commentary As HP drastically reshuffles its business and TouchPad tablets are pulled off the shelves around Australia, what of the future of its now-orphaned operating system, webOS?
HP's Leo Apotheker said on a conference call in the US last week that the company would discontinue its webOS devices, including the TouchPad. Apotheker said in a question-and-answer session following the announcement call overnight that HP hasn't considered the future of the webOS platform, and is open to the possibility of licensing the software or selling it off entirely.
This means that webOS could be given a second chance at life by another manufacturer, which, unlike HP, is unfazed by a bad review. In a perfect world, HP would pass the torch of webOS onto another company, which could really make something of it — just like HTC. HTC, a manufacturer that has positioned itself as a key challenger to Apple and its market-eating iOS monster by using Android, could make a red-hot go of webOS in its devices, particularly its tablets.
By releasing a new line of tablets running webOS, HTC could find itself a new arrow for its quiver to challenge Apple within the phone and tablet market, especially now that Google has announced plans to leave HTC out in the cold by teaming up with Motorola Mobility.
However, the sad reality is that HTC probably won't make a play for webOS. HTC CEO Peter Chou told the Wall Street Journal last week that his company would stick with Google and the Android operating system, despite the deal for Motorola Mobility.
Chou told the Journal that the deal between Google and Motorola is about arming the search giant with a bevy of patents to shield itself and companies like HTC from ongoing legal disputes.
"This acquisition is more to enhance Google's patent portfolio, to support us, to protect us, so this is good news," Chou said, adding that HTC would continue to innovate within the Android market.
But imagine how innovative a move to webOS would be, Mr Chou!