Today, I attended the HP webOS event at the Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. My colleague Sarah Rotman Epps is writing about the TouchPad, but I’m more interested in where HP takes webOS and how it relates to the Personal Cloud idea I first published more than a year ago.
I'm interested in where HP will take webOS — HP won't stick to just consumer markets, and it won't just build smartphones and tablets. Todd Bradley, HP’s EVP for Personal Systems Group, announced that HP will put webOS on PCs and printers before the end of the year.
Two strategic things that I think HP will do:
- Put webOS on business PCs, not just consumer PCs. HP has long wanted more control and differentiation than they can get just putting a UI layer on Windows. HP will create conventional PCs with webOS, to stretch the webOS into the core personal devices market. That creates a much larger market for developers, which is vital to succeeding with a new OS. At the event, HP’s Steven McArthur, SVP Applications and Services, said HP plans to "build the largest installed base of connected devices in the world."
- Expand HP Synergy technology and cloud services aggressively, including to non-WebOS devices. The Palm team's early features for creating an integrated view of contacts on the Pre from across several sources, such as Gmail and Facebook, was an example of the Personal Cloud idea. Today's announcements of HP Synergy builds on that small start — I think HP is thinking deeply about how to integrate information, sync it, host it, and create seamless access to personal and work information across all devices. HP has the potential to become the fifth top player in Personal Cloud ecosystems, joining Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.