News of HP discontinuing the entire webOS platform, including the just-shipped TouchPad and Veer, and yet-to-be-shipped Pre 3, was casually dropped in the third graf of an otherwise totally unrelated press release:
In addition, 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.
The very awkward wording implies they're not averse to keeping webOS alive in some form, e.g. on shiny new smart printers as a replacement for the Android-based OS they're using now. But dedicated webOS devices are definitely dead.
So does this mean HP is giving up on the smartphone/tablet market altogether? Might they decide to get back in bed with Microsoft, and shift to producing Windows Phones and Windows 8 tablets?
A better question is: who cares? WebOS was the most interesting thing from anyone in the mobile space besides Apple, and it's dead as an independent platform. Even if they were to change their mind, the casual, sudden way HP killed it should make any developer hesitant to invest resources in an HP-controlled platform again.