When I said things weren’t looking good for WebOS I didn’t think they were quite this bad. Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced that they will be discontinuing WebOS device operations:
In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
And just like that Palm’s legacy is effectively dead. I guess there is always the possibility that HP will find somebody to license and utilize their fledgeling operating system but I’m doubtful. As it sits right now any manufacturer can use Android which is already incredibly popular, is being rapidly developed, and has a good application ecosystem. There seems little reason, in my opinion, for a manufacturer to license WebOS.
Although WebOS is an operating system with great potential the execution by those who’ve had it has been lackluster at best. When HP acquired Palm they continued executing the ill-fated plan Palm had started, which was to offer phones (and a tablets) nobody wanted. The Palm Pre and Palm Pre Plus performed poorly and the Palm Pre 2 fared even worse. Most companies would have decided to release a radically different device but HP instead decided to manufacture two new devices that were effectively Palm Pres; one in a smaller form factor and another in a larger form factor. The TouchPad was nothing more than an expensive iPad wannabe with buggy software and no available applications.
So long WebOS, you contained innumerable interesting ideas but interesting ideas alone are seldom enough to save a product from extinction.