HP bids adieu to WebOS, Windows RT, and says hello to Android

HP bids adieu to WebOS, Windows RT, and says hello to Android

Summary: HP may have finally decided on its primary tablet and smartphone operating system, and it's not WebOS or Windows, it's Android.

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While HP still hasn't made it official, sources are reporting that HP has decided that at least part of its tablet and smartphone future lies not with Windows or WebOS but with Google's Android. Who'd thought it!?

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HP appears to have decided to go with Android for tablets and, eventually, smartphones.

Well, I for one did. Look at the facts. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that in the last quarter Apple sold 23-million iPads, while HP—the world’s largest PC maker—sold 15-million PCs. And, who's catching up with the iPad in a great hurry? According to IDC that would be Android tablets. Since there's no way in heaven and earth, HP will ever be selling iPads, HP CEO Meg Whitman is hitching HP's wagon to Android's ascending star.

In a way, it's rather sad. HP looked like it had a winner of its very own with the Linux-based WebOS. Back in the summer of 2011, reviewers loved the WebOS powered HP TouchPad. Then, not even two months after the HP introduced the TouchPad, they killed it.

I'm still not sure why HP did this, Some have suggested that HP dumped the TouchPad because it was sluggish. Everyone I knew who ever had one loved it.

HP then promised that to open source WebOS and all would be well with it. Yeah. Right. HP soon made it clear that they were dumping WebOS and had no intention of doing anything with it on their own hardware.

You might think that HP would then turn to its long-time partner Microsoft for its tablet and smartphone operating system needs. And, indeed, HP is doing some work with Windows 8 tablets. There is, for example, the hybrid HP Envy X2 tablet/ultrabook. Unfortunately, HP, along with other Windows 8 tablet makers, is still waiting on the arrival of Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processors.

In the meantime, Microsoft is still using its own newly launched Windows 8-powered Surface Pro tablet against HP and its other partners. With friends like Microsoft, who needs enemies when it comes to Windows tablets?

As for Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 for ARM-powered devices, HP has never shown any interest in it. In fact, Todd Bradley, the head of HP's PC business, said of the Surface RT that "I'd hardly call Surface competition." Bradley explained in an interview with CITEworld that Surface RT has “very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it .... It's expensive. Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe."

Ouch!

Of course, given Surface RT's market track-record so far, it's hard to argue with Bradley's assessment.

So, looking ahead, it appears HP has made its mobile operating system choice. While Windows 8 tablets will get at least some support, in the future I believe HP will be committing itself to Android.

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Topics: Android, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Tablets, Windows 8

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73 comments
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  • The downside is that Google is using it's Nexus line

    and Motorola against it's Android partners, so are they in any better shape? I would say they traded one devil for another (maybe worse) devil.

    I still think WebOS was a very promising OS, but HP lost the nerve to go head to head with others, which is sad. Those that have used it seem to really like it.
    William Farrel
    • Hey ms shill

      can you please point to the supposedly prediction I made about MS Failing and filing for bankruptcy back in 2010. Seeing as how I joined this site last year?
      Oh, btw how's them windows tablet doing? killing the market eh? I thought puny Android and toy Ipad were gonna die since you know windows tablet were the real thing?
      wolfn11
      • Hey, Shilln11, nice to see you again!

        Wow. Lets see - You made up stuff and claimed I said them, and you're fine with that.
        I did the same thing back and you're upset about that? (That was last month BTW)

        Are you such the child that you can't take what you dish up. Grow up, CB

        And What should I care about what tablet that's killing the market, I'm not in the market for one. But I'm glad to know that I have a choice between Windows, iOS, and Android. I'm sad that HP pulled WebOS, as that looked nice, too.

        How about you. You seem to be really, really bothered by that fact that people have a choice. Tell us,since you're here what tablet should everyone be forced to use, since you brought it up?
        William Farrel
    • WebOS

      That's why I'm always wary - and I'm not the only one - when a company decides to support an open source platform. Sooner or later, money will weigh more than quality.
      Sebastian Tristan
      • webOS

        Is a great platform, and it was HP that open-sourced it. I think they thought they'd get more developers if it were open source; I also don't think they should do all the thinking... :)
        benched42
    • What are you talking about.

      The Nexus Line consists of three manufacturers and all of them are listed as the manufacturers of the device... On top of that Motorola has no Nexus device.
      slickjim
    • HP has made mistake after mistake in the past 4-5 years

      they depend on Microsoft software for more of their cash intake right now - Microsoft's boat is sailing without them. Acer also buried itself in the biggest hole they could find.

      They are making a huge mistake
      Master Wayne
    • Really?

      Google is using Motorola against its Android partners? Is that why the Nexus 7 was built by ASUS, the Nexus 10 by Samsung and the Nexus 4 by LG?

      Quite the contrary. In fact, wouldn't surprise most analysts if Google spun off Motorola once the company was on a firm financial footing. After all, Google was only after Motorola's patents when they bought the company, not their hardware business.
      dsf3g
  • Good lord..

    Another stumble by a once great company.
    kstap
  • No enterprise will buy android tablets.

    HP is digging its own grave

    1. Web OS = fail.
    2. Purchase of British IT company = fail
    3. Chrome book = fail
    4. Android tablet = fail.
    Owlll1net
    • RE: "Purchase of British IT company = fail"

      Why, merely because the IT company was British?

      How about THIS British-based tech company: ARM Holdings, Ltd. More here:

      http://www.arm.com/about/company-profile/index.php

      P.S. Don't tell me that you're prejudiced against Blighty?!
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Sorry, I was referring to the purchase of Autonomy

        My comment has nothing to do with anything British, Clear?
        Owlll1net
        • Right chaps

          Stand down, we can pack the assault dinghys away, he wasn't having a go at us.
          Little Old Man
    • Are you kidding me?

      I still have not seen an iPad in the enterprise but, I have seen a few Android tablets...

      Not that iPads aren't used as I know they are but, to presume that Android isn't used is naive.
      slickjim
      • I have

        Our enterprise is going with iPads and iPhones with MDM. Personally I prefer Android to iOS, but I don't have enough say in the decisions.
        benched42
        • Oh believe me

          I know some companies have deployed them, my point was that his assumptions are just dumb and uneducated.
          slickjim
        • My company got me a Windows 7 Phone....

          ...when I asked for a smartphone. I asked for an Android or failing that, an iPhone or Blackberry - in that order. However my company got me a Windows 7 Lumia phone.

          I think the reason for it is because they got a cheap deal for it, and it has the added advantage that it is something people aren't going to want use for personal use given its limited apps and functionality, thus saving the company on data bills. Basically they want people to use the phone only for business calls, checking emails and appointments, and syncing contacts. It just about does these and little more. Anybody with their own Android or iPhone smartphone would naturally use that for personal use and web browsing, since they are so much more pleasant and functional to use - which is exactly what the company wants.

          Windows Phones are basically a piece of crud, and I can see full well why they aren't selling no matter how many billions of marketing dollars have been spent on positive "independent but paid for reviews" on Windows Phone.
          Mah
    • Owlll1net All enterprise will buy android tablets before Surface.

      HP is smart not to digg there own grave

      1. Web OS = WIN
      2. Purchase of British IT company = WIN
      3. Chrome book = WIN
      4. Android tablet = WIN

      ANYTHING WITH THE NAME SURFACE = BIG TIME FAIL.
      Over and Out
  • Can they win?

    Let's look at HP's options here, and the general consensus by the armchair CxO's here at ZDNet:

    --"HP saying they're not doing tablets? They're doomed!"

    --"HP doing Windows based tablets? No one wants them, and even if they do, HP is battling Microsoft directly! They're doomed!"

    --"HP doing WebOS based tablets? They don't have the ecosystem! They're doomed!"

    --"HP doing Android tablets? Against Asus, Google, Motorola, and to-an-extent Amazon? They're doomed!"

    ...According to the group here, HP is screwed no matter what they do. I think HP can do alright in the tablet market if they make high quality tablets at a competitive price and take out all the stops when it comes to support. Unfortunately, I do believe that their best bet was to have gone for broke with WebOS tablets and put the thrust of the company behind it like they said they planned on, but that ship sailed.

    If the engineers make the tablets, they have a prayer. If the MBA's make the tablet, they're indeed screwed no matter what software is on it.

    Joey
    voyager529
    • HP endorses Android?

      I would look at it the other way around:

      "HP endorses Android"

      As Google I would be scared, very scared....
      dirk.oppenkowski@...