HP has announced the discontinuation of the TouchPad as well as mobile devices carrying the webOS operating system.
It was only four months ago when HP acquired Palm for a whopping fee of US$1.2 billion. Since then, HP has made feeble efforts to revive the 'post-Palm' operating system. First came the Veer 4G phone. Then came the 9.7-inch TouchPad tablet, which was similarly met with little enthusiasm from the consumer crowd. Officially released in June, the TouchPad has finally breathed its last gasp after only a brief two-month tenure on retail shelves.
"Our TouchPad has not been gaining enough traction in the marketplace," says HP CEO Leo Apotheker. "We have made the difficult but necessary decision to shut down the WebOS hardware operations." Although Apple's name was not mentioned, Apotheker blamed "significant competition" for the TouchPad's demise. According to a survey conducted by Milwaukee-based analysis company, Robert W. Baird, a resounding 95 percent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed expressed interest in the iPad. On the contrary, only 10 percent were keen in the now defunct HP tablet.
In the wake of Google's Motorola acquisition, it is likely HP may license its software out to third-party vendors such as Samsung or LG, who are possibly feeling a little aggrieved right now. Although both Korean handset manufacturers have been torchbearers of the Android OS in recent years, one misstep from Google may actually send them scurrying into the arms of alternative OS providers. We won't rule out HP, or webOS, in this volatile instance.