This just might go down in history as the week the battle lines were drawn in the new OS wars. And who woulda thunk; it's not just Apple iOS vs. Google Android. Oh, it's so much more now! HP has a contender folks.
A year after buying up Palm for $1.2 billion dollars just to get its hands on its mobile operating system, WebOS, HP this week has finally unveiled its highly anticipated tablet competitor, the TouchPad. The TouchPad, of course, uses the old Palm WebOS. Additionally, HP has announced a whole line-up of Smartphones also loaded with WebOS.
But wait there's more!
HP says it will also be using WebOS in some of its future Desktops and laptops.
This isn't just about the tablet market anymore. It's not even about the mobile device market. It's all that and perhaps the entire computer industry.
1. HP is the largest PC manufacturer. When it decides to do something whole hog, it is going to shake up the entire industry. It's too big not to.
2. Microsft just became even more irrelevant. The top PC maker just took a dramatic step - away from them. As an aside, Microsoft is expected to make some sort of partnership announcement with Nokia on Thursday. The two have apparantly decided to join hands as they walk off the cliff together.
3. Don't worry about apps. Yes, there are like no apps out there for WebOS right now. However, this is a case of "if you build it, they will come"; 'they' being the developers. HP is projecting it will be shpping out WebOS in more than a 100 million devices annually fairly quickly. If that's even close to true, you can bet the developers will come.
4. HP has the relationships with major enterprise clients. This gives HP an advantage over both Apple and Google.
5. Don't forget HP's printers and scanners. Picture a line of touchscreen products out of this division. Did I mention that the TouchPad will be tricked out to send print jobs to wireless HP printers?
6. Back to the TouchPad, itself; we really do have a competitor for the iPad. The TouchPad is the same size, the same quality front and back cameras and the same screen resolution. It also runs Flash just fine. It multi-tasks. And, It can sync up and swap files by just bumping two WebOS devices together.
HP doesn't want to sell you just one WebOS device. It wants to sell you a whole family of devices.
P.S. Dell, you are screwed.
Last updated: Feb 9, 2011
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio