Editorial: HP should make webOS available to all PCs, not just HP PCs | webOS Nation

Editorial: HP should make webOS available to all PCs, not just HP PCs 80

by Riz Parvez Wed, 16 Mar 2011 12:04 am EDT

In trying to establish a meaningful foothold in the current mobile OS space, HP has a massive task on their hands. Apple defined what the smartphone market is today, and quite simply still are the benchmark for what a polished, walled-garden ecosystem should look like. Google has swarmed the market with it’s free-for-all approach in Android, shortening the release cycle for new handsets to such a breakneck pace that only the most well resourced competitors could possibly hope to keep up. Even two of the biggest technology companies on the planet, Microsoft and Nokia, have found reason to join forces in order to better compete. In the midst of this, HP announced on February 9th the potentially brilliant strategy of leveraging the full force of their PC and print distrubution scale to rapidly expand the webOS footprint. While this is an amazing stride in the right direction, I think they can go even further. If HP can take a page from Microsoft’s book, they might be able to make a monumental impact.

I can recall a time in the early 90’s where product keys weren’t as secure as they now are. Back then, I could install and use a friend’s copy of Microsoft Office on my computer using the CD Key that came with my Windows install disc (not that I did, of course). In those days, it was incredibly easy for anyone and everyone to be running Microsoft software because of an almost viral distribution that went along with Microsoft’s tight integration to new PC sales. Time went on and product keys did become more secure, but not before Word and Excel were nearly household terms. Fast forward to the smartphone footrace, and Google’s overt attempt at flooding the market with it’s software has succeeded in an even more dramatic fashion. So how can HP apply these lessons to their situation? It might be that most of the necessary components are already in place.

First, webOS needs to be compelling. In many ways, this is already done. There’s a small but rabidly enthusiastic fanbase for webOS in it’s current form, and the proper mindshare to allow that base to grow. Back when it was just Palm, webOS debuted as a product with innovative ideas, incredible polish, and terrific bones. From there, the media and developer relations teams did a stellar job of cultivating that consumer enthusiasm with things like active social media channels and open support for homebrew. Jump to today and the tools are finally becoming available to let developers really swing for the fences. Look at the comments on any tech blog post about webOS. Everyone loves its intuitive design, and lots of people continue to root for it as the underdog. The feeling coming through is that webOS deserves to succeed. The problem is, those people haven’t yet been willing to pony up for it with dated hardware and an app catalog that’s still cutting it’s teeth.

Second, distribution. HP has said it numerous times by now, and we’re fond of saying it as well. 2 devices shipped per second. That’s mind-boggling scale. And unlike the partnerships necessary that put Microsoft Office on so many new PCs, HP has a vertically integrated ecosystem in webOS, making the whole process completely seamless. Add to that a very strong enterprise presence, and HP has had the distribution system firing on all cylinders for quite a while now.

Third, set it free. HP already has steps one and two in place for the most part, and they’re in a great position to kick things into an even higher gear. Now that they own this incredibly web-enabled OS, they should make it freely available for anyone to put on their PC. After all, the purchase of Palm is a sunk cost, and ultimately a waste if webOS doesn’t pick up enough users. So let every person who’s ever been curious about it take it for a spin on their PC for as long as they’d like. Make it browser accessible and have a desktop-integrated version available for free download. Give them all Palm Profiles and access to the App Catalog. It fits in perfectly with the openness that Palm has embraced since 2009, and once those PC users see how great the system works, they’ll have concrete, personal reasons to take it with them. When that happens, the only webOS handsets out there will be HP’s.

With mere weeks to go before the new wave of webOS products come to market, HP has done quite a few things right. People are excited about the new hardware, and impressed by the continued innovation in webOS. The groundwork is mostly laid for HP to make a grand re-entrance into this highly competitive race, but making a podium finish is still far from certain. No one will argue that HP’s scale has the potential to create a big impact, but when you’re competing against the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, can you ever have enough? Open up webOS to desktops everywere HP, and beat Google at their own game.





hear, here!!!

Agreed. Also they should make a usb adaptor to get touch to share on peoples current PC's. Obviously they can charge for this.

Where does apple make their money?
On all their little add on devices...

That's a great idea! I'd buy such a thing with a heartbeat!

With a heartbeat...? That's kinda creepy!

that's a pretty stellar idea. Since it operates mainly over bluetooth, a small wireless dongle and softwatre to back it up would work. And on computers with existing compatible interfaces, such as bluetooth, it would be only a matter of software.

only thing is though, would they want to make already sold devices compatible with new ones, or cut off legacy devices to make people want new ones?

I really can't see why anyone would want to install webOS on their non-HP hardware since it doesn't really enable any feature. Tossing cards around is a UI metaphor and touch-to-share is a hardware gimmick to trigger a bluetooth transfer. webOS is not even as useful as iTunes on your PC.

I have several non-HP computers (Laptops and desktops) and would love to be able to sync and access my HP cloud account from them. I think it is a great idea to extend webOS to all PC platforms.

To access the same data and applications available on the HP mobile devices.

Talk about a lack of foresight >_

Talk about a lack of foresight :(

If you can install webOS on your non-HP PC, and then install it on your OTHER non-HP hardware.. then transfer data seamlessly between each other...

I think that's reason enough, eh?

Also the PC implementation could potentially be used as an InstantOn OS which would be a lot nicer than some of the linux options including that SplashTop that a lot of manufacturers are pre-installing on new systems now.

Apparently these people want to access their webOS info on their pc (that's already pulling info from the cloud). But don't tell them that.

The whole problem really is that Windows is Microsoft's baby to leverage, not HP's.

This brings up a question I have, Did HP say that they would put WebOS on every PC or on every Windows PC that they sell?

If it's running in as a "Browser App" then why not any Browser on any OS?

Not to mention the App Store's already embedded, why not embed a "Media Monkey" level Music App and you don't need iTunes and it will run on everything from Windows to Linux to an iPad... :D

Todd Bradley said on 2/9 that by the end of 2011 HP would ship webOS on every desktop, every laptop and every printer they sell. He then pointed out that they ship 2 desktops or laptops every second, and 2 printers every second. That totals to 126,400 webOS devices/year, or 10,000 more devices _each year_ than Apple's entire installed base to date of iPhones and iPads.

Another salient comparison: There are 208 Android devices activated every minute. The numbers above calculate to 240 webOS devices activated per minute (and that doesn't include TouchPads or phones).

it's actually 126 "million" webOS devices/year

I think HP may do this, over time, but not right now.

Some kind of desktop client ala iTunes would be a better idea

I am a Pre-minus owner and I approve this article.

right on :)
web os should be what it was in the first place open source and if hp can turn it into the open source of the modern world then they will defently win...

The is an interesting editorial, and could open the doors to many possibilities down the line. Everyone has been referencing the '2 PCs per second' scale, which, if you think about it, is about the easiest way to make anything sound impressive if you put it in that increment. Have they been selling 2 PCs a second every year? No? If so, what range of time have they been selling 2 PCs a second? A lot of trickery in that statement, I wouldn't fall for it so easily.

What I'm concerned about is that fact that as the saying that everyone knows and loves goes, "Quality is better than Quantity." I'm going to have to reference Apple here because they are becoming the standard for a lot of things now. Their mentality was never to get their product into as many hands as possible in the beginning. No, they vowed to make quality products that made sense, with impressive software and build quality that no one touches to this day. They didn't have scale.

HP has 'scale,' sure, but the minute that you decide to get webos onto all PCs is the minute it dies. It will be instantly be put into the category of bloatware and forgotten about. Just because you have the scale to start out with does not mean you vomit your product everywhere there is an open space. That's why every other company out there except Apple is clueless about how to correctly approach the market without seeming desperate. And yes, putting webos on every single PC does appear to be desperate.

Apple products are coveted. Consumers flock to them. Apple does not stand out in the street and beg people to take their products. If you allow HP to haphazardly distribute their prime OS, they you have lost the vision of possessing something incredibly special.

Scale comes to a point where things are so low and comfortably priced that people stop caring that much about quality.

If things cost as it look on the expensive end, people in general allow for less quality deviation.

HP is trying to do what Adobe and Microsoft failed at, create a compelling plugin that allowed developers to make applications that run across a large variety of platforms. In this case, instead of Flash or Silverlight, they're using javascript+html but then throwing in custom hooks for system level tasks, sound familiar? It won't work though, why would you create an App for these incredibly different devices when you could target the Apple App store and hit devices people use?

Ever notice how Microsoft makes a big deal out of XBOX live customer base? Because it's a large group of credit card authed, paying customers that buy exclusively through their market. Apple has ituens, a much bigger market. Is HP going to require every HP computer to setup an account? What about business computers?

Developers don't care about marketshare nearly as much as they do about paying customers. People that buy Apple products know about the app store, people buying HP computers won't care at all, plus most apps that compete well in the mobile form factor (twitter, etc) don't make as much sense on a full desktop where free alternatives or the regular website is much better. I've followed webOS news for a long time, pretty much since the start of all of this, and I switched from a 3GS to a Palm Pre+ which I use to this day. But Palm failed, and HP is going to fail as well. They don't have the technical chops, services consumers want, and most importantly, Developers DO NOT CARE ABOUT WEBOS, and will not for the forseeable future. With the debut of Windows 8, HP will leave this behind and we'll be looking at an Apple, Google, Microsoft competition... Because RIM is screwed as well.



While I do believe that in the long run the webOS functionality that will be available on HP PCs should be opened up to all PCs, I really like your comment. It made me think about this from a different perspective and I agree with you. Great job.

They definitely don't want to appear desperate so they do need to be careful with how they implement this and stay away from throwing it at everyone like they are begging them to try it.

To begin with, the statement Todd Bradley made on 2/9 was that HP ships 2 desktops or laptops every second, and ships 2 printers every second, for a total of 4 devices every second that will be shipping with webOS. He said that would begin at the end of 2011. Leo Apotheker, HP's CEO, modified that (apparently) last week to say it would begin at the beginning of 2012.

To answer your question, the 4 devices/second figure is the number of devices being shipped right now.

The driver support alone on dissimilar hardware would be so difficult to overcome. Look at Vista, failed mainly because of no driver support until Win7 came along.

Wouldn't they just do a virtual desktop implementation? It would be meant to lay on top of Windows or OSX.

No, it wouldn't. I'm pretty sure that "webOS" as installed on PCs is going to be some Enyo+Node.js combination, running in a webkit rendering engine. The underlying OS would handle access to/interaction with the hardware.

I'm assuming, anyway.

I think they should allow it for Linux and Mac PCs, too. I'd use it on my Linux desktop, for sure.

Actually, Vista failed due to poor performance more than anything.

it could be very similar to the software suite that shipped with the Pilots and the Treos, only free online.

Great strategy, although I bet it will be upstaged by Apple porting IOS to PCs.

I would love to have Synergy on desktop!

I STILL miss my stupid Palm desktop. And, in fact, paid $35 to Chapura to keep it syncing with my pre because there isn't a decent memos function out there. But it will only do one computer.

I can (did) by HP at home. I have no control over work.

GO for it! I SO want to be universally synced.

Not only should webOS be available for all PC's, but it is now time for HP to purchase Sprint. Let them have a wireless carrier for all of their phone, tablet, and other platforms.

they have an OS, CLOUD, FANBASE, Why not? Because they'd be forced to support their competition

nice idea. A good idea I believe, because its harder for hp to differentiate itself from other "pc" makers on software alone when you're still on windows.

speaking of palm profiles and setting free, I think that the nokia-Microsoft deal is a great opportunity for HP to make inroads. This could take several routes, initially I suggested making a version of the app catalog on maemo.
now I go further suggest porting webOS3 to nokia hardware. (3 because its designed to not use gesture areas, a la nokia hw.)
But maybe HP would like an easier method, so I suggest:
Doing a trade-in program for folks with maemo and/or symbian devices. Nokia/m$ are surely going to do this, but it'll take them years to get a windows phone out, so this is easy marketshare to capture.
id suggest porting qt to webOS and also grabbing all the maemo developers while you're at it. This would also give us opera, fennec, etc quite handily.

Yes! See the future pople. First desktops then laptops then came palmtops side by side with mobile phones. Today we have devices like The Pre that have enough power to let the user do everything we usually use desktops or laptops for. So brig HPwebOS to all pople on this planet and beond make them wish they culd have all greatnes and you will change the smartphone market for good. Go webOS

Are you sure that HP doesn't offer it for free?! The only thing I know is that they want to deliver webOS preinstalled on every HP PC, that does not necessarily mean you can't download it from HPs website and install it on other PCs.

I said this ages ago in the forum.

Why limit it to HP PC's? They probably can't charge a premium for it. If you allow anyone to download it and you've lost nothing and gained numbers.

HP can probably add some touch-to-share specific hardware to their laptops to inspire those who already dig webOS to choose a HP laptop over Dell.

"Wouldn't they just do a virtual desktop implementation?" - because it's about synergy not emulation. We don't need a Pre on a PC. We need an app framework that can expand synergy to the desktop and integrate in with what's already there.

As msechea said, it still needs to be a quality experience. If it's not good, then no one will download it.

Bravo, a very obvious point that is absolutely spot on. Having said that given that HP won't even make webOS available to all Pre's do you really expect them to do this? Also, their small fan base is getting smaller daily...

Fine, but if you (and HP) are going to take this step -- why the heck not let other mobile device makers "install" webOS on their phones?

IMHO, HP is going to "exclusivity" webOS into oblivion.

Would love to see webOS on an HTC device...

Nobody knows what HP means by WebOS on the PC (read Windows). If it's a Windows PC, then the software is very likely to work on NON-HP hardware, since technically it's windows software! But Not sure why people think they know what WebOS on a PC will do - all guesses I think. My guess, maybe it's something very cool and more feature rich that iTunes etc e.g. Synergy enabled so all your desktop apps like email client etc can get your contacts, even if they don't normally integrate - webos joins them up, or additional touch to go features not just web browser, touchpad features such as call taking, messages etc on screen. Not necessarily browser enabled at all, just background tasks that plugin to everyday apps like outlook, or the browser, or desktop search etc unobtrusive notifications.

Leo Apotheker announced last week that webOS would run under the browser on Windows PCs. Makes perfect sense to me, since webOS is literally a "Web OS".

Although, it could certainly run directly on top of Linux, if HP ever decided to walk away from Microsoft. I'm betting that this is just the first shoe. If HP can engage the interest of the development community by shipping more webOS devices/year than Apple's entire iPhone/iPad installed base, and really build an App Catalog that not only offers viable (and inherently more **** apps that cover the full range of customer requirements, that would enable them at some future point to offer webOS-driven TouchSmart machines as their flagship line. With an App Catalog that robust, the sky is the limit.

Leo also mentioned that HP would be selling non-webOS apps as well. Brilliant move. If HP can establish itself as the premier, one-stop shopping venue for all apps, from huge development shops down to boutique and garage app studios, all I can say is "Look Out...here comes webOS!"

I think he was referring to running WebOS apps on a windows machine (or perhaps any machine), via a browser. The thing is if you have your phone with you why would you use a browser version? No, I think there is more to this than just a browser emulator - Synergy, Just type and the TouchPad tablet features such as taking calls and notifications - woudl make this much more compelling.

Like to see WebOS running on an underpowered netbook -- making the darn thing useful as a web-based entity without the Windows overhang.

Are Apple and Microsoft really gonna let the competitor put their mobile OS into their PC(s). If it gets them good money? Yes. If sales are still the same? No but it's still very plausible to happen.

If anyone should be worried about what HP is planning to do, it definitely is not Apple.

Were they seriously not considering having the software available to any modern Windows machine? I thought it was a given, but I guess not if someone had to write an article about it. They already have a very obscure product and want to make it even more so?

In the end, it doesn't really matter too much. Most will just dump it like most of the other bloatware they get on their new machines or not ever download since few will have the little niche phone or tablets that don't even have flagship hardware by mid-2011 standards. Okay. Okay. I'm sure even Peru has something in their navy referred to as a flagship. But, you get the point.

I can see why'd we want this from a consumer stand point but I dont see why HP would do it at least not initially. I'm sure they will want to use webOS as a reason to buy an HP PC over the other guys.

if HP does decide to go this right, I wouldnt expect it to be anytime soon, atleast not as a free download.

It goes back to Demand! If HP can make or attract APPS that everyone wants, and you can get to them through an HP Smartphone or your PC, by downloading, ala ITunes... then consumers will flock to download WebOS to thier PCs, not for WebOS but for the APPS.
People did not load ITunes because it was such a great app, but it gave them a great way to have access to music.
PC life is 2 to 3 yrs at best, so if the enhanced version of WebOS is on an HP PC, eventually every PC will be an HP PC, or at least a majority of them, with printers, and smartphones and toasters and Tigers and Bears..etc...

Wow what a great editorial. I would agree that webOS integration should be able to be on every computer but if I were HP I would want a competitive advantage in that arena. I would make it compatible to a certain level that it is attractive to all non-hp devices and yet leave all the special features (like touch to share) to hp devices.

This idea is already being done via Jolicloud. www.jolicloud.com I can view the same profile from my Jolicloud netbook, a virtual machine on my work computer, from any html5 compliant browser anywhere, and (apparently) soon from any iPad or Android device. If HP doesn't do this soon, and bring along all the cloud infrastructure they have been assimilating, they may well be too late, and my son will request an Android device to replace his Pixi because it pairs with his netbook.

I want WebOS on my computer right now!

it is great news

I see this working as JRE or .net Framework or DirectX in Windows right now. Simply install the webOS Runtime Environment and seemlessly run webOS ipks. There could also be additional Windows components for syncing with the Palm Profile or the HP could or whatever..

Um, random question: who is Riz Parvez? I usually catch PreCentral in my Google Reader feed which does not show who the writer is. (By the way, could you fix that guys?) Normally don't care enough to take the time to go to the website to see who wrote the article, but the editorial did not sound like Dieter or Derek's "voice". This made me curious to see who wrote it.

So, when I took a look to see who it was, I was surprised when it was someone I wasn't familiar with, especially since it was an editorial. Can we get a bio, Mr Parvez?

I’m passionate about mobile technology. I think that the potential of this field to meaningfully impact our lives is truly incredible. Think about what life was like before computers, before the Internet. We’re on the cusp of that kind of landmark change with mobile tech.

BTW, in addition to the above, Riz Parvez is also a frequent contributor to PreCentral.

Man Precentral need to come up with better stuff then this, you can not compare a Software Company like Google and Microsoft with HP what is a Hardware Manufacturing Company,HP want's to sell there Hardware, the
best way to do it, is to sell something that the competition does not have, giving WebOS
to every single PC is a mistake,The Amount of
PC they Sell is enough and if WebOS catches on
will make HP Computers a hit, that everybody wants to buy,having connected devices is a HP thing and not Dell, so why risk to have your competition do the same what you can do, when you can get the upper hand then you competitor

I see this is the first time using a keyboard. Send me a PM and I'll walk you through it.

the key to HP's success in distributing WebOS to all PC's is not so that all users can have access to WebOS Apps. The apps mean nothing. It's the unique features and abilities that WebOS provides that make it so great. Synergy and Touch-to-share. If I can get notifications on my PC then I will use it even if I don't have a WebOS phone. Once I like it I will get a WebOS phone when it's time for my next phone purchase.

I haven't read ALL the posts, but I think some people don't really understand what HP is trying to accomplish.

They are not trying to become Apple, as in cool hip and/or trendy. They are trying to become ubiquitous, and by that people will use them and buy stuff from them. Sort of like how Wal-Mart is every 5 mile in some towns and how Internet Explorer is on every Microsoft OS install. Americans are lazy and will use what is put in front of them; good for HP, the #1 supplier of computers.

HP IS doing what no one else is doing. Offering a fully integrated enterprise solution from top to bottom, they are in it for the long haul. From desktop to laptop to touch slate to phone, with data and applications synced across all devices; one stop shopping. NOBODY has this, neither have we seen anyone else actually pursue this. RIM, Microsoft, HTC et. al. aren't in the PC hardware business, and Apple's presence in enterprise PCs,servers and home PCs is negligible.

The over all plan will work for HP, even if it's because it's the only comprehensive solution to integrate work and/or play where ever you are. webOS is a fantastic OS and if the integration into Windows OS on PCs exploits the best of each OS with synergy, then Palm's legacy will live on a long time yet.

Here's a post you might have missed...


And if you are equating HP to Wal-Mart, then we are in for the greatest long haul EVER.

Couldn't agree more with this article. HP needs to get webOS to as many people and machines as humanly possible! Heck Im hoping theres an OSX version of a webOs implementation

110% yep.

I hope HP reads this, I believe they do.
They are in a rare, historical position, and have the tools in place, to make a real difference.
With the unfortunate health problems of Steve Jobs, Apple's creativity may fall once again to corporate nonsense. Microsoft is huge in areas, but a mere shell of itself in creativity. Reduced to suing B&N? Quite silly.
Android is too fragmented, and Google doesn't seem to care, as they are busy with their already antiquated Chrome system.
It's really one of those moments that will make HP out to be the next Apple/Microsoft, or another Xerox.
As for me, I hope for a miracle, and Jobs gets well. The competition would then be synergistic, the technology advancement greatly enhanced, and the consumer benefits.

I think if they cared they would have delivered a roadmap. I have had my sling box in the closet since I bought my Pre.

Sorry but has anyone read about the new Google voice integration with sprint? I think this takes the gimmick out of sharing. I think I will have to at least try the new Nexus or Evo. I don't think HP can get that far in a year and I am sick of waiting. I had expected to buy a touchpad and Pre-3. I was out last night and had to come home to look something up when I knew if I had an android they had an app that is free and would have worked.

So I have been playing with this Intel App Up thing. Is this what they're thinking as far as implementing WebOS to PCs?
I hope not because it is not as nice when you can't touch it. Very clunky and slow. I can launch Angry Birds in 5 sec tops on my Pre-. It takes me atleast 30 sec on my PC between logging into Intel App UP, and getting to the "My Apps" section its just annoying.
Please HPalm get this one right. I mean you gotta start somewhere right? lol
I hope this really turns out well I wan't people to love WebOS. It's like a f****n secret at this point and time I swear haha

you know it would be really useful if webos had a real abundance of apps. right now its sitting on 5k so as of right now it would only be entertaining for us faithfuls not anyone else.

I really fail to see how putting WebOS on a PC is of any benefit if that PC has anything by Microsoft on it...it will either become part of the bloatware strangled operating system of just fade away as another tried but failed scenario.

I will stick with my Pre+ and wait until I get my hands on a tablet, but I am still very concerned about the longevity of WebOS givin that HP are still running around blind, deaf and dumb groping for marketshare that will stay with the Apples & Googles of this industry until they stop trying to follow and start to lead.

If HP don't get this Tablet and Pre3 right with a great set of apps as default ON THE RELEASE DAY then im afraid no amount of BS about 'vison' and 'future' is gonna save the many users from voting with their feet and walking off into the sunset holding an IOS or Android related product.

...and WebOS will be dead, which would be a great shame.


I would add: make it available on any [capable] phone. Make it downloadable/buy-able. I want to have a freedom of choice in software AFTER I bought the hardware. I want to play iOS games, WinMo Office, Android integration with Google services and WebOS synergy on the same device. None of the platforms give me everything I want or need.

Hopefully this is already their plan. If they are going for wide reach and customer happiness, the further they spread the Web OS the better.

What a great idea! For all PC users, it gives them access to all the webOS apps (and GAMES, like Angry Birds), and access to a cloud-based model for data storage/backup.

For anyone already with an HP/Palm device, it provides seamless, cloud-backed data sharing/access, so that their info is consistent everywhere. (Think of evernote's data model, except for virtually all user data!)

For HP, it gets app store revenue from users not yet using webOS, it becomes another entry portal to convince users how wonderful the webOS experience is. After all, it's obvious to those who have used it, and isn't connecting to those who haven't. Here's an essentially free way to trial the user interface experience.

The market is full of successful companies that found a way to provide a free trial entry for their products. Over time, this could become a source of revenue, if they no longer need to create demand to gain market- and mind-share.

Please do it!


yea, and how about making this available on Mac OSX? It will be great to finally be able to sync my music again now that my iTunes was upgraded (I held onto an old version from 2009)

Don't discriminate!

This is an awesome idea. I would use webOS on my PC as my PIM and email client (with some improvements of course). Synergy makes EVERYTHING easier! Email all in one place, contacts all in one place, etc. etc. It would be the first thing open on my PC every time.

This could be the killer free app that would then drive mobile hardware sales through the roof.

Back in the days of Palm OS, that ability to easily sync was a key selling point.

Bringing that sync magic to all one's current platforms makes so much sense.

Make WebOS on all HP devices. Let it be able to be installed on other PCs and Macs, without officially support them. The WebOS Internal / hacker community will be another source of buzz for WebOS on non-HP brand devices.

I think this is much easier to do and may turn out to be brilliant marketing.