HP Gives up on webOS Hardware, Leaves Door Open for Licensing


When Hewlett-Packard (HP) bought Palm in 2010, it looked like webOS still had a bright future. First developed by Palm on top of a Linux kernel, webOS looked like it could potentially rival Android and even iOS at some point, especially given that HP wanted to put its full marketing power behind it. Today, however, HP announced that, as part of a major reshuffle of its business, it would stop developing webOS devices altogether.

Those webOS devices HP came up with, however, were at best minor successes and at worst, as in the case of the TouchPad tablet, major disasters (even though the hardware really wasn’t that bad). HP was never able to convince developers to release software for the platform and consumers aren’t likely to buy a device that doesn’t feature the right apps.

Here is the language from HP’s press release:

In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.


In the past, HP was rather bullish on webOS. Just a week ago, the company was still talking about taking it beyond the tablet and phone and bring it to cars. HP also planned to bring it to Windows PCs as either a secondary operating system or as a shell on top of Windows.

No More HP webOS Devices

While HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker noted that the TouchPad did fulfill the company’s sales expectations, few expected the company to fully cancel the program altogether. In today’s earning’s call, he also noted that HP sees “too long a ramp-up in the market share” and hence decided to exit the market space as it is “no longer in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.” Interestingly, Apotheker only talked about the tablet business and didn’t address the phone business at all.

Given that HP still hopes to “optimize the value of the webOS software going forward,” there is still some hope that the company will choose to license it to other manufacturers or sell it to a competitor.

It’s hard to imagine who would be interested in the software, though, as virtually all of HP’s competitors already have their open tablet operating systems.


9:14 pm

Google Shuts Down its Dictionary Service


Google has shut down and is telling its users to use the define command in Google Search instead.

Lately, we have written quite a few stories about Google shutting some of its products down to ensure the company’s focus doesn’t stray too far from its core mission (it’s self-driving cars, though, remain on the road – and sometimes crash). Now, The Next Web’s Paul Sawers reports that the company just shut down Google Dictionary, a service that used to give users the ability to get access to dictionary definitions and usage examples. According to Google, the company decided to roll this functionality into its main search engine, where users can simply use “define [word]” to get almost the same functionality.

On Google’s support forum, though, the company’s users are not just complaining about the closure of the dictionary service, but also note that the define command often doesn’t work as expected.


In many ways, this move makes sense, as Google Search does offer the same functionality as the dictionary site (assuming it always works). On the other hand, though, most mainstream users are not familiar with all the advanced features Google offers – including search commands like define – and the majority of Google’s users are not geeks and early adopters but the same mainstream users who are now complaining about the closure of this service.

[via Engadget and The Next Web]

6:02 pm

Lacking Partnerships And Patience, Google Shuts Down Google Health and PowerMeter


Google just announced that it is shutting down its electronic health records product Google Health and its energy metering product PowerMeter. Both of these were products that Google positioned as potential game changers in their industries but that never really caught on with users and partners. Indeed, one of the things that the two products have in common is that they relied on bringing enough industry partners on board to ensure the availability of third-party data. Outside of a few major partnerships (including a cooperating with CVS), that sadly never happened.


6:59 pm