Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that HP is looking into a sale or spinoff of its PC business and is discontinuing its webOS-based hardware program. An interesting move by the company, considering HP obtained it last year with the $1.2 billion purchase of Palm and relaunched on Pre smartphones and the TouchPad tablet just months ago.
According to This is my next, HP engineers had tested webOS on an iPad, discovering that the operating system ran “over twice as fast” on the iPad 2 as it did on the TouchPad for which it had been designed for. Surprisingly, webOS running as a web app within the iPad 2’s Safari browser proved to offer better performances than on the TouchPad.
In addition, The Next Web reports that the TouchPad hardware had already been designed when HP acquired Palm last year. Engineers were tasked with getting webOS running on the existing TouchPad’s design, and due to outdated hardware the webOS team lacked the ability to innovate and led to poor response from the market.
The hardware reportedly stopped the team from innovating beyond certain points because it was slow and imposed constraints, which was highlighted when webOS was loaded on to Apple’s iPad device and found to run the platform significantly faster than the device for which it was originally developed.
With a focus on web technologies, webOS could be deployed in the iPad’s Mobile Safari browser as a web-app; this produced similar results, with it running many times faster in the browser than it did on the TouchPad.
HP has discontinued the TouchPad, but is still available for purchase for just $99.