On Tuesday, we wrote about Hewlett-Packard and about how some at the company were hinting that HP's mobile operating system, webOS, would soon come to dashboards. We expressed a heavy dose of doubt about that -- and it turns out that we were right to raise an eyebrow. Today, HP indicated that it would discontinue support for webOS devices, including the TouchPad tablet.
The news came via a press release detailing the company's Q3 financial results. Specifically, the release said:
"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."
HP fans will be quick to point out that the company isn't technically killing off the operating system, only the hardware built to run it. Those on the other side of the fence will probably respond that an operating system isn't much good if it isn't installed anywhere.
So while it's possible that HP might ink a partnership deal with a major manufacturer -- including an automaker -- to keep webOS alive, there's nothing on paper at this point. Company officials have coyly implied that there might be something in the works, but that could also be just so much face-saving in the face of very disappointing news.
HP's announcement came late this afternoon as the markets were closing -- perhaps in the hopes that investors would sleep on the news and wake up less likely to sell off all their holdings. The stock dropped to the lowest point it's hit in a year -- $28.64 -- ending the session at $29.51.