HP announced today that the company would discontinue its webOS hardware products in the fourth quarter of 2011. That means we can say goodbye to the HP TouchPad tablet and the HP Pre, Veer, and other webOS phones. But the company isn’t killing webOS software… at least not yet.
During a conference call with reporters today HP executives said that the company is exploring its options for webOS. The software has been well received by users and developers, according to CEO Leo Apotheker — but the company’s phones and tablets haven’t had much traction in the market.
So HP is looking at a variety of options for squeezing some value out of the webOS software that it paid $1.2 billion to acquire last year.
Here are some of the possibilities that are still on the table:
- Licensing webOS to other companies to install on their phones, tablets, and other hardware.
- Using the software on HP’s own devices (presumably this could include computers or printers)
- Selling the webOS assets to another company (Apotheker didn’t specially state this, but it’s clearly a possibility at this point.
Right now it looks like HP’s primary goal will be to find hardware partners willing to license the software. But given HP and Palm’s difficulty getting consumers to buy webOS products, I have to wonder why any other companies would want to adopt the platform.