Like many of you, I am sure, I spent part of this afternoon keeping tabs on HP’s webOS event. They had a lot to share. Two new smartphones, two new versions of their mobile operating system…and of course the new tablet. But wait, there’s more. HP is planning on leveraging the webOS platform for PCs and laptops. Not a huge surprise in one respect, but still some pretty big news. This is going to make things even more interesting (and complicated) than before in terms of what does and does not define a mobile device. Think HP isn’t serious about this?
“Do the math on 2 PCs sold per second… that’s the start of something pretty big.” says Todd Bradley.
I’m not here to talk about the specs of the new devices or the features/functionality of webOS 2.2 or 3 (the tablet version). For the record, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine when companies split their (mobile) OSs for various form factors. Here, I think Apple is dead on in having the same version of iOS work on both form factors. Hopefully, this will just be a temporary event for HP…because otherwise, it just adds another headache for mobility management…but I digress.
There were a couple of things during the event that really struck me from an enterprise perspective. One was the slide that said “The most advanced cloud computing technology in the universe.” The second was the “Touch to Share” functionality than can transfer whatever you were doing from your webOS tablet to your smartphone (and presumably vice versa). These two things truly speak (to me) seamless mobility. Imagine walking in from work where you just opened up a mobile BI report and then you share it on your tablet to actually be able to use and manipulate the data….or you started an email on your tablet and you have to run out so you “share” it with your smartphone and off you go. I’m not at all sure how that works, but combine that with cloud computing and the use cases just explode.
Actually, it makes me wonder all the more why Microsoft is vehemently against leveraging the Windows Phone 7 platform on tablets. Can you imagine what they could do in the enterprise by combining that with Azure? But again, I digress. Back to HP and webOS.
All this webOS in the enterprise talk assumes of course that the workplace will adopt this platform and the new devices. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always been a big fan of webOS. Palm had a brilliant vision of what a mobile OS could do….except they were never able to execute on these promises. Obviously, HP has far deeper pockets and appears to be putting its money where its mouth is when they said they were “doubling down” on webOS. The key to success will be two-fold: 1) consumer adoption and 2) application/developer support. Palm failed on both fronts…but I can’t help but think back to “Two PCs sold every second.”
HP is obviously well respected by consumers…and the consumerization of enterprise mobility is yesterday’s news, so webOS in the workplace is at the very least a genuine possibility. webOS is back….but we said that a few years ago as well. What I do know is that the space of enterprise mobility never ceases to change and remain interesting. What do you think? Does webOS have a chance now? Do you have webOS envy now?