HP on webOS: It is not dead yet

If you’ve been following the tech news you’ll know that HP has recently killed a number of smartphones, including the TouchPad, Pre and Veer, that it has only recently launched around the world. 

For many, that news meant that webOS was being killed too. Not so says HP, and it’s even quoted Mark Twain to prove it. 

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports about the demise of webOS have been off the mark,” HP stated over the weekend via one of its blogs

According to HP, while it has ditched the new handsets, and started a $99 fire sale in the US for the HP TouchPad, it’s not killing off the operating system. 

“HP has made these tough decisions to ensure that our efforts with webOS remain tightly focused. Far from burying webOS, our goal is to ensure the platform's evolution as a robust operating system for an increasingly mobile and connected world ... we intend to enhance the platform as we explore the options for webOS in today's marketplace.”

The news will no doubt come as a surprise to many who thought that HP would be dumping the operating system, or at least trying to sell it to another manufacturer, having decided not to support the OS itself with its own hardware launches.  

“We will continue to support, innovate and develop the webOS App Catalog. Our intent is to enhance our merchandising and presentation of your great products and to continue to build our webOS app ecosystem,” added Richard Kerris, VP webOS Developer Relations in another blog post - this time on the company’s developers blog, apparently blind to the fact that HP has admitted poor sales of webOS devices. 

“As many of you are aware, we are currently scheduled to hold many developer events around the world. We are planning to continue with these events, however, due to the recent announcements; the nature of them will change,” he added.

Even though the operating system currently has no new devices planned, HP still believes it can continue to prove webOS will be a success, even though it has failed to do this so far. 

“Together with our great webOS developer community, we are confident that we will meet the challenges ahead and build momentum for optimal success.”

In what’s more likely to be the hard reality of the decision, Microsoft is already moving in to help webOS developers switch sides:

“Kids down...webOS outreach going well. A Palm dev relations person sent me an email asking for a job. Can't wait to talk to him. #gumption,” tweeted Brandon Watson, the exec responsible for apps/developers on Microsoft’s Windows Phone, before another tweet promised: 

“To Any Published WebOS Devs: We'll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl.free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.”

HP might believe that it can continue to gather support from the third party developer community, but without devices to get people excited, and compelling offers from the other bigger mobile players, it is going to find it a struggle.