The Force is with HP webOS

When Lou Gerstner arrived to run a struggling IBM in the early 1990s, he famously said the last thing the company needed was a vision.

That is not how Léo Apotheker, CEO sees things at Hewlett-Packard. In January this year, HP hired a head that was named by Variety Magazine as “one of the top ten talents to watch”: Lucasfilm’s CTO, Richard Kerris.

Not even half a year after the acquisition of Palm, Inc., HP is moving fast to bring webOS to a leading position. Kerris is just one of the all-stars that are going to lead these efforts. From what we’ve seen, it is for real. Still, the industry commentators call this challenge a Biblical task: convincing developers to engage with a platform that won’t have devices in the market until the early summer is like herding cats. Developers today are the hip-hop artists that began to sign up shocking lucrative record deals in the early 1980s. From the ghetto in Jamaica, Queens to the Upper West, the leap to stardom happened almost overnight. Developers in 2010 have become the tech industry’s “Public Enemy” and “Run-D.M.C.”s: Aside from Apple and Google, handsets manufacturers are literally throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at developer events, just to capture their interest. We don’t think money is going to attract development. A rewarding revenue model and a platform that expands one’s work into the world of connected devices is what developers want. And this is what webOS is about.

Richard Kerris decided about three weeks ago – pressed by our stubborn demands, that he had to make an appearance, to come to London and kick-off the webOS CONNECT developer events. He wanted a friendly environment. We chose a bar. He wanted a relaxed atmosphere, the chance to meet developers and influencers personally over an after work drink and hot food. It’s about exchanging views, sharing experiences, syncing efforts. We chose an intimate gathering of around 200 people, not an auditorium. A great line-up of webOS developers will also take the stage and show what it is that webOS brings to developers above and beyond the other platforms.

If you are in London this Wednesday 30th March and want to open your mind and your webOS contacts, drop by Bar Music Hall in Shoreditch for an evening that will give a lot to talk about in the British tech scene.

Sign up here.


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