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HP to put a WebOS in every PC

Platform shootout extends to the desktop

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HP is planning to put WebOS onto every PC it sells in 2012 in an attempt to attract developers to the platform, not to mention selling HP as a provider of cloud services.

The promise came during a presentation to Indian staff by Leo Apotheker, observed by Bloomberg, during which the CEO said that WebOS will be installed on every PC sold in 2012, in addition to Microsoft Windows, in order to expand the WebOS platform and make it more attractive to developers.

HP has already said that it sees WebOS as a platform with potential outside mobile phones, but embedding it in every PC underlines that commitment even if WebOS won't be the default OS.

It seems more likely that it will be some sort of WebOS execution environment, making WebOS applications run on top of Windows rather than requiring the user to pick which OS to use. WebOS developers currently run a WebOS machine on emulated hardware, using the Oracle-owned VirtualBox. Tighter integration should be possible and would create a nested environment into which users could install safe (signed) WebOS applications, but still resort to Windows apps where necessary.

That would ape the Apple desktop model, with users able to step outside the trusted store if they wish but encouraged to default to the manufacturer's store for their application needs. That's no bad thing; it's a model worth emulating, but it won't be so easy for HP to do.

There's more detail about HP's plans coming on 14 March, and Bloomberg has much speculation on what that might include including possible acquisitions and background on the new CEO. ®

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