HP is reported to be testing Microsoft's in-development Windows 8 operating system on the TouchPad tablet computer the company discontinued in August just six weeks after the product's launch.
The report from Fox News raises more questions about the already uncertain future of the webOS mobile operating system that HP used to power the TouchPad.
Microsoft's Windows 8, which is expected to be ready sometime later in 2012, is being developed to run on both desktop and tablet computers. Last month Microsoft debuted a preview release of Windows 8 for developers at its Build conference and the Fox news story reported that HP is "doing proof-of-concept work" testing the Windows 8 preview on the TouchPad.
The story quoted sources inside HP as saying there is an ongoing debate about whether to revive the TouchPad.
In August HP said that in addition to discontinuing the TouchPad, it planned to spin off its Personal Systems Group. But CEO Leo Apotheker, who engineered that plan, was fired last month and yesterday the company reversed that decision, opting to retain PSG.
A shift to using Windows 8 in the TouchPad would be further evidence that HP is moving away from webOS, the mobile operating system the company acquired last year when it bought Palm for $US1.2 billion ($A1.12 billion). The company is still mulling what to do with webOS -- the Fox News story quoted sources as saying HP has been shopping it to HTC, LG and other manufacturers.
In a conference call about the PSG decision, CEO Meg Whitman said HP would make a long-term decision about the future of webOS in the new few months. She said HP is considering using webOS in other parts of the company.
Earlier this week, in what was seen as another blow to the future of webOS, Richard Kerris, vice president of webOS worldwide developer relations, left HP to take a job with Nokia.