Has HP forsaken webOS? Report says it’s working on Android tablet

Is this finally the end of Palm’s webOS, which has seemed to be on a path to a slow and agonizing death? An upcoming tablet from HP will use Android and be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, according to ReadWrite, which cites anonymous sources and says the Palo Alto company also is exploring making an Android-powered smartphone.

If the report pans out (HP had no comment), it could mean the end of webOS, the mobile software Hewlett-Packard owns as part of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in 2010. The summer of 2011, HP launched the webOS-based TouchPad tablet, but announced it would discontinue the tablet less than two months later as part of then-CEO Leo Apotheker’s plans to shake up the company. (See Liquidation, valuation, evaluation: on HP’s TouchPad, stock and its CEO.)

Apotheker was replaced by Meg Whitman, who said last year that HP would keep developing webOS, even as it made it open source. (See A peek at earnings, and other questions about HP.) The Merc’s Brandon Bailey also reported last year that webOS could find new life in special apps for cars or medical equipment.

If HP goes Android, it will add yet another big name to those that use the Google-owned operating system. At this point, of course, HP needs Android more than the other way around. But as some point out, HP will be competing in a crowded field with already established OEMs such as Samsung, Asus and others, so it could be too late unless the company can somehow differentiate itself. Some say HP might do better focusing on Windows 8 tablets, where the market isn’t too crowded yet.


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  • TonyW

    Perhaps SiliconValley.com doesn’t have a clear understanding of open source software. Once HP made webOS available as open source software, it was up to others to carry on should they wish to do so. There’s no need for any future HP involvement in the project. Of course, some current or past HP employees may want to contribute to the project in their spare time, as permitted by HP’s internal open source policies. But they would not be representing HP in their efforts.

    The source code is hosted on GitHub and one project to develop WebOS can be found at http://www.openwebosproject.org/ where the source code will be available under an OSI-approved Apache 2.0 license. All of this is independent of HP.

  • Levi Sumagaysay

    Right, open source. Post says: Apotheker was replaced by Meg Whitman, who said last year that HP would keep developing webOS, EVEN as it made it open source.