HP eyes webOS tablets, cars – and kitchen appliances?

HP is looking to expand the reach of its webOS operating system. Look for HP autos and maybe even egg beaters. Maybe.

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    HP may expand its webOS to cars and appliances, the company announced this week. Here, webOS runs on the HP TouchPad.
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HP is looking to extend the reach of its webOS operating system – from your handheld device to your kitchen counter. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal today, Stephen DeWitt, the head of webOS at HP, said he heard an "enormous amount of interest" from potential clients, among them auto manufacturers and makers of household appliances.

"We're looking at expanding the base and bringing to the webOS community an ecosystem that inspires developers out there," DeWitt told the Journal. He did not offer details on which companies HP had approached. So does HP have a shot at expanding beyond the personal tech market? Some tech insiders remain skeptical. "The automobile industry has no interest in changing suppliers every year," Garnter analyst Thilo Koslowski told the Journal.

Over at eWeek, Nathan Eddy agrees that HP will face an "uphill battle" moving the webOS to other platforms. "HP is having enough trouble trying to get consumers to experience webOS on devices other than smartphones, including its highly publicized tablet, the TouchPad," Eddy notes, correctly. "Despite a recent price cut, reports are coming in that sales of the tablet – designed to be a major competitor to Apple's iPad – are flagging."

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The TouchPad, which was released this summer to a tepid critical reaction, has failed to elicit much excitement among consumers. Horizons readers will remember that last week, in an attempt to gin up sales, HP permanently dropped the price of its TouchPad tablet by a hundred bucks. From here on out, the 16 GB TouchPad will go for $399.99 and the 32 GB TouchPad will go for $499.

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