HP spins off WebOS business, rebranding it as 'Gram'

The mobile OS group's fate has been in limbo since the company killed off its WebOS devices last year.

Hewlett-Packard is rebranding its WebOS Global Business Unit as a new company called Gram, according to an internal company e-mail.

Penned by HP Senior VP Martin Risau, the August 11 memo obtained by CNET encourages employees to tell outsiders little about the company other than it is operating in stealth mode:

Thank you for all of your enthusiasm at yesterday's new brand announcement: GRAM. We hope you will fall in love with the brand just as lots of us have already.

Please note that our Mission, Values, and Plan of Action are the same. We are continuing to march forward on our timelines as usual -- nothing new there.

We have much work to do, and, again, I solicit your help.

Yes, this is a new brand -- it is just the beginning, and there is so much more to do. And yet unveiling the new brand is also a Call to Action:

Try it on. We don't expect you to love it overnight. We are no longer a consumer hardware brand, we are a different company with focus on software, User Experience, Cloud, engineering, and partnering. This change in identity will take some getting used to and that's normal.

Stealth mode. We are an incubation company, and we are trusting you to keep this company name and product under the radar to give it time to take root and grow. You can wear the logo, help build the momentum of the new identity, talk to your families and friends about it. If someone from the outside asks, you can say, "GRAM is a new company. We are in stealth mode on our product offering."

Tap your network. Help us hire the best and the brightest, refer your friends and help us in our shared purpose as we continue our rise to the top. You can use the name to help us to recruit.

Be the culture. Spread our Values: People Matter. Integrity and Trust. Deliberate Innovation. Act small, deliver big.

For those of you who could not attend yesterday's unveiling -- we really missed you. Please be on the lookout for the gift bags with our new cool branded items, which we will be mailing out to you this and next week. All of you should get one, if not -- let me know.

Best

Martin

With its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in July 2010, HP had a mobile operating system of its own and was suddenly relevant in the smartphone industry. However, despite critical praise, the operating system failed to gain traction in the crowded mobile OS market .

The unit's fate has been in limbo for the past year, since then-HP CEO Leo Apotheker announced in August 2011 that the company would discontinue operations for WebOS devices , specifically the TouchPad and WebOS phones. New CEO Meg Whitman ultimately decided last December to open-source the operating system and the Enyo application framework.

HP announced last month that Enyo 2 had exited beta and was available for developer use. While the first version of Enyo was focused on HP's failed TouchPad tablet, the new iteration can be used to build apps for iOS, Android, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

HP promises to release the beta of Open WebOS this month, with version 1 to follow next month.

A source close to the company said HP plans to make a formal announcement detailing the new company's business after it releases Open WebOS next month. CNET has contacted HP for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

 

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