrees... We all loved the Linux based WebOS though.

        Would be a real shame to see it go, I'd still consider a WebOS phone despite the chronic hardware problems I've had in the past.

        1. 100113.1537
          Thumb Up

          Hardware vs software issues...

          I don't have experience with Palm phones, but the PDA's were (and still are) pretty solid. New (in box) Tungstens still sell at a premium on E-Bay and used ones rarely go for less than 50-60 $, which means that people are expecting them to keep on working.

          I wanted WebOS to work because I have such a long history of using Palm Desktop and I wanted to continue. However, before it was cancelled I asked on an HP forum about synchronizing to Palm Desktop and was told I didn't want to do that, that cloud services were better anyway and, no, there were no plans to provide this! I was more than a bit dis-chuffed to be so patronisingly fobbed off and - the next week - the TouchPad was dumped so it became a moot point (still pissed off I didn't manage to get a cheap one!).

          I am now stuck with third party software to sync with my Andoid 'phone which is painfully slow (and a bit flaky, but it gets there in the end).

          I am still not convinced by an 'all-in-one' smartphone and may go back to my Tungsten E because it is way better as a PDA. I can take the strange looks I get when I have two (OK, three, no four - separate GPS and camera!) separate devices bulging in my pockets. The big problem is that they all sue different chargers.....

    2. Rob Dobs

      Agreed but..they didn't say they were dropping WebOS

      Its not all bad news... HP is a huge company, and there is a market for Windows 8 touchpads. What they didn't say was that they were killing off WebOS for Windows, they just said they were focusing on getting a Windows 8 tablet out....Now I would be focusing more intently on WebOS, but just because they rush out a me-too product to participate in Windows 8 market doesn't mean they will kill WebOS.

      That said, I would much rather see them working on TouchPad 2 and Pre 4 than wasting time with the slim margins the Window 8 pads will get them.

      and of course the whole dropping WebOS might turn out to be a "yet". So they always could still can it, or sell it off (spinning it off into Palm again would be the best Idea, I know I for one would buy overpriced stock in a new independant Palm that was committed to WebOS)

  3. Turtle_Fan

    Another fool on the consumerization bandwagon

    "products that are highly desirable by individuals and highly desirable by CIOs"

    Ain't gonna happen mate. Because that's precisely what brought consumerization up as a topic in the first place.

    An end user's heaven of simplicity, usability and customization is very close to the definition of a CIO's hell. If a product can be as controlled, standardised and administered as modern security best practice dictates, then it will stink of meh to high heaven and most consumers/end users will steer clear of it.

    Tl;dr good luck with that

  4. Arrrggghh-otron


    just make it cheap with a semi decent spec, don't lock the boot loader, release the specs and driver code for the hardware and you have a winner...

    Open hardware is the future I tells ya!

  5. Robert E A Harvey


    Well, at last they are starting to think instead of shooting from the hip.

    I hope its not too late for them.

    I had waited a year for a webos device, and was badly let down with what they offered. They are going to have to do something truly remarkable now.

    1. FredScummer

      Ain't gonna happen mate

      Maybe, maybe not. I hear they are going to marry WebOs with Autonomy, with the new product being launched as Wartonomy.

      Okay, okay, I'll get me coat....

    2. tmTM

      I can tell you

      None of the will happen, it will flop as quickly as last time.

  6. Justin 9

    My touchpad is a dream to use

    only after i overclocked it.,.............

    now running at 1.9Ghz the webos much better for it, silky smooth.

    Unix based OS much better than any windows one.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More filthy lucre finding it's way

    into the pockets of a potential competitor to stop competition...

    The title should be 'HP has been bought off'

    That is the feeling in my team in HP anyway.

  8. The Jase

    If the price is right, I'd get one regardless of OS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So just buy some cheap crappy tablet and root it

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Make WebOS ubiquitous

    They need to rescue something from it. They've said it's going in their printers. If they decide to do an about face with their mobiles as well then then that might be a start. If people can also run WebOS apps on Windows (and maybe other OSes) with the minimum of fuss that would be even better. If they make something shoppy and cloudy with all of that then they might actually get somewhere; your business apps with your data wherever you are.

    It would achieve what Java didn't, Java basically got confined to server side.

  10. dz-015

    Ah, Microsoft up to their old bribery tricks again then. Some things never change.

  11. Dave Gomm

    @Justin 9

    OC to 1.9Ghz sounds rather high, standard clock speed is 1.2 with OC to 1.5 or even 1.7 being v.common (mine is at 1.5 and with WebOS 3.04 is very fast/stable)

    Are you sure you are running at 1.9 ?

  12. Bob Arthur


    I await the fire-sale eagerly

  13. Fuh Quit
    Thumb Up

    The Touchpad issue, in short

    You can't charge iPad prices for something that's not an iPad. It is the brand and class leader. Does it do pretty much the same thing? Yes for my use-case - videos, read files and news, surf. Hey, it was $149! I got 4 for the price of one iPad :-)

    I like webOS a lot bar the fact that nobody will permit me to buy apps as I'm not in an officially-supplied territory. There's always Preware and some other sources to help, though.

    My message to HP is this: spec it right, price it right (i.e. below iPad) and monetise elsewhere too. Mobile usage is going to soar, are you going to miss the boat? Win8 might help you too as you'll not be last to the party anymore with your OS (not that I think webOS is bad at all).

  14. KroSha

    Hang on...

    Decent spec'd hardware, at what was essentially a fair market price, and a reasonable OS failed to sell. So they canned it.

    Now they want to sell what we assume will be a decent spec tablet, which they are going to have to sell at a fair market price, with an unknown OS? Let's face it, MS haven't exactly covered themselves with glory in the smartphone / mobile OS arena, and no one really knows how well the public are going to take to it.

    But they expect it to sell and sell well enough to pay the licensing fees and still make a profit on it?


    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Well, quite.

      here is Harvey's prediction.

      At the end of 2012 windows tablets will make up <0.5% of the market

      At the end of 2013 they will make up <1%

      That will be their peak.

  15. Tom Cooke

    Getting a sense of dejavu here - 'a couple of months in is not too late'? Unless I am in a parallel universe, iPads have been out way longer than a couple of months...

    Let me into the asylum...

  16. Bango Skank

    There goes my $99 fondleslab

    I suppose that I am never going to get that $99 trinket for Christmas then.

    Will they perhaps send me another nice email and a voucher to buy HP goodies, or maybe a discount on the resurrected slab?

  17. Dick Pountain

    Titanic... deckchairs...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bought off or beating up?

    Perhaps HP are being sneaky here. MS want Win8 to succeed on a tablet and HP is a prime MS OEM. If you make the tablet WebOS only, there's nothing in it for MS and you are competing against your supplier. However, threaten WebOS on a tablet and see what licensing concessions you can wring from MS - now that might be clever.

    WebOS doesn't need the fondleslabs, isn't it on all HP laptops as an instant-on function? I hope it isn't just bargained away for some concession from MS. There is hope though, with the HP & Calxeda hookup and HP's current desire to do things for itself, perhaps it will survive.

    I'm not sure about the tablets though. It would be hard to compete against Apple and Android, even with a technically good product. Apple has the media content sewn up in Itunes and Android has open-source do-anything appeal. Perhaps it could find customers running from the android legal issues, but does it too appears to fall afoul of the "swipe to unlock" "invention" by apple?

    Put WebOS into an HP monitor (with USB for keyboard & mouse) and you have a fairly thin client for very little cash. The screen is the expensive bit, the cpu is cheap. Also remember these are ARM chips - which are what run printers. Perhaps webos will be HP's platform. You don't need a gui in a printer, but a single development target might be handy. Perhaps you'd like a slice of the lucrative corporate IP phone market - ARM chips and touchscreen capabilities at the high-end might be just the thing. All those ILO cards - I wonder what they run? Management of all those switches has to be done from something.

    With the current trend for more smaller devices, having your own low-power OS seems like a good idea. HP probably have the hardware expertise to pull it off, let's hope the vision is there too.

  19. Hoagiebot

    Does it really have to be either or?

    I have to wonder, since Hewlett-Packard has already spent the 1.2-billion dollars to buy Palm, how much more money does it take at this point to keep WebOS in development? Possibly very little in comparison? Considering how much money they have already spent on WebOS, I wonder if keeping WebOS alive, well, and continually developed would be worth it so that it can be used as an additional "feature" of HP tablets and PCs that HP's marketing department could then promote as a selling point.

    To explain what I mean, why couldn't Hewlett-Packard sell their tablets and PCs with a version of WebOS stored on a flash-based "Disk-on-Chip", kind of like how many of the old 8-bit micros (like the Commodore 128 that I was playing with earlier tonight) had a BASIC interpreter included in their ROMs as part of the unit. That way, when a customer buys a tablet or a PC from HP that is running Windows 8, they also get a built-in copy of WebOS that they can duel-boot into as a special additional extra feature. Or, if a customer is on a budget, they could buy their tablet or PC for cheaper without the extra cost of the Windows 8 license and just use WebOS. That way, whether Windows is installed on the system or not, the HP tablets and PCs will always be capable of doing something "right out of the box." In a world where PCs are basically all about the same from every vendor because of their commodity hardware and common Windows OS, having this extra little feature of having a free copy of WebOS included in an embedded Disk-on-Chip and always ready to go would be a great way for HP's products to stand out in the crowd and provide more value to their customers. Just an idea, especially since they have already invested so much money into WebOS already!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      webOS included

      I think it is in HP laptops as a Quick boot option. It is in the documentation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft will guarantee it is an either or. You put something on there that can bypass Windows and watch your OEM license costs go through the roof.

    3. Jon Roderick

      To the death?

      I like the idea of duel-booting - let battle commence!


  20. Goat Jam

    What a bunch of numpties

    Step 1: Purchase WebOS with Palm for $1.2 Billion

    Step 2: Throw toys out of pram when 1st WebOS product fails to sell due to being slightly under performing and idiotically overpriced.

    Step 3: Take bribe from Microsoft to start "focussing on Windows"

    Step 4: ????

    In fact it could be argued that 2 and 3 are in the wrong order.

    As for 4, and considering that we are talking HP here, that will be a big fat FAIL

  21. Mikel

    Goodbye HP

    Nothing interesting in mobile until 2013 and you've seen your folly yet again? It seems you've opted to follow Nokia and RIM into the dark. Oh, well. It was to be expected. Redmond's got you by the short curly ones and they're steering hard.

    Asus looks to deliver more of what we want from mobile on 11/9/2011, and others will follow. It's not like if you and Dell won't give us what we want, nobody else will. Not any more. Those days are done. We get what we want no matter what you do.

    So farewell and thanks for all the tech.

  22. Man Mountain

    HP were always working on a Windows tablet

    There have always been 2 separate tablets in development within HP, with the Windows one being more 'business' focused and running slightly later in development. I don't think the fates of the WebOS Touchpad and the Windows Tablet are necessarily linked.

  23. Fugazi


    ..I think they actually _do_ read the Voice Of The Workforce comments!

    Just waiting for WebOS to go open source then I'll know for sure :)

  24. Gil Grissum

    End to End solution strategy

    I've always thought that WebOS would shine if it ran on Android class hardware. That's all WebOS needs to reap the whirlwind of profit. But the issue is that, if Windows 8 runs on PC's, Tablets, and Smartphones, you've created an end to end solution that provides all the hardware and software integration needed on the desktop and mobile levels, with a support infrastructure that can be managed in an effective and organized manner. The first non-palm handheld I ever had was a Windows Mobile based Compaq iPaq that integrated very well with the corporate network at my place of work. WebOS, awesome as it is, doesn't really figure into a fully integrated end to end solution like that of Windows. I wouldn't be too shocked if HP didn't decide on a Windows Mobile Enterprise smartphone strategy for business. It would be nice if they did something with Web OS in that space, but I'm not seeing how that would fit into or integrate with a Windows end to end solution.

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