Nearly a year has passed since HP plunked down $1.2 billion to acquire Palm, and now the company is aggressively courting WebOS developers.
HP pounded home its WebOS message to solution providers at its Americas Partner Conference this week, and on Wednesday released its WebOS 3.0 software development kit. The WebOS 3.0 SDK is free, but HP is limiting distribution to developers in its Early Access program.
The WebOS 3.0 SDK gives developers the wherewithal to start building mobile applications for the HP TouchPad, which is slated for launch this summer, as well as future WebOS devices, HP said in a Wednesday blog post.
Developers can use the SDK to kick the tires on Enyo, HP's development framework for the TouchPad and "future WebOS form factors," and to get acquainted with WebOS features like Just Type, formerly called Universal Search. HP is also playing up WebOS features like Exhibition, which displays an application on a device's screen while it's charging on a TouchStone; and Synergy, which synchronizes data on a user's Web-based accounts.
HP's pitch to developers highlights the "seamless, secure and connected experience" it's building across smartphones, tablets, PCs, printers and unspecified "other products." HP is also channeling Carl Sagan, or perhaps Dr. Evil, by characterizing the size of the WebOS opportunity in lofty terms.
"Developing for WebOS now puts you in a position to deliver innovative apps to potentially millions of devices every year," HP said in the blog post.
With the TouchPad, HP is entering a market where differentiation is getting tougher to establish. HP sees its channel partners as an important strategic asset, and this week at APC, Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president of HP's Americas Solution Partners Organization, chided Apple for not leveraging partner expertise.
HP will no doubt continue to beat this particular drum, but Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group, told APC attendees this week that Apple is by no means the only tablet foe on HP's radar.
"We’re going to fight everybody. This is not an Apple and HP scenario," Bradley said at APC.