HP's webOS moves out of tablet foxhole into appliance mode

Aug 18, 2011 by Nancy Owano weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- HP is set to spread the wings of its operating system for its smartphones and TouchPad tablet, webOS, and plant it into a wider technology space of an OS for cars and household appliances. HP’s webOS chief, Stephen DeWitt, who leads the webOS global business unit, is on an HP mission to build up an ecosystem of developers and manufacturers, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. DeWitt said HP is looking into webOS embedded into cars and appliances. He said HP was into talks with auto and appliance makers but he did not specify any company names. HP’s webOS has a touchscreen interface and Internet connectivity.

In late June, there was talk about HP courting Samsung. The potential win for HP would be in the fact that HP could license the software to Samsung, as a key hardware maker. Leo Apotheker, HP CEO, said HP was similarly talking to other companies about the webOS too.

An operating system, on commercial terms, is only as viable as is the number of manufacturers and developers willing to climb on board. HP has good reason to be aggressive in growing a WebOS ecosystem, considering its investment in the webOS with its purchase of Palm at $1.2 billion last year. Sales of the HP tablet TouchPad which features webOS, have been less than startling.

Beyond use in smartphones and tablets, Apotheker has championed the webOS as a superior operating system. "It's not correct to believe that it should only be on HP devices. There are all kinds of other people who want to make whatever kind of hardware they make and would like to connect them to the Internet," he has said.

Making the webOS a device-compatible platform of choice for the future has been pushed to the top as an HP agenda item. Besides wanting to rev up a mission for cars and appliances, HP has sought to make a business-adoption case for webOS as enterprise-ready.

“It’s not just about the tablet, Richard Kerris, an HP vice president, has said. “It’s about the OS, the ecosystem and connecting devices like phones, printers, tablets and computers together.”

As for the OS chance of hitting a home run in the car and home-appliance industry, it is recognized that the competitive edge for appliance makers in the future will involve how smart their appliances can be. Users will grow accustomed to embedded systems in their kitchens that can tell them when the milk is running low or how to make an omelet.

Likewise, the auto industry is using smart systems in numerous ways.

Is the webOs, though, offering compelling enough reasons for manufacturers to scurry on board? That’s the question being asked by HP-watchers. They see a tough road ahead. Thilo Koslowski, analyst, notes that auto makers don’t take lightly the idea of switching technology partners in whom they have already invested.

Microsoft’s embedded Windows OS is in use in appliances and vehicles; Google’s Android is reported to be gaining momentum as well.
Last year, Panasonic Avionics, developers of entertainment systems for airplanes, said that it will use Android in products. Whirlpool told the WSJ it would not be adding the HP webOS to its appliances.

Explore further: Mother of austistic child develops 'universal language' app

Related Stories

HP looks to the 'cloud'

Mar 14, 2011

Hewlett-Packard plans to offer a complete range of cloud computing services, HP chief executive Leo Apotheker said Monday as he outlined his strategy for the US computer giant.

HP's TouchPad going on sale in US on July 1

Jun 09, 2011

US computer giant Hewlett-Packard announced on Thursday that its rival to Apple's hot-selling iPad, the HP TouchPad, will go on sale in the United States on July 1.

HP, Microsoft announces new tablet computer

Jul 23, 2010

Hewlett-Packard will team up with Microsoft to come out with a tablet computer for the enterprise business market this year, a senior HP executive has said.

HP sets sights on rivals with webOS software

Jun 02, 2011

(AP) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. will soon include its webOS system for smartphones on all its PCs, upcoming tablet computers and higher-end printers, putting it in competition with operating software from Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Recommended for you

Energy-tracking app encourages sustainable behaviors

15 minutes ago

For a generation motivated by technology and fast-moving information, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has created an energy-tracking app to make reducing day-to-day energy usage more accessible.

OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android

Apr 19, 2015

Can, did, Cortana work on Android? A talked-about act at droidcon 2015: a presentation titled "Cracking Cortana." The OrangeSec team arrived at the Turin, Italy, event to show their work in a CortanaProxy ...

Report: Trusted Voice option rolling out for some

Apr 15, 2015

Smart Lock is arguably the best new feature in Android Lollipop, wrote Droid Life founder "Kellex" in March. With a secure lock screen set, he said, the user gets a number of options in Smart Lock to keep the phone or tablet quickly unlockable w ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dogbert
3 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2011
HP's purchase of Palm and Palm's WebOS sounded the death knell for WebOS. A truly excellent smart phone OS which HP has decided not to continue to market on smart phones.

It is sad when a superior product is taken from the market.
Star_Gazer
not rated yet Aug 18, 2011
It is sad when a superior product is taken from the market.

I cried!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.