HP to make decision on webOS by early December; sale may be contingent upon HP getting webOS for printers (what else?) | webOS Nation
 
 

HP to make decision on webOS by early December; sale may be contingent upon HP getting webOS for printers (what else?) 77

by Derek Kessler Tue, 22 Nov 2011 9:51 am EST

We’re still pretty much in the dark about what HP is going to do with webOS. Our suspicion is that they’re going to keep it, but we won’t know for certain until HP CEO Meg Whitman finishes her “holistic” review of what’s left of the webOS business. She told webOS Global Business Unit employees earlier this month that they were still evaluating, and expected to make a decision in “three-to-four weeks,” which put the decision time right around the transition between November and December. In an interview with Bloomberg yesterday following HP’s quarterly and annual fiscal announcements, Whitman repeated that stance, saying that the company will make a decision on what to do with webOS “by early December,” with an overall strategy presentation to investors to come early next year.

So what’s taking so long? According to VentureBeat, it all comes down to two words: webOS printers. Yeah, that long lost expanded implementation of webOS that HP was touting back when they bought Palm a little over a year-and-a-half ago. VentureBeat reports that HP is so entranced by the idea of webOS printers that having the right to cheaply license back webOS for use on printers has become a sticking point in negotiations.

Yeah. Printers. Come on, HP, it’s time to move on. The printer is a dumb terminal that outputs data onto paper. Nothing more. We’ve been puzzled by the idea of a webOS printer since the beginning. We totally get the need for an integrated ecosystem of products, but what does webOS bring to the table for printers? It would allow them to stand alone, which sort of defeats the purpose of an ecosystem. Time to move on, HP. Connected printers: good. ‘Smart’ printers: bad.

There’s also another potential purchaser for webOS reported to be in the running. This time around VentureBeat’s sources indicate that Qualcomm is still considering a purchaser (despite denying that back in September) and that rival chip maker Intel has “just begun discussions with HP.” Now that could be interesting. Intel’s gone down the proprietary OS road before, and it didn’t end well for Moblin/Meego. Of course, webOS has marginally higher name recognition than Meego ever will, plus it comes with a small but dedicated developer and user base. But is that enough for Intel to succeed where both Palm and HP failed? Or maybe Intel just wants the patents.

77 Comments

I just don't see the advantages... But if you tape a webos sticker to a brick i'm tempted to buy it.

Look everyone, we just need to trust HP to do the right thing. I'm sure they have a really really great plan that they've been brewing for months now, and the new printers will blow us all away so well that we won't even miss our webOS phones....

Ha ha ha, it's like it's April Fools Day! Trust HP, ha ha ha, my sides are aching.

But seriously, I think any buyer is only in it for the patents. It'll be taken apart and money will be made for years on patent licensing.

Sorry guys, webOS is dead. HP officially killed it. They announcing three new devices in February, one which was doomed from the beginning(Veer), then couldn't get the hardware out for several months(TouchPad), and then destroyed the launch of the one which could have actually brought webOS back to life(Pre 3).

The only way I see webOS ever coming back and being a real contender is if, one, a new and upcoming manufacturer gets a hold of it, two, creates solid hardware with cutting edge specs, and three, doesn't give up on it after one of two years(e.i. Palm and HP). Palm was actually doing a decent job at developing webOS into a decent contender they just needed to create way better hardware, which is where webOS always fell short.

I doubt webOS will ever be a player in the mobile market again. It hurts my soul to say that, but its true. Prove me wrong webOS, prove me wrong!

if you have faith that HP will do "the right thing" by webOS, then you have to have faith in HP management... To help you strengthen your faith in HP see

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/hp-executive-chairman-ray-lane-apple-macbook...

good luck webOS

Lexmark already beat them to it anyway. Now that I no longer buy HP consumer products, I picked up a Lexmark for the kids last week.

It has apps (the printer can tell the weather or look up a map). And the ink is cheaper too.

The interface is snazzy and touchscreen but it is not worth 1.x billion dollars.

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Oh Come on Meg,

There must be a small group of execs that are pushing this. I can see the possibilities of having an OS on the printers but it doesn't have to be WebOS. There is already an HP printer out there with Android.

Everything at HP is being done in a half-assed way lately. Its time to move on and focus on getting the job done right.

An HP Android printer? What are you smoking?

Yes, there was one with a small Android tablet before HP bought Palm.

not so fast... I'll bet the printers are already coming into the USA from Chinese cargo ships, so HP needs to do something soon. The printers are probably going to go on sale in time for xmas. The problem is almost always bigger than it appears.

Wait.. I thought it was Samsung...no HTC...no Sony... no... Amazon... em.. yeah, Intel are clearly going to buy WebOS.

I can tell you that intel is "very" interested. Intel wants to be in the mobile game. They tried to work with Google on Android. But their processors are no match for ARM. With webOS, they can make their own CPUs.

???? How does an OS help them make better mobile CPU hardware?

Also, they're really working hard on getting Android ICS to be x86 friendly: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/105189-intels-x86-android-smartphon...

If they buy WebOS, it's just for patents.

It wont help them make a better chip; rather, it may help keep their x86 lineup relevant as ARM continues to dominate in mobile while moving deeper into Intel territory (Windows 8, servers). Intel wants to get in on mobile (smartphones and non-windows tablets) but Android, et al wont show x86 any love. The answer may be to get their own OS and code it for x86 CPUs.

Intel still has an ARM license but this may be cheaper than going back to the drawing board, spending on R&D and bending over for ARM (pun intended :D ). Putting $$ into ARMs coffers, even as they have their sights on the server market, is the last thing Intel would want to do. So this approach may very well be Intel's latest gamble - something they do often - in order to extend the life of x86. Just a few months ago they made another in that direction: a 'new' PC category, Ultrabooks, likely because Apple may go ARM. They were successful in selling the Ultrabook idea to their partners and if they can trim Atom's power envelope to compete w/ ARM's, they may be able to work a miracle through some sweet deals.

Or...
it could just be for those patents. I could definitely see Intel being a patent troll in the coming years as x86 get sidelined by ARM in the server and even consumer PC (HTPC?) markets.

Chipmakers that don't make hardware and, in Intel's case, have bungled the software assets they've had thus far....

What could possibly go wrong?

I think maybe a better use of my time would be to make my sweet potato dumplings for Thanksgiving dinner rather than wasting it waiting for something positive to happen for webOS. It makes me sad...like...fiber.

I think keeping it would be a waste for HP - they should just sell it and recoup whatever costs they can. The additional sales of WebOS enabled printers gained as a direct result of the WebOS features would never compare to what they could sell it for.

I don't see HP taking the software/apps development side anywhere and WebOS-enabled printers does not mean the WebOS "OS" will be developed further.

The purchase by Qualcomm or Intel are both likely just for the patent portfolio. Regardless, I don't see them putting much effort into the revitalization of the OS.

webOS for printers seems like a good thing for HP to do. That way they can earn back some money. And webOS on printers must be amazing compared to other printers OS.

I would rather see HP taking up full production again and produce som good devices like Touchpad Go but that seems pretty far away at the moment.

I will not play 'Angry Birds' nor browse the web waiting for my one page printouts.

That made me laugh mate! :P

Can't wait to start reading the automatic tweets:

"Just printed a 5 page document on my #HPWebOS printer."

Maybe they can get it to automatically post to facebook and google+ as well.

When it comes to webOS, HP nailed it! Maybe that should say when it comes to webOS' coffin?

This just seems strange to me. As for HP printers I have never heard myself or anyone else say "Boy, the output of this printer stinks, I wish they had a new OS so my pictures would look more sharp and colorful."

So, what this must mean is that webOS would be used because of the UI (gestures, etc.). What a waste -- you do NOT need a whole OS just to run the little UI that is (or will be) on printers in the future. Even networked connected printers are working just fine without webOS now.

The thing is, I can't remember the last time I've interacted with my printer to start a print job. I do that from whatever desktop/laptop/mobile device I happen to be using. The only physical interaction with the printer is to pick up the printouts or load more paper or ink.

A fancy UI on a printer is about as useful to me as a fancy design stamped to to bottom of my carpet. Maybe HP thinks I should build a glass floor so I can look up from the basement?

That's it exactly. Who interacts with a printer unless there's a problem? Most times, you hit "Print" from within your application or browser or whatever. Then....you're done.

People aren't exactly clamoring for fancier printers. I see HP's mutant Android tablet/printer combo thing every time I'm walking through Fry's and nobody cares. The last sales guy I talked to said neither he nor anyone in his department has moved a single unit.

Yeah, when the HP "eStation" first came out, I was was kind of excited for HP. Then I remembered that there were already several fully-featured tablets that didn't require the purchase of a bulky printer. I could have overlooked this, as the printer/tab bundle was only $400 total, but the biggest problem was the table was the WORST tablet I've ever picked up. Even worse than the Archos 7 Home Tablet, and that's saying something.

100% correct. i've never understood this. who uses and the actual printer interface? Not to mention printers are not a growth industry. And they surely aren't ****

wow! they censored the word $exy

welcome to prudecentral.net

I want my device -- computer/tablet/smartphone -- to run my printer. I want my printer to be a smart idiot that does what it is told to do.

As some have pointed out, yep, big price big biz printers have execrable touchscreen UIs. webOS might be nice there. But it's not necessary. What's necessary is getting a user-wise designer into a design-decision-making position.

the Volkswagen-sized network printers where I work could definitely use an improved interface, but I would feel very sad to see WebOS end up doing nothing but print meeting handouts

Intel... weird. Intel does not produce ARM based CPUs do they. So webOS will not run out of the box on their chips anyway. So I guess maybe the best thing to do is somehow combine Meego & webOS into a better OS???

MeebOS?

WebOS can run on x86. The emulator does so, and it seems to be fully functional. The vast majority of apps run fine without modification in the emulator. PDK apps can run if they are re-compiled for x86, but javascript runs regardless.

So webOs will run out of the box on their chips.

I don't want a damn printer....I want webOS by the time you buy ink you could have bought a phone

Comeon hp no one wants to tweet or update fb.....while at the printer!!

We should be focusing more on why i can hp eprint from my android phone ad why we never got that for webos phones!

Based on the earnings report they are not keeping webOS. Anything that HP says outside of the earnings call is BS. You can hem and haw in general but lies in an earnings call will get your **** sued for misleading investors. If they said the are winding it down then they are doing so. The question now is who do they sell it to (or unload it on.) I don't like it but based on the evidence that seems to be where we are. Maybe intel picks it up as a bag of patents to protect their chip buyers as licensees. Not a good scenario for webOS but I am beginning to think that it might be the most likely.

what? tss tss

Not necessarily. I think they can honestly say that they have wound it down. Certainly they have wound down the hardware production. Should Meg choose to revers course they will have to resurrect it. Not saying that is what they will do, but there is certainly a semantic loophole to jump through there. She repeated multiple times that they expect earnings to be down and that they will be sinking a bunch of money into R&D and innovation. So it is just a question of what they want to put the R&D money into. Not saying it will be webOS, but her statements yesterday allow for that possibility.

Time to implement the WebOS Survival Kit: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/WebOS_Survival_Kit

Hardware + form factor + sticking it out for more than a month = some traction for webOS

I couldn't agree more regarding the printers. They should be simple, work when I need them, and stay out of my view. Without a doubt, they are my least favorite peripheral.

This is going to be my make or break. If webOS is purchased by another hardware company, there is hope. But if it is not, I must move on. Innovation moves quickly in this business and webOS is gettin' behind - really quick.

I got two Palm Pre's (1st gen) and purchased three TouchPad's. One for me, one for the wife, and one for a Christmas gift. I'm actually reconsidering gifting a device that may be completely abandoned.

It's your move HP.

When the receiver of the TP gift says "Wow? A Touchpad? You shouldn't have." They'll probably mean it. :-)

My kids will love it. I got 2 for Christmas -- they can play Angry Birds, listen to all of their music, play their flash-based website games..and my daughter has a WordPress Blog -- that webOS app is amazing! They don't care about the business side -- they'll (and I) will get a few years of use out of our new TPs. And then we'll move on to something else....

I really was just kidding. All kidding aside, I'm sure the receiver will appreciate the TP as a gift.

Wordpress app doesn't work on 3.0.4 though.

So that's what happens to iDevice killers... In the digital afterlife, would printers be the equivalent of heaven or ****

frustrationcentral.net... great coverage, just frustrated every time news comes up.

"Come on, HP, it’s time to move on."

No! Rethink this. This idea is really the only idea that motivates HP to keep WebOS running. This is the only thing that prevents them from selling it to a patent farm.

We should be inventing use cases to make this sound good! Kiosk printing; on-screen editing of pictures from your smartphone; easier UI for printer/copiers with advanced features like scaling, cropping, and stapling; nice clear status information instead of LED indicators you need to decode. We're creative, we should be selling this, not cursing it.

You don't need a brand new OS running on your printer to do any of those things. I also don't want to bother with scaling, cropping etc from the printer's UI. I'd rather select that all from my computer/phone and just have the printer "do it".

Now making copies could be a good use-case for a better UI. Still wonder if you need a full-blown OS just for that however.

Well, you can get apps like this:

http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/20/2574130/microwave-hack-arduino-touchp...

Play a video while you copy. Great idea, right?

...RIGHT?!?

I don't need a new printer, I want WebOS to work with the printer I already have!

(I know there's a workaround, but come on..)

In the meantime, I can't print from my HP Touchpad because all of my printers are more than 2 years old.

Come on HP, you can do better than keeping WebOS just for printers, where nobody really cares what's powering the display. WebOS deserves better! Here's what to do:

1. WebOS is still a great phone OS. (I have two Pixi's to prove it). Make two new phones that aren't so damn small and market them to people who want a simple, capable and reliable experience. Perhaps focus on women buyers.

2. Keep selling WebOS tablets, but don't dare try to complete with Apple at that price point. Make the connection between WebOS phones and tablets stronger.

3. OK, put WebOS on your printers since it's more than capable of doing that job.

4. Use your branding and don't use a boxer in your ads.

If HP decides to seriously keep webOS then they better reinvest like nothing else, reboot the entire webOS product lines, update all relative webOS units including development, marketing, research, rebrand logos, taglines, ads, commercials, return the hardware unit to create quality hardware similar to the very best mobile devices out there (i.e., Apple, HTC).

HP can employ logical price conscious business models that don't compete with the top players (Apple, Android) but instead can differentiate "HP webOS" as a fresh and reliable alternative in the mobile space.

HP must also ensure that all webOS devices can communicate with each other, and engage their customers with the most awesome "customer support experience" ever.

Providing world-class customer support solutions would set HP apart from everyone with dynamic, webOS-based cloud services and ecosystems built for personal, educational, and business enterprise users.

So please HP, develop the paramount platform and ecosystem (i.e., Amazon/Kindle, Apple/iPhone) that webOS customers truly deserve.

And remember, everything begins with us, your customer.

- Peace

It seems reasonable to me... That's why HP won't do it.

Pick the most stupid thing they might do and put money on it; it's a winning bet for sure.

...like babbling for a year+ about "webOS on printers", and actually STILL keep babbling about it... My gosh, even for the stupidest people on the planet, it should be enough time to figure out it is the stupidest use one could put webOS for.

New saying; "as sane as HP".

Manny Pacquiao was great! Lea Michele, on the other hand...

Sure...Just like when they gloated that webOS 2.1 would come to older devices in Q1 2011 only yo cancel it a month before the end of Q1.

Enough.with.the.damn.printers!!

Either HP has the most revolutionary printer idea ever (!!) in mind that requires webos, or they really have no clue and are continuing with their half-baked, ill-planned next big thing. Given their track record the former seems very unlikely.

one of their printers has a "tablet" attached to it. Use the "go" as the tablet and replace the other one with it.

I agree. Besides, aren't we supposed to be living in a paperless society? The last time I checked, the term "mobile" does not include picking up your printouts at the printer. At my job we did away with paper, and archive our stuff as PDFs on our network or cloud.

- Printers are the most boring of creatures.

say good bye to consumer hardware running webOS. It's over folks.

I just want WebOS phones back.

I switched to Windows. It's okay but it's not WebOS

When HP is referring to WebOS printers, I think they see the real value in having a unified OS and interface in the top end devices ($10000+) as well as across the whole line.

Look at this device http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF25a/18972-18972-3328064-12004-...

A multi-function device with scan, fax, and print would definitely benefit from better software. A lot of these "document center" devices run Windows and have to be patched monthly and are a HUGE pain to maintain and manage.

All that said, I still want a new WebOS phone. I frankly don't care who makes it, as long as they continue to improve WebOS and make better devices.

Android? windows? Any OS? Anybody at home?

HP really is dense. What's up with their insistence on a webOS printer? Did their Android printer really sell so well that they feel the need to make a webOS printer? Is there really a demand for "smart" printers?

Oh well, this insistence might actually be good for whoever buys webOS. It's essentially a discount off their purchase. Buy webOS and HP will give you money to let them put it on printers.

Can't deny that HP got a lot of attention and free advertisement for TouchPad and WebOS. People that never even heard of it know know it all.

Maybe webOS on navigation systems or even on cameras.

Touch to Share to a navigation system or camera would be amazing.

"OH great shot, let's upload to facebook" then canon to webOS phone magic.

"I got a text of the address, lemme just tap it to my navigation system".

I can't think of anything exciting about printers...

...well you could perhaps do "touch to print" from your phone/tablet, but you don't really need webOS on the printer for that - just that paired induction coil for triggering the transfer, and something capable of Bluetooth transfer.

That would be about as smart a printer as I would ever need

And yes, I do use refrigerator-size printers at work, and their interface suxx, but there's simply no need to put webOS on them at all, that is such a stupid idea... This is after all a specialized device, so the specialized embedded system/application is all that is needed, not a fully-blown MOBILE OS.

Let's start a new rumor today:

Red Hat is looking to buy WebOS! Source code to be released with a GPL license.

I sure loved my Kyocera/Qualcomm 7135...

Reading this printer nonsense makes me want to post several words not appropriate for a general audience.

See how I'm not? That's the sign of a great man.

Get bent, HP.

...well okay, maybe I'm just alright.

1. Lexmark did not beat them to put apps on printers.

2. Lexmark ink is NOT cheaper than HP.

Ok, I know a lot of you can't see the advantages to having printers do this, But you have to do one thing:

IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES!

Let's just say, Chargin your touchpad or Pre3 via just putting it on a printer dock. Having the ability to touch to share printing documents, Turn your printer into a fax w/ your cell phone.

I'm sure there are a thousand possibilities, but turing ones home into a WebOS home.. That is the home I want to live in

Touch to Share to print documents is not needed. webOS already does it to current HP printers from menus on Pre2 and Pre3 (and probably Veer). And there are very nice apps for iOS and Android to print with, too.

So HP is probably blowing smoke while they wait for the patent wars to REALLY heat up in this country, and then sell to whomever needs them enough to pay several hundred million $ to beat Apple. I'm still guessing Google and Samsung, maybe as a shared deal.

Intel? They are not going to jeopardize their deals with Microsoft, now that Windows 8 is being made to run better and better on ARM CPUs. So that pretty well rules them out from a software perspective. But selling their chips for phones and tabs would be a way better sale if they had mobile OS patents behind them.

I think the key for WebOS being on printers is simply cost - Why would HP license an OS from someone else (Android/Microsoft), if they have an OS that is more than capable - It's also a differentiating 'gadget' feature, average Jo punter with a few bob might buy an HP printer if it has the really cool image preview screen, that can upload to facebook etc (from a standard PictBridge camera, or other phone) - that sort of thing is a selling point. We of course, are far too clever to get excited about all that, but people do get excited about it and thats what they need to market new printers (a bit of excitement). I really like the idea of a tablet (TP GO) dock on the printer too - not everyone wants a computer, but most people have a camera of one type or other, and the need to occasionally print something - tada, that sounds like a cool idea to me! Anyway only a week or two before we know what is happening I suspect, then we will all see!

This is a catastrophe. Printers?? Really? WebOS has so much potential, but because of it's very poor marketing (i.e. creppy palm pre commercial) and palm not knowing how to express the little golden nugget they found (webOS), they delporably failed. it's a true shame they failed. i hope some company buys it from HP and brings it back to life. I would love to see a new webOS smartphone because (in my opinion) it was the mos beautiful OS

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