Could a Kickstarter campaign raise enough to make new webOS devices? | webOS Nation

Could a Kickstarter campaign raise enough to make new webOS devices? 73

by Derek Kessler Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:46 pm EDT

Could a Kickstarter campaign raise enough to make new webOS devices?

There's been a big question mark hanging over webOS since HP announced their plans to open source the operating system: then what? Come September, assuming HP has met their roadmap obligations, Open webOS 1.0 will be free and available for anybody to use. But for it to stand any chance at lasting relevance it's going to need to be put onto devices that people can actually buy.

Last month we talked about the massive hurdles that one would have to overcome to build a webOS smartphone or tablet. Chief among them (and chief among Palm's problems before they were bought by HP) is money. You need money to buy components in bulk. You need money to pay for engineers. You need money for certification, factory space, packaging, and a million other pieces that are needed to bring a modern computing device to fruition. You need money.

We'll admit, Derek was being his typical sardonic self when he threw in the line, "You aren't getting it from Kickstarter, are you?"

That was a week after Kickstarter's biggest project to date - kooky game Double Fine Adventure had raked in $3.3 million over the course of a month from more than 87,000 backers. For those not familiar with Kickstarter, here's a crash course: Kickstarter allows enterprising entrepreneurs to publish a product proposal on the site and collect pledges from potential customers. They have to set a pledge goal and deadline, and backers aren't committed until both the deadline has passed and the project has reached its goal. For Double Fine Adventure, the developers were looking for $400,000 in pledges to get their game up off the ground. They got eight times that amount.

Kickstarter projects have been growing in scope and value for the past several months. Double Fine easily surpassed the previous Kickstarter record, set a month earlier by $1.5 million in pledges for the Elevation Dock for iPhone. Fast forward another month to today, and Double Fine's record is a speck in the dust-filled rear-view mirror of the Pebble: E-Paper Watch. This project has been on Kickstarter for eight days at press time and has already amassed more than $5.3 million in funding from 36,000 backers. Pebble is destined to be a customizable smart watch that can connect over Bluetooth to iPhone and Android smartphones. Of course, we want this to work with webOS too, but the success so far of Pebble's funding drive (at this pace, they're on track to hit $25 million in funding by the end their funding drive) got us wandering about the potential for webOS on Kickstarter.

HP's doing the heavy lifting with the OS, but the hardware is another question. They may, or may not, make webOS tablets - we're really lacking in a firm commitment, and 2013 is a long ways off. So, could a Kickstarter-funded webOS device be a reality?

It's possible, but just as with going it alone, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. There are a lot of projects on Kickstarter, and most never reach their funding goals. The successful ones all have something in common: they can demonstrate a working product that people will want. Double Fine has been making games for years now, so their expertise was already established for Adventure. The group proposing the Pebble watch is the same team that built the BlackBerry inPulse Smartwatch - they know what they're doing, because they've done this before. Even the Elevation Dock was able to show a working prototype and the manufacturing process. All of these were presented in a high-quality video presentation that lays out everything potential backers need to know.

Kickstarter backers generally are fed into the site from outside sources - the iPhone community flooded Kickstarter with iPhone owners dissatisfied with the quality of the current crop of iPhone docks. The outside sources take notice because the project is compelling - who wouldn't want a smart watch that you can to control music on your phone, read texts, and see who's calling, all without taking your phone out of your pocket?

Kickstarter needs a working product to demonstrate before any mass of people are going to contribute funds. The Pebble watch is the most complicated Kickstarter project to date - it's not simple stuff to cram a vibrator, accelerometer, ARM chip, e-ink screen, Bluetooth, and seven-day battery life into a moderately-chunky watch body. A tablet of smartphone would be even more audacious, requiring the engineers and designers beforehand to build a functional demonstration-worthy prototype good enough to convince thousands and thousands of people to hand over their hard-earned cash.

The thing with projects like the Elevation Dock and Pebble is that they are tackling an area where nobody has been particularly successful. Most iPhone docks suck, even Apple's. There hasn't been a single enduringly successful smartwatch in ever. Smartphones and tablets, those are a different beast with multiple powerful and entrenched players. That's not to say that the Apples and Samsungs of the world would set out to crush a crowd-funded webOS device (they wouldn't feel threatened) - we mean that there's already a consumer knowledge base to overcome. Customers know about iPads and Droids, they know what to expect from a smartphone or tablet, and judging by the tens of millions of devices sold by Apple, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and all the rest every quarter, we'd say they're generally satisfied with what they've been offered.

A webOS Kickstarter project would have to rely on the same drive that helped kick-start (ha) Double Fine Adventure: a motivated fanbase that can draw attention and additional backers. The difference with webOS, though, is that Double Fine never disappointed their previous users, they never pulled the rug out the way it was from under webOS. There are plenty of former webOS users out there, but they've all moved on, burned by a lack of updates or shoddy hardware or merely tired of looking from the outside in as the rest of the smartphone world passed on by. They may not be bitter, but they're also not necessarily chomping at the bit to jump back in either. Especially with an unproven device maker.

But if you just so happen to have the engineers and designers and tools to build your own tablet, then have at it. Kickstarter awaits.


The first thing you need is a plan. Maybe partner up with the Open Pandora folks about developing an open source device. They have experience with doing that without a lot of money.

It would make more sense to team up with a group that's already doing open tablets, like the Vivaldi from KDE and Mer.

They have every intention of marketing follow-up devices, and plan to work with vendors to make sure open-source friendly hardware is inside it. There's no reason to work separately from a project like that.

That makes sense.

We don't need our own hardware, we just need our beloved OS to work on lovely hardware from other manufacturers.

It kinda promotes the selling of more Android hardware. A new fresh piece of hardware would definitely help to bring webOS its own identity.

We heard about your claim of a working webOS on Samsung Infuse. But that got nowhere. Any progress ?

I changed to a more Open friendly device spec. It should make the future transitions a lot easier and give people an all around better device to use.

Would be better, faster, easier to install Open Webos on very few selected handsets from other manufacturer for example Nokia or Samsung (basic, medium and high end hardware), but only from one manufacturer.
I think that way a lot of money will be saved and project will be more secure.
The team developing this software, could than sell the program that does the install process for the very specific IMEI, cause Open Webos is free.
Here is my scenario:
1. You buy a Nokia Lumia 900.
2. Order for your IMEI a install program for Open Webos.
3. Do it at home, and enjoy :)

I hope that we can do better then the Vivaldi tablet, it has a lower resolution then the current Touchpad. There are plenty of hardware makers out there, surely one of them has a well spec'ed tablet with Linux drivers that can leveraged for Open webOS's linux kernel.

It has a lower resolution etc. for sure (it's "first step" anyway), but it implements something way more important: a non-restricted, not dumbed-down, fully-featured software stack - not a half-baken something like webOS. It 's surely not important for consumers, but all the people that actually want some work done or fuly integrate with services / devices / solutions properly (either @ work or home) without depending on 3rd party commercial standalone "apps", it's a bliss.

Yeah right, and hire some actors and script writers - Have you noticed how most of the plan is making a hip video?

It says a lot about the audience of kickstarter. It's not targeted to technology fans, but to unknowledgeable people. The later are orders of magnitude more in amount.

Even better, as many self called techno enthusiasts actually are in that group, no matter what they hopelessly say to convince themselves and friends. And that's exactly what a good marketing and sales professional will tell you: Target the bulk.

The plan, the only thing you can do is give a first impression. No detailed plans, no careful budget breakdown. Just a cinema-trailer quality presentation.

The whole idea of Kickstarter is so easily abused that I can't help but think that it was the plan from the begginig.

Windows 8 will have an ARM version so I assume we'll see ARM tablets start showing up at retailers this fall. And we already know that there will be loads of x86 tablets coming to market for Windows 8 as well. So I don't really think there will be a lack of hardware, we're just going to need lots of drivers to meet the demands af all the new hardware that will be coming our way.

Windows 8 devices will have an encrypted bootloader, which has been a big complaint of Android hackers for a long time (with HTC and Motorola especially) because you simply can't penetrate it. The closest thing they can get to is Android root-level access, and that means no dual-booting, much less replacing the OS with something else like webOS.
Everyone hoping that they can load webOS onto Windows 8 hardware is in for an extremely rude shock over the next 6-12 months, I imagine, when they realize that Microsoft doesn't play around when it comes to modifying hardware their mobile OS runs on.
If a mobile device runs a Microsoft OS (WP7 or Windows 8), it's going to run a Microsoft OS and nothing else. As long as their bootloader is encrypted on any hardware, regardless of platform, that's game over for webOS on that device. Period, end of story, and no theorizing around it unless you have some extraordinary computing power to waste on it for a few years trying to circumvent it with your PhD in cryptography on hand having found a magical way past it.

I presume it could run in an environment like VMWare, which should run on Windows 8 hardware, no?

There's a difference between that works on Windows 8 Desktop and Windows 8 Phone. A big difference.
VMWare requires seriously beefy desktop-level hardware to run correctly, and even in the event that somehow VMWare actually did, it's not a sustainable commercial solution for webOS to require that people install an entire virtualization stack to get another OS to run on top of the native OS. Not one operating system has ever succeeded on the basis of being virtualized atop another.
(But hey, if we can simply install any desktop application in Windows 8 to the tablet, if someone wants to try and get the entire Adobe Creative Suite running flawlessly on Windows 8 for the tablet, that'd be a miserable trip into hell I'd love to see someone put themselves through--all the way to the asylum.)

I'd certainly be up for throwing some $ their way. And maybe they could come up w/ a cool bonus reward level to "make it right" for all the Pre owners ;)

OK, imagine all of the people who want a community-made webOS device. Plausible, right? Now chop off the half that want a tablet vs a smartphone. Then divide that by half for the people who insist on a keyboard (or demand a slab). Then divide that by half for the people who won't leave Sprint for any reason.

The point is that there may be a bunch of people who want a webOS device but the devil is always in the details. Even on this forum people say things like "I'd definitely be willing to pay for ___________ as long as _______ and ________". Everyone's got a caveat when it comes time to write the check. Anyone who's tried to get some kind of fundraising project going at work or school knows this.

It would most likely have to be a tablet. Smartphones typically require partnership with a carrier. The exception would be the Google Nexus, which didn't exactly set the world on fire.

So we really don't really need to fork the project to smartphones, carriers, keyboards/slabs. Stick with tablets and it is straight-forward.

extremely good point!

What about just taking existing hardware like how they put Android on the Touchpad?

It's not nearly as simple as people without extensive experience in that realm like to think it is.
The CyanogenMod team has hundreds, if not thousands of people with all levels of experience working with their Android port, and many fewer people capable of porting Android to devices that have similar hardware. webOS has...webOS Internals. Which isn't nearly the number of people that the CM team has at their disposal.
Realistically you'll probably find webOS make it to a few current or last-gen devices that had similar hardware to webOS, but I wouldn't get your hopes up on anything newer than that making the cut.
There's a heck of a lot that goes into it, including device drivers whose documentation has to be found for each unique part webOS knowsn nothing about and then ported to be usable with webOS, for instance.
Again, not as easy as people like to think it is. Worse, there are many magnitudes fewer people out there that care about porting webOS to other devices, rather than porting Android to other devices they're currently using. Which, in large part with the exception of the Touchpad, aren't webOS devices.

Before Android Honeycomb came out many small companies in China put together tablets based on earlier versions of Android. Clearly the dozens of manufactures don't each have hundreds, if not thousands of people working on porting Android to those devices. Sure those devices weren't very good, but technology has gotten cheap and will continue to get cheaper.

I would think that with the entirety of webOS being open source, there will be more people willing to looking towards webOS. They wouldn't be beholden to Google to give out the code for the next update.

Their hardware is also largely shoddy, substandard crap. And many of them still ran Android 1.5/1.6 even though Android 2.2/2.3 had been out for a while. You might claim that technology has gotten cheaper, and it has in bulk, but for these small runs these ripshod manufacturers create their devices in, they're also using parts prone to easily breaking, unreliable touch sensors (often resistive, not capacitive) and generally complained about amongst the unfortunate that buy them.
Also, they tend to use stock Android AOSP releases straight out of Google with no customizations to the OS itself other than hastily-written device drivers--made by people that just want to get hardware out the door as fast as possible regardless of actual quality--that only work half the time and fail most of the time. You're not exactly presenting a shining example webOS should follow, here, but if that's the example you want to present as a positive, then have at it however wrong-headed it is in reality.
Shanzai devices have a deserved reputation for demonstrating that you get what you pay for, and if that's the direction that the webOS community wants to go down for their future devices, that's not exactly advisable because the reputation of the platform will only tank further with it...assuming the Open webOS initiative would even bother to get the device drivers made for those parts in the first place.
Heck, if someone's bought one of these devices out of China, I'd love to see them admit it and tell the webOS community how awesomely great it is with a straight face. (And they have to post a YouTube video to demonstrate its "awesomeness" to boot.) Until then, I'm just going to continue assuming people are grasping at straws since, in the several threads I've already posed the challenge to, not one person has admitted to buying even one of those devices to see for themselves--much less admit to everyone else--just how badly put-together and horribly thought-out they really are.

@dignitary - Your comments are interesting to me, because I personally would like to know more about the CyanogenMod team.. You say Hundreds & thousands of people work to get android ported to webOS.

my question is, have you ever tried porting webOS to another device? What exactly goes into it? and do we have that kind of team to port webOS to another device in webosInternals?

I wonder how much money building a smart phone / tablet would actually take. I was very surprised when Elon Musk wrote the other day that it only took $800 million to go from blank sheet of paper to Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Dragon including all R & D and construction of all the facilities.

If someone could apply the same type of planning & budgeting for a smartphone / tablet, could it be done for just a couple million?

creating a new device from scratch is extremely difficult in itself let alone getting to a point where you can put a kickstarter up.

I think in your last post you wrote something about - If you want to make a webOS device you need to have money.. A lot of money.. Which means, finding investors on top of the kick starter program.

Investors will play a big part in who creates the next webOS device & I feel we will see one on Kickstarter to donate for soon enough ;)

Might be an easy way for an existing manufacturer to test the waters without any risk. They could basically use existing hardware so it would just be about adapting it to run WebOS.

Though I'd miss the gesture area if it actually happened that way.

...without risk, you say?
Deploying tens of thousands of devices at the cost of parts, manufacture, marketing, packaging, retail presence, etc. isn't a risk? I'm afraid a basic course in Business 101 would disagree completely with your assessment.
By your measure, Amazon basing their hardware off of the Blackberry Playbook's reference design was absolutely no risk to them. Which is patently false, to put it extremely nicely. It may have saved Amazon some money in terms of R&D and hardware development, but they're still paying more for each device than they're making in order to make up the loss in sales of digital products through the Amazon ecosystem.
There's still a ton of money that has to go into any device release whether you're using the exact same design and hardware or not. That's still a hell of a lot of risk involved and given that the number of webOS devices released would have to be at a magnitude lower than those of the Kindle Fire by scale; the margins are even more razor thin and the bulk rates are much higher in cost in any webOS device manufactuerer's case due to the initial allotments that would be ordered (unless, of course, you commit to ordering a few million units upfront like Amazon did).
This is why no OEM has stepped up so far. While they can sink money into OEM Android devices and expect a reasonable return, webOS has only sold about 5,000,000 devices total--if that--since the original Palm Pre. (That's 10 days' worth of Android activations spread out over the span of three years. Not even counting sales of Wi-Fi-only Android tablets.)
The return on investment (ROI) for a webOS device simply doesn't make financial sense at all, because there realistically isn't a positive one at this point. And if it doesn't come from HP first, a monolithic hardware manufacturer by trade, then why should any other hardware manufacturer step up to help saturate the market? (Hint: They won't, and for all the reasons stated above.)

Yes, creating it from scratch can be harder than continuing with one already establish. But what about this: the Pre³ is not an established phone but it is not a start_from_scratch either, and is also a phone that has a lot of people still intrigued as it could have been one of the best smartphones mixes on design and performance. So what about improving it? I'm definitely up with this. And what about making it more interesting. Do you remember there's no tech smartphone-pad couple like the Pre³ and Touchpad, right? So, why do not kill two birds with one stone; make a bundle! improved Pre³ + TouchPad 2.0. That way you are delivering something that HP left at baby steps and that the masses were looking forward to have (a lot of iOS and android's users included); what's TTS? Yes! You are correct! Touch To Share! And with open webOS it could get a lot more interesting handling more than url exchange and bluetooth pairing: file transfers (songs, docs, presentations, videos, etcetera!). I think webOS has A LOT to offer OS wise and with good quality hardware with awesome integration between them (that's why apple made iCloud -TTS integration could be much better- and a group is making Pebble bluetooth paired watch) that could be taken to a whole new level with webOS unbeatable multitasking (even 10 months after being dead!), great synergy, natural performance, superb notifications (heck! There are sometimes I don't even notice them! They're so good with not interrumping) and much more since that is just the peak of the iceberg. The rest comes with open source webOS 1.1 and the brave/intelligent/hero/soon_to_be_pack_with_lots_of_money/kickstarter_record_owner_for_life hardware developer! There will be one that will say yes and will conquer, don't risk your chance and "kick" start!

NFC made TTS obsolete even before TTS came out, that's why. HP boned that one bigtime and damaged their industry perception of "future vision" to boot. And Pebble isn't designed to interface with webOS at all; it simply won't support it. Multitasking in Pebble? No.
And what use are notifications if someone doesn't notice them? There's a reason why the root word for "notifications" is "notify"; if someone doesn't notice them, then they're a serious and utter failure in the most literal sense of its defintion. Not exactly something you want to use an example of the awesomeness of webOS, is it?
If I have an important business meeting at noon and webOS' notifications are so uninterruptive I don't notice the notification, then man, I'm gonna be pissed.

The notification stuff was just figuratively speaking and the Pebble just an example. Guess it's too much to ask that you would understand that prior an "for dummies" explanation. Explaining how huge webOS advantage over iOS and android notifications, multitasking, etcetera (I've used them both -iPhone 3G and Galaxy S-), would be just a waste of anyone's time -no disrespect intended-, since for a "dead" OS, that's more than those two can bring to the table even though they're the unreachable peak of tech companies.

I would love to support the building of new webos hard ware. But I feel we could never raise enough money to make it cost effective.

Maybe I software solution is best. I know porting webos to other hardware won't be super easy, but I feel it we could invest in a software tool that is automatically port webos to the top 15 selling tablets. Then that will be worth the time to put on kickstarter.

That's just not how porting works, sorry.

I just mentioned to a moderator my plans for Kickstarter. Thunder = Stolen.

Your connection with any kickstarter project would scare off more people than it would attract, you aren't a credible individual I'd trust 50 cents with yet alone millions of dollars.

I guess well have to see about that. Will you have anything to contribute?

The more important question is, "Will you?"
I think it's more than a valid question based on your reputation here.

Based on my reputation here.... I don't know what that's meant to imply It's not like I know who you are anyway. Not only do I have something cool, I'm working on just the way to explain it for all of those who can't keep up. I'll have a new forum post up soon and hopefully you can provide some form of utility.

My reputation is not created by trolls in a forum. I'm brilliant and deserve to be treated as such.

Truly brilliant minds don't advertise themselves as such; they're modest and humble, hunting to solve a problem, not to advertise themselves as a savior.
Unfortunately, you're doing it completely wrong and, honestly, I couldn't care less if you knew who I was or not. I'm not so full of myself to expect that people do, and furthermore, I appreciate it that much more when they don't.

I never advertised myself as anything other than someone who could make a difference. Being modest, humble and advertising myself are three things I don't care about. Changing the landscape between devices and human interaction is.

I'm a technological anomaly, being a savior was chosen for me.

You amuse me for how many fellow investors I've worked with over the years that've met people like you, given them cogent business advice (like I did above in a subtle yet firm manner as a loose, informal test), and watched them fall by the wayside when the supposed "chosen one" thought themselves much larger than they really are. It's really amazing how many people think the way you portray yourself as, and how it correlates in close proximity to those that today, after they've seen reality, are stuck eating generic Cheerios and instant ramen in order to make rent.
Get a grip, dude. Either you're a magnificent troll, or you're self-delusional. Choose one and stick with the schtick. As it stands right now, you're rather transparent and it isn't especially difficult to see through your attempt at fashioning an amateurish veneer.

you truly need training in public relations and how to project a professional image because you're simply horrible at it. I'm sorry that sounds crass but you should be wary of the fact that much of what you say presents you as unprofessional and unlikable and that will negatively impact any business you try to take because people won't trust you with their money.

I'm the most hip and fresh how dare thou. I'm innovating in PR too. I have my own a company, I'm 26 years old and I can be unprofessional, I'm the boss. I'm more liked than Kony.

That's not saying much. Kony is hate. Flesh eating bacteria are more liked then Kony. You're naive and likely hopeless. good luck to you.

A Kickstarter Project must have at least a projectplan if not all the other ressources at hand. The only thing it CAN bring you is money. But money alone does not make a good product (ok, it helps, though). You need to know how to invest money into what.

And don't forget: you do not only need to create the hardware, you need to market it, sell it and maintain it (hotlines, repair services etc ...). The organizational weight of such an endeavour is big.

I actually see more chances in trying to make OpenWebOS run on an established platform like Samsung, HTC or an other smartphone/tablet producers devices.
That could lead to a win-win situation for both the hardware producer as well as the WebOS fan and could go like: buy an Android Smartphone from i.e. Samsung and install OpenWebOS over it (or dual boot, or whatever).
That would be no biggie resourcewise and open all the fancy shiny gadgets to the strained, tested and beaten up WebOS supporter.

I really think that capt4chris is on the right track with this. webOS should be ported to existing hardware via root or jailbreak or whatever the heck Windows mobile modders use. Interest won't be sparked with what will undoubtedly be a high-priced unit with a generic shell (unless some of y'all have some awesome deals rolling with component producers, hardware designers/manufacturers, third-world assembly plants, and subsidizing carriers). To capture interest outside of the die-hards who still read this site, the OS will need to fall into their laps. Palm and then HP failed the faithful in a spectular and public fashion. That taint isn't going to be overlooked with the presentation of an overpriced and inaccessible piece of hardware. Get the software onto their existing hardware (or a cheap ereader they can crack to play and get a taste), and interest in webOS can once again be engendered. New hardware is a later step, once people get a taste for how the software can serve them.

Encrypted bootloader demanded by Microsoft = No porting and no getting around it.
Or did you simply not bother reading or otherwise ignore my reply to that post that explained that point in detail?
"Whatever the Windows Mobile modders use" is a hack that allows them to sideload applications, not overtake Windows Phone 7 (or especially 8, for that matter) with another operating system. It's roughly equivalent to "Developer Mode" on webOS which allows homebrew to exist; dual-booting on WP7/8 goes much further since webOS did not have an encrypted bootloader at all standing in its way--which allowed Android to easily get ported to the Touchpad, actually. Completely different scope. Overtaking WP7 requires compromising the bootloader, which simply is not possible by any current means at all. Period. End of story. 

I just think going for hardware is not feasible here. If you look on what could be produced by openmoko for the last years, I don't think any good mobile can be pulled of in the time that is needed to give WebOS a kickstart.
A lot of comments here go negatively about the use of existing hardware. I do not see it so pessimistic. Yes there is a lot of fitting and drivers to do, but this is also the case for the hardware that we build on our own. So yes, that needs to be done and has a lot of work in it.

So my best bet is to find a manufacturer that grows tired of android and other OS, but do not want to invest into a new OS, that gives the hardware free for the community to test. I guess this is something we should think about and talk about with the manufacturers.
Then you could crowdfund to pay developers to adapt WebOS.


P.S.: I saw a lot of negativity in this comments, trashing all ideas that come up. If you fell like you can judge that all this ideas are not working, please also include the idea on what will be working. Thanks

dignitary, while your constructive criticism is great, thank you, please chill out. Are you even remotely interested in furthering the webOS cause? I think there has some really good ideas here about forming a partnership between a known and respected manufacturer which is interested in diversifying its portfolio from just "android". Is it too much of a leap to collaborate a kickstart campaign with webOS internals, hp, an interested 3rd party manufacturer, and us? I think much crazier things have happened in my lifetime and been extremely successful. Remember, we have the encouragement of the ceo of hp Meg behind us. She just maybe would help with putting all the pieces together. Stay positive people! Its really not that hard when we have such a great OS!

I saw someone was able to load Android onto the TouchPad, has anybody tried loading webOS to an Android handset?

If someone wants to start with a smartphone, they may be able to purchase a webOS prototype from HP. There were several designs that were in the late stages of development, and they would make a good starting point (just add latest compatible CPU). But any team deciding to go the smartphone route should consider contacting some of the key hardware guys let go from Palm and seeing if they can be hired for the project. After all, if you are going to do something like this, you'll need to higher some individuals that know how to get hardware designed, built, sourced, and passing through required certifications. You'll also need someone who knows how to get a phone approved to be used on a carrier's network, even if they carrier doesn't pick it up for direct sale. Even the Pre3 could be modestly updated (include an LTE radio and dual core), re-certified, and pushed out.

The real key is having a few folks part of any team that know how to perform all the quals and and carrier stuff. Without being able to sell and use the device on a network, the project simply won't go anywhere. This could always lead to a few enterprising individuals starting up the next HTC.

The best option, though, may be to simply fund a campaign to purchase certified, working phones for webOS from a company like HTC. Start by getting webOS loaded onto some HTC hardware and show how easy it can be done. Then you need a campaign that shows enough money and interest backing the purchase of phones from HTC that are natively loaded with Open webOS, and are certified to run on at least one, if not all, carrier networks. The key is showing enough demand to get a company like HTC to look at Open webOS as a potential route to deal with their current Android lawsuit troubles (and declining marketshare). They are already dabbling in Win Phone 7. This is probably the most likely route that can succeed, though certainly no guarantees either way.

Rather than creating a new device, can't we focus on a project to enhance the experience of the current devices. I agree that the device line-up has grown old - but there are people who still use them. There are many who gave up the device as their favorite apps were not available. There are many who gave up because of missing features and bugs.

So, can't we create a project to fund these improvements? Improvements in the total experience of the OS - less buggy, improved speed and UI, etc. We can fund the development of top 200 apps in Android and iOS, so that people get most of their favorite apps. We can also design accessories for TP and Pre +/-/2/3 which extend the features - something like a SD card reader, audio docks, or an external display (I am not sure if all these are possible hardware wise - but just an idea).

This should be enough to keep people using their old devices and get the devices on sale at ebay, best buy .... to get sold. Then maybe some manufacturer (or HP) might just be more interested to invest in a new device.

Just a thought - how many active users (someone who views this website at least once a week) are there in webOS Nation? Maybe we can estimate an amount we can raise from the number of users?

I agree with this, but first we need to pressure HP to open source the webOS 2.x code which is the version of webOS that runs on phones. So far they've only released webOS 3.x code for tablets.

I would pledge in a heartbeat to such a kickstarter campaign. I check kickstarter occassionally for webOS projects.

Verizon made a big deal on their conference call yesterday about how much equipment subsidies are hurting their bottom line. they want to get WP phones so that they can try and play the different manufacturers off against one another to get better pricing. I'm surprised that they haven't tried to use their bulk to manufacture their own phones - it would be a natural vertical integration.

I would support such a kickstarter project and pledge for it.

Ok, here is my -2 cents. I have the original Pre- that I amusing that I chose to get back after using the Evo for a couple of months.

I recently had a chance to play with a Pre2 and a Pre3. I love the physical keyboard, it is a sure direct touch method for me. I do a lot of my writing on the fly with my phone. The Pre3, in my opinion would be a wonderful device to put back on the market. (almost as is). There just arent enough people who know about WebOS, and I believe if they did, they would love it. My children love WebOS devices. 11 and 13 years old. We have pads for Netflix and the like, but when it comes to phones and texting or the things that they do, my Pre is loved by them, even over the Evo I gave to my 11 year old.

My 24 year old just got an Iphone. All of her friends have Iphones. She doesn't use Syri, (which would be the only reason I wanted one.) That and the camera are wonderful on the Iphone, other than that, and her friends that are all her age having them, there wasn't a real reason for her to switch from her Android. One of her friends had a Pre for quite a while and finally switched to the Iphone because the rest of them had it.

Let's try to restart the Pre3. A beefed up Pre3, but a Pre3 nevertheless.

Thanks for reading.

I agree that there's no going forward with webos devices except through existing manufacturers. Maybe instead of a fundraising campaign we just need an awareness campaign to a few specific people at specific companies. HTC? (I don't know, but someone here can figure that out.) Sell them on the potential advantages of putting webos on one of their existing hardware phones and see how it does. Put it on Sprint and you've got a guaranteed half-a-million sales.

Better yet, a dual-boot device. There's a few apps that'll never come to webos, darnit, and that hurts its potential sales to the uninitiated. Personally, I'm always going to pick the best PIM platform, but other people have different priorities.

I believe, (my opinion) that not enough people know about WebOS, which will forever keep it down. We do not have enough apps to really compete just on the basis of having a great operating system.

Also, who would want to dual boot WebOS? Who would want that kind of competition? Surely not Android. If you had an Operating System such as Android, would you want it to dual boot with WebOS, which to many people who have used it, to boot up with your device? I wouldn't. People would start saying the same thing a lot of us already say. The OS is great, there just aren't enough bells and whistles, (meaning apps), to make them boot up WebOS.

With more apps and more advertising we could compete.

That's the current leitmotif: I have Android, why do I want webOS? There's nothing on a grand scale that it can do that Android can't. (Touch to share is a non-starter, considering NFC will be standard equipment soon enough.)

The topic of this article really should be whether any plan to develop webOS hardware would even qualify to be a Kickstarter campaign. Apparently, nobody has put forth a proposal that would even be accepted. The only guy who actually says he has a plan turns out to be a complete joke - (chris3illiams).

Reality Check, people. It needs a little more than 3 Million Dolars to develop a webOS dedicated device from scratch and then producing a significant amount of devices to keep up the interest. And then I absolutely don't want HP to f*ck around another time with my expectations.

We heard about webOS running on an iPad and we all know about Cyanogenmod, right?I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person in the world with the idea of a device that can run any mobile OS and I would pay for it. I know that It's possible, just because I use a tripple boot MacBook Pro that runs Windows, Linux and MacOS natively on the same Disk.

The first step is to port to an existing device. Period. It is a proof of concept that you hope the hardware's manufacturer takes notice of. They will then consider whether it makes any sense to start releasing it on their own devices. That is the only chance WebOS has. Period.

Not the only chance webOS has in my opinion - please read my post below...

Think outside the box a little everyone - it's not necessarily about the hardware itself, but it is more about application of the software that webOS has potential to flourish. Hardware will be built but it might look different than you're expecting. I envision webOS powering POS (no, not piece of do-do, but point of sale) devices, kiosks (movie tickets, transit ticket, parking meter, airline, etc.) and as we already know, the medical field (I remember reading a story about how doctors use it in MRI Even car infotainment systems like RIM is doing with QNX. How about using it to operate controls and gauges in manufacturing or any industry that needs instrumentation?

Really, the scope of application for webOS is endless...I am not sure if it's exactly capable of doing all this behind the scenes with security and encryption or not, but if I understood correctly, webOS isn't just dependent on web technologies and can use more robust code to do this type of functionality. I'm not a coder though so I can't really speak on all that - maybe someone else can.

Anyhow, we all know just how awesome and intuitive webOS can be when implemented correctly. I see big things for it in the future, especially now that it's going open sauce. Especially if projects like PalmDroid can leverage the power of other operating systems while still being webOS driven.

In the hands of the right people, this is a great opportunity.

Now, back on point here a bit, I would support future tablet or phone style hardware based on Open webOS. I'd donate too if I felt the project was actually going to make it to fruition.

I'd even donate to a project that would make NEW full body case kits for the TouchPads so we can throw away the old cracked ones and give them a body transfer into a new one. The hardware is fine, it's just the body that's crap. The software will be updated to Open webOS 1.0 and I'll be happy once more!

You're right that webOS can survive on other nonconsumer devices but it will be changed until it isn't recognizable. I see Palm os powered devices still for bar code readers and medical. But it's not the same as having a viable platform.
WebOS only survives if a real company or companies take it up. I think HP has some ongoing talks with OEMs. There would be no other reason to pay 100-200 person webOS division to make webOS opensource. I'm not saying these OEMs signed on the dotted line but this was HPs attempt to avoid losing the entire 2+ billion dollar webOS effort. HP can still host cloud services if some oems do make webOS devices so HP can still make some money off of it and stay relevant in the mobile space.

This is truly a double edge sword opportunity. Could it work? Sure. Could it backfire? You bet.

What happens if only 1500 people signup and pledge a whopping $15,000? If that happens, no one will EVER be interested in webOS again -- that would be a kiss of death.

Well, webOS has failed practically every market test already. That's how we got to Kickstarter, right? I mean, Kickstarter is supposed to be for new ideas to get a shot at funding, not for failed ideas to be revived.

Short answer: no. Right now, a strong no. 2013 onward, perhaps.

Long answer: Add wOn (webOSnation) fanatics who aren't broke, webos-internals fanatics who aren't broke, (sorry, if you're broke, we appreciate the word of mouth, or coding/think tank contributions, but there's not much you can offer financially) and anyone else who happens onto the project (could be 30 extra people who happen upon it, or 3,000, but it generally won't break 10's of thousands based on prior ennui/bad word-of-mouth). This is our pool of financiers, like it or not.

Either the donations will end up becoming toploaded from community figures on downward to get it to succeed (Rod Whitby shouldn't be expected to have to contribute a third of the target amount, whatever it may be, let alone watch the top backers of the project become a who's who list of wOn Staffers), or everyone pitches in too little and we get a lesson in humility.

The only advice I can offer to a possible "Kickstarted" project:

-- toanedre is 100% right. This can't be about bringing webOS back from the dead; as soon as a iOS/Android fan sees webOS in the byline, they'll ignore it. And anyone who asks a iOS/Android fan about webOS will get admonished for even looking at it: "webOS failed, don't do it. No one uses it." (We know that's not true, but we're not after us, we're after them.)

I hate to say it, but webOS isn't the only thing this project should run. If you want more backers, make the bootloader/HW spec/drivers 100% open. This would mean that someone wanting a fully customizable Android tablet or other operating system can donate too... even if it's not our plan for using the device after it's received. That's the best selling point I can conjure for doing this: "buy a tablet, load it with whatever OS you like." Currently nothing does that out of the box or does this without a hacking community doing it after the fact (with or without permission).

This would mean that other than open webOS, it should also run Android 4.0 out of the box without major deficiencies since it'll be old-hat by that time, and after release, get to 5.0 with the same "No deadlines" approach as with the HP Touchpad has right now with CyanogenMod once it's in the people's hands. KDE Fusion is another possibility for running on this future device -- -- why not have some choice in the Open Source Tablet market?

-- It has to be a tablet (people who "jumped ship from webOS" concerning smartphones are either under a contract, or too exsanguined to go back to another webOS smartphone after leaving it.) I have a feeling (dollars to doughnuts) that if open webOS offers any code to re-image a PreX/PixiX/Veer (X being +,1-3 as applicable), it'll be to make it a non-cellular Wi-Fi only terminal (taking cellular providers 100% out of the picture for updates/infrastructure changes, since future devices would be up to the manufacturer to get FCC certified/radio tested on a network). And that's still being optimistic... not hard to imagine open webOS being tablet only. A webOS watch like pebble would feel like an also-ran idea (vs. making an unofficial app to get that to work on webOS instead), and if the Chumby fell through the cracks, why would webOS try to follow it? (In short: If it's not a tablet or a phone, see the following point with double emphasis.)

-- The plan has to be PRECISE. Think Raspberry Pi: this isn't going to be the $200 tablet, but it needs to be miserly with how it's made, and what it does and does not have, and everything has to be tailored to that end. Mind you, not Steve Jobs kind of tailored, but enough to work financially without being a single-shot production (Proceeds go to webos-internals, who's done most of the footwork already, can take the money and run other projects for software/hacking. Or pick a charity to benefit.) If the price is too high, or the device becomes an excercise of "Parkinson's Law of Triviality" (, it will never succeed. We need a plan, and it's must be well thought-out, fleshed-out, modelled in 3D, wind-tunneled, seasoned to taste, vulcanized, etc, etc. If you're an webOS enthusiast and have no idea what a RFP, prototype, or what the initials UL stand for, stay out of the conversation. Let those who know what they're doing deliberate free of the "Can it not suck?" and "I want moar memory, PLZ" kind of comments.

-- Know your company. If we depend on a company to do the footwork, be careful. Remember the woeful tale of the CrunchPad: (And that Michael Arrington, entertaining as he may be, is utterly insufferable.) An existing hardware startup is tempting to leverage to make a device, but it can go horribly wrong at the drop of a hat.

-- It's HP. There's a minute, but still real possibility that open webOS may not finish it's timeline. Any money/effort spent before September could be a utter waste, resulting in it's cancellation. Picture if we did rally up enough support to gather a million before Sept... if you're feeling maudlin now, imagine the downed spirits if that happened... nevermind webOS being dead, we as a community would be utterly finished from the disappointment that we've created ourselves.

It's probably better to pull the wait-and-see approach. If no takers in late 2012 after open webOS is completed, bring it on. If someone picks up open webOS for consumer availability, that's still the easiest way to go... even if it ends up being Pandigital or Acer. If not, in 2013 it's worth a shot. It's too early to engage this during 2012, but we can always plan.

I think it is a much better idea to start a kickstarter campaign to port dalvik to Webos first(though I have no idea regarding how the licencing would work)

than the app problem would be solved, after that there can actually be a small chance that a big name manufactorer would start producing webos hardware (if a big name doesn't do it, I'm pretty sure smaller companies or even knockoffs would run webos)

my 3 cents:

1¢ make a super=pre with amoled + microsdhc + easier battery door + even better camera + java app support + file transfer Bluetooth + whole device backup to pc/cloud ans i would pre-order now...

2¢ make a 7" tablet with all that above and cdma & world gsm sim/microsim slot and i would pre-order now...

3¢ make touchpad with all above with swappable battery and usb support for external HDD (powered microns on a/c or touchstone) and I would pre-order now...

make all compatible with same wires and gizmos so we don't get hammered at the accessories store...


...producing a new device is $€£¥ intensive existing knock-off makers for early marketing trials... as to be able to sell enough volume to interest makers, offer it with webOS or android choice and buyer's remourse recourse switch during warranty via simple OTA down/upload...

...offer bundles of devices

...small money to get off the ground and focus on good apps rather than huge catalog replete with junk


A few years ago, a bright, inquisitive college student wrote a bootloader to hackintosh a DellMini 9 and Dellmini 10, loading Mac OS X with minimal fuss and muss. He spent a lot of time and learned a lot. True, the Dell hardware was similar to the Mac.

Is it possible to shoot for the moon and build a WebOS bootloader for the iPad1? If that works migrate to the iPad 2 and iPad3? I understand that it is difficult to interface with the iPad h/w.

On the flipside, what is required to run iOS and Android apps on WebOS?

Am I just dreaming?