Just yesterday, news broke that HP decided to abandon WebOS devices and to move its entire PC business to another company. There may still be WebOS development on the part of HP, but no specifics have been stated.
This morning, more news is leaking through. First, the WebOS team hacked an iPad and discovered that the iPad–not specifically designed to do so–ran WebOS twice as fast as the TouchPad. Apparently the engineering team lost a lot of interest and focus on the project at this point. Things were made even worse when the WebOS team modified WebOS so that it could run in a browser, and the iPad still ran WebOS faster than “core” WebOS on a TouchPad. (The Next Web via 9 to 5 Mac)
Second, it appears that the entire WebOS team–including its overall manager–did not know that the entire WebOS line was being shut down until the public announcement. Ouch. You would think that HP would feel a commitment to its employees to at least tell them earlier in the day, if they were afraid of “leaks.” In the tech world, the press conference did manage to make a splash, and they say that all publicity is good publicity (not sure if I believe that) (The Next Web via 9 to 5 Mac).
Finally, Brandt Schneider (who maintains a blog on music education and other topics including technology) sent me this link to a New York Times article about a survey of consumer interest in tablets. Fifty percent of all respondents either had a tablet or were going to buy a tablet. Of that 50%, 95% were interested in the iPad. The next tablet of public interest? The TouchPad–over the Xoom and the Galaxy Tab. For the record, no Windows 7 tablets were included in the survey.
Truthfully, the TouchPad would have been my next non-iPad purchase, followed by a Barnes and Noble Nook Color (particularly if they release a version with an updated version of the Android software). It’s important to note: the TouchPad had both the name recognition (HP is a household name) and 4:3 aspect ratio. It seems that a small number of people are interested in a wide screen tablet.
Marco Arment has stated, that there is no tablet market, just an iPad market. I didn’t believe that, as I thought other tablets, like the TouchPad, would catch on. I’m beginning to believe him.