HP has tonight been speaking about far reaching changes to its structure, including a spin-off of its Personal Systems Group and the possible acquisition of Autonomy Corporation plc, but the big news for What Mobile readers is that it has also stated it will end development of its webOS devices, which includes the HP TouchPad and its smartphone.
The company has said it will ‘continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward’ but we’re pretty sure that not much is going to happen, especially considering the smartphones had been pretty much killed off in the UK since O2 dipped its toes in the water with the first generation Palm devices, including the Pre and Pixi.
Nobody can believe it’s a good thing to end up with a limited number of smartphone and tablet operating systems fighting it out, which hinders competition and innovation, but it seems increasingly inevitable that the smaller OSes simply won’t be able to rely solely on a slick user interface. Consumers don’t just demand an operating system, they want devices that are well supported with content, apps and games.
The question now will be, who will be next to fall?
Update: HP has now said to This is my next that it isn’t walking away from webOS completely and may license it out to other manufacturers to continue making devices. However, until HP is actually naming a company that is going to do this, it smacks of little more than damage limitation.