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HP is taking a cue from Apple and phasing out Windows on a portion of its consumer PCs in exchange for its own proprietary OS, webOS.  (Source: Seattle Pi)
HP will be airing desktops and laptops powered by webOS, will continue to ship Windows PCs to business customers

Amid all the Windows Phone 7/Nokia merger excitement, buzz surrounding Hewlett Packard Co.'s big webOS announcement of upcoming devices, including the Pre3 has largely died out.  But last week HP made headlines not for its smartphones or tablets, but for an unusual announcement -- it would be putting webOS on PCs.  A slide from last Wednesday showed both desktops and laptops sporting webOS.

And just like that HP and Microsoft's relationship headed into Apple-Google love-hate territory.  And that's pretty significant, given that HP is the world's largest manufacturer of personal computers.

In an interview with the Seattle Pi, Phil McKinney, (left) chief technology officer of HP's personal systems group, offers some insight into why HP is giving Microsoft Windows the boot on a number of its devices.  

Asked if HP is "dumping" Windows entirely, Mr. McKinney remarks, "No, there's a huge user base that still wants the PC. The key is that even on their PCs, people want to have it integrated with their devices. We have our PCs, you have your pads, you've got your phones. How do they work together? In today's world they all act as individual information islands. What WebOS does is bring all that together."

Asked whether the webOS PCs would merely be virtual machines within Windows, Mr. McKinney denied this.  Apparently the webOS PCs will be exactly what they sound like -- a full-fledged webOS operating system on a personal computer.  Mr. McKinney comments, "No, it's not virtualization. It's an integrated WebOS experience we're looking to bring."

Asked why HP didn't merely work with Microsoft to include the missing features it wanted in Windows 8, Mr. McKinney replies, "We have a great partnership with Microsoft. You think about the number of PCs we sell, we're Microsoft's largest customer. We have a huge installed base of Microsoft platforms. We're working with Microsoft on the future of Windows and we're very optimistic on what that future is, but what we think is we can bring an enhancement to that."

Asked if the introduction of webOS tablets and other mobile devices in the consumer market will cause confusion among business purchasers, Mr. McKinney states, "With WebOS on a PC, you won't have to make that choice. You can develop your WebOS app that'll run on your phone, your slate and your PC."

Overall Mr. McKinney's talk makes it clear that HP is taking webOS PCs seriously, and hints that the company may be moving away from Windows.

That leaves Microsoft and HP with a pretty awkward relationship.  In the IT market HP will sell Windows products.  But in the consumer market, it will be pushing webOS competitors to Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 products.

At the end of the day, one of the interesting things about this development is that it represents the personal computing/mobile computing industry's division into two camps -- one who makes an OS and shares it with a number of hardware partners (Google, Microsoft), the other who makes both the OS and the hardware on a single proprietary platform (HP, Apple, RIM).  Both strategies are backed by some of the tech industry's biggest names.  Time will only tell which prevails.

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By chmilz on 2/15/2011 10:53:58 AM , Rating: 5
If webOS can install a HP printer driver, then I guess they've overcome the biggest challenge.

RE: Well...
By vortmax2 on 2/15/2011 11:41:44 AM , Rating: 2
This deserves a 6...

RE: Well...
By Klober on 2/15/2011 5:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree and second this motion! :)

RE: Well...
By Samus on 2/15/2011 11:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
hahahaha! tru dat homeslice.

RE: Well...
By Ristogod on 2/15/2011 11:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
Very true!

RE: Well...
By nangryo on 2/15/2011 12:13:24 PM , Rating: 2

this makes my day

RE: Well...
By rgsaunders on 2/15/2011 12:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
The real miracle would be an HP printer driver that actually worked well, specially for graphics.

RE: Well...
By Tewt on 2/16/2011 12:41:54 AM , Rating: 2
I've never had an HP printer but considering the headaches their software printer package has caused my dad over the last couple months, your comment cannot be rated high enough. When you have to completely wipe your hard drive and reinstall the OS because neither HP or Microsoft PAID customer service can correct the problem, it's time to move to a different manufacturer.

He is currently enjoying a bug-free Epson experience.


RE: Well...
By Tewt on 2/16/2011 12:45:20 AM , Rating: 2
* sorry, meant cannot

On additional note, this doesn't count the time he first installed the software package, chose a custom install to leave off a couple unneeded features but the printer would do nothing until the ENTIRE package was installed.

Thank god I stuck to Epson and Canon printers.

RE: Well...
By Flunk on 2/16/2011 9:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
That may be true for software, but the consumer-level Epson and Canon hardware is junk. Horrible build quality, ink-guzzling junk.

I'd rather buy an HP and manually install the drivers (which you can do if you just go into the device manager and install the print driver from there). I know I shouldn't have to do that but it's better than having 3 Epsons break down in one year as was the case last time I owned one.

RE: Well...
By theapparition on 2/16/2011 10:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
HP printer quality is crap too lately. Thier Photosmart line has always been cheaply made, but at least they sold the OfficeJet line.

But my latest home OfficeJet 8500 was complete garbage. Ended up returning it. And reviews on thier entire OfficeJet line have also been less that favorible.

HP appears to have also succomb to pushing disposable printers that barely work. Who else can you get a decent home printer from anymore?

RE: Well...
By CvP on 2/16/2011 3:31:28 AM , Rating: 2 true :D

By rudolphna on 2/15/2011 10:51:36 AM , Rating: 5
Who the hell is in charge of things at HP? Why would anyone think that replacing windows is a good idea? I work for Best Buy. I don't think I've ever met a customer that would not want windows (or OSX). Especially not some proprietary OS that won't run 99.99% of their existing applications, or what you can buy off the shelf. HP, you are extremely dumb.

By Schrag4 on 2/15/2011 11:09:57 AM , Rating: 4
Haven't you heard? webOS is an enhancement to the future!

Asked why HP didn't merely work with Microsoft to include the missing features it wanted in Windows 8, Mr. McKinney replies, "We have a great partnership with Microsoft. You think about the number of PCs we sell, we're Microsoft's largest customer. We have a huge installed base of Microsoft platforms. We're working with Microsoft on the future of Windows and we're very optimistic on what that future is, but what we think is we can bring an enhancement to that."

Seriously though, I'm all for having the option to dual boot to something like this, but I just can't fathom shutting down Windows so I can, what? Interact with my phone? Maybe I'm missing how rebooting to another OS is easier than running another app (or a VM for dang sake) in the Windows session I'm already logged into.

By Silver2k7 on 2/17/2011 3:39:39 AM , Rating: 2
maybe if they add som extra keyboard combo to alt+tab between OS's :)

By Da W on 2/15/11, Rating: 0
By nangryo on 2/15/2011 12:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's for people who used their netbook/laptop like ipad/galaxy tab or wathever it is, but with more flexibility.

I guess HP will throw basic office viewer/editor with their webos, and also basic tools for standard daily uses.

Giving majority netbook/laptop user just use them for browsing and little editing, I think webos is sufficient enough

By Ammohunt on 2/15/11, Rating: -1
PC usage
By fishman on 2/15/2011 2:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
How do many use their pcs/laptops?

1. Web browser
2. MS Office / OpenOffice, etc.
3. Watch DVDs, downloaded movies, etc.

All three could easily be done by WebOS. Of course, there would have to be an incentive to choose it over Windows - cost would one, but how much could you reduce the price? WebOS could be cheaper for HP, but Windows is subsidized by the crapware added onto the PCs which might make a Windows licence effectively cheaper.

RE: PC usage
By JakLee on 2/15/2011 3:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think that is real reason that this "might" work. If you could buy a computer for your mom (who is tech-less) and have it work the same as her phone, and easily tranfer pictures she took on her phone to her computer to post on her facebook, where she plays games and talks about her grandkids, and occationally types a letter to her sister in flordia..... If can get her a computer for $300 instead of $400, knowing its safer (because it is enclosed) and easier for her (because it works exactly the same as the cell phone I got her with webos); well that might be a good thing.

It is the same kind of arguement that was used to sell apple stuff years ago. Personally, I wouldn't want to play in HP's sandbox, but that doesn't mean I can't see others that would benefit from it.

RE: PC usage
By Subzero0000 on 2/15/2011 8:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
fishman, what about gaming on PC? Do you miss that intentionally?

RE: PC usage
By Taft12 on 2/17/2011 9:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
No. on his list, gaming probably comes #7 or 8. It is a small fraction of usage on PCs worldwide. Actually, scratch that. It IS higher, but most of those games are played in a web browser.

This is the.....
By Breathless on 2/15/2011 11:57:11 AM , Rating: 5
STUPIDEST, most crap-o-licious decision anyone at HP has ever made.

What runs on what?
By torpor on 2/15/2011 11:05:27 AM , Rating: 2
PCs don't run on WebOS. WebOS runs on PCs.

It may seem nit-pickey, but this is a fundamental understanding not expressed. I wonder how the editor of a technical journal could make a mistake like that, even as a typo. Jason, this is the sort of thing you should be removing from other writers' articles, not dropping into your own.

It's like saying I'm going to use bread to cut my knife.

All that said, if they ever sell webOS stand-alone, I may give it a shot. It might be an interesting dual-boot for my netbook.

RE: What runs on what?
By torpor on 2/15/2011 6:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the edit.

By ketchup79 on 2/15/2011 3:16:59 PM , Rating: 2
How do they work together? In today's world they all act as individual information islands. What WebOS does is bring all that together.

I thought that's the issue the USB cable overcame 10+ years ago. Seriously, based on all the technology out there and all their non-specific marketing gibberish, HP will be lucky if this turns out to be a scaled down version of Windows with built-in drivers for "most" HP hardware.

By disorder on 2/15/2011 9:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
If HP can Oprah to give one away, people will be all over it like ants on candy.

Just What Consumers Need
By tech329 on 2/16/2011 6:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if HP can make the computing experience easier or not by going this route. But I can say for sure that adding a new wrinkle for the already challenged mainstream user base to deal with is risky business. I do computer service for a living and one thing people hate is change. Another is being forced to learn something new that they didn't ask for. Good luck with this. I think HP will need a miracle to pull this off.

webos on pc?
By OBLAMA2009 on 2/17/2011 4:42:04 AM , Rating: 2
yeah right like people are really going to go for a pc that requires thenm to hold their hand up to the screen all day...that would be doable for about 10 minutes a day. webos has been out for a few years now and has gained no traction. it doesnt sound to me like thats something they ought to be trying to expand

By MarioJP on 2/17/2011 2:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Nice idea but will it support crysis?? and other PC games??

By Cerin218 on 2/15/2011 4:40:22 PM , Rating: 1
Best system I have ever used. It's simplicity is almost poetic, yet it's incredibly powerful. Cards are a brilliant way to multitask. Most things are intuitive. The only problem I have had with it this far is that you can't transfer files wireless without modifying the phone. But that's when you see even more brilliance, you can modify the linux base in order to do amazing things. I can terminal, script, get, home brew, ssl, ssh, etc. I also like they encourage development and home brew.

The basic idea is that the iPhone is as popular as it is because people want to use their greasy sausage finger to mash an icon and have their system do what they want it to do without thinking about how to do it. Windows is becoming too complicated for the simple things people want to do. Tablets and simplicity is the future. WebOS does both. Simplicity and power is it's brilliance.

Not MS's B?
By The Raven on 2/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not MS's B?
By NellyFromMA on 2/15/2011 12:50:55 PM , Rating: 4

RE: Not MS's B?
By The Raven on 2/15/11, Rating: -1
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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