We are excited to be working with HP on some upcoming developer events: their webOS CONNECT events in Paris and Berlin next week, and our Muther! of all Hackathons in Silicon Valley in June. We sat down with Richard Kerris, HP’s VP of worldwide developer relations for webOS, to find out a little bit more about the events and what’s going on in the webOS ecosystem.
WIP: Hi Richard, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at HP?
RK: I’m the Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations, and I’ve been at HP for a little over 3 months. I’m responsible for the developer program from outreach to tech support to working with business development and marketing teams to support developers once their apps are released. I was most recently at Lucasfilm, and before that, I spent eight years at Apple doing worldwide developer relations there. I really enjoy working with developers because it’s the area where you find the most innovation. The most exciting thing is always what’s coming next, and you find that in working with developers.
Three things really attracted me to HP and webOS. First, the technology. webOS is a beautiful operating system built from the ground up for where the industry and market is going. It has true multitasking, a beautiful way of doing notifications, and Synergy [a user data syncing feature of webOS] is awesome, while the platform lends itself to great apps. Second, The team here is a really good-spirited team, and third, the developer community that’s around webOS right now is one of the most intense and passionate I’ve seen. They are enthusiastic, vocal, supportive – all the things that will benefit us and benefit customers if we deliver in the long run.
WIP: What are the big stories right now for the webOS developer community?
RK: Certainly our developer toolkit, where we are going with Enyo [the new webOS framework], and we are focusing on our tablet family and the Touchpad. We are finally getting some traction delivering on the promise of webOS, and with the backing of HP, there is some real energy going on. The new devices – the Veer, Touchpad and Pre 3 – are our first forays into where we are going, and we are ensuring that we are delivering the tools developers need to deliver great things on the platform.
WIP: Can you tell us what to expect from the webOS CONNECT events in Paris and Berlin? What are they all about, and who should attend?
RK: These events are about connecting developers with our webOS team and with their own peers, both locally and from Silicon Valley. From these connections, grow communities. During the day, we are hosting a webOS workshop which provides developers- who are committed to having apps ready for TouchPad launch- with direct access to pre-release devices and one-on-one engineering support from our team. . That same evening, we are hosting webOS CONNECT, a get-together with some lightning round case studies from local webOS developers who are doing some really interesting things on our platform, a Q and A session, and for those those who want more technical context, a 60-minute deep dive on our Enyo framework .
If people are already developing for webOS, they should come and meet the team and take advantage of these resources. If they’re considering developing for webOS, they can come and learn about the platform and what we can offer.
WIP: Where are you seeing the biggest opportunities for developers right now, and how are HP and webOS helping them to take advantage?
RK: Games are still a big opportunity, and we do graphics very well on webOS with our hybrid PDK/SDK environments. We know from feedback that the multi-tasking and speed of the Touchpad make people really jazzed with graphics performance on it.
Also, the areas of publishing and enterprise are really important for developers. In the publishing space, there is a lot of confusion and opportunity at the same time, because publishers are trying to figure out the digital landscape for news and magazines. Given that webOS is standards-based and that we don’t lock you in to certain things, it’s attractive here because publishers already have huge existing infrastructure for web products.
In the enterprise, HP is in businesses all the way from the data center to the laptop, so having an HP webOS device is a natural fit. It also makes sense because if a business wants to get to the root of the device and do their own custom thing, they can. They don’t have to jailbreak the device to do something close to the metal or customized for the enterprise.