It’s Official: HP Kills Off webOS Phones And The TouchPad

Brace yourselves, webOS fans.

In the hours leading up to their Q3 conference call later today, HP has just confirmed that they will be discontinuing operations surrounding the TouchPad and all webOS phones.

To quote their press release:

HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

This news will come as a rather huge punch to the gut for webOS die-hards (myself included, though you can’t say that we couldn’t see it coming), many of whom have stood by the product for years — first in hopes that Palm would eventually launch a device worthy of the rather fantastic operating system, and later in hopes that HP’s acquisition of Palm would be the spark to the fire that just never seemed to light.

On the upside, webOS itself isn’t dead — at least, not just yet. HP’s wording up above leaves things a bit vague, with at least two potential routes left open: licensing webOS to others, and sticking webOS in other, non-phone/tablet devices (HP has already mentioned plans to put it in printers and cars.) Until further notice, however, it’s essentially dead in the water.

Pour one out for webOS devices tonight, my fellow geeks.

Update: If HP needs a way out while still saving face, here’s the way to do it.

Update: HP’s Stephen DeWitt says “We are not walking away from webOS.” They will continue efforts to advance and perhaps license the OS, but its life as we have known it is certainly over.