And then there were four - HP shutting down webOS device operations

By Adam Zeis on 18 Aug 2011 04:24 pm EDT

HP webOS

In what was otherwise a normal day for tech news, HP made the announcement just an hour ago that they will be shutting down webOS device operations -- aka ending operations for the TouchPad and webOS phones. That means RIM, Apple, Google and Microsoft are the only big players left in the game. The news comes as a pretty big shock, however details are still fairly sparce at this time. The TouchPad was a pretty sweet device and honestly we're sorry to see it go. How will this play out in the long haul? Only time will tell.

So what are your thoughts on the end of webOS? Sound off in the comments and be sure to follow all the news and updates over at our sibling site

Source: Pre Central

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

And then there were four - HP shutting down webOS device operations


They are probably doing it for the same reason IBM got out of the laptop business - margins on hardware are going to get lower, and long term it doesn't seem to be worth the effort to lose boat loads of money to establish itself as a leader. Maybe they'll just start producing Android devices now?

HP paid over $1 billion for WebOS. What a pathetic dysfunctional company. Its like getting married and filing for divorce the next day. They never gave it a chance.

Just a shutdown? That seems unlikely to me too. WebOS could still be viable for someone if not as a huge multinational company.

IMO - webOS was the only real competition for a sexy looking GUI for the Playbook

Haven't played with Android enough to say, but iOS is dated compared to QNX

The first version of QNX was released in 1982 vs. iPhone OS in 2007 (renamed iOS in 2010) so not sure what you mean by dated...

Hey dingdong, if the TouchPad wasn't selling how does its demise equate to sky rocketing sales for the Playbook? Very interesting logic you have. I suppose in your world Afghanistan is hot vacation paradise. LOL

WebOS was born to die time and that HP buried it under 6ft deep the chances of seeing it again as a smartphone platform is nill to none..RIP WebOS

I guess it's a good thing RIM's bid for PALM wasn't successful. The QNX purchase was much cheaper and more effective.

Call me crazy but I think RIM should try to buy up WebOS from HP.

Let RIM establish a "consumer" line of phones. Don't worry about putting the Palms on BES, just maintain them as a separate line. Maybe even port QNX to the TouchPad.

The phones have a following.

I have kinda a funny story about this. I was invited (through my day job) to an HP event today to show us WebOS and more specifically the Touchpad. I tweeted a pic while I was there so you can see the proof!/Shao128/status/104236657628282880

After 2 hours of telling us how great the WebOS/TouchPad was, and HPs level of dedication in the long run etc...

Just as we were wrapping up I got a BBM about the news, I read the quote from the press release out loud infront of a group of about 30 people and the guys from HP. Their first reaction was it was all rumours. Until I told them it was a press release from HP.COM.

I told them sorry to rain on your parade but it was relevant to what they were trying to pitch us.

Wow, so what was their reaction when they saw it was legit????

I would be extremely pissed at my boss if they send me to to a presentation like that at the same time those news are being released, how unprofessional of HP, poor guys...

They were upset, they looked it up and saw it afterwards too.  Its a shame they gave a great presentation and seemed really into the product.  And I do admit WebOS was pretty nice.

The Bold 9900 hardware with the WebOS software would be a decent device.....too bad it was always stuck in crappy plastic sliders......

Will Pre Central be closing down? RIP weOS although its sad this mean less competition for RIM. I agree seb.hebert and we will take them in and nurse them back to life as RIM fanboys;)

I feel like HP didn't really make an effort exception to the touchpad. Come on, Pre 2 and 3?, Pixi? They buried there own Web Os grave.

WebOS was awesome. The phones just stunk. Glad I got Sprint to exchange my Pre for a Bold when I did. Love my BB. But again nothing compated to WebOS. Easy to use and so easy to multi-task. The best yet. From what I understand, the BB Playbook resembles WebOS.

Damn , it was always doomed to fail but didn't expect it so soon to get the axe.
Hope this is a wakeup call for RIM and the PB

I was at HP event in May and they were really hyped about the new tablet.
I saw it working and it felt pretty good.
I did show off my PlayBook though (it was only few weeks since the PB launch, I think).
Still, I felt both TouchPad and WebOS could have its own niche...
Anyway, sad to see it go.
HP was really working hard for this and Palm users were waiting for the new beginning... (since I'm a ex-Palm user too)

WOW!!!! And they just shelled out that cash to buy Palm cause of this! and I still have a PRE!! Sad to see it go......

Well I don't think anyone should be surprised. I'm shocked it took them this long. I used the pre2 and it was a garbage device. I've maintained from day one that webos is rubbish but I think I was the only one lol. Pre 3 debuted in january...I mean come on, time to move on. What I am afraid of now is with all these major announcements this week, tomorrow microsoft better not announce a Rim purchase.

i guess rim would be happy to see this, as most ex-Palm users are kinda similar to BB users. Most of them like a full physical keypad, which is one of the strongest sides of BB.....

I thought the touchpad was a bit of a playbook rip off. I actually don't know much about it. I only know what I've seen in their commercials. To me it looked like another 10 inch tablet with playbook like gestures to switch between and close apps. Also like the playbook, it was advertised to be a good multi tasker. I guess it wasn't original enough. At least, I didn't see anything unique about it.

You do realize that the os the touchpad ran was out since 07 and the playbook was the copy right. Web os has been on phones for a while now

QNX goes back to the 80's...

Interface? Sure, I'll grant that QNX on the Playbook uses some elements of WebOS (the use of swiping, in particular).

There's a fair number of similarities between WebOS and QNX; they're both based on *nix kernals, but QNX has been hardened by use in numerous industrial applications over the years.

I never used webOS but I liked the concept of it. I started my smart phone journey on a treo 650 and will always have a special place in my tech heart for palm products. I liked the touch pad's UI and it was a lot like the QNX interface of the playbook, but they just were not competitive enough to keep up with Google and Apple, Microsoft and RIM. We shall see what the future holds for all. The cell phone and tablet indistry is very risky right now with all the litigation, so only time will tell were this is all headed.

I don't think HP will kill WebOS per say. They will end up licensing it out to OEMs. I just think HP will no longer produce HP hardware for Web OS.

Hmm maybe RIM can ask to borrow webos notification and the ability to "throw' apps away. Would make QNX even more amazing! The only thing I miss about WebOS, amazing notification.

I'm more concerned with the people who purchased their products. What does it mean for them? I guess this is just business.

Wow. Interesting news. Amazing given that HP just put out the TouchPad and Pre 3. Basically they are saying: the devices are out, but buy at your own risk because we aren't gonna make them any more. I wonder if HP will be interested in buying RIM now or whether they've had enough of the phones/tables play for now.

I guess this shuts down my dream of BlackBerry hardware, with WebOS on top...or does it? RIM buy WebOS, add BIS, consumer market winner?

RIM NEEDS to acquire WebOS( formerly Palm ) from HP, if simply for it's patents. It would be great for RIM to own the smartphone patent. With Google buying Motorola for the main reason of its patents, RIM ought to buy WebOS( aka Palm ) for it's intellectual property.

That way they can incorporate the best of WebOS into QNX and they can be done with people saying that they stole some of their design ques from WebOS. Plus, the patents are worth the price themselves alone. RIM would have more than enough protection to ward off any lawsuits from any rival company trying to make a fast buck.

Hell, RIM could go on the offensive if they wanted to, they could strike a few deals and have companies pay them licensing fees. RIM would have extra cash with all of the royalties they would be receiving. They would be able to put more into their devices and start leading the pack again. RIM would climb back to the top within a relatively short period of time.

They should think about it. They should make HP an offer before Google thinks about doing it ! ! !

I agree. RIM purchasing WebOS is the best thing that can happen to help improve BB QNX. RIM better act quickly because Google will purchase WebOs just to get Palm's patents...

WebOS isn't for sale, HP is only exiting the physical hardware market

Besides, Google wouldn't even offer it. They just spent 12.5bln on Motorola, even for a mega conglomerate that is too much acquisition at one time lol


It's sad news. I used to own a Palm Pixie & webOS was amazingly fun & efficient to use. Most fun I've ever had on a smart phone was their gestures in "tossing" the app off the screen. It was a genius OS. The reason I switched to BlackBerry was due to RIM's superior hardware.

I hate the touchpad (fat, ugly, and slow), but I didn't think HP execs gave it much of a chance. The new Pre was apparently in the making too. I think the smartphone market is huge and they needed to be in that space. That was a foolish decision.

This may pave the way for a RIM and HP merger. The blomberg app on my BB has articles all over the place about how RIM needs a partner to survive the transition to QNX. HP has a lot of patents and RIM still has a share in the mobile communication market. I'm not saying it's going to happen but I'll be the first to say "I told you so." Motoral and Google, well maybe HP and RIM will be the next headline.

Maybe licensing to other manufacturers... and will be interesting to see with Google-Motorola deal do other Android manufacturers Samsung, HTC see this as an alternative

Best Buy and Future Shop employees were offered a substantial EPP on the Touchpad last week, and I just KNEW something was up. Now it has all become clear lol...

Hopefully RIM learns from HP's mistakes.The Tablet "market " should never be considered anything other than a secondary pursuit.. HP should have rolled out and supported WebOS phones first.

A serious disappointment indeed. In defense of Palm/webOS, HP did an absolute sh!t job at deploying webOS and marketing it. 6 months ago, they were poised with two new devices, a tablet and an initiative to have an integrated media/entertainment portal for streaming music and video. It was a solid plan, and HP had the muscle to really compete with Apple and Microsoft in such an integrated arena.

As soon as they announced these ideas over the past months, they lost momentum quickly. They focused on the wrong products (Veer then TouchPad) and ignored the one that was to be the true contender (Pre3).

If I were an HP shareholder, I'd be making noise about $1.3B spent, only to throw it away barely a year later. If I were former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, I would be pretty miffed as well...

I was seriously thinking about a Pre3, I guess I don't need to make that decision, and my 9930 arrives today long webOS...

It's like watching palm go bankrupt twice :( Such a good system, such a bad management team. RIP

Also, on that note, WebOS isn't being dropped, infact WebOS will remain a part of the parent HP. What's happening is HP is spinning off the PC business due to low profit margins (whether that's with an IPO or a sale is yet to be determined). Either way if I was an exec i'd find another job

Also DO NOT RUN OUT AND BUY DISCOUNTED PRODUCTS!!! Remember that just because the HP touchpad will be cheap (dirty cheap, $199 probably at MAX) there most likely won't be any more updates or apps at all

I'm a bit concerned that HP's ditching WebOS might be a bad thing for RIM. Imagine you're a software developement house considering not only developing for the "hype"-platforms (Android, iOS), but also for the less popular ones. If you see that a big company like HP (3.5 times the market cap of RIM!) does not feel that it's valuable to invest into their mobile OS offering, you'd probably be more than hesitant to start developing for the PlayBook/BBOS7. But for sure, I hope that's not the message app devs take home from this.

What's big about this is HP's total lack of grace. I know on this site everyone is thinking WebOS, but it's the PC side that will come back to haunt them. HP sells PC's direct to enterprise, this annoucement was a bombshell. Many an IT department has been thrown into chaos as HP's announcement has left them seemingly high and dry. And you want to come back and sell these same IT people cloud services later on? People are comparing this to when IBM left the market, but I really don't think that's valid.