The return of webOS? HP confirms it will have another go at making tablets for consumers

by Doug Drinkwater

August 20 2012

HP's TouchPad tablet debuted last year but after a series of discounts was discontinued.
HP's TouchPad tablet debuted last year but after a series of discounts was discontinued.

The TouchPad tablet may have been an unmitigated disaster, but that isn’t stopping HP from taking another stab at making tablets for consumers.

This news comes about after a leaked memo revealed that HP has created a new Mobility division, which is tasked with making consumer tablets and related devices.

The memo, first discovered by The Verge, sees HP exec Todd Bradley explain that the division will be headed up by Alberto Torres, who previously ran Nokia’s MeeGo operation, and will run independently from HP’s Windows 8 tablets and notebooks divisions.

HP certainly has a chequered history when it comes to tablets, at least in the consumer space. The company acquired Palm and previewed its webOS operating system running on the new TouchPad tablet in February, 2011 followed by its release later that summer and the news it was a being phased out the same year. Earlier this year, HP announced a project to make webOS open source.

HP has quietly made tracks with its Slate Windows 7 tablets for business ever since, and CEO Meg Whitman recently voiced that the firm’s forthcoming Windows 8 tablets will support the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend which is gaining popularity in the workplace.

It will certainly be intriguing to see where HP goes with consumer tablets. Android would perhaps be the most obvious choice for the operating system, although Whitman hasn't ruled out making webOS tablets in 2013. And while HP's first Windows 8 tablet is expected to be for enterprise users, Microsoft's operating system is clearly one which is geared up for consumers too.

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