Today it was revealed that HP is working on an Android-powered tablet to be unveiled in the near future and possibly a smartphone for the farther future. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anymore. Despite statements over a year ago from CEO Meg Whitman looking to assuage anxious tech nerds about the future of webOS, HP has never shown any real inclination towards producing new webOS hardware since the cancellation of the last webOS hardware almost eighteen months ago to the day.
Even though it's not a surprise in any sense of the word, it's still frustrating. HP has for close to three years owned one of the most highly-regarded mobile operating systems of the modern age of mobile computing, and for lack of a better term they royally fucked it over under the brief and idiotic leadership of Leo Apotheker. But that's in the past, and while it's hard to deal with old festering wounds like that, dwelling on that past isn't going to help one bit.
There is of course benefit to examining the past with objective eyes, or at least trying to do so. HP bought Palm three years ago for this very reason - to move into mobile. They didn't like the way Microsoft was going with Windows 8, and though they'd toyed around with Android internally and on printers, they apparently weren't happy with that either. Driven by Personal Systems Group head and former PalmOne CEO Todd Bradley, HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion so they could chart their own course in the burgeoning mobile world and not be tied to Microsoft or Google or anybody else.
That's how it was supposed to work, and as we all know it didn't. There are a number of factors that can be blamed, from boardroom incompetence to poor sales to underwhelming hardware to disappointing advertising (but far from the worst that webOS has seen over the years). As with every multi-billion-dollar decision, there are dozens of contributing factors, though it usually boils down to money and the willingness to spend it or not spend it.
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