"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."
"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."
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.
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.
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.
Read on to see what I found in the way of Touchpad and accessory deals.
Most significantly, the Pre 3 launch is proceeding, albeit as a "limited" launch in "limited markets" and presumably, in very limited quantities. The USA will sadly not see an official Pre 3 launch despite the device hitting the UK and parts of the EU earlier this month in advance of the big WebOS hardware discontinuation news of last week.
HP VP of WebOS Worldwide Developer Relations Richard Kerris sent out a surprise series of Tweets earlier today indicating that the QuickOffice update was coming this week and is in final stages of testing now. No word as of yet if this is a TouchPad-only update or if the plans to release a 2.x smartphone-compatible paid version are still in the works.
No word as of yet on the status of the status of the upcoming TouchPad 4G on AT&T but it will presumably not see the light of day either. If it does, it will likely be sold without any carrier support, marketing, or endorsements. As of this writing, AT&T is still officially selling the Pixi Plus and Veer 4G for "free" on a 2year contract online and in-stores, though there's no assurance these devices will last much longer, especially with unlocked Veer handsets already having been blown out by HP last Friday night for a mere $50.
As expected, response to the clearance pricing has been absolutely phenomenal, with the TouchPad arguably being the most sought-after piece of personal technology ever online. Over 350,000 TouchPads were reportedly sold this past weekend, with those numbers certain to grow as warehouses empty out the remaining TouchPad stock.
Unfortunately, users cannot manually pull the update and must wait for it to be available unless they are comfortable using unofficial homebrew techniques to install the update. A PDF of installation instructions and release notes is available here (.pdf link) from Verizon Wireless.
Aside from a few users reporting installation quirks, initial user reports for the update are quite positive thus far, at least as far as GPS lock and synchronization issues being resolved. As always, HP recommends downloading the update via wi-fi, though the 28MB update file can be downloaded over 3G.
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