Does your HP printer really need Palm's WebOS?

HP CEO Mark Hurd says Palm's WebOS could be coming to a printer near you. Do you really want a printer with an operating system.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd wants to take Palm's WebOS to a printer near you.

On HP's second quarter earnings conference call, Hurd was asked about the rationale for the Palm acquisition. Hurd said:

I think in this case of Palm, and our planned acquisition of Palm, it really has more to do with the intellectual property and in the fact that when you look across the HP ecosystem of interconnected devices, it is a large family of devices.

When we think of printers, you’ve now got a whole series of web-connected printers that as they connect to the web, need an OS. We prefer to have that OS in our case to be our IP where we can control the customer experience as we always have in the printing business, and that’s a big deal to us.

Also: HP earnings: Solid quarter and better full-year outlook

Hurd also added that the WebOS will land in tablets and other "small form factors." HP will also offer Microsoft's operating systems too, but the Palm purchase gives the company intellectual property so it can create interconnected devices.

And now the big question: Do you really need an operating system in your printer? I'm already tired of printers that do too much. And HP's software can drive you a bit nutty. My relationship with my HP printer is love-hate and it often annoys me (mostly when I can't print in grayscale when the blue cartridge is out). Simply put, I want a dumb printer. The thing should just print. I don't need apps on my printer and I sure don't want another operating system on it. I just want a printer that prints. Go figure.

My advice to HP: Just because you have a nice mobile operating system doesn't mean you have to crowbar it into places where it just doesn't fit.

Related: What can you do with an HP webOS-powered printer?

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