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Whitman: HP to Decide on WebOS Within Weeks

meg whitman hp ceo According to a new report from AllThingsD, HP's CEO Meg Whitman is about ready to end the ongoing saga over the uncertain future of WebOS within the next two weeks. Speaking to a French newspaper, she reportedly revealed:

Q: What will you do with your operating system webOS?

A: We should announce our decision in the next two weeks. This is not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo. We need to have another operating system.

The original interview, in French, can be found here, or via Google Translate if you prefer.

Reuters Reports WebOS Sale Possible, Announcement Expected Soon

After nearly three months of uncertainty, it looks like the other shoe may be ready to drop for HP's WebOS decision. A Reuters article reports that HP is in talks to sell WebOS to any of "several" unnamed suitors. Assisting HP in the decision to keep or sell the WebOS/Palm GBU is Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Reuters does not mention a specific amount other than "hundreds of millions", which is far below the $1.2 Billion that HP originally paid for Palm in April of 2010.

HP Holding All-Hands Meeting Tonight on WebOS Future
The story has just taken yet another twist as an anonymous tipster has revealed to Precentral.net that an all-hands meeting of the WebOS GBU has been called at Palm's Sunnyvale HQ. According to the report, HP's newly-appointed CEO Meg Whitman and current SVP Jon Rubinstein will both be in attendance, a move that some are speculating is a harbinger of some potentially positive news. Of course, HP may also simply decide to shutter all WebOS-related operations.

Best Buy to Offer $150 TouchPad PC Bundle

HP TouchPad best buy Even with an uncertain future facing the platform, HP has just announced a new TouchPad-related deal via a joint promotion with retail giant Best Buy. This latest "deal" offers consumers a $150 32GB TouchPad (HP's standard, non-bundle clearance price) with the purchase of select HP or Compaq Desktop, Laptop, or all-in-one PCs at Best Buy.

This offer is set to begin November 1st, and will be available through Bestbuy.com and all brick and mortar retail stores nationwide. No word on the quantity of units available for this promotion or an effective end date for the promotion, though speculation is running rampant that these TouchPads are part of the "final batch" of TouchPads promised back in August.

Guardian Reports WebOS Days Are Numbered

hp webos logo The UK's Guardian paper is reporting that an imminent shutdown is looming for the last vestiges of HP's WebOS division. According to a new piece posted today by Charles Arthur, the report states that up to 500 jobs could be lost due to the closure of the WebOS division between now and November.

With yesterday's announcement that HP intends to keep its PC division, unconfirmed internal memos reportedly claim that there is a 95% likelihood that the end of WebOS as an operating and as a part of HP's portfolio is in sight.

Sporadic rumors continue to swirl about possible suitors for HP's Palm and WebOS-related IP, namely yesterday's report that Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer responded with "Never say never" in regards to an inquiry about acquiring WebOS from HP.

HP Decides Not to Spin off PC Division, webOS Future Still Uncertain

New HP Logo Thursday, October 27th marked the end of a long period of uncertainty for the HP faithful, as the company announced via conference call to not spin-off their Personal System Group and personal computer business. A period of evaluating various strategic alternatives revealed the unsurprising analysis that spinning off the world's still-profitable #1 PC business would not be a cost-effective move for HP.

Meg Whitman, HP's newly-appointed president and CEO stated:

"HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," "HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger."

Of course, seeing as how WebOS and the Palm Global Business Unit fall under this division of HP, Executive Vice President of the PSG Todd Bradley said that HP is committed to WIndows 7 and 8-based tablets going forward and are still working to make a decision about "the long-term future of WebOS within HP over the next couple of months".

WebOS Dev Head Leaves for Nokia

While the exodus of top WebOS and Palm talent from HP has slowed in recent weeks, HP's former VP of Worldwide Developer Relations Richard Kerris has just announced that he has left HP and is now employed by Nokia. Prior to the move to Nokia, Kerris was most recently heard from publicly announcing the availability of the full version of QuickOffice for Touchpads approximately two months ago.

Kerris will not be alone at Nokia, as former Palm VP of Design Peter Skillman has been with Nokia since September of 2010.

TouchPad Receives WebOS 3.04 Update

Touchpad Discount Despite the level of uncertainty surrounding the future of WebOS and HP's Personal Systems Group, the TouchPad has nevertheless received a new OTA update, making good on HP's promises to continue updating the device and the OS. Bearing version number 3.0.4 build 77, this rather surprising release brings about a number of improvements, including:

  • A native camera application (finally!)
  • Bluetooth pairing enabling non-WebOS phones to use the TouchPad as a speakerphone
  • OGG Vorbis audio file support

In addition to the major improvements seen above, HP has also seen fit to make the usual performance tweaks to the OS, alongside the V8 Javascript rendering engine and the Enyo framework. According to PreCentral's Derek Kessler, HTML5 video playback is now enabled in the browser. Numerous other users who have installed the update are reporting performance boosts across the board.

Apotheker Out, As HP Names Meg Whitman CEO

HP's board of directors today announced that Léo Apotheker has "stepped down" as CEO. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has been appointed as the new president and chief executive officer.

"We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman's caliber and experience step up to lead HP," said HP Board Director Ray Lane. "We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP's board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets."

HP Begins Layoffs at the Palm Global Business Unit

HP is currently in the process of letting a large amount of former Palm Inc. employees go amid the recent decision by HP to terminate its mobile hardware business. WSJ's Digital Daily reports that as many at 525 people will be fired, more than half the current headcount.

"As communicated on August 18, HP will discontinue the development of webOs devices within the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which ends Oct. 31, 2011," an HP spokesperson told AllThingsD. "As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in workforce."

More Details on the Final TouchPad Production Run

HP TouchPad 4G Taiwanese Industry publication DigiTimes has posted a new article today giving some possible quantities alongside a timeframe for the "final batch" of clearance-priced TouchPads. According to the article, late October is when eager WebOS fans will have an opportunity to snag a final new TouchPad, as HP is planning on aiding their component supplies by assembling 100,000 to 200,000 unassembled 9.7-inch TouchPads. No additional information was given regarding the allocation of 16, 32, and 64GB versions or if any HSPA 4G TouchPads would be included in this final run.

Another interesting bit of info from the DigiTimes article cites an Inventec source in stating that that the smaller 7-inch TouchPad "Go/Opal" has indeed been abandoned and no units will be produced. Today's update comes on the heels of another DigiTimes article from Tuesday that reported HP's suppliers in Taiwan (including ODM Inventec) are sitting on various components for approximately 100,000 7-inch TouchPads that were originally slated to begin production at the end of this quarter. It is highly unlikely at this point that a production-ready 7" TouchPad will ever see the light of day, unlike the more established 9.7" versions.

HP to Resume Production on Final Batch of TouchPads

HP TouchPad inventory availability In the latest (but by no means final) twist to the wild two week saga of the discontinuation of all WebOS hardware, HP has finally made an official announcement to their The Next Bench site updating us on the status of the remaining TouchPad inventory earmarked for clearance.

Most surprising of all, according to HP's Mark Budgell's post today, is that HP has been so "pleasantly surprised" by the flurry of excitement online and in retail stores over the TouchPad that they have given in to the overwhelming response of the market and decided to produce one final batch of new devices. There is no indication as to how many units qualify as a "run" nor any specifics about color, storage capacity, or CPU speed.

Full version of QuickOffice HD released for TouchPad

Despite missing last week's self-imposed deadline by a few days, HP has finally come through with the highly-anticipated update for QuickOffice for TouchPad owners. HP's Jon Zilber has posted to the Official Palm Blog that an update was made available yesterday to add full document editing and creation capabilities for MS Word and Excel files.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint presentations remain read-only, but two out of three is certainly a huge improvement for frustrated WebOS users. The new version of QuickOffice HD is a free download in the App Catalog for TouchPad users and, as mentioned earlier this month, a paid version with editing capabilities is promised down the road for WebOS smartphones users.

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