HP has quietly updated its Developer Center with a new notice announcing that it will shutdown the webOS infrastructure that currently powers the HP TouchPad, Pre and Veer hardware will be shutdown on January 15th, 2015. This means that the both the App Catalog and Synergy cloud sync service will be shut down, affecting existing devices. Below, HP’s FAQ on the shutdown:
Q: Why is HP shutting down webOS cloud services?
A: Shutting down webOS cloud services is part of an orderly end of life program. HP announced the end of webOS devices (phones and tablets) over 3 years ago but the services were kept running to allow customers to continue to have a richer user experience. The user count has dwindled to the point where it is no longer viable to keep the services running. This does not disable the devices currently running in the field.
Q: What features will no longer function after the services are shut down?
A: The webOS devices will continue to work without cloud services. However the following features will no longer be available:
- Downloading of new apps or updates. The HP App Catalog will be unavailable after the shutdown.
- Backup or restore devices from the cloud
- Setup new devices
- Lost passwords will no longer be recoverable
Q: Will I get system updates?
A: No. There will be no further system updates available.
Q: I purchased an app that isn’t on my device. Can I still retrieve the app?
A: Until services are shut down on January 15, 2015, you will be able to download all apps that you purchased before November 1, 2014. After the shutdown date, it will no longer be possible to retrieve such apps.
Q: Can I restore an app?
A: Yes, until January 15, 2015. After the shutdown date it will not be possible to restore an app.
Q: Can I restore my device from backup?
A: No, not after the shutdown date of January 15, 2015.
Q: Can I active or re-active a device?
A: Until January 15, 2015, you can activate, reset, or transfer as normal. But after that date it will no longer be possible.
Q: What happens if my device locks and I don’t remember the password?
A: After the services are shut down you will not be able to recover your password. Before January 15, 2015, please make a point of ensuring that you know your password or retrieve it and write it down in a safe location. You also have the option of turning off the device locking function if you choose.
webOS as a platform is currently kept alive by LG, who purchased the platform from HP in 2013 to develop into its own software platform and has so far used it to develop a critically lauded smart TV platform before shifting development to a possible wearables platform in the vein of Samsung’s Tizen with a rumored webOS-powered smartwatch.
However, with the shutdown looming, those users that have still not given up their Pre and Veer smartphones will be forced to move to alternative smartphones due to the heavy reliance on the Synergy cloud service and App Catalog. Those that still own TouchPad tablet will fare better, as it can be turned into a very capable Android tablet that can run every Android version up to KitKat with full hardware support for wireless charging and the front facing camera.