Surprising news came from HP quarterly report last night that no one in the tech industry expected – That it was discontinue operations with webOS devices.
This really was a shocking turn around by HP, with all the talk of “being in this for the long term” and “better than number one”. It is clear that sales have been poor and that even after the price cuts the units still did not fly out of the doors.
Why this happened was really down to HP’s stop/start launch and advertising and releasing in countries before the infrastructure was in place outside the US. Strangely, HP was still releasing the Touchpad in other countries still at the beginning of the week, with some Australian owners having their devices less than a week.
Even now, the morning after the announcement HP are still selling the Touchpad on their own websites, so it is clear that even their own web developers know, or are they going try and clear stock (but who will buy a discontinued item.)
To make things clear: webOS itself is not dead, just the devices. However, if you are building applications for webOS and there are less than half a million devices and none coming in the future would you stay with that market. If HP announce next week that another company is licensing webOS this could save the day, but at the moment it is not looking likely.
There are a lot of questions around now, for owners of the discontinued devices, can they ask for their money back on their month and a half old devices?
If HP decide to not refund Touchpad users, then they may have to turn to homebrew for new applications.
Our website has been hit by the news, as we had invested time and money into covering the Touchpad and webOS, and now we have to ask ourselves how many people we are going to be reviewing webOS products for? For now, we will continue to cover Touchpad for the next week or so, until we have a better idea what is happening, for now we are just cancelling the Pre-3 pre-orders.
The people we feel sorry for are developers, who have spent time, energy and money on developing applications for the Touchpad and the new “never to be released” Pre 3. They are not likely to ever see a return on this investment and have tough times ahead as they also want to see if they will ever be able to release the code.
HP have failed to make use of the webOS software until now, and hopefully they will not quietly kill it off, but it looks like this is what will happen. There are lots of webOS fans out there (me included) and I hope for our sake this does not happen.
F.Y.I. – We have put on hold the free app round up due to this news and we do not want to cause more bad news for webOS developers today.