Posted By RichC on October 31, 2011
Since HP’s new CEO, Meg Whitman, reversed course on spinning off their PC division (link), many who use and appreciate Touchpads and Pre smartphones have been hoping the same thing might happen for the webOS division. Some believe (or believed) that there was new hope for webOS devices like the Touchpad and Palm Pre smartphones and that might still be a future. The official comment still remains that no decisions has been made. Tony Prophet, SVP of operations for HP’s PC division states, "It’s a similar process to the one we did with the PC business, and the webOS is being thoroughly, evaluated including the software and product facets: the whole thing."
Unfortunately others don’t see it as “up in the air” as the PC business was, particularly the longer the decision drags on. First, the rumor that Amazon, Samsung or ZTE might acquire HP’s Palm acquisition aren’t showing any signs of moving forward … or that any serious talks existed in the first place. Second, reports from The Guardian suggest that HP is not seriously reconsidering development and production of webOS devices. In fact, their comment was that the webOS unit will be closed down eliminating 500 jobs. Most expect this to happen by years end. One employee stated that there is “a 95% chance we all get laid off between now and November, and I for one am thinking it’s for the best.” My personal best guess is that unlike the PC division which actually still made profits (6% as I recall), the webOS unit isn’t nowhere near profitability … and without deep pocketed continued investment, is probably a long and risky road. As most computer tablet and smartphone manufacturers have found, going up against the iPad and iPhone is not as easy as just making another “me too” gadget.
So much for the optimism that I’ll be seeing a new Pre3 or a eventual Touchpad.