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HP Businesses Operating Systems

HP Moves WebOS From PC Group: What Next? 70

Posted by timothy
from the management-usually-has-the-upper-outhouse dept.
GMGruman writes "Over the weekend, HP execs posted statements announcing the transfer of WebOS from the PC group that produced the now-killed TouchPad tablet and other mobile devices to HP's Office of Strategy and Technology. Is that a new lifeline for WebOS? Or, as analyst Trip Chowdhry suggested, is WebOS a pawn in a Shakespearean corporate game by HP CEO Léo Apotheker?"
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HP Moves WebOS From PC Group: What Next?

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  • Rumors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) * on Monday September 05, 2011 @05:55PM (#37311096) Homepage Journal

    Well, according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], HP's Office of Strategy and Technology has four main functions: (1) steering the company's $3.6 billion research and development investment, (2) fostering the development of the company's global technical community, (3) leading the company's strategy and corporate development efforts, and (4) performing worldwide corporate marketing activities. Under this office is HP Labs, the research arm of HP. Founded in 1966, HP Labs's function is to deliver new technologies and to create business opportunities that go beyond HP's current strategies. An example of recent HP Lab technology includes the Memory spot chip. HP IdeaLab further provides a web forum on early-state innovations to encourage open feedback from consumers and the development community.

    It is hard to say at this point what could it mean to WebOS but I've heard rumors about some experiments with Android at HP. Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer on top of Android, just like Mac OS X did with UNIX. It may seem strange at first but after thinking about it for a while it could be the only way that HP could survive in the not so distant future after the Apple-Google war is over and still have original software advantage without the hassle to develop and maintain the entire operating system stack.

  • Fangirl (Score:1, Interesting)

    by webmistressrachel (903577) on Monday September 05, 2011 @06:09PM (#37311162) Journal

    Apple fanboys/girls get their say, no matter how ludicrous on Apple articles and here I am again.

    I am, unashamedly, a "fan" of HP's tx and tm series tablets. They were / are amazing, and some specced almost as good as desktop replacements. I can't believe how HP put no enthusiasm whatsoever behind selling these products, I remember thinking how economies of scale we going to bring me loads more of this type of machine in the years to come, because I couldn't imagine anybody not laptops or tablets not liking these things.

    Now I have some idea - HP weren't really "behind" any of these things, like for example Apple, who obviously love themselves and what they do.

    My suggestion: Spin off the PC business to me, and I'll give you a percentage of my sales. Just keep making upgraded tx- and tm- clones, with the innards to rival current platforms, a range of sizes to match the wallet, and let someone with enthusiasm show them to people in an Apple shop. Show them folded playing Angry Birds or using Facebook with the Win7 on-screen keyboard, the unfold it and compile something.

    Start Maya (on models with graphics card!) and design something with the pen. Use a vector sketch program to demo pressure sensitive pens. Flaming sell the things! All the things I've described would have sold the machine I was using at the time, if I'd wanted to sell it. I've been offered more than retail for my tx2530ea. No chance. That's my pocket Oblivion thank you.

    Posted from an Acer 6920G with Radeon 3650 overclocked.... Now imagine what a HP tablet with a 16" screen and the same spec would feel like... nothing if not warm...

  • Re:Fangirl (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 05, 2011 @07:57PM (#37311622)

    My suggestion: Spin off the PC business to me, and I'll give you a percentage of my sales. Just keep making upgraded tx- and tm- clones, with the innards to rival current platforms, a range of sizes to match the wallet, and let someone with enthusiasm show them to people in an Apple shop. Show them folded playing Angry Birds or using Facebook with the Win7 on-screen keyboard, the unfold it and compile something.

    Start Maya (on models with graphics card!) and design something with the pen. Use a vector sketch program to demo pressure sensitive pens. Flaming sell the things! All the things I've described would have sold the machine I was using at the time, if I'd wanted to sell it.

    Ah, youthful idealism.

    I know that to you these things seem amazingly cool, and why wouldn't everyone be on board? But no amount of enthusiasm ever sold Windows-based tablets to a wide audience. The reason is simple when you get down to it: they're running a mouse-based OS and mouse-based applications, with a half-assed touch UI clumsily grafted on top. When your software stack is designed from the ground up for mice or other non-finger pointing devices, it really doesn't matter how you design the hardware -- what you actually have is a laptop, until such time as Microsoft and its 3rd party application developers decide to get around to designing proper touch UI.

    Which in turn means that when people buy such machines, all they get in the end is a laptop PC, more expensive than it ought to be due to superfluous touchscreen hardware and flippable/rotatable displays. One of my friends had one of these HP tx or tm machines you like (I don't recall which one exactly, I think it had some kind of AMD Turion CPU), and I think he had hoped that the touch interface would be really cool and so forth, but in the end he only used it as a laptop. The touchscreen simply wasn't very useful.

    You seem to think that Apple's formula is being enthusiastic about its own products, but that's a consequence of making great products, not a cause. The product has to sell itself, independent of starry-eyed salespeople. It has to connect to people, on their terms, almost automatically. A handful of pen-based drawing demos wouldn't have done that. The brutal truth is, most people don't draw, at all. They'd be sitting there thinking "ho hum".

    What Apple has is this: Email and the web are the two truly mainstream computer applications which nearly everyone wants. So anyone can waltz into an Apple Store, pick up an iPad, and discover that the two most vital functions a computer can do (in their mind, remember) have had all the computer folderol they don't want to bother with (files, folders, bootup, etc.) removed, or at least successfully hidden. In their place, there's a viscerally immediate touch interface. Swipe to unlock, touch an icon on the home screen, and as Jobs might say, "boom", you're looking at email or on the web in about as much time as it takes to pick the thing up off the table. Scrolling around with swipes of your finger. That's cool, and it's a nearly universal appeal. The only way it doesn't work is if you're one of the tiny handful of people who likes computers for their own sake (like you or I) and you view the iOS level of simplification as an unacceptable restriction. For everyone else, it's the hook which grabs them and says "I need this, it's going to simplify my life".

    So: if HP is to copy the Apple approach to sales, first they need some products worthy of it. I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but your favorite HP touchscreen laptop/tablet convertibles weren't it. They were just another of the long stream of examples of how the Microsoft approach to tablet computing was flawed.

    WebOS could've been it, and HP did fail to get behind it, but there's an argument to be made that they were too late to market and suffered from too many execution flaws going back to the days when WebOS was still Palm (see: all the reports of slowness and bugginess in reviews of every WebOS product ever shipped, including TouchPad).

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