Hewlett-Packard is embracing open source for its webOS mobile platform in an effort to foster greater adoption and spur more software development. "The thing we recognized about webOS is it really is a remarkable platform," CEO Meg Whitman said in an interview. "It was not the right thing to just shut it down. It shouldn't be wasted." While HP won't be making any more webOS-based smartphones, it does plan to push out new hardware devices in two years.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker defended the company's decision to spin off its personal computer business, saying the company needs funds to invest in other areas. HP's in-house design team has struggled to keep pace with the fast turnaround in consumer devices and wants to evolve to focus on other areas, such as data-center management and corporate technology products. Separately, HP said its webOS-based Pre 3 smartphone, which has sold well in Germany, will not be released in the U.S.
Hewlett-Packard, which in April announced that it would acquire the assets of Palm for $1.2 billion, now says it will introduce a tablet computer early next year that features Palm's webOS operating system. "You'll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future, and a webOS-based product in early 2011," said Todd Bradley, the head of HP's personal-computing unit.