The HP Touchpad and WebOS Are Dead – Long Live the Touchpad and WebOS

by on December 10th, 2010
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The HP Touchpad could have been the tablet that changed the industry but unfortunately it had a very brief and very troubled time in the technology world. HP pinned their hopes on the Touchpad and they hoped that it would propel them to the top of the tablet empire, but quite the opposite happened. With massive production costs and little advertising, the Touchpad was doomed from the start, but recently HP stated that webOS would become open source which could mean that the Touchpad, and webOS might make the biggest return to center stage in recent tech history.

Diamond in the rough

WebOS had been kicking around for a few years before the Touchpad was released. The operating system developed a cult following, and they firmly believed that webOS had everything to turn it into a major player in the tablet world, but for some reason it never took off.

The HP Touchpad took webOS to a new level. Initial reviews of the tablet were excellent, with many reporters and tech journalists raving about the powerful specifications which included a dual core processor and powerful graphics chip. Add the specifications to the fact that the interface (according to industry professionals) was the easiest tablet operating system to use, you could have bet that the Touchpad was destined for great things, but HP, the Touchpad and webOS disappeared quietly into the night.

HP announced that they were going to return to their PC roots, and that they were looking for potential bidders to buy webOS from them. After little interest because of the ridiculous price HP put on the platform, they stated that they were wiping their hands completely clean of webOS. So, what does this mean for the mobile OS that has been dubbed a diamond in the rough?

The future is bright and open sourced

Fans of webOS will be pleased to know that their beloved operating system will not be hiding in a dark corner for much longer. When HP decided to rid themselves of the OS, instead of locking it away, they decided to make the platform open source, which means that the code for the operating system will be there for anyone to take for free.

While I would not put money on a major smartphone maker taking the code and making it their own, I would place money on the modding community taking it, and making it something special.

Modding communities like XDA have been known to work wonders with other mobile operating systems like Android and Symbian, in fact they have been able to take those operating systems and make them even better than Google and Nokia could. If the modding communities can do for webOS what they have been able to do for Android then the future is very bright.

The future of the Touchpad

Another thing to remember about the Touchpad is that it has been hacked to run the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) with ease. The powerful tablet has a lot of life left in it yet thanks to its great hardware. Even if the modding community decides to let webOS die, the Touchpad still has a big role to play in the tablet world.

Not too long ago, HP decided to hold a fire sale so that they could deplete their stock of Touchpads. The 16GB versions sold for $99 and the 32GB versions sold for an incredible $149.

Reports suggest that more than 750,000 Touchpad’s are out in the wild, which makes it the second best selling tablet behind Apple’s iPad. I have a feeling we will be hearing about Hewlett Packard’s failure turned success for a long time to come, and I hope that the modding communities will keep the under appreciated webOS alive and well for a long time to come.

Sources:, HP commits to open source webOS by Fall 2012, By hp

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