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HP to Kill Off All WebOS Devices

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Six weeks after HP launched their WebOS tablet, the Touchpad – they have decide the throw in the towel and kill off the beleaguered OS and its family of devices.

In an almost insultingly short press release HP said: “In addition, 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 announcement was made after news surfaced that HP were in discussions with Autonomy Corporation PLC to buyout the UK software company for a reported 10 billion.

The new direction for HP is to get out of making physical devices and concentrate on software with the possible acquisition of Autonomy PLC.

The announcement comes as quite a shock and is massive u-turn for the company. In March it announced a strategic review stating that they would integrate WebOS in the all the future hardware.

Even more bizarre is that HP bought Palm so it could release it’s smartphones as a competitor to Apple’s iPhone and Android – but the business centric WebOS has failed to gain any real traction with reviewers, operators and retailers.

The decision to ditch the pre-smartphone as well as its TouchPad tablet computers comes despite paying £727m last year to buy up the technology through its buyout of Palm.

With this decision lurking, it now makes much more sense why HP released the Pre 3 smartphone in the UK with no advertising or official release date earlier this week.

It’s huge news and means that the smartphone market just became a four way race between iOS, Android, Blackberry and WP7. It’s also one less OS in the burgeoning tablet market, which is really just getting off the ground.

Where it leaves customers who have bought Touchpad  remains to be seen, but there is no doubt its days are numbered. We wouldn’t expect any further updates or new Apps – it’s essentially dead in the water.

Customers who have invested in the tablets and phones are now left with an almost worthless devices with no real future – any thoughts that the WebOS eco-system was a viable alternative to Apple, Microsoft, Android and RIM have now all but disappeared.

Have you got a Touchpad or Palm Pre? What do you think of HP’s decision to ditch the OS and devices? Is this the right way to treat early adopters? Let us know by tweeting us.