The webOS system may have met its doom, as HP recently announced the abandonment of its related product lines, including smartphones, tablets and mobile phone accessories.
The company acquired Palm last spring, for a price tag of more than $1 billion. With the purchase came webOS, a closed web-based operating system. Much like Apple's iOS, it only runs on the company's devices, which may have been part of its downfall. Google's Android, in contrast, is open to mobile devices across the board, which has lead to its overall growth in popularity in the smartphone and tablet markets. At the same time, Apple is bolstered by its innovative starts and company brand, which may be the reason its closed system has fared so well.
Despite the recent news, HP had released a number of new webOS products in the past few months – notably the Palm 3 smartphone in Eurpoean markets. In the wake of the announced end of the OS, the future of the Palm 3 looks shaky for U.S. and worldwide distribution.
The biggest question facing the mobile OS industry is now who will buy webOS if HP puts it up for sale. Having traded hands once already in recent history, it may not appear to be a sound investment, but obtaining an established system may be easier than building one from the ground up.