From the Editor's Desk: Last blog standing | webOS Nation

From the Editor's Desk: Last blog standing 52

by Derek Kessler Wed, 04 Apr 2012 9:27 pm EDT

From the Editor's Desk: Last blog standing

Today, David Baxter of announced that the site will have one last podcast next week and then close up shop. While we've been in competition with webOSroundup since their inception in late 2009, we've also always been on friendly terms. Sure, we battled back and forth for readers, exclusives, and just getting the story up first, but in the end - like the webOS community as a whole - we were in this whole thing together.

The past few years have been a lot of up and down and we've watched competitors rise and fall. webOSroundup is just the latest site to fall, but also the largest, and while in any normal, healthy ecosystem I might be celebrating the fall of a competitor, with the situation we find our community and platform in it's not that simple and it's not good news.

The reason I see this as not good news is because it speaks to the state of the webOS community as a whole. There's no hiding the fact that activity and enthusiasm are down across the webOS space. It's still a vibrant and thriving community, but with each passing day it gets smaller and smaller as users make the entirely understandable decision to jump onto a ship that isn't sinking. Sure, the U.S.S. Open webOS might have the course set towards the harbor, but we're on a boat that's being rebuilt out at sea, with limited supplies and we're not sure how much fuel is left in the tanks.

What once was a thriving set of numerous webOS blogs has been reduced to a handful. There's us, the webOS Nation, as the leading webOS site by far and what amounts to the last blog standing, and a handful of webOS sites catering to non-English audiences in Europe. Just like the users who have jumped from the webOS ship, I can't blame the managers and editors of other sites for pulling back or closing up shop in the face of declining traffic. It takes money to run the servers and pay for maintenance and writers and the like. It takes time to write the articles and manage the forums. And if that time and investment isn't getting a return, it becomes harder and harder to justify continuing the work. It's entirely understandable.

We at webOS Nation came into this with a huge advantage. When webOS was announced and PreCentral launched we were building on an already eight-year history from VisorCentral and TreoCentral and brought along a few hundred thousand members to kickstart the site. We started the race as the frontrunner and have worked long and hard to maintain that position by delivering the best news, reviews, forums, and editorials that we possibly could. Are there some things we wish we'd done differently? Sure, but until somebody invents a time machine we're just going to have to consider those lessons learned and not repeat those mistakes.

I say all of this not to gloat. The loss any remotely serious competition for webOS Nation is not a good thing. The webOS community is still strong, but we're understandably tired and confused and frustrated. We've been through three years of ups and downs from Palm and the HP. The excitement was almost always met head-on with disappointment. This community has been through a lot and it always amazes me that it still endures.

We face an uncertain future as a community. Open webOS is getting released, bit-by-bit, with a full release projected for September. That's five-to-six months before we'll have a complete picture of what this new open source version of webOS is going to look like, and after that it'll still take months before any devices are released running the OS. It could be a full year from now before a review of a new webOS device gets to be posted up on the front page of this blog.

My gut tells me that day will come and the webOS Nation community will still be here, waiting anxiously for the verdict on the latest chapter of webOS. It'll still be a strong community, but I'm sure we'll have seen plenty more leave for greener pastures. The webOS community will rebound and begin to grow again and you'll all be able to say "I was here when…" and then rattle off a dozen events so preposterous in hindsight that it's amazing webOS still exists as a platform.

webOS Nation is not going away. I'm not going away. The forums and reviews and how-to guides and yes, even the wish list posts, are not going away. I'm sad to see a competitor like webOSroundup fall precisely because it speaks to the state of the webOS community. But I'm also emboldened to forge forward - we know you come here for the great news, editorials, reviews, and discussion, and we have a duty to continue providing the platform for that to happen to the utmost of our capabilities.

I'm not going to say we're the last best hope on Earth for webOS and this community, but webOS Nation has a mission and we're going to do our very best to fulfill it. We won't let you down, we just hope that HP and company don't let all of us down.

So, bon voyage to David and the team at webOSroundup. It's was a good few years and we're sad to see you go.



Old-time VisorCentral user here.

I think WebOS is currently in "hibernation". There's not a lot happening, and for a long while, it's just going to be keeping the lights on. After that, who knows. Maybe there'll be another huge announcement and the WebOS community will spring back into life. Or maybe we'll be in hibernation for so long that there won't be anything left to awaken.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons death may die.

Unfortunately, we know how that one turned out.

I, too, am sad to see WebOSRoundup go. They had one of the best podcasts in the tech world, period, not just in the webOS community. It was always fun to listen to. As to whether webOS is in hibernation or not (see a previous post), I think that depends on whether webOS apps can be made to run directly on some other competing operating system (preferably Windows Phone :) ). I'd rather not have to dual-boot to run webOS apps. To my mind, if you've jumped to another OS (and you're a better person than me if you haven't at least considered it), it would be easier in the long run to migrate your data to the new platform than to try to jury-rig some solution that would let you run webOS apps. Just my 2 cents worth.

With Enyo being released, a few WebOS apps are running on other operating systems.

I'd rather see other operating systems apps work in webOS. I like the overall interface and web-based system of webOS, but the lack of apps and hardware are making it difficult. Over time, I think apps will move to HTML5, which will give webOS an advantage. If the open sourcing allows webOS to work on other rooted hardware, I'd pretty much be all set.

In theory, HTML 5 can level the playing field to some degree, but it will be years before it reaches a point where it can replace the speed of native apps. You're also assuming that it would be able to mimic the look and feel of the native UI with little to no effort on the part of the developer. Frameworks can do a lot of this gruntwork, but we're a long way from reaching convergence. I'm targeting WinRT / C# development so I can write apps once for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (but I'm stuck with Silverlight / C# for the time being). This gives me an opportunity to market to hundreds of millions, but without having to deal with the Apple politburo or the Google post-grenade hardware fragmentation nightmare.

I'd love to see other "foreign" apps run on webOS, but I don't see how that could ever happen. I stuck in there for the longest time, but I think it's time we face facts and move on. I'm still using webOS apps, but abandoning them as I find substitutes. It's the easiest (and least time-consuming and least stress-inducing) thing to do right now.

Just sayin'...

Now all you have to do is find someone who is using Windows Phone so that they can use your software.

You are definitely right Derek. Not good news at all. The perfect situation would be that both (WN and WOR) could coexist and have each their exclusive on different news, device launches, OS upgrades (probably some skins) and much more. But definitely the impetuous sea isn't because lots of movement on webOS but the one made by our desperate hands trying not to sink in the immensity of the deep blue sea of the forgotten.
But against any odd... LONG WILL LIVE webOS!!!
P.S.: Is there any chance webOSroundup could pass their mobile app to webOSNation? Their app is so much better than the "unofficial" webOSNation app (in terms of commenting from within the TP app and it even had the cool XL thing).

sad day! Please tell me somewhere in a abandoned storm cellar some intrepid developer is close to porting webOS to a nice piece of android hardware....please!!!!

Anyone remember It was the really popular and how I found out about the Pre in the first place. Now it's a ghost town.

Does this mean that we have to welcome back all the people who left this site when the WOSR forums released? =((((((

we never left this site but had more places to go.....

i will miss WOR....the forum was like your local kind of knew everyone :(

I'm sure it wasn't an easy article to write.

sad day indeed ;(

Thanks Derek for committing to long term. It is tough to stick with webOS when the Galaxy Notes and One Xs are ruling the mobile space. My gut feeling is we will survive for another year with no issues. There are plenty of users for Touchpad and Pre 3. The main question is will there be new devices or is it a slow death ?

On the bright side, at least we'll be consolidating the numbers of webOS faithful to this site. I, as with many others, certainly don't plan on going anyplace, and will here to welcome them as we continue along.

For however long we're out at sea, it's as good as ever to know we've got you in the captain's chair, Derek! Full steam ahead! ;)

it's sad ;( But just like Derek , I'll be here for the long run . Even if Open webOS fails , I'll be holding on to my VERY old closed webOS devices . Sure they'll probably break down , but I will always remember webOS .

I would assume the decision to remain here with the lights on is not necessarily Derek's decision to make (correct me if wrongDerek).

WebOS Nation could suffer the same fate if readership continues to decline. Just take a look at the forums. It used to be that you needed to check several times a day to keep up with the volume. Now? Once a day for 10-15 minutes is all that's needed to stay up-to-date.

Derek will probably write for IOS instead. He already got an iphone and I am sure that is his go to device.

Hello, fellow webOS users, I first experienced using webOS when I bought my touchpad in the fire sale, to be honest I got it just for the price and import android to it, but the more I used the more I liked the OS. And I kept reading all this articles of webOS Nation, roundup,webOS news, etc etc...., and like many of you I was hopping for hp to revive, save, invest and keep our hopes alive, but sadly my feeling and for what I read and many of the comments of many of the blogs of webOS, is like the movie Titanic, where everybody knew the ship was gonna sink and they were people who left in the first call, but also was people who hung with the ship until the last moment....and we all know what happened at the end...Fellows, I think is time to move on, before we all sink.

A little over the top? I'll let you in on a little secret.......nobody that hangs on is actually going to die. I'm sticking it out, when the time phone and/or TouchPad gets lost/stolen/broken/battery dies/etc....THEN I'll worry, but not until then.

Except for the penalty of death, of course. Not having a smartphone doesn't mean life is over.

(I know that's not what you're aiming for.) The hope is that once Open webOS is finished, that the group who made it opens a Community Development group of some type (Board of Governors, webOS Foundation, Council of Scholars, call it what you want) and the Open webOS team stays in operation, not only to market the software but propose development and improvements to keep it up to pace with advancements made in the Tablet/PC industry.

Of course, there's no assurance of that, and after Open webOS 1.0, Meg Whitman may just tell the team to pack up and go home, the check's in the mail, and next Monday their offices will be taken over by Kevin Rose with a sledge hammer and dream (or other similar startup mogul with a "History? What's that?" mentality). If that happens, then there's an excellent chance webOS will go quietly into the night, without rage or light. HP may want to cheaply give webOS a third chance to come back, but it still needs to support it. The community's shoulders are a little narrow to take up full-bore development work when Android has not only a strong community (AOSP at least) but backing from Google to improve it further.

hi team
been with webOs for a while now .... Bought into it because it was different and had a great OS ....guess what ? It still is ! ...all the androidalikes and ifuds can keep their mass appeal ...I for one would like to stay leftfield for a while longer

I am here to stay as well: 'best
touchscreen gui on a linux kernel'

This answers one of my biggest questions of "when, if everything goes to plan, will I be able to put webOS on another device?":

"Open webOS is getting released, bit-by-bit, with a full release projected for September. That's five-to-six months before we'll have a complete picture of what this new open source version of webOS is going to look like, and after that it'll still take months before any devices are released running the OS."

Now I'm wondering if we are talking about phones instead of tablets and be able to make phone calls (i.e. access to the call stack). I want a webOS phone on Virgin Mobile because I have a cheap plan with them. I'm sure others have reasons for having webOS on the carrier of their choice.

From Whitman's mouth: we're out of the smartphone industry.

What that means precisely is unclear: surely, the Pre and it's kin are dead (no play on words intended with Microsoft Kin). But does that mean that the branch of webOS that has Smartphone UI, Cellular Radio support, and gestures dies with that?

Is Open webOS 100% Tablet/PC with no plans to include smartphone UI/processes? No one's answered that from HP as far as I know with any degree of absolute measure.

But like this post alluded to, and every speculation thereafter... what really made webOS into a limping beast isn't the community, the smartphone-adoring public fawning over Apple/Android, and it's end products (granted, both the smartphones and tablets had issues hardware-wise in some ways... but really, what product doesn't? Even Apple has problems with cracked screens or the always-fun-to-watch antennagate... "Maybe you're holding it wrong?").

What has damaged webOS the most so far is waiting. "When will Pre come out on better hardware?" "When will HP close the webOS acquisition?" "When will the Touchpad come out?" "When will Leo tell webOS to exit the building?" "Now that Leo left, what is Meg thinking?" "When will Meg decide webOS's fate?"... and now, we're at "What will happen this September when Open webOS 1.0 is at broad availability?" We can forsee one additional question, "When will a commercial device use Open webOS?" Granted, HP can't be expected to just drop a headline in December about open sourcing this and less than 2 months later, drop a gold master DVD on the podium at the next press conference, cock their head to the side with their arms out and yell into the mic, "What?" like Jason Mewes. That just doesn't happen in the software world unless you have less sense than money.

But just like all the other times we think that we have a good bead on where webOS is headed next, there's a fair chance that a development between now and this fall (exiting employees, HP deciding to halt development for some reason, missed deadlines and in-fighting) will make that question pointless to ask.

I for one am still here. Just upgraded my Sprint FrankenPre 2 for a GSM Pre 3 on Straight Talk, and am still as attached to the OS as I was when CES 2009 rolled by.

I'll keep reading your articles, and I'll keep donating periodically to WOSI and other pillars of the community. I'll keep occasionally heading to the app store to spend some cash to support our developers. I'll probably keep finding (to most, silly) reasons why Android 4.0 is not *quite* good enough to replace my webOS.
I can't blame the folks at Roundup (or anyone else) for jumping ship. But as a webOS user and PreCentral/webOSNation reader for all this time, thank you, Derek, for sticking around even through incredibly rough waters.

"That's five-to-six months before we'll have a complete picture of what this new open source version of webOS is going to look like, and after that it'll still take months before any devices are released running the OS. It could be a full year from now before a review of a new webOS device gets to be posted up on the front page of this blog."

That's the critical bit - if nobody picks it up, it's at that stage the support will collapse to the hardcore hobbyists (and devs) who are willing to spend their time hacking WebOS on various android devices.

In some ways as long as it can be ported to any device and the anticipated move from apps to HTML5 happens that's all that is necessary.

"In some ways as long as it can be ported to any device and the anticipated move from apps to HTML5 happens that's all that is necessary."

Not really, that's enough from a hobbyish perspective but it means that it ceases to be a mainstream OS from a consumer and developer perspective.

If we put churn at a (unrealistic) low level then the WebOS population still started to look pretty sick come September.

Keyword: Anticipated. HTML5 is a good standard for cross-compatible mobile and PC content, but if the "Post-PC era" crap rings more and more true (I like to think of it as Steve Job's curse to the world before leaving it, like the Great Bambino when being traded to New York), then web be damned, apps and walled gardens will proliferate further.

It's one thing to root for the underdog as a developer and support webOS with kind words or blog posts on Open Sourcing webOS as doing the right thing. It's entirely another as a developer to be asked to spend resources on developing for an underdog without any promise of return. As long as that's true, nothing else matters in such a world.

I only got my first webOS device a few months ago, a BNIB Pre 2 from eBay, and I love everything about that phone too much to consider leaving webOS. I believe that webOS will continue to be developed for quite a way into the future, how much traction it gains and how far it advances we can only know in September's, though.

Thanks, Derek.

I hope this site remains until the new horizon of WebOS. In the meantime, I will be holding out with my 1st gen Sprint Pre until it literally dies. Hopefully it makes it another year, or until the first worthy next gen WebOS device appears. (Or at least until I can afford a Pre3 and carrier switch)

I am not at all swayed by my wife's iPhone 4s or any of the Android offerings.

WebOS OR DIE!!!!

hp have chickened out and left the third place to Microsoft.
Derek I respect you for deciding to close the shop, instead of turning your look away and letting it become another ghost site.

I think you need to re-read the article.  Derek (and webOSNation) are not closing up shop.  He's discussing the closing of webOSRoundup.

Die? Hell no! I bought a used Veer and live on Straight Talk. Great service and unlimited everything for $45. And I get to visit the Sprint Pre Museum in my drawer whenever I want! It's just like real life, there is no Sprint coverage in there either.

In the process of looking for a replacement pre for my sprint launch day (yes original 2 yrs and 10 months old, before it has real issues) I added 2 more sprint pre users. I've actually grown web-os by 2 and now I'm thinking ??? Web-os is dead and I'm so sad about that. I don't do all the wonderful things everyone does to their phones and yet I still think I'm using the best operating system any phone has ever had. I feel like I've given a disease to two other people as all they are going to get is dissapointment from hp. I had hoped that web-os would be put on another device, like in the same way android is on the touchpad. I sure would have learned to root any phone I could have put it on. Don't get me wrong I'm hanging in there and still waiting for day when I see great news on this site. Been reading here since June 2009.
Love pre-central.

Curious. David Baxter says that the reason they're closing is because he won't be able to spend the time needed to keep it up, but then in that case why not pass the torch on to someone else who will? I'm sure they have passionate supporters over there that would be willing to take on the responsibilities.

No guarantees. Who's to say they hand the site off, and the new caretaker sells the domain for quick cash and shutters the site without warning? Or perhaps Baxter put in significant collateral in hours and money and doesn't feel like giving it away?

Hell, they're welcome to join us here. This doesn't have to be all maudlin and dreary after all.

pre 2 and pixi and a touchpad so i'm here to stay...but after this bad news i might throw a phone on my 3rd sprint account.....the one that i kept around for the pre3 that never was coming to sprint :(

RIP WOR....i know it sounds stupid but i thank the webOS Nation for giving them an honorable mention

Last blog standing? Please give some props to Internet Gumshoe, which provides daily webOS app reviews (paid, free, and homebrew) and is a featured feed in the webOS News app (on the App Catalog; it's what I'm using to read this blog, and is the easiest way to access both blogs, along with Google News and the official webOS blogs).

IG may be small compared to webOS Nation, but it's a tightly-focused site that brings a lot of value to our community by keeping us abreast of what apps are available and which apps are worthy of our dollars.

Well said. It's a shame about webOSroundup. I was a regular visitor, but noticed that it became quite inactive lately. I surely hope webOSnation won't abandon us... ;-)

Last blog standing? Not yet! There are a few other good sites out there, including the previously mentioned Internet Gumshoe and webOSCenter. Obviously, PreCentral (I still type that in) is king of the hill, but there are still some others hanging on.

Last large-scale website standing: true. WebOS Center looks like it's a base Wordpress install with a free theme.

Not to be a sourpuss, but a WordPress Theme costs $120 or less to have a professional/freelancer give your site a unique look with no bells or whistles, or give a college kid a $1000 scholarship, 6 months, a few paid power lunch meetings, and all the O'Reilly/For Dummies books he can read in two weeks, and it'll integrate all the widgets, XML and commenting platforms of choice in one shot. Neither are hard to cough up for a serious blog, and it's a one-time cost assuming it's done well enough.

Never heard of Internet Gumshoe until now... not a bad little site. (UK based, could be why it's not more well-known here.) Still, nowhere near the scale of webOS Roundup or webOS Nation.

Last blog standing... that'll never be true in a manner of speaking. I could name 12-25 of them that are still running, but have fallen silent after either the release of the Touchpad or Leo's attempt to kill off webOS and PSG before making HP into SAP 2.0. It's a little Ozymandias (Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!) but until the free hosts go down, or the web servers that host those sites scrub them off the www directory, webOS Nation will always have company.

Sure, the U.S.S. Open webOS might have the course set towards the harbor, but we're on a boat that's being rebuilt out at sea, with limited supplies and we're not sure how much fuel is left in the tanks.

Rebuilt out at sea brings in mind an old metaphor... if a ship leaves harbor (for argument sake, the U.S.S. Enyo), gets damaged (in our case, partly from expected battle, but mostly from mutinies and idiots next to the powderkeg amidships trying to smoke) and is rebuilt out in the open ocean after mass casualties and all issues and grudges resolved among the survivors, not only with parts blown off, but parts of another ship found (U.S.S. Android of the Linux Kernel 3.0 Galleon). When it's finished this August with less than 30% of the ship is how it was originally built... will it be the same ship as it was before?

Hell, at this point, there's question that the U.S.S. Open webOS will even be seaworthy with every story on here highlighting departure after departure. Sure, marketing isn't wholly needed, but like other "focused teams", I find it hard to imagine everyone left in the webOS unit is wearing only one hat, and every team member leaving means that much more left with the remaining people to do. There's no guarantee that the team can finish Open webOS if certain key people end up leaving and the deadlines start whizzing by without results. (That's the only quick death possible left in this mess... If Open webOS fails to maintain or hold community interest, it'll die much slower, and far more quietly. See Apache Attic.)

I'm hopeful, though, that this isn't the case. Otherwise, I wouldn't read this site daily.

I just want to thank you Derek. Your honesty and passion are an inspiration. This site has been a daily ritual of mine since I got my launch-day pre- and I've enjoyed all of it. WOR was also a common stop for me, especially with the staggered podcasts. I always found the two sides to be a satiating combo when covering the same topics. I wish them all the best.

surprised you have the web as one of your launch bar icons?

Sad, but it doesn't surprise me... As good as WOR was, the writing was on the wall there when first David announced that he was releasing WOR's shackles to paid advertising & would be taking donations... And that WOR Would keep webOS flame alive, despite the entry of the "Other-Makes" forums under that entity... Unfortunately, it didn't last more than 6 months past that. The call went out for donations to support the site, I gladly sent in $50... Am I Bitter that it now seems like money wasted? A little.

So long as this site & webOS Internals exists, I know that the S.S. webOS is still a viable ship, even if we're using super glue & bits of the little robot to keep her afloat.

Too bad for WOR. I was a rare occasional visitor but it is nice to read different perspectives and have some competition to keep Precentral on its feet. Every webOS site has had little to no news, sad, but a sign of the times for webOS. I too seem to have jump ship as my Touchpad is mostly on Android and I am just waiting for Sprint to get ICS to upgrade to an Android phone. I will still come back here at least weekly hoping for life to spring back into webOS. Thanks webOSnation for keeping the spirits up and keeping us inform.

I sadly gave in and bought the iPhone 4S at the end of February as my Sprint contract on my Pre ended. My Pre had started to run sluggishly and I was hungry for a faster phone. My new phone works, but everyday I miss the elegance (there's just no other way to describe it) of webOS. I still have my TouchPad, but I visit webOS Nation less often. So it was sad to read this article. I still hope for a rebirth of sorts for webOS, but it will be quite a while before that happens.

You are not the last man standing Derek. I just published a new webOS App Review (The first Touch-To-Share App I know):

Word on the street is they don't do builds any longer
over in Open WebOS land at HP. Heard that they dumped
their lab where they tested builds too. Sounds like it
will be someone elses job to run that WebOS.