HP has a lot in mind for the TouchPad tablet that runs WebOS other than just the standard tablet duties we are all familiar with. HP is going all out to reach that number one plus status that it dreams of and to oust the iPad as the top tablet on the market. HP has noted in the past that WebOS would come to devices other than the tablet and smartphones we know about with things like printers and appliances hinted at.
HP CTO Phil McKinney has now demonstrated the HP TouchPad tablet controlling appliances. This certainly isn't a first for tablets; there are apps for the iPad and iPhone that allow for home automation. At Maker Faire 2011, McKinney showed off the TouchPad controlling a fan, lamp, and thermostat that were nearby during his presentations. Again, all of those items can be controlled by existing apps and tablets as well.
It seems that HP thinks its marketing clout might be big enough to get appliance makers to build the capability for control into their appliances. I am all for that, assuming it doesn't greatly increase the cost of the appliances and the system HP pushes is open and will work with other tablets as well. If it’s a closed system only for WebOS I don’t think it will ever happen.