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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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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?

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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