In the early months of 2011, after the HP Pre3, Veer, and TouchPad had been announced at HP's Think Beyond event in February, there were many debates raging inside the halls of the webOS campus in Sunnyvale. Decisions had to be made, projects were going to have to be cut or pushed onto the back burner. Those three devices weren't the only new webOS hardware coming from HP, it was just the first new webOS hardware that was to come from HP.
A smaller webOS tablet, the 7-inch TouchPad Go, was planned for release a few months after the 9.7-inch TouchPad. A Bluetooth audio-equipped Touchstone wireless charger was being tested. The next generation of TouchPads was under development, including models that were thinner, had better screens, and more powerful internals. There was even a model equipped with a full-size slide-out keyboard in the labs, though the likelihood of it ever seeing the light of day was questionable. But those were further away, projects planned for a time when webOS was flourishing in the marketplace.
It's still early 2011, and as enthusiastic as HP's leadership was formerly in the form of CEO Mark Hurd and still is in the form of Personal System Group (and former Palm CEO) Todd Bradley, the crew in Sunnyvale wasn't getting the financial and personnel support needed from HP HQ in Palo Alto to push everything out the door in the quality it needed to be in on the timeframe they wanted to hit. Hurd's replacement, former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker and HP CFO Cathie Lesjak, aren't as enthusiastic about investing the billions of dollars needed to get webOS running at full steam.
With limited funding available to get the work done, tough decisions have to be made in the webOS Global Business Unit. Sitting after the all-but-done TouchPad Go but before the fancier next-generation TouchPads is a curious webOS smartphone. It shares much of its internals with the HP Pre3 and bears the hallmarks of the clean and simple webOS hardware design language, but it's an entirely different beast.
This is the WindsorNot, the webOS slate smartphone that never was.
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