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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 9, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Confirmed: HP putting WebOS on all PCs

More details about Hewlett-Packard’s plans for the WebOS operating system emerged in a Bloomberg-BusinessWeek profile of HP’s new boss.

Chief Executive Leo Apotheker told the publication that starting next year, every HP PC “will include the ability to run WebOS” in addition to Windows.

The comment was paraphrased and few additional details were provided in the story. It said HP’s goal is to draw application developers to the potentially huge platform.

Apotheker’s comment echoes what Phil McKinney, CTO of HP’s personal systems group, told me at the WebOS launch last month. McKinney said HP’s new approach “will be a combination of taking the existing operating systems and bringing WebOS onto those platforms and making it universal across all of our footprint,” but he didn’t provide a timeframe.

Consumers should expect “dual boot” systems that launch either operating system, similar to the new Viewsonic ViewPad tablet that runs both Windows and Android and Macs that are set up to run Windows as well as OS X.

This means Microsoft isn’t losing its largest customer for PC operating systems just yet.

It also challenges the team in Redmond to give Windows 8 enough features and quality that customers choose to run their systems on Windows, instead of the other OS that will be at their fingertips.

Maybe this will ensure that the next version of Windows does some or all of the cool tricks of WebOS, such as simple, automatic synchronization of users’ files and work in progress across their phones, tablets and PCs.

So far WebOS does this with other WebOS devices. Maybe the opportunity for Windows is to provide platform-agnostic, universal synchronization to users.

Either way, the pressure HP’s bringing could end up improving the Windows PCs offered by every computer maker.

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