HP Unveils the Evolution of the WebOS

by Matt Klassen on February 10, 2011

Since Hewlett-Packard (HP) swooped in out of nowhere to acquire Palm for a cool $1.2 billion back in April 2010, the tech world has been waiting with bated breath to see what HP would do with its Palm assets, most notably how it would employ Palm’s innovative webOS.

Following the acquisition, it came as some surprise to hear that HP shelved many of its ongoing mobile projects, scuttling its tablet project and holding off on any major smartphone announcements. But with the unveiling of several webOS powered devices yesterday, including a powerful dual-core tablet, it’s clear that HP simply needed time to fully integrate its newly acquired mobile operating system.

Further, HP dropped a veritable bombshell when it announced that it would be expanding its use of the webOS to include the next generation of its computers as well. But with HP clearly betting heavily on the success on the webOS the question remains, will the company have any more success marketing the operating system than Palm had over the past two years?

While clearly the biggest surprise yesterday was that HP has visions of Palm’s webOS providing the operating framework for its line of laptops and PCs, the most interesting news was still the long awaited unveiling of the company’s tablet device. Dubbed the TouchPad, a few standouts on its laundry list of features include a 1024×768 display, a weight of 1.5lbs, a front facing camera for video chat, the choice between 16GB or 32 GB of memory, Flash support, and a powerful 1.2Ghz dual-core processor.

Although I will admit that I’ve had almost no personal interaction with Palm’s webOS, with the fact that many in the tech world saw it as the only thing worth salvaging from Palm’s portfolio, I’m excited to see how it plays out in the ever-growing tablet market. If it’s an innovative and intuitive as people say it is, we could have a new market front-runner on our hands.

Beyond the TouchPad, though, HP also unveiled two new smartphones sporting the webOS, the third generation Pre (the only other holdover from glory days of Palm) and one of the world’s smallest smartphones, the Veer, with the latter available this Spring and the former available sometime in Summer 2011.

With the additional news that HP is looking at ways of adapting the webOS for its laptops and PCs, its clear to me that HP is taking its investment in Palm very seriously, hoping that Palm’s innovative portfolio can help HP rocket to the top of the tablet and smartphone’s respective markets, a task that HP has long found difficult despite its overwhelming success in the PC industry.

But with the tech world still waiting to get its hands on a webOS device that HP has actually made, as opposed to one it simply rebranded, it’s hard to say whether or not HP will find success where Palm had only found failure.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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