Hewlett-Packard (HP) has outlined plans to use its recently-acquired webOS platform to power a whole range of devices beyond smartphones, including printers. “This isn’t strictly focused on the tablet,” Shane Robison (pictured), HP’s chief strategy and technology officer, told Reuters this week. “We’re going to have printers, even some printers that have detachable, smaller slate devices on them.” According to a CNet News report, Robison had earlier told a conference that most of the company’s printers will soon be web-connected and able to print without a computer, and that webOS would allow HP to have a consistent interface across many of these devices. The strategy is designed to boost the number of webOS apps. “When you think about the number of printers we ship – 50 million-plus a year – that gets the app developers’ attention,” Robison said. “We need a rich catalogue of apps and we’re working hard on that.” According to earlier reports, the new printers are expected to range in price from US$99 to about US$400.
HP inherited the well-regarded webOS operating system following its US$1.2 billion acquisition of Palm earlier this year. The acquisition has raised the prospect that HP could abandon earlier plans to launch devices based on Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android platforms in order to concentrate on webOS. However, while HP plans to offer smartphones and tablets running webOS, Robison said that HP would also offer tablets designed for corporate users that run Windows software. But he added that Google’s Android software was currently “not on the roadmap.”