Following HP’s announcement that it would discontinue all webOS hardware including smartphones and tablets, Microsoft’s Brandon Walsh reached out to webOS developers, promising free phones and other tools if they were interested in developing for Windows Phone 7. So far he’s received over 200 replies.

For its part, HP is trying to convince webOS developers not to jump ship. While the company will no longer make devices that run webOS, HP hasn’t yet put the operating system to bed. Instead, officials are hoping to get other companies to license the software for use on their own devices, much the way Microsoft and Google already do with their smartphone operating systems.

The problem is that it’s hard to see a future for webOS at the moment. Less than two months ago HP was gung ho about the TouchPad tablet. Today the company is liquidating its inventory by selling the tablet for just $99. Since there currently aren’t any other companies using webOS, who’s to say that a month from now HP might not just pull the plug on the software division as well?

HP is trying to persuade developers to stick around, and promises to keep supporting webOS. But all HP has to offer at the moment are words and a user base that won’t be growing for a while (at least not once this weekend’s HP TouchPad fire sale is over). Microsoft, on the other hand, is giving developers free phones.


Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...