HP leaves users in the lurch - again

Updated: 
Picture of an HP tabletTech giant HP was expected to make an announcement about the future of WebOS, the system that powered its tablet computers and phones, last night. It did so - if "we're still thinking about it" counts as an announcement. Users of the well-regarded system still don't know whether to jump ship or stick with it - but their patience can only be tested so far.

The fiasco started earlier this year when CEO Leo Apotheker, one year into his job, decided to phase out the tablet computer business and the phone operation alongside PCs. This inevitably meant demolishing the WebOS business - and Apotheker's career with HP.

His move towards the software and services market, aping competitor IBM which hasn't made PCs for a while, didn't go down well at all with the board and he rapidly found that Meg Whitman was CEO instead.

Mixed messages


Whitman claims the company is now committed to the PC market and has confirmed that it will be making tablet computers - but says these will be based on Microsoft's Windows 8 system.

Confused? You shouldn't be - until you hear that HP is still mulling over what to do with WebOS. It's not dead. The company was expected to make an announcement yesterday - but reports indicate that Whitman told an internal meeting she'd be considering what to do over the next few weeks.

It's worth mentioning that the company only owns WebOS because it spent $1.2m on it last year, buying Palm. Scrapping it completely looks draconian in the extreme. Keeping users in suspense, though, looks even crazier. If you own a WebOS powered phone or tablet you have three options. One, keep it until it wears out and just replace it. Two, assume HP or someone will continue to develop the system and upgrade it when something is available. Three, start using something else as soon as you can so you don't end up with loads of redundant apps and files.

My guess is that option 3 is going to start looking good to a lot of people very soon.

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