After confirming that it is looking into spinning off its PC business, Hewlett-Packard made a more shocking announcement Thursday: it is going to “discontinue operations for webOS devices.” And that’s the end of the line for its just-launched tablet, the HP TouchPad.
HP, the world’s largest computer maker, has had limited success with mobile devices. In April 2010, HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion, largely because of the potential of the webOS platform.
So HP’s about-face on webOS comes as a surprise, especially coming six weeks after the TouchPad went on sale.
HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
The webOS-based TouchPad was seen by many (including Mashable) as a real competitor to Apple’s iPad. Our initial review of the device was lukewarm, but the device (and webOS itself) seemed full of potential.
In recent weeks, HP has tried to entice customers to the device by dropping the price by $100 — to $400 and $500 for the 16GB and 32GB versions, respectively. Evidently, that wasn’t enough.
Unknown as of this moment: what HP’s timetable is for shutting down webOS operations, or what that means for the current Palm/webOS team. We’ll be listening in to HP’s earnings call this afternoon for more details.