HP CEO wants WebOS on every HP computer

WebOS has some exciting times ahead of it. Born out of Palm’s aspirations to compete with the iPhone, the operating system is now slated to appear in not just tablets like HP’s TouchPad, but also every one of HP’s regular PCs.

Don’t take it from me. BusinessWeek brought the plan to light in a piece on HP’s new CEO, Leo Apotheker, which clearly states the following:

Apotheker says he also wants to make better use of WebOS, the computer-operating system acquired last year when Hewlett- Packard purchased smartphone maker Palm Inc. for $1.2 billion. Starting next year, every one of the PCs shipped by HP will include the ability to run WebOS in addition to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, Apotheker said.

While the piece doesn’t go into exactly how WebOS will be implemented on PCs, it does provide an explanation as to why: HP needs more apps for WebOS to succeed. According to BusinessWeek, WebOS’s third-party application repertoire only counts 6,000 apps, which is small potatoes compared to the 250,000 apps out for Android and the 350,000 available for iOS. Faced with a broader ecosystem of WebOS-equipped products, developers could start to balance things out.

I could definitely see WebOS as a quicker-booting, more responsive alternative to Windows 7 Starter on low-cost netbooks, but I’m having trouble picturing it on regular desktop PCs and notebooks. Even if WebOS gains solid support for touchpad input and HD displays, HP has its work cut out if it wants to draw users away from Windows.

Comments closed
    • ermo
    • 12 years ago

    WebOS *is* Linux(-based). With a UI that doesn’t appear to be coded by hairy GNUs on crack.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 12 years ago

    Didn’t they WebOS was just going to be a front end for Windows when used like this?

    • mutarasector
    • 12 years ago

    I see webOS on PC hardware probably best implemented as a host OS, or a UEFI on steroids/’middleware OS’ that provides a means for hosting Linux and Windows, but also.provides some basic user apps such as a browser, media player, email client, and perhaps Open/Libre Office.

    webOS on a PC should >not< attempt to go for a quantity of apps, but go the other way and provide a select few of really well done apps that practically eliminate the need for Windows to be booted up all the way.

    Essentially, I’d like to see HP kind of go somewhere between Apple and Microsoft approaches here, and take a middle road course here, and implement the best of both into webOS, and leave Microsoft bloat out of it, but bypass Apple’s ecosystem rigidity. If HP wants to model Apple’s ecosystem rigidity, leave that for the mobile devices, but be more open on the desktop front.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 12 years ago

    It keeps the apps portable, and makes the transition to a full Linux system easier.

    Mainly the coders just wanted the challenge of porting the app.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 12 years ago

    They don’t have to have the drivers rewritten; WebOS runs on the Linux kernel which has plenty of drivers. They just have to switch from the Android kernel to the stock kernel. To be doubly sure, they just stock the machines with Intel parts and Nvidia GPUs.

    DirectX has already been ported to Linux.
    [url<]http://www.ubuntugamer.com/2010/10/native-direct3d-10-and-11-support-on-its-way-to-linux/[/url<]

    • maxxcool
    • 12 years ago

    Same page dude…. i spit up my coffee when i read that. There must be some *SERIOUS* koool-aid floating around over there.

    • maxxcool
    • 12 years ago

    “”It’s not split if they’re both always there. “” ….. o.0 ???

    if you segment a pie, by creating a additional segment (slice) from the same original static source, you are reducing the whole available quantity to provide a niche. ergo… split.

    If they want to try to be apple thats fine with me. but since webos is a closed license required proprietary OS good luck on getting the same level of user support android or windows has.

    it just seems *very* suicidal to me to remove yourself from 90% of the market to insert yourself in to the sub 1% market …

    • Martian
    • 12 years ago

    We are talking about desktops and notebooks, mainly, because this is the area where WebOS is strongly questionable.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    It’s not split if they’re both always there. It’s just *GASP* an option. Take it or leave it, it’s not going to hurt you.

    • albundy
    • 12 years ago

    hah, I LoL’ed myself! Time for a new HP CEO. hmm…use webOS and be forced to buy every app that you already would have on a windows based machine, and some for free. you might as well buy a mac. I also have unfortunate doubts that HP will factor in the cost of having every driver re-written just for them. And as long as games are all generally being developed on the DirectX platform, HP will never draw gamers away from Windows.

    • tejas84
    • 12 years ago

    This guy is already a useless CEO. Larry Ellison was right about Apotheker being a Lemon. HP are in trouble. Good luck to them as I really do like their netbooks and laptops. Mark Hurd was way better.

    • maxxcool
    • 12 years ago

    Or, further split the market …. windows, linux, apple, web-os….. no thanks

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    OVER 9000?!!

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    Geoff should contact Leo and link him to his recent motherboard op-ed. After all, if WebOS could be used as a quick-boot, on-board option then HP could market it beyond their OWN computers.

    • indeego
    • 12 years ago

    So the largest mobile Operating System (in terms of current marketshare) is dead?

    • Hattig
    • 12 years ago

    If it was instant-on, and very low power (e.g., running via an auxiliary ARM SoC) then I could see the use in this.

    But it will be hard to translate from a touch mechanism to the PC interaction mechanism (mouse). Sure, taps == mouse point + click, but other actions would require some thought. Never mind UI scaling and UI element size.

    I think the best thing would be to wait for actual implementations before passing judgement.

    • Martian
    • 12 years ago

    Is it an advantage that they have moved to Windows to reach (more) users?

    • thesmileman
    • 12 years ago

    If they give out a touchpad for anyone who makes an app they will have a lot of apps. That is what RIM is doing with the Playbook. I already have my app accepted and they have informed me mine will ship as soon as they release the Playbook.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    I don’t know about that. A lot of popular free/open source Windows programs seem to have started life with Linux.

    • Martian
    • 12 years ago

    Every OS is dead without the wide support of hardware and software developers. Even ten thousands of ardent “amateurs” are still insufficient as we can see in the case of Linux.

    [spoiler<](Even though my personal opinion is that they create over-burdensome hardships for themselves by the countless incompatible distributions and the unreasonably rapid release cycles, which are absolutely not necessary since they use actually the same packages for each one of them with smaller or bigger conceptional or version differences.)[/spoiler<]

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    Another thought on this…. HP may need to start its own application development efforts if they really want to give WebOS a fighting chance. One partially overlooked aspect of Apple’s success is that they actually write quite a few apps for their own platforms (both Mac and iOS). And they aren’t just novelty apps, either — iMovie, iPhoto, Garage Band, Aperture, Final Cut, etc are all really solid apps that increase the appeal of the platform.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    I don’t give a rat’s behind how many people actually end up using it, but just by having it by default on tons of computers, they could set off an arms race of alternate OSs and spur much needed competition for PCs.

    As people become accustomed to smartphones, they’ll stop expecting Windows just for surfing the internets, and the more big OEMs that jump on the bandwagon, the sooner that will happen.

    Windows will always be the most prevalent, but at this point, I think we can safely say that Apple’s vehemently anti-Windows niche audience is not ever going to give MS the kick in the teeth they need to actually do something new and useful. Someone needs to take a jab at the average person who buys a $500 laptop.

    *Cue over 9,000 people with quad SLI GTX 580s missing the point*

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    All true, but it’s not clear how this solves the problem of lack of apps for WebOS, either on the desktop or the palm-top. An OS that is “nice to have” but that you only have used once isn’t going to draw a lot of developers, and even if it does, those will be apps for a desktop interface, not a mobile interface. It’s just a weird strategy.

    • mcnabney
    • 12 years ago

    My motherboard has a version of Linux built-in and I can choose to boot to that instead of Win7 any time I choose. I have so far only done so once – for troubleshooting purposes, but it was nice to have. The only cost to HP for doing this is driver support of WebOS on all of their hardware.

    • maxxcool
    • 12 years ago

    BWaahahahahahah…… good luck with that….

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    Kinda weird… if it doesn’t work to put a desktop OS on a touch-based mobile computer, why would it work to put a touch-based mobile OS on a desktop computer? There would have to be enough changes to how the UI works that any apps developed for the desktop WebOS wouldn’t really translate over to the hand-held devices.

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