HP has quietly revealed that it plans to abandon its webOS devices: most recently we’ve seen the HP TouchPad; the Pre3 has only just landed on our doorstep, but this looks like the end of the line for both.
The statement, nestled innocuously in the middle of a press release announcing discussions with Autonomy Corporation, simply reads:
“In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimise the value of webOS software going forward.”
Interestingly, HP states that it is going to “explore options to optimise the value of webOS”, which presumably means it is going to try and bundle it up and sell it on.
The webOS mobile platform has had a rocky start to life. Although offering some interesting features and having a loyal following, the mobile os has never really gained traction with the wider public and has consistently struggled to attract app developers at the pace set by rivals iOS and Android.
More information is detailed in HP's Q3 earnings call, also released today, that justifies the move saying that "The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets." Clear as day then, HP hasn't achieved the success it was looking for.
The move looks to represent a hefty restructuring for HP, with the announcement today that they are aquiring Autonomy Corporation, which provides a range of software services, which HP states "will accelerate HP's ability to deliver on its strategy to offer cloud-based solutions and software that best addresses the changing needs of businesses."
This restructuring looks to have an impact on their Personal Systems Group (PSG), which includes not only their mobile devices, but also their personal computers, with the report detailing that "HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction."
Léo Apotheker, HP president and chief executive officer states: "Today's announced plan will allow HP to drive creation of long-term shareholder value through a focus on fewer fronts, thereby improving its ability to execute, invest in innovation and drive a higher-margin business mix."
Big changes then for HP and if you've already forked out for an HP TouchPad, you may be facing a future of limited support and development.