Derek Kessler's blog
Maybe it took us a while to get this one judged. But we got it done! There were a lot of really really great entries for our 60 seconds for a Verizon HP Pre3 contest, which made judging who deserved to win one of these rare brand-new webOS smartphones more difficult than we'd anticipated. After sleeping on it for a while, it's time to announce the winners! You can check out the winning video entries after the break…
If you've been waiting to get Android apps running on your webOS-powered HP TouchPad (without having to actually install Android, that is), then you might just be one step closer to your desired future. Two weeks ago, webOS upstarts Phoenix International Communications partnered with OpenMobile to launch a Kickstarter campaign to finance the completion and release of the Android Compatibility Layer for TouchPad. The ACL's purpose is straightforward: to enable the running of Android apps on the TouchPad. The Kickstarter goal was $35,000 - not ambitious by Kickstarter standards.
Two weeks later, that $35,000 funding goal has been met and surpassed, with more than 575 contributors offering an average of $62.39 towards the project. 74 have pledged what amounts to a donation - less than $30 (though some pledge levels do promise swag like a Phoenix-branded LED keychain flashlight), while the rest pledged at least the $30 needed to secure a copy of the ACL on release. Sixteen others have pledged a backing of at least $90, securing access to the ACL one week earlier than lower pledges, 5 offered the $150 required for two weeks of early access, four are putting up $250 for the privilege of being a beta tester (paying to help sort bugs, really?).
Beyond that, a single donation of $500 secured a copy of ACL on a CD with a pack of swag, $600 for the swag pack and a new TouchPad with ACL, and one very dedicated soul pledged a whopping $7500 for a flight to New York, dinner with the Phoenix team, and a rare white 64GB TouchPad along with the requisite ACL and swag pack.
Now that the funding goal has been met, the pressure is really on for the Phoenix team. They've committed to an estimated delivery date of July 2013 for the ACL, and though the funding release for the Kickstarter campaign is still ten days away, we hope they're already hard at work on getting the ACL ready for release. Of course, Kickstarter in no way guarantees the success if any project financed on their platform, so it's going to be up to the webOS Nation community to hold Phoenix to their commitments. After all - it's your money.
Having met that funding goal, Phoenix has laid out their plans for the future of the ACL. Funding in excess of the $35,000 goal is intended to go to developing the ACL's next versions, including an update to replace the current Android 2.3 back-end with something based on Android 4.x instead and plans to release the ACL for the HP Pre3. We also hope they're planning on an Open webOS-compatible version of the ACL - as much as we love our old webOS hardware, the future lies with new hardware powered by the open source version of webOS, not in squeezing more life out of our beloved but aged webOS tablets and smartphones.
When Jon Rubinstein came out of retirement from Apple to join Palm way back in 2007, little did he know the odyssey upon which he and Palm were about to embark. From launching the Palm Pre less than two years later, becoming Palm CEO, guiding Palm into HP's money-filled arms, launching the HP TouchPad tablet, and then watching as all the work he'd overseen got flushed down the toilet, Rubinstein's tenure at the lead of webOS was one of ups and downs, successes and utter chaos. So it was little surprise when, after watching webOS get a thin leash on life as an open source project, Rubinstein left HP in early 2012 for his second retirement.
Rubinstein returned to his Mexican beach villa and resumed the sipping of margaritas while browsing the web on his tiny HP Veer. While he left the door open to returning someday to tech, if anybody needed some time off after the webOS debacle, it was Jon Rubinstein. His schedule of siestas and cervezas is about to be interrupted, though we can't imagine it'll be on an all to frequent basis: Rubinstein was today elected to the board of directors of chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
While Rubinstein joined Palm's board as a very active and hands-on Executive Chairman with the goal of dragging Palm into the future of mobile computing, he's coming to San Diego-based Qualcomm while it's at the top of its game and firing on all cylinders. Rubinstein's addition to the board brings a new heft and decades of computing and mobile experience to the table. Besides webOS, Rubinstein is credited as being the man who made Apple's iPod possible from an engineering standpoint, and was a key player at Steve Jobs's NeXT.
It's not quite Silicon Valley, but it's definitely silicon. Welcome back, Ruby.
If you're an investor in this day and age, keeping up on your stock portfolio can seem like a daunting task. There's not just the day-to-day progress of your positions, but there are technical indicators and charts and news out the wazoo that you've got to track. Your options for that are plenty to, but we've got one you might want to check out: Othello StockWatch for the HP TouchPad. With autocompleting search, customizable charts, and sortable technical indicators, this app could be your best friend as an investor. Othello StockWatch is normally $1.99 in the App Catalog, but we're pleased to say that we have 50 copies to give away to 50 of you.
Contest: We have 50 copies of Othello StockWatch to give away. Just leave a comment on this post to enter. Contest ends next Sunday at midnight US Eastern Time, after which time we will select 50 random entrants to win. Please only leave one comment, multiple entries won’t count. Promo codes are only valid in countries serviced by the App Catalog, and users must be running webOS 3.0.4 or higher with the latest version of the App Catalog.
Consider this your final reminder.
If you want to win one of five brand-new Verizon HP Pre3 smartphones and are totally cool with putting together a video that's no longer than sixty seconds, then you should totally head to the contest post linked below for the complete entry requirements and to submit your entry (don't post it here). The contest closes tomorrow, so you'll want to get cracking on convincing us that you deserve one of the rarer birds of webOS.
Way back in 2012 we were introduced to OpenMobile, a company working to build what they called an "Application Compatibility Layer" for running Android apps on Open webOS. They've demonstrated it running in the webOS emulator, but what about on a real live functioning device? That's been elusive. And at CES 2013 we stopped by OpenMobile's booth, only to find no sign of the webOS ACL. Despite the dreams and wishes of many, we wrote off the ACL as not coming back. With webOS now open source and the property of LG and a release on mobile hardware that could run those Android apps looking less likely, why bother with the investment to finish the work?
But in 2013 we're looking a strange confluence of sites and services and people. The webOS movement hasn't died, and thanks groups like Phoenix International Communications there's even the possibility it could see a resurgence. And while they're working on building Open webOS for Android, they're not stopping there. Today Phoenix announced that they've paired up with OpenMobile to resurrect the ACL for the TouchPad.
In a four-minute video on Kickstarter (also after the break) they lay out the case for the ACL on TouchPad. In short: because they want to and they think you want to as well. Thus the Kickstarter campaign. In addition, the video shows off the ACL in action on a TouchPad. Essentially it allows the installation of Android apps as discrete apps on on webOS, including individual apps. There's certainly a bit of OS shock in that Android apps running under the ACL are in essence running a window of Android, complete with back/home/menu buttons at the bottom of the screen and the Android keyboard. The set-up actually is quite similar to what OpenMobile is doing for the Meego-based Sailfish OS, down to the Android 2.3 core to the ACL.
Phoenix has turned to Kickstarter to crowdsource the financing needed to finish the ACL for webOS. They're seeking $35,000 by 23 May 2013, with a touch over $1500 having already been pledged at publish time. As this is on Kickstarter, Phoenix won't get any of the money unless the $35,000 goal is reached by the deadline - if they can't reach it, they get none of the pledged funding. And, as this is Kickstarter, there are several levels of backer rewards, from a copy of the ACL for a $30 pledge to beta testing access for $250 to a trip to New York City for dinner with the leadership of Phoenix for a $5000 commitment (along with the ACL on a CD, a certificate of appreciation, two Phoenix t-shirts, and an LED flashlight keychain).
If Phoenix is able to reach that funding goal, they're anticipating having the OpenMobile ACL complete and available by July. Seeing how the ACL is running its current state on the TouchPad, that goal might not be too ambitious.
Way back in February of 2012 - that's over a year ago - HP released to open source the new Isis browser built on the latest WebKit standards. They called it Isis. This Isis browser in built in to Open webOS, and anybody familiar with webOS on the TouchPad would find the user interface instantly familiar. Because it's the same.
While there's an ongoing effort to bring parts of Open webOS, like the new WebKit engine, to older webOS devices like the TouchPad, it's still possible to get things like the updated browser interface. Yes, we just said it's the same, but it's also different. That's why webOS homebrewer Juno Avalon has been working on porting the Isis browser interface to the TouchPad. He's gotten far enough that he felt comfortable packaging it up as an app and distributing it via the WebOS Nation Homebrew Gallery - and so Isis Web for HP TouchPad was born.
While Isis Web shares a common user interface with the existing TouchPad browser and doesn't include the new WebKit, it does at least bring some new goodies to the game without compromising anything that we've known and loved about the old browser. When you tap-and-hold on a link or hit the share button in the address bar, there's a new share dialog that allows you to select from Email, Messaging, Sparrow (Twitter), and Facebook (the TouchPad app).
Isis Web also supports searching the text on a page, an option triggered from the app menu. You can download and save links with a tap-and-hold and when the browser is minimized into card view it stops scrolling.
In the notes for the app release, Avalon notes that this release is only for the TouchPad. While it technically is a complete Enyo app and loads correctly on the Pre 2 and Pre3, it is neither optimized nor functional once it is loaded. Avalon says he's working on a separate release for webOS smartphones.
So go ahead and fire up Preware on your TouchPad or hook and and run webOS Quick Install so you can give Isis Web a try. As an added bonus, Isis Web doesn't replace the default web browser, but it still shares the history and bookmarks database. So there's not a big commitment leap to be made if you want to give Isis Web a try - switch back and forth between it and Web at your leisure.
In the early months of 2011, after the HP Pre3, Veer, and TouchPad had been announced at HP's Think Beyond event in February, there were many debates raging inside the halls of the webOS campus in Sunnyvale. Decisions had to be made, projects were going to have to be cut or pushed onto the back burner. Those three devices weren't the only new webOS hardware coming from HP, it was just the first new webOS hardware that was to come from HP.
A smaller webOS tablet, the 7-inch TouchPad Go, was planned for release a few months after the 9.7-inch TouchPad. A Bluetooth audio-equipped Touchstone wireless charger was being tested. The next generation of TouchPads was under development, including models that were thinner, had better screens, and more powerful internals. There was even a model equipped with a full-size slide-out keyboard in the labs, though the likelihood of it ever seeing the light of day was questionable. But those were further away, projects planned for a time when webOS was flourishing in the marketplace.
It's still early 2011, and as enthusiastic as HP's leadership was formerly in the form of CEO Mark Hurd and still is in the form of Personal System Group (and former Palm CEO) Todd Bradley, the crew in Sunnyvale wasn't getting the financial and personnel support needed from HP HQ in Palo Alto to push everything out the door in the quality it needed to be in on the timeframe they wanted to hit. Hurd's replacement, former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker and HP CFO Cathie Lesjak, aren't as enthusiastic about investing the billions of dollars needed to get webOS running at full steam.
With limited funding available to get the work done, tough decisions have to be made in the webOS Global Business Unit. Sitting after the all-but-done TouchPad Go but before the fancier next-generation TouchPads is a curious webOS smartphone. It shares much of its internals with the HP Pre3 and bears the hallmarks of the clean and simple webOS hardware design language, but it's an entirely different beast.
This is the WindsorNot, the webOS slate smartphone that never was.
The week is up, so it's time to announce the winners of the second of the giveaways that compose the Great webOS Nation Giveaway. This contest was for a total of two AT&T HP Veers, two Verizon Palm Pre 2s, and one Sprint Palm Pixi - and nearly nine hundred of you entered! Without further ado, the winners are…
AT&T HP Veer:
Verizon HP Pre 2:
Sprint Palm Pixi:
Additonally, pippy35 will be receiving a Touchstone wireless charger and a Palm-brand car charger to keep that brand new Veer all charged up. Winners, pay attention to your email - we'll be contacting you about shipping your prizes! Congratulations to you all.
The little phones have all been given away, but there's another contest that's going on right now. It's for the bigger brother of that Pre 2 - five rare new-in-box Verizon HP Pre3. Unlike this just-concluded contest, we're asking you to put together a 60-second video to explain why you deserve to win one of these rare webOS smartphones.
On the list of rare birds in the webOS universe, it doesn't get much rarer than the Verizon HP Pre3 before you venture into the realm of never-mass-produced prototypes. But it would just so happen that we have five of them that we intend to give away to you, oh loyal citizen of this great webOS Nation. You've haiku'd for the AT&T version, but given the comparative rarity of the Verizon Pre3, something more is called for.
So here's the deal: To enter for a chance to win one of five brand-new Verizon HP Pre3 smartphones, we want you to put together a video explaining why you deserve to win one. There's just one catch: this video cannot be longer than 60 seconds. You've got one minute to make your case - no more - and though we appreciate your enthusiasm, we must insist that you limit yourself to one video per entrant. And one minute, that's really a big sticking point here.
Once you've made your video, upload it to YouTube and post a link to it in the comments of this post. Your entries are due in by the end of the day on 30 April 2013, after which time we're sure it will take us a little while to sort through them all and pick the most deserving of entrants.
As with the other giveaways in The Great webOS Nation Giveaway, there are also Touchstone and car charger bonuses to be had. Three for this one, in fact.
To recap: 60 seconds to make your case for one of five Verizon Pre3s. Put it on YouTube and link to it in the comments. Do this by next Tuesday. Time to bust out that old JVC GY-X2B and get recording!
I recently added a LG Nexus 4 to my smartphone rotation, and yes, that's an Android device. It's a nicely-designed phone and feels good in the hand, and as an added bonus to an old school Palm aficionado like myself, comes with built-in wireless charging in the form of Qi. For those unfamiliar, Qi is similar to Touchstone in that it's an inductive charging system, except that it's a standard that multiple manufacturers support with an array of cross-compatible devices and chargers.
There's just one problem with Qi: there are no magnets for alignment and traction. Also, Qi isn't compatible with Touchstone, so I've now got four mobile device chargers going at once on my desk: phone Touchstone, tablet Touchstone, ElevationDock for iPhone, a new Nexus 4 Wireless Charger, and a Micro USB cable for all my devices not fortunate enough to be graced with wireless charging or a dock. As a Palm fan, that Nexus 4 Wireless Charger has been a particular point of contention for me thanks to its inherent inability to hold on to my Nexus 4, no matter how much I clean the back of the phone and the top of the charger (as the comments in my post on Android Central indicate, not everybody has this issue with the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger, but I'm also not alone in my problems).
Enter Rod Whitby, a man that's no stranger to the webOS community as the chief of WebOS Internals. Whitby's also a man that loves to tinker, and he's taken to adding Touchstone charging to a wide range of devices, including an audacious hack that added dual Touchstone circuits to a Nexus 7 tablet.
Like me, Whitby was disappointed by the design of the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger (though, he has yet to get his hands on one, being in Australia and all). And being Rod Whitby, he took matters into his own hands and rather quickly opened up the back of the Nexus 4 and hacked in a Touchstone coil. What came out at the end he describes as "the world's first mult-wireless-charging phone," as the larger Qi coil still works with the Touchstone coil layered on top of it. Whitby reports that everything fit back together and that the phone is "fully operational". Additionally, in his testing the Touchstone charger seems to charge his Nexus 4 "significantly faster" than the Qi charger he has on hand.
While the phone can now charge from three different sources - Micro USB, Qi, and Touchstone - there's still work to be done. In particular, Whitby still needs to solve for this Touchstone hack the problem that afflicts the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger: he currently has the Touchstone coil installed but nothing to hold the Nexus 4 in place on the Touchstone charger. There are two options: install metal discs in the back of the Nexus 4 (Palm and HP webOS smartphones have metal discs that are drawn to the magnetic mass inside the Touchstone), or if that's not enough to keep the phone in place through its glass back, then small magnetic discs will be the order of the day.
So there you have it: even on a phone that's over a year removed from the last webOS devices and using the latest Qi wireless standards, the old standby Touchstone inductive charging system offers faster charging and a better user experience. It's one of the little things we're going to be able to crow about for years to come.
Source: Rod Whitby (Google+)
The ambitious upstarts at Phoenix International Communications have some pretty crazy plans. Eventually they want to produce their own webOS smartphones, but in the meantime they're content with getting Open webOS running as an app on Android devices. That's no small task, so it's going to take some time and a lot of work to get that project to where they want it to go.
But for those grander plans, some of which we know about, and others we surely don't, Phoenix has decided that they need more data. To that end, they've put together a quick fifteen-question research survey on webOS, smartphones, and tablets to better gauge your interests and priorities. After all, you people - the webOS Nation - are more or less Phoenix's target audience. Who better to ask for input than you?
And, of course, if you have advice or input for Phoenix beyond the scope of that survey, have at it in the comments.
One thousand entries, took Derek a while to read, so many good poems.
But when the end comes, there can be just one, no, four, to get a new phone.
webOS haikus, funny, sad, joyful, clever, picking was quite hard.
So here are the four, who will win a new Pre3, for AT&T.
With first swipe of card
Immediately I knew
WebOS for me
Everything on a phone
Flick, swipe, tap and type
Palm saw the future,
HP blinded by the past,
LG, read the cards
The Kite Eating Tree
never accepting defeat
These last two haikus, have also won a Touchstone, and a car charger.
Thanks for the haikus, everyone who entered, your passion is great.
A community like this, a platform would be lucky, to have on their side.
Winners: watch your mail, we'll be contacting you, for delivery.
webOS Nation, giveaways are still going, more winners to come.
There's one on right now: Pixi, Pre 2, and a Veer, just comment to win.
Thanks again to all, without your passion and zest, we would not be here.
If an AT&T HP Pre3 doesn't fit the bill for you, fret not, there are more giveaways to come in The Great webOS Nation Giveaway. Like this one. And unlike the last one where we told you to go and write a syllabically-constrained webOS poem (that contest is still open through tomorrow, by the way), all we're going to ask of you this time is to post a comment on which one of these fine devices you'd like to win.
What's up for grabs? You might call this the odd lot, with a mix of webOS smartphones old a new available. Again, you'll have to specifically comment on which one - just one - you'd like to win. There are two AT&T HP Veers, two Verizon HP Pre 2s, and one Sprint Palm Pixi.
The Veers come in new condition with all of their in-box goodies, while the Pre 2 and Pixi prizes are offered without accessories. Additionally, one of the winners of one of these five fine webOS smartphones will be getting a Touchstone wireless charger and a Palm car charger.
And all you have to do is post a comment on which one you want to win by Tuesday, 23 April 2013. As a reminder, you have pick one and only one, and repeat entries will result in disqualification.
Who wants a free little phone? You do!
The time has arrived; The Great webOS Nation Giveaway starts now.
After much thinking we're breaking up the bounty into four segments.
Each contest will have a different way to win new webOS goods.
The first starts today: four AT&T Pre3s, new in their boxes!
This contest goes back to an old poetic trope… yes, it's haiku time.
Built in three phrases - syllables: five, seven, five - haikus are quite short.
For the uncertain, here's an example haiku, written just for you:
Pre3 on Ma Bell
the best webOS smartphone
never had a chance
Creativity is the order of the day, keep it short, but sweet.
Compose your short poem, the subject is webOS, post in the comments.
Lament the shut down, plead to LG for new toys, community love.
It is up to you - your haiku should capture the webOS spirit.
We'll pick four winners and post them for all to read, and send them new phones.
The two best haikus will also get a Touchstone and a car charger.
There is a deadline: post your entry by Wednesday, 17 April.
That's one week from now, so get your haiku posted, for your chance to win.
There are four Pre3s up for grabs in this contest - you just need a poem.
It's really not hard to write a haiku yourself - why not try a few?
Five, seven, and five - poems of simple elegance, just like webOS.
Heck, you might just win an AT&T Pre3. Wouldn't that be grand?
Be sure to stay tuned for the other three contests - there's much more to come!