If you’re a regular reader of this site, there should be no need to tell you that webOS is on its way out as HP has decided to discontinue all webOS hardware, such as the Pre and the TouchPad. The developers who were developing software for the platform will likely feel the pinch, unless they take Microsoft’s offer and start developing apps for Windows Phone 7 instead.
According to a tweet sent out by Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 development at Microsoft, he will personally assist webOS developers with porting their software to Windows Phone 7 by providing tools, training and even free phones:
While the webOS platform won’t be killed off completely, all of the devices that presently run it will be. According to HP, webOS will now be licensed out to third-party makers, but given the small traction the system has received on its own devices, it wouldn’t be surprising if no major manufacturers decided to get on board. Given this, those who live off the webOS ecosystem are nothing but advised to start looking into other options, and while Windows Phone 7 isn’t the most popular platform in the smartphone space, it’s doing much better than webOS has ever done.
Brandon Watson has been known for his generosity before. Unlike any other manager at a company the size of Microsoft, Watson invites developers to directly ask him questions through Twitter, email and even by phone (using his personal phone number!). This strategy seems to be working, since the less than one-year-old platform (Windows Phone 7 specifically) already has nearly 30,000 apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace, which is a very respectable number. Sadly, there aren’t that many webOS developers, but if Microsoft managed to bring some of them into the Windows Phone 7 space, it could lead to significant growth in the future. When asked why give developers so much attention, Watson simply replied “Because every developer matters, that’s why.”
The demise of all webOS devices was announced earlier this week when HP announced its largest restructuring effort in a decade. As part of this shift, the company will significantly change its focus from building hardware to creating software and online services. Aside from the end of webOS devices, HP also plans to look into all options for its computer division, including spinning it off.