HP exec asks for patience on new webOS devices

Hewlett-Packard will release new devices running Palm's webOS platform in the coming months, a company executive said, but he urged the webOS community to be patient as HP moves toward new product launches.

Rahul SoodRahul Sood, HP's CTO of global gaming, posted a detailed essay on HP's plans for webOS after fielding a host of queries about the platform's future on Twitter. Sood is not directly in charge of webOS within HP--former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein is still heading up the former Palm team--but Sood has been engaging the webOS community in the months since HP bought Palm in April for $1.2 billion.

"You will certainly see products released over the next 12 months, some sooner than others, and some which are very exciting to me. The stuff that excites me the most are the new form factors," Sood wrote in his post. "Now, when I said 'over the next 12 months,' I really mean over the next 12 months. Not at the end of 12 months, not tomorrow ... but over the next 12 months we will see the makings of a new portfolio and the beginning of something great again. There is no predefined window of opportunity in the technology business; lack of innovation is the only thing that closes the window."

Sood, the founder of luxury PC maker Voodoo PC (which was acquired by HP in 2006), acknowledged the challenges in bringing together a small company like Palm and a large company like HP--but said the combination will yield benefits to users and developers alike. "While you may have read rumors on the Internet about people leaving the company, what you haven't read is how things are being recharged and re-energized for the better," Sood wrote. "I was there, I've seen it first hand. Things are settling down now, and while challenges still remain, people are focused on the future."

HP has said it will release a webOS tablet early next year, but has been vague about other products. Rubinstein said in June that webOS 2.0, a refreshed version of the operating system, is on track for release "later this year," and said the company is "aggressively" working on new hardware.

Sood said HP is working on both smartphones and other Web-connected devices, which he did not specify, and is committed to delivering webOS on a wide range of devices.

    For more:
    - see this Engadget post
    - see this PC Magazine article
    - see Rahul Sood's blog post

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