HP says it will build new webOS powered tablets by 2013

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
While stating her company would "bet heavily with Windows [8 tablets]" in the short term, HP chief executive Meg Whitman stated that the company will return to building a webOS tablet by 2013, if not next year.



Whitman made the comments in an interview with TechCrunch, joined by HP board member Marc Andreessen.



Earlier today, Whitman publicly announced plans to retain webOS internally and offer the platform up through an open source program, without detailing what type of license the company planned to offer the software under.



Instead, Whitman spoke only in general terms about contributing to and investing in the mobile platform, which HP acquired as part of Palm in a $1.2 billion deal last spring.



But Andreessen remarked in the new interview that with webOS released as an open source project, there will be future webOS tablets from a variety of vendors, adding that HP would be among the companies designing new tablet hardware for the webOS platform. Whitman added that HP might not produce new webOS tablet hardware in 2012, but would reach the tablet market by 2013.



The company has previously stated that it would not be making new webOS smartphones, but has only suggested that future tablets would be exclusively based on future versions of Windows. This makes the new reiteration of support for HP branded, webOS based tablets an interesting commitment, particularly given such a long timeframe.



HP waffles on tablet platform strategy



At the beginning of 2010, HP debuted a Windows 7 powered "Slate PC" alongside Microsoft's Steve Ballmer just prior to Apple's unveiling of the iPad. That device was a dismal failure, and the challenge of the iPad sparked an effort to buy Palm and develop a true tablet competitor using that company's already in progress webOS tablet platform.



Just weeks after launching its first webOS tablet this summer, HP's previous chief executive Leo Apotheker canceled the TouchPad and other webOS hardware projects, noting poor sales of the device and a new direction for the company.



Apotheker was then himself spun off as HP's chief executive and Whitman was appointed in his place. Rather than affirming support for webOS however, Whitman spoke exclusively at the time of HP's plans to deliver a tablet next year running Microsoft's Windows 8, which isn't expected to be completed before the end of 2012.



Her announcement today that HP would eventually return to building custom tablets running webOS is therefore a surprise, and presents a strange cycle of waffling between Microsoft's platform and HP's own. By hedging both of its bets, HP is sending strange signals about its commitment to either Windows 8 or webOS. HP has also dabbled with Android, but hasn't delivered any successful products with that mobile platform either.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While stating her company would "bet heavily with Windows [8 tablets]" in the short term, HP chief executive Meg Whitman stated that the company will return to building a webOS tablet by 2013, if not next year.




    Great news.



    WebOS has a lot going for it, and if it gets picked up by more than one company, it might mature into a truly great platform.



    I wonder what the Android folks think about all this? Will we see predominately Android Phones and WebOS tablets in our future? Android, so far, has not cracked the tablet market in any huge way.
  • Reply 2 of 81
    Given HP gained 5% marketshare almost overnight with their $99 firesale... and now that WebOS is open source... Tablet manufacturers using Android now have another choice...



    Will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. WebOS already is a better system than Android IMHO.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,295member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LuxoM3 View Post


    Given HP gained 5% marketshare almost overnight with their $99 firesale... and now that WebOS is open source... Tablet manufacturers using Android now have another choice...



    Will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. WebOS already is a better system than Android IMHO.



    As many have commented in the previous post on this, I can see phone manufacturers being all over this to escape the mess Android is. IMHO it will be, as you say, simply more choices for those not wanting Apple products.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,827member
    Further this sounds like a fall back plan. Something to the effect that if the Windows tablet effort doesn't succeed we will start to install WebOS on our tablets. I'd hate to be an HP stock holder right now as this sounds awfully wishy washy to me.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    WebOS does have a huge patent portfolio that has a much better chance of not getting hit by Apple's law suits, so maybe HTC, Samsung and Lenovo can make tablets that can run WebOS as well.



    We seriously do need more choice than iOS and Android. Microsoft, wake up, wake up! You snoozed way too many times.
  • Reply 6 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    As many have commented in the previous post on this, I can see phone manufacturers being all over this to escape the mess Android is. IMHO it will be, as you say, simply more choices for those not wanting Apple products.



    For a tablet I can see WebOS gaining traction where Android can't, but not in the smartphone sector. Still, overall it looks like a rocky road for Android and WebOS in the tablet market. I wouldn't back either horse.



    And 2013? Apple will definitely have HiDPI iPads in 2013 and possibly be so entrenched with another iPod-like dominance that HP will scrap will any WebOS tablets long before then.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    So HP will produce a tablet if the open source community can improve WebOS enough.
  • Reply 8 of 81
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    So HP will produce a tablet if the open source community can improve WebOS enough.



    That's pretty much my take on it too.
  • Reply 9 of 81
    They fired Apotheker because of his waffling and all they get is more of the same high-priced, utterly incompetent management from that horrid, stupid woman.

    You know what, HP? Why don't you hire me instead of Whitman. I will only take half her salary, and I don't think it's humanly possible for me to do a worse job than that moron.
  • Reply 10 of 81
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    Great news.



    WebOS has a lot going for it, and if it gets picked up by more than one company, it might mature into a truly great platform.



    I wonder what the Android folks think about all this? Will we see predominately Android Phones and WebOS tablets in our future? Android, so far, has not cracked the tablet market in any huge way.



    The Android crowd does not mind WebOS. In fact, most of the big stories on Android sites when HP was pushing WebOS were about the fire sales for $99 and where to get one and when they became sold out.



    Cyanogenmod members also worked on porting Android to the tablet. Now with it being open source and all that goodness, on Google+ and some Android sites, people are already talking about Dual-booting Android&WebOS hardware.



    Choice is something always cherished in the community, even if it does start a bit of an internal fight at times.



    Now To wait for Tizen to release their SDK and source code, and may give Ubuntu Mobile a shot depending on how they handle the UI.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,484member
    Sounds like a mixed message. They're betting on Windows 8 and WebOS - which one is the public supposed to buy? 2013 will be a tough time to launch a new tablet - iPad will be in its 4th generation!
  • Reply 12 of 81
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    Bring it on, HP. I would support Web OS in a heartbeat. Other than iOS, no other OS entices me.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,038member
    I view this differently than many of those do who commented previously. This "strategy" seems like a disaster. It lacks direction. It's complicated. It's vague. It hinges on a wing and a prayer of other manufacturers adopting the platform, but also promises to deliver it's own hardware. Of course, this is what HP decided NOT to do a few months ago.



    Android is a mess and may end up killing itself with fragmentation (as many of us predicted quite some time ago). Now WebOS is basically dead before it gets off the ground. Hopefully this will be enough to answer analysts' questions for the next three years as to why Apple continues to kick everyone's ass all over the globe.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    I was pleasantly surprised with the last version of WebOS that I looked at for smart phones, about a year ago. It was incredibly polished. I tried to get one of the TouchPads when they were clearing out but could not get one before the early birds.



    The lesson I learned from the HP fire sale is that there is a "magic" price point that they will sell in droves. If HP can somehow get this device to $199 or lower, run a good OS, and have halfway decent build quality, they will sell lots. I think Android is a bit of a mess, and another alternative with the same polish as iOS would be good for the market.
  • Reply 15 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    Bring it on, HP. I would support Web OS in a heartbeat. Other than iOS, no other OS entices me.



    I'm with you. I was really shocked when they pulled WebOS of the market; glad it will come back. It is the most elegant of designs and most unifying of all the platforms. Apple's iOS is a walled garden that was needed to get it started, but HTML5 apps (their original plans and basically WebOS) was a superior plan for cross-platform opportunities.



    Perhaps this will rekindle the opportunity for apps written for HTML5 across all the mobile platforms!
  • Reply 16 of 81
    <face palm image>



    Sounds as if HP management is half committed to the webOS tablet future.
  • Reply 17 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    <face palm image>



    Sounds as if HP management is half committed to the webOS tablet future.



    They spent months debating on focusing on Web or OS? but they couldn't figure out how to do both at the same time.
  • Reply 18 of 81
    irelandireland Posts: 17,616member
    Quote:

    HP waffles on tablet platform strategy



    Ireland knows who wrote this without having to check.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    You don’t announce something two years from now, which competes with something you’re announcing ONE year from now, when you’ve repeatedly failed to deliver successfully. What’s the message here?



    “Our WebOS is great! It’s open source so everyone can use it! But we won’t be able to get it working ourselves for two more years.”



    Or...?



    “Web OS is better than Windows Metro, or we obviously wouldn’t bother with it, but we’ll ship Windows Metro next year anyway, and then switch to the real deal after a bunch of people have bought the stopgap we want to abandon later!”



    Or...?



    “We’ll make anything... we don’t even have to know what or why or when! Our TouchPad success story is only the beginning!”



    Or simply...?



    “We have a clear, intelligent long-term plan to catch up to with what Apple started years ago. Users will give us tons of profit instead of wanting real iPads. Just wait!"
  • Reply 20 of 81
    It all sounds like great news for manufacturers looking for an Android alternative, and Apple could use some serious competition to keep them sharp.
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