HP moving to Android for tablets and smartphones
Less than eighteen months after abandoning the HP TouchPad tablet and webOS smartphone lines, HP is jumping back into the mobile computing game with Android. ReadWrite is reporting that their sources at HP say that not only are they going the Android route for their upcoming tablet, they might even be announcing said tablet 'soon'. It's reportedly powered by a Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, something significantly more powerful than the two-year-old Qualcomm silicon found in the TouchPad (which itself originally was designed to run Android). The tablet's reportedly been in development "since before Thanksgiving".
The move by HP to Android is disappointing, but not exactly a surprise. It was nearly a year and a half ago that HP cancelled hardware development of for webOS devices, effectively killing the operating system and leaving it to be resuscitated in the open source community. That all came to fruition at the end of September with the full release of the open sourced Open webOS 1.0. By virtue of the Linux Standard Kernel 3.3 at its heart, Open webOS is fully capable of running on hardware such as the rumored Tegra 4 HP tablet, which we're sure the webOS homebrew community will make happen purely out of spite.
A little over a year ago, after HP's decision to open source webOS, CEO Meg Whitman said that HP would "use webOS in new hardware", specifically tablets. We haven't heard much of anything along that line since then, and the revelation that HP is actively working on their own Android tablet (plus the year of silence since that statement) is leading us to conclude that any HP hardware powered by webOS ever coming out would be something of a miracle.
Aside from an Android-powered tablet, ReadWrite is also reporting that HP is exploring the possibility of launching an Android smartphone. Late last year Whitman went on the record saying that HP was actively looking at reentering the smartphone space, citing the burgeoning market for smartphones in the developing world, but that a new HP smartphone wasn't likely to be released in 2012. Though we have to say, if HP launches a Pre4 powered by Android, we might just flip several tables in fits of rage.
As usual, we're going to point the eyeballs around the conference tables in Palo Alto to that little multi-billion investment they’ve made in Sunnyvale on a mobile operating system that's overflowing with promise and finally has hardware around capable of adequately supporting it. Yes, webOS. We're more than a little biased here about this issue, and it's eternally frustrating to watch HP squander such resources again and again.
But HP's spinning of the webOS Global Business Unit as Gram and they've got plans for what they can do with Open webOS to make money. HP bringeth scale and HP taketh away. Perhaps webOS will be better without HP's megabucks.