webOS is the heart of how HP will compete against far more established competitors in the mobile marketplace, especially in the enterprise, where it may have its best chance of success against Apple iOS and Google Android.

At the opening keynote yesterday for HP Discover, CEO Leo Apotheker said the TouchPad is designed with the enterprise in mind. It’s the first serious device that HP has offered in the tablet space with features that do differentiate it from its competitors. At its core is webOS 3.0.

The HP TouchPad is late to the party. But sometimes being late to the party is really the best way to make an entrance, especially about enterprise.

Three reasons why HP’s focus on the enterprise makes sense:

  • Apple will never say iOS is built with the enterprise in mind.
  • Google wants Android to be everything for everyone.
  • Blackberry is losing its stature. It will take time for the company to rebound.

Microsoft may be its biggest enterprise rival. Its emphasis on the enterprise is evident in Mango, the latest version of Windows Phone.

Paul Bryan of Microsoft writes:

“Customers tell us they’re continually trying to stay on top of their busy schedules. With this in mind, Mango is designed to make you even more productive right out-of-the-box–helping you quickly and easily stay connected with the people and information that are most important to you. For instance, we’ve heard that you like how the Office Hub helps bring together Office documents like Word, Excel, One Note, and PowerPoint in one place. In Mango, we’re adding the ability to save and share Office documents through Office 365 and Windows Live SkyDrive, ensuring you have access to the latest documents when and where you need them.”

Other factors in play that help tip things in HP’s favor:

  • An open app environment. Enyo is a framework for webOS 3.0. It allows the developer to take code and condense it. The framework still executes and does so more efficiently. It’s easier for developers.
  • Developers can create cross-platform apps. Enyo is again the magic sauce. It allows for the app to work across different screen resolutions, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
  • webOS runs Citrix Receiver, allowing for a secure, virtualized mobile desktop.
  • webOS will be added to all HP, PCs, laptops and printers.
  • Enyo can be used in WebKit.
  • An independent software vendor network that includes SAP and Microsoft.
  • webOs has a connected component. You can touch a Palm Pre smartphone to the Touhpad or vice versa. That’s a compelling seamless capability.

    This all may be irrelevant, considering the strength of the iOS and Android. Apple’s app ecosystem is built for developers to benefit with a percentage of what is paid for the app. webOS needs its own app ecosystem but now that is still just emerging. That will be a critical component as the webOs matures and looks for traction with the developer community.

    Plus, there’s another factor in play. And that’s the bring your own device (BYOD) movement. People are using their own smartphones and tablets for work and in the home. They will not necessarily need a new device. But we’ll see. HP knows how to market computers.

    HP paid the airfare and hotel for the writer to attend HP Discover.