HP confirms WebOS smartphones coming soon

An HP exec ended months of rumor about the demise or future of WebOS -- HP will launch new WebOS smartphones in early 2011

To paraphrase American author Mark Twain, the rumors of the death of WebOS have been greatly exaggerated. An HP executive has confirmed that new WebOS smartphones will be introduced by HP in early 2011.

Following the fall of Palm, and its subsequent purchase by HP we have been left to speculate on the future of WebOS. Despite anemic sales ultimately leading to the fall of Palm, the WebOS mobile platform is innovative and quite capable of competing against the Apple iPhone and the vast portfolio of Android smartphones.

A Reuters report quotes HP senior vice president Eric Cador stating "You will see us coming early next year with new phones." That isn't much, but its the first acknowledgement from HP regarding the future of WebOS, or its intentions in the smartphone arena.

WebOS loyalists assert that the mobile platform isn't just comparable to competing platforms like Apple iOS or Google Android -- it's superior. In many ways, the fall of WebOS is like the demise of other technologies that have been technically superior, yet lost the marketing war and ultimately faded into oblivion. A few examples are the Sega Dreamcast game console, the IBM OS/2 desktop operating system, or more recently the HD DVD format.

When HP purchased Palm, it was really purchasing WebOS. Without the intellectual property of the WebOS mobile platform, Palm would have had a difficult time finding a suitor at all--much less one willing to spend $1.2 billion on the company. Cador acknowledged that WebOS was a key element in the decision to acquire Palm.

With WebOS, HP can now engage in a mobility strategy. HP is a tech giant and leader in areas like servers and PC hardware, as well as IT services, but it is conspicuously absent from the rapidly evolving trend toward mobile computing. HP can use WebOS as a foundation to venture into smartphones and tablets and carve out its place in the market.

Prior to the launch of the Apple iPad, a Windows 7 based HP Slate tablet was rumored to be in the works. Since then, and particularly following the purchase of Palm, there have been reports that the Windows 7 tablet concept is dead and that HP is focusing its resources on a WebOS tablet instead (or in addition depending on the rumor).

The rumor mill can now shift gears, though, from "if" there will be new WebOS smartphones, to "when" we can expect them or how they will compare with rival smartphone platforms, or whether HP will be more successful with WebOS smartphones than Palm was.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicsCell PhonesPhonessoftwareoperating systemsHewlett-PackardHPPalmtablet PCwebOS

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?