Surprise! HP reveals plans for WebOS tablet

HP completed its acquisition of Palm and announced plans for a tablet PC and other mobile devices built on the WebOS platform

HP has officially completed the acquisition of Palm, making it the proud owner of Palm's coveted intellectual property including WebOS. It is hardly a surprise that before the ink was even dry on finalizing the purchase, HP announced its intent to build an array of mobile devices around the WebOS platform--including the predicted WebOS tablet.

Following a grandiose unveiling of the Windows 7-based Slate by Microsoft and HP at CES earlier this year, HP continued to hype the advantages of the tablet over the impending Apple iPad. However, some poor initial reviews of the Slate prototype, and the flawed logic of trying to compete with the iPad by cramming a desktop into a tablet form factor led HP to pull the plug.

HP instead acquired the flailing Palm, and with it the very capable WebOS mobile platform. Rumors immediately began to circulate that the Slate would be reborn as a WebOS tablet. Now, those predictions are coming true as HP plans to revive WebOS from the ashes and use it as the foundation for tablets, smartphones, and other mobile computing devices.

From an enterprise perspective, the HP tablet may make more sense than the Apple iPad. Like its Windows 7-based predecessor, the HP WebOS tablet is expected to have most of the features and functionality missing from the iPad. A tablet built on a mobile OS, but including USB or SD memory card ports, front and/or rear facing cameras, and compatibility with Adobe Flash content offers business professionals a number of compelling reasons to shun the iPad.

While it is not Windows, HP's close relationship with Microsoft may lead it to integrate WebOS more tightly with Microsoft server and desktop applications and services. With HP's backing, WebOS could emerge as the mobile OS that Windows Mobile--or now Windows Phone 7--should be.

Arguably, Microsoft missed a prime opportunity in not purchasing Palm itself. While Microsoft enjoys a comfortable dominance in many markets, its efforts to capture the mobile market have floundered. While its not a business device, the very quick and abrupt failure of the Kin, followed by Microsoft pulling the plug on the Sidekick, illustrate the steep hill Microsoft has yet to climb.

Windows Phone 7 seems to hold some promise, but the repeated delays and launching in the wake of iPhone 4 and a whole slew of exceptionally capable Android-based smartphones like the Droid X put Windows Phone 7 behind the proverbial 8-ball before it even hits the streets.

Although Palm was in free fall, its WebOS platform is very capable and has been praised by both industry experts and users. With Microsoft's marketing muscle and distribution channels, it could have taken WebOS and built a mobile empire on it.

Instead, Microsoft continues to struggle to adapt to the evolving mobile computing market, and now it has a new competitor to deal with in HP and WebOS.

You can follow Tony on his Facebook page, or contact him by email at tony_bradley@pcworld.com. He also tweets as @Tony_BradleyPCW.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftsoftwaretablet PCsoperating systemsOffice HardwareHewlett-PackardHPPalmtablet PCApplewebOS

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?