HP TouchPad Review

HP Eventually Plans to Release New WebOS Tablets

hp tablets webos The dust has not even settled on today's mega-announcement from HP to open-source WebOS and we already have some new info straight from the mouth of CEO Meg Whitman and board member Marc Andreessen (of Netscape fame) regarding a possible return to WebOS hardware in the future from HP.

The Verge conducted a sit-down interview in with Whitman and Andreessen earlier today about the future of WebOS, both as an ongoing open-sourced project and as the possible basis for future HP Tablet hardware.

For the time being, only a few excerpts from the full interview have been posted. In short, Whitman stated that yes, HP would indeed be revisiting WebOS tablet hardware but stopped short of committing to it in 2012 or later. She went on to state that the team is going to be reorganized in "a quite different direction than we've been taking it in the past". Presumably this will be a much sleeker, highly-competitive piece of hardware compared to HP's mediocre TouchPad that was seemingly launched as a barely-updated response to the 18 month-old first-generation iPad.

HP to Open Source WebOS

hp webos logo HP has just posted a press release detailing its decision on its future plans for the webOS platform. In short, the company plans to open source the webOS software but is noncommittal on any future hardware plans.

HP says they will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Their desire is for developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers to work on the project to deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions. HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.

"webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable," said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. "By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices."

Pre 2 and TouchPad Updates Rolling Out

Every time HP announces a new update to their WebOS devices, the community breathes a collective sigh of relief that their devices are continuing to be useful and supported. So this week's news that a WebOS system update for both the TouchPad and the Pre 2 is definitely reason to smile.

First off, WebOSInternals has tweeted the news that select Pre 2 owners are reporting WebOS 2.2.4 is starting to trickle out. Skype support for non-VZW Pre 2 handsets is the main focus of this update, along with Bluetooth MAP support and sync improvements to the core PIM apps.

HP Holding WebOS Decision Announcement Meeting Friday

Coming as something of a surprise this late Thursday evening, Precentral brings word of the breaking news that that HP CEO Meg Whitman has scheduled an all-hands meeting for Friday, December 9th. At approximately 10:30AM PST, the fate of WebOS in the hands of HP should finally be made clear.

Last week, Whitman told a French newspaper that a decision would be reached within the "next two weeks", though few expected an announcement this soon. Prior to this event, it was exactly one month ago at another all hands on meeting when HP decided to do take more time to determine the fate of the platform.

HP Holding a Refurbished TouchPad Sale Dec 11

HP TouchPad Fire SaleJust when you thought it was safe to start your holiday shopping for an Android or iOS-based tablet, HP has announced a curious return of the fire sale TouchPads, albeit as a slightly less attractive offering than what was offered during the original August blowout.

Beginning December 11th at 7PM Eastern time, HP will make a limited quantity of refurbish 16GB and 32GB TouchPads available through their eBay store. In addition to the two tablet SKUs at the previous $99 and $149 price points, HP will be offering a bundle consisting of a case, TouchStone charging dock, and Bluetooth wireless keyboard for $79.The timing for this clearance sale is new especially intriguing in light of the announcement expected for Friday, December 9th on the fate of WebOS. Thankfully, the purchase of a companion HP PC is not required.

Whitman: HP to Decide on WebOS Within Weeks

meg whitman hp ceo According to a new report from AllThingsD, HP's CEO Meg Whitman is about ready to end the ongoing saga over the uncertain future of WebOS within the next two weeks. Speaking to a French newspaper, she reportedly revealed:

Q: What will you do with your operating system webOS?

A: We should announce our decision in the next two weeks. This is not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo. We need to have another operating system.

The original interview, in French, can be found here, or via Google Translate if you prefer.

Reuters Reports WebOS Sale Possible, Announcement Expected Soon

After nearly three months of uncertainty, it looks like the other shoe may be ready to drop for HP's WebOS decision. A Reuters article reports that HP is in talks to sell WebOS to any of "several" unnamed suitors. Assisting HP in the decision to keep or sell the WebOS/Palm GBU is Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Reuters does not mention a specific amount other than "hundreds of millions", which is far below the $1.2 Billion that HP originally paid for Palm in April of 2010.

HP Holding All-Hands Meeting Tonight on WebOS Future
The story has just taken yet another twist as an anonymous tipster has revealed to Precentral.net that an all-hands meeting of the WebOS GBU has been called at Palm's Sunnyvale HQ. According to the report, HP's newly-appointed CEO Meg Whitman and current SVP Jon Rubinstein will both be in attendance, a move that some are speculating is a harbinger of some potentially positive news. Of course, HP may also simply decide to shutter all WebOS-related operations.

Best Buy to Offer $150 TouchPad PC Bundle

HP TouchPad best buy Even with an uncertain future facing the platform, HP has just announced a new TouchPad-related deal via a joint promotion with retail giant Best Buy. This latest "deal" offers consumers a $150 32GB TouchPad (HP's standard, non-bundle clearance price) with the purchase of select HP or Compaq Desktop, Laptop, or all-in-one PCs at Best Buy.

This offer is set to begin November 1st, and will be available through Bestbuy.com and all brick and mortar retail stores nationwide. No word on the quantity of units available for this promotion or an effective end date for the promotion, though speculation is running rampant that these TouchPads are part of the "final batch" of TouchPads promised back in August.

Guardian Reports WebOS Days Are Numbered

hp webos logo The UK's Guardian paper is reporting that an imminent shutdown is looming for the last vestiges of HP's WebOS division. According to a new piece posted today by Charles Arthur, the report states that up to 500 jobs could be lost due to the closure of the WebOS division between now and November.

With yesterday's announcement that HP intends to keep its PC division, unconfirmed internal memos reportedly claim that there is a 95% likelihood that the end of WebOS as an operating and as a part of HP's portfolio is in sight.

Sporadic rumors continue to swirl about possible suitors for HP's Palm and WebOS-related IP, namely yesterday's report that Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer responded with "Never say never" in regards to an inquiry about acquiring WebOS from HP.

HP Decides Not to Spin off PC Division, webOS Future Still Uncertain

New HP Logo Thursday, October 27th marked the end of a long period of uncertainty for the HP faithful, as the company announced via conference call to not spin-off their Personal System Group and personal computer business. A period of evaluating various strategic alternatives revealed the unsurprising analysis that spinning off the world's still-profitable #1 PC business would not be a cost-effective move for HP.

Meg Whitman, HP's newly-appointed president and CEO stated:

"HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," "HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger."

Of course, seeing as how WebOS and the Palm Global Business Unit fall under this division of HP, Executive Vice President of the PSG Todd Bradley said that HP is committed to WIndows 7 and 8-based tablets going forward and are still working to make a decision about "the long-term future of WebOS within HP over the next couple of months".

WebOS Dev Head Leaves for Nokia

While the exodus of top WebOS and Palm talent from HP has slowed in recent weeks, HP's former VP of Worldwide Developer Relations Richard Kerris has just announced that he has left HP and is now employed by Nokia. Prior to the move to Nokia, Kerris was most recently heard from publicly announcing the availability of the full version of QuickOffice for Touchpads approximately two months ago.

Kerris will not be alone at Nokia, as former Palm VP of Design Peter Skillman has been with Nokia since September of 2010.

TouchPad Receives WebOS 3.04 Update

Touchpad Discount Despite the level of uncertainty surrounding the future of WebOS and HP's Personal Systems Group, the TouchPad has nevertheless received a new OTA update, making good on HP's promises to continue updating the device and the OS. Bearing version number 3.0.4 build 77, this rather surprising release brings about a number of improvements, including:

  • A native camera application (finally!)
  • Bluetooth pairing enabling non-WebOS phones to use the TouchPad as a speakerphone
  • OGG Vorbis audio file support

In addition to the major improvements seen above, HP has also seen fit to make the usual performance tweaks to the OS, alongside the V8 Javascript rendering engine and the Enyo framework. According to PreCentral's Derek Kessler, HTML5 video playback is now enabled in the browser. Numerous other users who have installed the update are reporting performance boosts across the board.

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