RIP TouchPad: HP To Shut Down WebOS Operations

Christina Warren

After confirming that it is looking into spinning off its PC business, Hewlett-Packard made a more shocking announcement Thursday: it is going to "discontinue operations for webOS devices."

HP, the world's largest computer maker, has had limited success with mobile devices. In April 2010, HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion, largely because of the potential of the webOS platform.

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So HP's about-face on webOS comes as a surprise, especially coming just six weeks after the HP TouchPad launched.

In the press release detailing its preliminary Q3 2011 financial results, the company had this to say:

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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.

The webOS-based TouchPad was seen by many (including Mashable) as offering true competition to Apple's iPad. Early reviews were lukewarm, but the device (and webOS) seemed full of potential.

Earlier this week, AllThingsD reported that Best Buy had sold at best just 10% of its TouchPad inventory, leaving more than 225,000 units in warehouses.

In recent weeks, HP has tried to entice customers to the device by dropping the price by $100 -- to $400 and $500 for the 16GB and 32GB versions, respectively. Evidently, that wasn't enough.

Unknown as of this moment: what HP's timetable is for shutting down webOS operations, or what that means for the current Palm/webOS team. We'll be listening in to HP's earnings call this afternoon for more details.

This story originally published on Mashable here.