I attended HP’s press conference this morning and Linux again took center stage as a major technology leader revealed the details of its mobile device strategy. HP announced two new WebOS phones and more importantly an impressive new tablet that is a clear contender against the iPad. While I don’t for one second underestimate Apple, that was not the most interesting part of the event for me.
The most interesting part of the event came near the end when HP announced that it is going to ship WebOS not only in phones, tablets and printers, but in PC’s as well. In doing so, the worlds largest PC supplier is indicating that they are going to ship PC’s without Windows. For Microsoft - who was nowhere at this event - that has got to hurt. Perhaps this really IS the year of the Linux desktop.
For investors and developers alike, this is your canary in the coal mine in case you haven’t been paying attention lately. There are very few things in computing that are not made with Linux these days. Linux is the underpinning technology for nearly every sector of the market in every form of computing.
HP is among a number of leading companies who understand that when consumers expect sophisticated devices and innovation is happening super fast, they can’t go it alone. HP could not have untethered itself from Microsoft and created the devices it revealed today or come to market this fast, if it had started from scratch. And, WebOS would not be what it is today without all of the technologies that is provided with Linux and the myriad of projects that make up a typical Linux platform. All the work that goes into these Linux-based mobile devices helps other solutions succeed.
By using Linux to capture what analysts predict will be a $30B market for tablets by 2012, HP is further validating Linux as the foundation from which next-generation mobile devices will run. Companies are choosing Linux because it supports more architectures and more devices than any other OS and is freely available and is able to be custom-branded. No other OS on the market can deliver on all of this.
HP’s decision to build its next-generation of devices on Linux and WebOS is good for HP, good for other Linux-based OSes, and good for the platform. The more companies who are building on Linux, the stronger the platform becomes. We’re looking forward to bringing HP and other community stakeholders together on future Linux and WebOS innovations.