HP Partners Testing The Waters On WebOS Development


Hewlett Packard has big aspirations for WebOS, and it's trying to get channel partners excited, too. But while they're intrigued by WebOS, many long-time HP partners are still in wait-and-see mode, cognizant of the fact that HP faces a fierce headwind of mobile industry competition.

Yet, HP partners who have dipped their toes in the WebOS development waters have come away impressed with its user interface, multitasking capability and the ease with which they can build applications. WebOS' "touch to share" technology, which transfers URLs and files from one device to another by tapping them together, is seen as another potential differentiator for HP.

Synnex, whose CEO Kevin Murai has made mobility a top long-term strategic priority, is an early entrant to WebOS development and built a scheduling application for HP's Americas Partner Conference in March.

Rob Moyer, vice president of cloud computing programs at Synnex, said the distributor has long admired Palm's technology and feels that it will get even better under HP's watch. "We picked WebOS very early, and we did so mainly because of its technology attributes," he said in an interview. "We've always liked Palm and we wanted to be early adopters."

Greenville, S.C.-based Synnex has a dedicated WebOS development team that is working on a "handful" of other apps, but Moyer declined to elaborate on the size of the team or on how many WebOS apps are forthcoming.

Bedrock Technology Partners, an HP partner based in San Mateo, Calif., is building customized apps for several customers who have expressed interest in the platform. CEO Dean Cappellazzo sees opportunities in building applications for his customers, particularly in areas such as field sales, manufacturing floors, healthcare, point-of-sale and other verticals.

"It’s important for HP to build a community of application developers to grow WebOS, and we've already begun making these investments," Cappellazzo said.

HP's TouchPad tablet, slated for launch this summer, could challenge the iPad in verticals such as healthcare and education, according to Moyer.

"There's definite a high level of interest from channel partners in these segments," he said. "Organizations are supporting iPad because of user demand, but there's definitely a sense that the market would like a really good alternative to the iPad. And I think they are more comfortable with HP's business model."

Next: HP's View Of The TouchPad Tablet Competition