HP has announced that it will “discontinue operations for webOS devices” including smartphones and the recently launched HP TouchPad tablet. The news isn’t a total shock, given the lukewarm reviews the TouchPad received and recent reports that it’s not selling very well. But it is still a rather dramatic move from a company that had recently been pushing webOS as a huge part of its future plans.
HP is still seeking ways to use webOS though, since the company did spend $1.2 billion to acquire the software when it bought Palm last year. Perhaps that means HP will look to license webOS to other device makers — but if HP can’t make webOS devices popular, how will any third party companies that would license the operating system?
The news comes on the heels of reports that HP is in talks to acquire enterprise software maker Autonomy and spin off the PC division as a separate business. HP confirmed that it’s considering those options.
In other news, if you thought the TouchPad tablet was already getting cheap, just think how low the prices are likely to fall after HP cuts off all support for the platform. On the other hand, it looks like HP still plans to bring a new version of the TouchPad to market, at least in France. A 64GB model with a faster 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor will ship in France in the coming weeks. The current model tops out at 32GB and has a 1.2 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
In a conference call today, HP said it will shut down its webOS hardware units in the fourth quarter of 2011.