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At least one development firm outside the HP partner ecosystem is content to remain on the WebOS sidelines for now.
Roundarch Labs, a Chicago-based user experience and technology design firm that does Flash and Silverlight development, hasn't invested significantly in WebOS development but does have the in-house skills necessary to do so. Dave Meeker, director of emerging technology and co-director at Roundarch Labs, says customer interest has yet to materialize.
"The biggest challenge that WebOS has right now is less related to the ability for agencies to build for the platform, and more so about our clients not asking for apps as Palm has been trailing so far behind iOS and android," said Meeker. "Like all software platforms, should WebOS start to gain market share and become relevant for our clients, we will most certainly be addressing their needs."
PC Mall is a large nationwide solution provider with a $100 million services business, but Rogers says the company has traditionally drawn the line at application development. The growing demand for Sharepoint development is causing PC Mall to reconsider this stance, but for the moment, WebOS development isn’t in the company's plans, she said.
How WebOS fares in the market will be a litmus test of sorts for HP's ability to exert influence in a new market by leveraging its channel. But while Palm wasn't able to achieve widespread success on its own, HP can bring to bear a much larger array of marketing weapons. Plus, CEO Leo Apotheker is very bullish on WebOS. With support like this, WebOS will have plenty of chances to make its mark.
"The HP team has aligned all major resources and strategies from Apotheker on down," said John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations and marketing at Denali Advanced Integration, a Redmond, Wash.-based HP partner. "I certainly believe HP has a very unique approach here and a major competitive advantage."