A final nail in the webOS coffin or a release from the purgatory of Palo Alto? | webOS Nation
 
 

A final nail in the webOS coffin or a release from the purgatory of Palo Alto? 80

by Derek Kessler Wed, 13 Feb 2013 7:56 pm EST

A final nail in the webOS coffin or a release from the purgatory of Palo Alto?

Today it was revealed that HP is working on an Android-powered tablet to be unveiled in the near future and possibly a smartphone for the farther future. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anymore. Despite statements over a year ago from CEO Meg Whitman looking to assuage anxious tech nerds about the future of webOS, HP has never shown any real inclination towards producing new webOS hardware since the cancellation of the last webOS hardware almost eighteen months ago to the day.

Even though it's not a surprise in any sense of the word, it's still frustrating. HP has for close to three years owned one of the most highly-regarded mobile operating systems of the modern age of mobile computing, and for lack of a better term they royally fucked it over under the brief and idiotic leadership of Leo Apotheker. But that's in the past, and while it's hard to deal with old festering wounds like that, dwelling on that past isn't going to help one bit.

There is of course benefit to examining the past with objective eyes, or at least trying to do so. HP bought Palm three years ago for this very reason - to move into mobile. They didn't like the way Microsoft was going with Windows 8, and though they'd toyed around with Android internally and on printers, they apparently weren't happy with that either. Driven by Personal Systems Group head and former PalmOne CEO Todd Bradley, HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion so they could chart their own course in the burgeoning mobile world and not be tied to Microsoft or Google or anybody else.

That's how it was supposed to work, and as we all know it didn't. There are a number of factors that can be blamed, from boardroom incompetence to poor sales to underwhelming hardware to disappointing advertising (but far from the worst that webOS has seen over the years). As with every multi-billion-dollar decision, there are dozens of contributing factors, though it usually boils down to money and the willingness to spend it or not spend it.

So, here we are in the early days of 2013 and we get confirmation that HP is indeed working on Android hardware. This shouldn't be a shock. HP's dabbled in Windows 8 tablets and we've heard there are Windows RT (ARM-powered) tablets floating around Palo Alto as well. That's no surprise, HP is after all one of Microsoft's biggest partners and has been for decades.

But Windows 8 isn't proving to be a smashing success. Sales of Windows 8 tablets have been disappointing to say the least, and tablets from the likes of Apple, Google, and Samsung are eating the lunch of HP and the rest of the PC industry. Samsung and Google don't have a PC division to worry about, and Apple doesn't care if their iPad sales cannibalize their Mac sales - so long as you're still buying from Apple they don't care.

HP doesn't have a tablet for people to buy. They were supposed to, first Android, and then webOS, and then nothing. After the devastating shut down of webOS hardware operations, it's no surprise that it took HP's tablet machine a while to get back up and running at full power. Hundreds of HP engineers were dedicated to development of the next generation of webOS hardware, and after the cancellation they were either absorbed into other HP divisions or unceremoniously laid off.

Between 2010 and 2011, HP gambled hard that they were going to need a massive investment in mobile to remain a relevant company in the 21st century. There was always going to be a place for their PC and printer divisions (at least for the next decade or two), but mobility in the form of tablets, smartphones, and other connected devices was recognized by HP as a central pillar to HP's strategy going forward.

Until it wasn't and HP decided they wanted to be the next IBM. Now that that dark period has passed and HP is fighting and kicking and clawing their way back to relevancy (while competitor and PC comrade Dell is doing the same), they've again realized that mobility and connected devices are the future. If HP isn't going to be IBM, then logic dictates that they must try to be Apple or Samsung.

Windows and webOS

There's little doubt that Microsoft has been putting pressure on HP to go with Windows for their tablet and smartphone plans. Microsoft is under the gun just as much as HP is. Not is Apple's Mac line eating into PC sales, which isn't entirely unexpected, but the explosion of tablets led by Apple's iPad is threatening to obliterate the traditional PC market in only a few short years. Windows 8 sales are solid, but that's to be expected - people haven't stopped buying computers. But they also aren't gangbusters; shortly after release the sales clip settled down to the same level as Windows 7 before the launch of 8.

Windows Phone 8 has made impressive gains when looked at in a vacuum, but in all reality the smartphone operating system from Redmond isn't performing well either. Windows Phone is in an absurdly distant third place behind Android and iPhone, and is facing a serious challenge from a renewed and refreshed BlackBerry. The only reason Windows Phone is doing as well as it is is because of Microsoft's deep pockets.

With Windows 8 disappointing and Windows Phone 8 not looking attractive for HP's desire for continued relevancy, the fastest and cheapest option for them while still differentiating (remember that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 only allow for limited customization, leaving OEMs like HP to differentiate only on hardware) is Android.

What does Android offer that webOS doesn't? There's a lot, including a modern and growing catalog of apps, modern features, the commitment of Google behind its development, and name recognition to name a few. Companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble have proven that Android can be customized to the point that it's not even recognizable as Android anymore, providing the significant differentiation that manufacturers long for.

So of course HP's going to go with Android. That's not a surprise at all.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt nonetheless. When HP scooped up Palm from the brink of bankruptcy in 2010, they were hailed as the saviors of webOS. With HP's scale and bankroll, webOS was supposed to be everywhere. So it's painful to see HP, long separated from our visions of the rescuing charming prince in blue armor and now battered and bruised and wandering in search of a new way, picking up and moving on with a new princess. Sure, there's a lot of angry talk in the webOS community that says "I'm never going to buy another HP anything!" But I'd be willing to bet real money that a lot of those same people would hand over their real money for a new webOS tablet or smartphone, even if it was made by HP. There's still that desire for HP to make good on webOS, even if we don't want to admit it.

But it's not going to happen. HP's kicked out webOS, made their mobile bed with Android, and now they're going to have to lay with it. They're tiptoeing into a crowded market with more experienced players, and we wouldn't expect HP to take a highly differentiating route like Amazon's Kindle lines. Any Android-powered HP tablet is likely to be close-to-stock Android as they simply aren't going to invest the money that it would take to build and maintain the custom user interface they'd need to really differentiate themselves on the shelves.

So this news of an HP Android tablet is a nail in the coffin of Open webOS. Or is it just a nail in the coffin of HP webOS? Is this the end of webOS, or just the end of HP and webOS?

Gram

Truth of the matter is, I never expected there to be an HP and webOS after HP announced at the end of 2011 they were going to open source webOS. With the news that the webOS Global Business Unit was to be spun off as a separate company called Gram, the prospects of HP and webOS being an item - forget an exclusive item - went almost entirely out the window.

So let's go ahead and put that final nail in the coffin of HP and webOS. That relationship is done as far as the public is concerned, and it'll be up to HP to pry open that casket and convince everybody that everythings okay. Unless and until that happens, there is no HP and webOS. There's HP and their new Android experiment, and there's Gram and their Open webOS experiment. Both face an uphill battle.

Open webOS has the advantage of automatic differentiation. If they're ever able to company that Open webOS is for them and get hardware to market, it'll be instantly differentiated from all of the Android and Windows 8 and iOS tablets out there. That's for better and for worse, while Open webOS has the user interface down, there are still significant deficiencies to be overcome with regards to the rest of the operating system. While we hope that Open webOS Professional Edition will be sufficient to make up some of the difference, unless Gram tries something along the lines of Android emulation, webOS will continue to suffer a serious lack of modern apps.

But with Open webOS and Gram more or less untethered from dependence on HP, the options for who they can work with can open up. There's till the problem of financial dependence on HP - while Gram might technically be a separate company, they're entirely reliant on HP for financing. And if HP's opting to go all-in on Android, one has to question how much they'll be willing to commit to a side project like Gram and Open webOS.

It's always worth considering, though, that webOS may simply not have a future in the mobile space anymore, or at least not for a long while. Gram has been working with multiple partners - including with LG on a webOS-powered TV - on various projects. None of those projects are mobile-focused. So while the genesis of Open webOS was a mobile operating system, the future of Open webOS may look nothing like the past. There will still be the homebrew crowd working to port Open webOS to a wide range of devices, but so long as there's limited and dwindling developer support for the platform, it'll remain as niche product status.

That's a bucket of cold water for sure, but it's a distinctly possible reality. Open webOS is a fine base operating system. But it's missing an awful lot of the long tail of features that would be needed for it to be successful in the highly competitive tablet or smartphone space. Built-in photo editing on webOS is nonexistent. Video editing consists only of cutting videos down to size. The camera app - technically not even present in Open webOS - can take photos and videos and that's it, there's no panorama or HDR or other advanced settings. There's no social network integration or live icon/widget support or something as amazingly predictive as Google Now or charmingly interactive as Siri.

Open webOS on the Galaxy Nexus

Open webOS is still ahead on multitasking and everybody's just now starting to catch up on notifications, but when it comes to just about everything else, Open webOS is way behind. There might be some voodoo magic happening behind the concrete bunker walls of Gram, but until we see what they're working on, the facts won't change as to the status of Open webOS in the mobile ecosystem at large.

So perhaps the future of Open webOS will be powering the back end of a thousand different web-connected platforms. We've already seen the potential with the unfortunately-named KeyiCam taking Open webOS and using it as the base for their key duplication kiosk system, and the previews they’ve shown look nothing like webOS. And why should it? We wouldn't expect a Windows CE-powered ATM to look like it's running Windows (at least until it crashes and puts up the blue screen of death).

But we're webOS Nation, part of the Mobile Nations network of communities. While our nightmares are filled with visions of webOS-powered car stereos and key duplicators and ordering screens at a futuristic McDonalds, our dreams call for a thriving ecosystem of tablets and smartphones and even a few desktop computers.

If there's going to be a future savior for Open webOS in mobile, it's not going to be a night in shining armor swooping in at the last minute with a satchel full of a billion dollars. Unless something drastic and unexpected happens, the Samsungs and HTCs and LGs of the world aren't likely to pick up Open webOS as an operating system for their tablets or smartphones. But somebody like Huawei or ZTE or somebody looking to break into the mobile space very well might. The future of mobile Open webOS probably lies in China.

It's easy to spin today's story of HP taking to Android for their mobility division in either direction. It's either the end of Open webOS or the liberation of Open webOS. On one hand, HP's been the financial supporter (and punisher) of webOS for the better part of three years, and that they're going Android doesn't bode well for continued financial support for Gram and Open webOS. On the other hand, Open webOS and Gram can move on from any notion of a future with HP mobility and pursue bigger goals and new partners. That's what they're already doing.

So while HP snuggling up to Android is a kick to the groin for the webOS community, it's really not an unexpected bit of news in any way. HP's effectively washed their hands of webOS, and while they'll never be able to live it down no matter how hard they try to pretend that it never happened, they're done with webOS.

But just because HP's done doesn't mean Gram's done. It doesn't mean Open webOS is done. And it certainly doesn't mean we're done.

webOS Nation

80 Comments

This is it; nothing more needs to be said than this clip right here.

Yeah Derek...after a while, it's not worth sticking to anymore. If HP doesn't believe...how could WebOS ever become relevant again?

after reading that i want to be mad i want to be angry but i cant all i can do is sit here keep rewatching old hp commercials for the veer and touchpad while my touchpad, pixi plus, pre plus, and pre 3 are sitting on my chest tonight turned pretty sad quick

Better grab some ice cream and wine.

turkey hill grand slam and franzia sunset blush

How about hp use webOS as an android launcher? Similar to TouchWiz, Blur. Etc

WaveLauncher is already mimics the webOS wave and tops it by allowing for recent apps and folders to be included in the wave.

There are several apps which mimic the webOS card system, including the built-in ICS task switcher, none of them really work as well as the cards in webOS. If only we cold get LunaCE on Android....

Derek I had to tweet it out:

@dkdsgn http://www.webosnation.com/final-nail-coffin-or-release-purgatory-palo-alto … The mobile tech Shakespearean trajedy business case that is #webos #BookDealforDerek @webOSnation @HP

http://ow.ly/hHoO1

Guess my 2 webos domain names I bought are going to be worthless. :(

Perhaps as a memorial website?

Can HP use Android and Win8 and webOS? Samsung uses multiple operating systems. The maybe this will give them a larger customer base. Especially since webOS will work on Android devices. Then Gram will have phones made by their parent company ready for them.

Guys, webOS is not dead. She just jilted us and eloped with someone else. In other words, move on. Keeping the flame lit will do nothing but bring on more heartache. If she comes back, fine. We'll have a whale of a time, but in the meantime, it's time to play the field.

i've played the field. bought a ipad4, used it for 2 weeks including jailbreak. hated the user interface, so gave it to my daughter. back to tp w/lunace and looking towards ports for newer hardware.

when i need an app, i'll boot into cyanogen.

this +1

I didn't expect anything different to occur, after HP blew their chance so amazingly irreversibly by announcing the demise of webOS and instantly destroying the value of webOS as an asset, in one short conference call. The fact that they even tried to salvage part of it in some way by going open source, and spinning it into "gram" is more than I expected.

This report changes nothing, because HP burned the bridge so permanently that day, that it could never be a viable option again for them as a company.

The only redeeming part is that they have made it possible, for another company, looking for a new inroad to the mobile market, to potentially acquire gram and its assets, as the mobile space grows and diversifies. Assuming they maintain gram long enough, there could be monetary value in webOS and gram as a unit. I would doubt that HP has any interest in gram beyond incubating a potential, albeit partial, recovery of the value they threw away on that conference call.

I'd love to hear a big announcement from gram, about an exiting new consumer facing webOS, but until then, my best hope is that a new entrant to the mobile space sees an opportunity to disrupt the current 2 + 1/2 + 1/2 players in todays market, by acquiring gram and starting an exciting new product line based on webOS.

Ubuntu has over 30 million users worldwide. Ubuntu is a free and open source OS that you can downlosd free on their website on any PC or tablet. They are now coming out with phones.

CAN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THE HELL WE ARE NOT DOING THE SAME THING WITH WEBOS?

They're trying to do just that with Gram but it takes years to build something as big as Ubuntu (which itself was built on years of development of Linux by Linus Torvalds and others; which itself began as an attempt to create a free version of Unix which has evolved over decades). And Ubuntu, like all Linux PC distros, runs on computers with relatively open architecture. Phones by contrast have been almost completely proprietary for decades. It's only now with the growth of Android that anything like what is happening now with Ubuntu and much more slowly with Gram.

Ubuntu has over 30 million users worldwide. Ubuntu is a free and open source OS that you can downlosd free on their website on any PC or tablet. They are now coming out with phones.

CAN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THE HELL WE ARE NOT DOING THE SAME THING WITH WEBOS?

HP has a windows 8 tablet..the elite 900 or some such animal...right?

HP is probably the most erratic company in the world.

They tried with WebOS and fail
They tried with Microsoft and fail
They will try with Android and will fail, no question.

They have lost so much time dismissing WebOS.

WebOS should be the future OS, one simple reason, is the Best.

The Best.

Sadly the Best doesn't always win in tech. The history of modern computing is littered with "Bests" which were beaten by the "Good Enoughs:" Amiga, Be, NeXT. The list goes on and on.

It's not even the first one of the "Bests" HP has killed either.

Thy didn't try webos.
They kicked out the CEO who wanted to try it.
When Apotheker was brought in they were already on the be-like-IBM path.

And, yes, I agree that HP will most likely fail with Android too. They come very late to the Android party. Other companies are well established and already battle each other on price and features.

The big advantage of Android for HP is the well-established Android technosphere. But this advantage is also a big disadvantage for a late-comer. How to distinguish yourself from the long established and experienced competition?

It will be very hard for HP to out-feature and/or out-price the Android incumbents.
They might have some moderate success with some enterprise-friendly features and tie-ins to other products. But it will be hard to struggle against against Googles Nexus cooperations and Samsungs Galaxy line with yet-another-Android Tablet.

Here's what I'd do if I had to come up with a mobile strategy for HP:
Modern tablets are already very generic hardware-wise. Few to no dedicated buttons - except for power and volume. That means that the hardware design has not much to do with what you run on it.

Develop a few nice tablets (7", 10") with some common design style that makes all variants recognizable as this particular HP line.
Then offer Android, W8 and webos as options. Give people the option to change OS even after they bought the device. Heck -offer multi-boot as an option. All just 1 click and a few minutes away (your settings and app data wil be re-synced via a cloud service).
Build in-house apps with Enyo as a framework to make it cheap to have apps on all 3 platforms (always skinned so that they look and behave like a normal platform-app of course)..
Same goes for a number of apps that HP sponsors or cooperates for closely with several important services (Facebook, Reddit, Netflix, Kindle, etc...)
That would turn HP current headless grasping for something that might sell into a marketable advantage.
Meanwhile integrate Android support into webos to have a short-term fix for the lack of apps problem.

Why mix in webos with the other 2? Several reasons. Without dedicated hardware it's cheap to do so, It will get some free press buzz. If it does take off after a while it's a great differentiator - if not it didn't cost much to offer the option.

If HP uses Enyo as a framework to get good apps out (assuming they can manage to produce competitive apps) it will show-case the framework, create some buzz and other devs will strat to use the framework for the same porting advantages. PhoneGap/Cordova is popular for the same reason. Then making the few changes to have an app run also on webos will be no big deal.

But instead HP will have some new announcements in early 2014 when they'll try out the next Great Strategy to keep the company from shrinking to irrelevance over the coming decade.

agreed

Only problem with the idea of free choice OS is the fact that Microsoft made an agreement that prevents the same people at HP from working on both Windos and other systems. Drop Windows from the deal though and we might just get competitive webOS devices as the same device could run different platforms.

The problem with that is that it is not free to offer a mobile OS you need support if nothing else and that alone will cost you millions.

They have hardly failed with MS.. they are one of their biggest customers.

He was referring to their ill-fated mobile devices running Windows CE.

I would have to disagree with your statement. Windows Mobile-based iPaqs were the best of the breed as far as build quality and "special sauce" that other OEMs didn't put in. Once the platform went dark HP chose to pursue Palm. Then came the clusterfuck we know as Leo Apotheker. Matter of fact, my backup phone is a 910c running a custom 6.5 ROM.

The new BlackBerry Q10 looks very appealing. I'll still have hope for WebOS, but before any new hardware comes out, I think I'll jump ship.

You can forget about dedicated webos hardware for the foreseeable future (and likely ever).

It's an enthusiasts OS now. Similar to Haiku (former BeOS). As ong as there are hackers having fun hacking with it it'll be around. But we'll have to be willing to buy Android hardware and install ourselves. There will likely be always thousands, possibly tens of thousands who are wiling to do so and it will keep the platform around.

But that's (likely) it.
I don't believe that gram will take off. Whether webos is used in a TV or toaster is irrelevant to many of use here. I don't see any indication that any established company is even considering using webos.

Best chance is a surpise arrival from an unexpeded corner - like a new company appearing in India or China. One of those outsource manufacturers who want to start to push their own brand.
And while that is entirely possible it is still unlikely to happen.

I still use my Pre3 as my only phone and I'll probably will do so for the next 1-3 years. It's still great for what I want from a smartphone. If there is ever an update available to the browser it could remain my preferred mobile OS for a very long time.
But I have 0 expectations for commercial dedicated webos hardware.

My realistic upgrade options are to find a nice enough Android phone and be able to put either webos or Ubuntu phone on it (or both :-) ).

If I have to downgrade to something like the Nexus 4 eventually - I'll survive.

Though I'd hope otherwise, I'm afraid I agree with tholap, and think his analysis is dead-on. I'll continue to use my Franken-Pre2 on Sprint as long as I can. (If I could finagle a way to use a Verizon Pre3 on Sprint, I'd switch to that - but I understand that is "impossible").

When Open webOS reaches a point where it can realistically be used on a device such as a Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 4, I'll consider switching, but even then, I'll miss the compact elegance and utility of the Pre form-factor.

Yeah - the form factor being dead is actually what saddens me the most.
The combination of Pre3 + Touchstone looks nice, feels nice, handles nice and is nice.

It's a good size - screen big enough to be useful and device small enough to easily fit into a jeans pocket.

I don't get why modern smartphones get ever wider, but ever thinner.
As long as the phone is light enough I don't care how paper thin it is. There is 0 advantage in having a phone that's extra super thin (OK - unless you want to carry it in your shirt or jacket pocket - but I never do). I'd rather have more battery in that space and a device that sits well in my hand - as the Pre3 does.

I have no problems installing an OS myself (been wiping Windows from Laptops and replacing it with Ubuntu for over half a decade now) and the Homebrew stuff on Preware is actually often very good,.Some of it beats most commercial apps.

But nobody produces hardware like the Pre3. sigh :-(

I like the vertical slider myself. My pre 2 is holding up for now. You can thank Iphone for the thinner and flatter is better idea. The android "innovation" is to supersize the device which has been suprisingly successful. I think motorola had some keyboard based but they didn't sell well. I have some coworkers with samsung note and it looks ridiculous in size. But it sells! I guess we don't share the average consumer's view . (or vulnerability to be brainwashed by advertisements) :P

Sad news for sure, though not surprising.
WebOS is kind of dead imo; even if someone does release a device running WebOS, it's not going to sell, which sucks because it is such a great OS. :(

No, we're not!

We keep on moving and I only hope someone with real vision (like Jobs did for apple) takes over the OpenwebOS project and give it a real chance to compete.
When there's life...there's still hope; which we can paraphrase into: when there's open source webOS -and this awesome community behind it-...it will never go away form my pocket/pouch/whatever! ;-)

Well, my TouchPad still works. And I have an old Pixi Plus which I could in theory unlock from AT&T and still use as a phone. There are even Veers and Pre 3s on sale at Amazon to this day. But for new hardware I'm afraid we'll be stuck with attempts to port webOS to Android phones for a lone time to come. It's not necessarily a bad thing. For years, installing Linux on an old PC was a good way of giving it a new lease on life and it has lead to Android being everywhere. Maybe in ten years webOS will still be everywhere as well....

this coffin with so many nails in it looks like tank.

Is it worth learning Enyo and or Ares?

I think it is worth as HP has stated that enyo (and its development enviroment called ares) will be a framework for not only webOS but android, windows phone, iOS, BB10, etc...

So they are trying to "sell" the idea of "develop one time release it in all platforms"...

In other words enyo is now a separate "arm" of open webOS... open webOS apps are based on enyo so open webOS needs enyo but enyo doen't need open webOS...

The business is the business: they don't get incomes from WebOS, they have to try anything else.

It's all about market share, profits, and sales.

Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore, said it once: "We are not a computer company. We are a sales company".

No matter if you have the best product in the World if you can't sell it enough to make profits.

IBM had OS/2, Nokia had Maemo, Palm had Cobalt... But the market simply goes ahead and wants things new and different.

So WebOS will remain, as said before, as a niche, just like the mentioned ones, and HP will try to create a business again.

Please note that Commodore is long gone.

You need both.
Engineers without marketing will fail.
But marketing without good engineering and some love for what they do will also not survive for long.

A company can't produce brilliant products if they don't really care about it . And that doesn't just mean designers and engineers, but also management. Because if management doesn't really care to some degree they'll make decisions accordingly.

Everything is a matter of having the right balance.

Apple has IMHO many flaws. But they are great at marketing, good at engineering/design and had a CEO who cared a lot about it all.

HP OTOH used to have good engineering, but management stopped caring about its products a long time ago and is now preoccupied with turf-wars. Decent marketing alone won't save them.

I agree with you. But I think HP bought Palm to have a technology of its own property.

The fragmentation problem with Android and the obsolescense and poor performance of Windows Mobile (which they supported with a a lot of devices released under the iPaq series) I think leaded HP to try to create its own BlackBerry OS.

But HP has never been a popular consumer brand. The only things that reached the status of a well know HP product were printers, scanners and MFPs. There are a lot of other devices that HP tried to sell to masses with little or no success.

Palm OS based devices were popular in business applications. There are many apps tailored to specific tasks and niches that are there, available, to anyone with anything running Palm OS.

But then mobile interenet came and Palm OS simply wasn't ready. And then Web OS came, and I think HP wanted to reach that status of essential for business, again, this time in internet mobile devices. Should it be by creating a new OS from the beginning?

Nope. They bought Palm because its renowned status, and Web OS with it, to control an OS with no licenses to pay for.

But Web OS wasn't ready for business. And the hardware powering it wasn't ready for professional use.

It simply was not the kind of OS with business in mind. Was a kind of let's release this and we will fix and improve ahead in time. Yes, Web OS was way ahead its time in many areas. But in the key areas, it lacked the things the professionals and companies wanted.

And what more to say about the hardware? HTC built many if not all of the iPaq and Treo devices. Many of them working after years of aging, only showing marks of the old they are. But no trace of unreliable hardware as all of we have seen in Pre series.

HP could not afford to see the train of mobile internet devices moving away the station, and wait for the train of the next thing people wants -- if they know.

Early Pre models had often issues. Later models got better and the Pre3 and Veer AFAIK had no more hardware problems than any other device on the market (for example consider exploding iphones, antenna-gate, etc...).

What had the Pre3 hardware to do with professional use?
Business use means supporting certain protocols (VPN, Outlook, etc...) and having some business friendly apps and features. None of that would have been very difficult for HP to achieve.

Yes - they (under the then CEO Mark Hurd) bought webos to be a player like Apple. vertical integration, everything owned under one roof. Expensive to get started - but potantially lucrative in the long-term.

Long-.term being the key phrase here.
Shortly after HP bought Palm Hurd gets fired. And as we learned later, with stories about internal turf wars, differences about the overall strategic direction of HP was probably the main reason for that.

In comes Leo Apotheker and a new strategy. Instead of be-like-Apple, HP switched to be-like-IBM (a decade too late). It ecides to get rid of major pats of itsels, aquire an expensive new subsidiary and botches the implementation fo this plan while neglecting it's former mobile strategy (and why would they focus on that when they plan to spin it off anyway).

What we saw of HP and webos was the underwhelming remains of early efforts to work with webos under Hurd. All the things we wondered about at the time (no real cooperations with providers, small number of unfinished core apps, lack of or partial implementation of some important features) are all easily explained by the infos we got after Apotheker left.

And while Apotheker made some mistakes he was also a sacrifiial scapegoat. The main culprit is the board of directors and top management and their turf wars.

We have never seen HP actually trying hard to get into the mobile market with webos.
Even now their efforts are pathetic with W8 and now Android.

And their printers? Even that part of the company lives off old glories. They are neither particularly good or particularly inexpensive. They are OK - but no better than Epson, Canon or Brother in my experience.

Yes... Bad decisions by de management, like always happens in those cases.

Following with the Commodore comparison, it's pretty much the same thing. The board forced Jack Tramiel departure and basically flopped the company.

The Commodore Amiga could have the king of home computers (mostly in Europe) in those years where the PCs were no more than a monochrome screen with text or 4 color graphics, and beeps or monophonic tunes.

But they trashed it, with a product ahead of its time.

And that doesn't mean that it's forgotten: there is an active community of loyal followers, that will be fading away when they get older and pass away.

The question is:

Where will be the WebOS community twenty years from now?

TO ALL OF YOU MY BROTHERS and SISTERS:
NOTHING IS OVER UNTIL WE DECIDE SO!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep-xgd_eETE

There is great hope in the WebOS future: do not let them bring you down!

I like my Pre and Touchpad. Last week I asked a colleague of mine (with his spanking new Galaxy Note 2) if he could call someone from his email by clicking on the picture because I recently noticed I could. He couldn't. Makes me wonder about the rest of android.

Of course there are things missing on webOS but there is more than multitasking and notifications that make it stand out (Although I don't know how I would live without the possibility to have multiple PDFs open) eventually we all will have to move on because these modern gadgets don't work forever. (Although my palm pre somehow keeps on going, despite all claims that it is badly built)

Ones upon a time there were three reasons to select a PC operating system: Applications, Applications and Applications. Times haven't changed. (Apple just came at the right time, with the right hype)

J

I agree with dignitary, it's pretty much over. I mean with HP at least, Gram, the Gnex Port, and the Pheonix Telecommunication Group are really the only thing we have left that's WebOS related. If Gram goes nowhere, it is really gone at least for the foreseeable future. I guess the only question is what do we do now? I plan to keep supporting the site in anyway I know how. :D

Well... let´s find some investors to Gram, buy from HP, create our devices with webOS and rename the company to... Palm Inc. :-)))

Best Regards... B-)

I dropped my Pre- the other day and broke the slider. I downloaded the virtual keyboard from Preware to get me by while I decide what phone from Sprint I replace it with. But I ended up getting another Pre- on Ebay. It was a lot cheaper than the iPhone I was considering and Android just isn't my cup of tea even with each release looking more WebOS-like. It's still an imitation.

Android is a big cash cow though, so it's not surprising that HP is getting in bed with Google too. Apple is the only thing preventing a Google monopoly in the mobile space, and I'm not sure how long they'll be able to do that. Can't fault Google for being business smart.

Don't know what HP can offer on an Android tablet that Samsung is already doing.

Well maybe they can bring some stuff to the table; I still think the TouchStone is brilliant, and if you can do some enhanced exhibition (Google Now), I think it would stand out.

I still use my Pre 2 and Touchpad at home, but the lack of a decent reading App, no possible support for the likes of Sky Go etc makes me think about changing. But to what? There's nothing similar.

! I have two Touchpads, 2 pre and a Pixi on Sprint. I have several spare units that I bought on Ebay and I will continue to use webOS only. As far as I am concerned Android and Apple both suck and are a complete joke. It sure shows how many stupid and ignorant sheep are out there that the only thing they see are two overhyped piece of crap systems

Derek, you sir deserve an award for always making an entertaining & informative read on a topic that has been discussed so many different ways...about the same thing. I miss the days of signing on here and reading uplifting news of webOS.

I continue to check the site even after moving on to a galaxy nexus on sprint, but still have a touchpad that runs android 98% of the time (mostly due to the boot time takes a lot less time), but I boot to webOS every so often and realize it was much better to use than android ever has been yet...and my daughter likes a few of the kid apps. I am hopeful one day to own another webOS phone or tablet, but that won't be realistic to me unless it gets app/game support like the others.

I look forward to your next write-up.

I'm afraid this is my fault. ;-) In 2011, I decided it was finally time to move from my palm phone to a modern smart phone. I'd seen the rapturous reception of palm's last best hope at CES 2009, then the delays in release, the criticism of the hardware, the fall of palm and the 'rescue' by HP. The Pre2 seemed to address the hardware issues and was on ebay for a good price.

Between ordering and delivery, HP announced they were shutting down webOS. I sighed with the realisation that I'd jumped from one dying platform to another. It's not been easy, but I like the system. I wish I'd had a chance to buy Classic as there are a couple of apps I'd like from palm OS that don't seem to have been well done for webOS, but mainly I have apps that work for me. I also like the fact, that thanks to Homebrew, I can easily customise this OS to my taste.

This week, my new Pre3 arrived. Now this announcement!

I'm a bit surprised by the outcry here - well, maybe it's normal! But I think a little restraint is called for.

Firstly, there were reports of an HP android device showing up in testing logs or whatever some months ago. Why the surprise now? Secondly, I had a look at the ReadWrite article and the sources are unnamed (presumably HP insiders). There is no official comment from HP. The article says that this looks like a desperate move, but also that it is a logical choice given the marketplace. In the mobile space, there are two dominant players and only one has an open door: Android. HP could try other options: Ubuntu, Sailfish, Firefox etc., but at that level, they may as well use webOS.

I say, wait for official comment from HP & Gram. I don't expect pleasant surprises, but just because a new HP phone will run android, doesn't mean it won't run webOS. As far as I'm aware, there are only two companies offering one mobile OS: Apple & Nokia. The other manufacturers are hedging their bets with windows and android.

If I were running HP, I would jump on the success train from google - as windows was to macOS on the PC, so it is with Android & iOS. However, the arrival of new entrants (see above) may refragment the market. If HP have a (quality!) device that is relatively open and are willing to support any OS group to load their wares onto it, then the sheer choice becomes a selling point. After a while, of course, the market will decide and we will be back to two main players, with maybe room for 2 or 3 others.

For a couple of years now, it has been abundantly clear that webOS has no near term prospect of being a major player, but look at history here: Linux is an open source version of UNIX - created in 1969, recreated in 1991. NEXTstep was a business failure - until Apple bought it (and Jobs). It's now called OSX. BeOS could have been OSX had they agreed a price. In the end, Palm got it for less than Apple were offering. Haiku's next release will be beta 1 - if the enthusiasts take it up and it's as fast as they say, it could be the next Linux - a success 20 years later.

So, don't panic. Nothing good ever really dies and sometimes it comes back stronger after a time. If HP are smart, they will hedge their bets and deliver top quailty hardware that will run whatever you want. If enyo gains market penetration, it could become a major development platform and many apps may come to webOS along the way. At the moment, webOS is associated with failure, but this is due to historically 'also ran' hardware, the state of palm's finances and the general foolishness of the HP board. The only reason any of us are here is because webOS is a very good system that still has the potential to be great. It may first appear in a kiosk or on a television, but that may yet supply the strength of a broader base and webOS could still come back to the mobile space.

What's needed is for HP (or some other company?) to have a smart and broad-based mobile strategy - to go with android and any other OS that has potential including webOS - give handsets to gram, sailfish, ubuntu and let them boot their systems on - you could even ship the phone with a basic OS that simply downloads you system of choice and reboots. Meanwhile, I hope this community continues. When the Pre2 breaks or is lost, I'll transfer to the Pre3. Maybe they'll last until webOS makes a comeback or there is something as good or better out there.

Remember, most people who spent time with webOS thought it was a good system - even Steve Jobs.

@Preemprive... nah i kinda think it was my fault... ever since i created that poll, "How many times have your exchanged your palm pre"... and then the news got wind of the poll and used it to destroy palm... and even people like Jim Cramer mentioning Palms poor quality and referencing the poll... I think it was the pebble that started the snowball to the avalanche unfortunately.

I liked WebOS really... just didnt like Rubi running it into the ground the way he did... then him going with palm to hp didnt help.. and hiding the poor quality and also really how far behind in developement they were... i felt the thread needed to be created. I'm sorry.

Realistically, when you compare WebOS support to iOS or android, WebOS is dead. Very few (none maybe) build apps for it. Even the preware community seems to have dried up. If you want the cutting edge as far as applictions, or even support of open standards like html5 or svg, WebOS is probably not for you.

How many people really use cutting edge though? Half the population has PCs that are several years old running Windows XP with old programs, because it gets them where they need to go. The vast majority of phones still in peoples hands still have 3G. Why, because it gives them what they need.

WebOS will get me where i need to go for the next few years. I got phone calls, I got mobile web, i got some games and apps that allow me to tinker and waste some time. Best of all, because of WebOS being kicked to the curb, all this stuff is cheap. I can buy a new in box touchpad 4G for half the price of an ipad2 with 3G (which has similiar specs). I have a pre2 for less then half the price of an iphone 3 (again similiar specs). With the money i save i can buy a *real* TV to watch Netflix or Hulu or whatever on. I can buy and actual game console to play games on. No watching movies of playing games on a 3 inch screen for me. Also, since Palm and HP were so generous as to recycle their designs when coming out with new versions of the pre a lot of this stuff is repairable for pretty cheap. A few years from now the stuff we see today will *all* be obsolete.

I realize that not many people have the skill or will to tear apart their phone or tablet to fix it, install patches themselves, etc, but of course, that is what makes it possible to do it for so cheap.

Unless it's stock Android it will be another Major FAIL, no one will trust HP again over Sammy and Asus and I doubt they'll sell anything at compatible to Nexus prices... BB10 is another fail and any people moving over from webOS will be tied down to another slowly dying OS which is quite sad. Go Android and put any webOS style UI on it you want and enjoy the latest tech.

Since it seems that webOS has no future, Ubuntu Mobile will be my next choice.
Windows mobile, discarded, not like, plus I'm tired of Microsoft and its ongoing patches and vulnerabilities.
Apple too layered and too apple.
Android too dirty and unsightly, Google also beginning to be a bit abusive in general with their "optimizations"
webOS, the best I've had no doubt.
Ubuntu mobile, I hope it's the alternative to webOS I want, because if not, I'm screwed.
Firefox OS, not me ... we'll see.
As a webOS always been waiting for that push it takes to get ahead, and this also tired.
Anyway, if Ubuntu can position and get mobile market, how is that webOS does not get it, if you are ahead of Ubuntu Mobile?

I agree with you on Ubuntu. I use Ubuntu on my PC and it is amazing!!! 3 times faster than windows, no viruses and no hangups. Thousands of free apps and all you need to do is go to the Ubuntu website and download it to your PC for free!!! WHY THE HELL CANT WE DO THIS ON WEBOS?

The good thing about Ubuntu is that Ubuntu was the first system that we ran open webOS on so we should be able to run webOS on a Ubuntu phone!!!!!

You're mixing things up.

Derek, it's clear you are really pissed off. I've just been numb these past two years. Too tired of one dashed hope after another. But also still clinging to my Pre 2 with a death grip. I did trade the TP for an iPad 4 because it became a required company device. It is very stable despite the wacky user interface. But I would never go to an iPhone. Yet I also don't have the guts to buy a Pre 3 if I could even find one for a decent price since any hardware failure would be money down the drain, not to mention lost productivity.

So, yes, this may be the final nail in the coffin for users like me. I have been hanging out at the Crackberry site a lot. Tempting looking at the Z10, eh? Kind of a similar story as Palm. An underdog of a company now-a-days with a neat OS. More business friendly than the iPhone. BB has a near cult following. Kind of like us Palm fans. Everyone eagerly awaiting the next piece of hardware that has been long promised and seeming like it will never come.

I am thinking these BB types are sort of like lost cousins. I might hang out with them. Maybe I'd like them. But I'd always come back to this site to see what was happening to my family. Would I be rooting for WebOS to rise from the ashes? To achieve the glory, fame and success that it so rightly deserves? Absolutely. And I would hope that my newly acquanted cousins would understand my unbending allegience to the WebOS platform when I move back to my real home. But for now, I'm still on the WebOS ship. But once the Pre2 starts to really go (my proximity sensor is shot and a few keys are on the fritz), then I'll need new hardware. Preferably with a warranty and a good return/replacement policy. So not likely to be scouring eBay for another Pre2 or a Pre3 for that matter.

But you never know. I always thought the Pre 3 would be my next phone.

man do I enjoy my webOS tablet and phone

that's what really counts :-)

.
With no disrespect to your article Derek - and its' doom & gloom scenario - I think we have to take a step back from this masochistic nature to which we submit ourselves ... when it comes to HP, Palm, and everything webOS.

Despite whatever hope we may have had, HP's "resumed" foray into tablets (and smartphones) would never have been webOS based. I think we can all agree with that.

However, the success of webOS - if it does have a future - could be viewed as implicitly dependant upon HP returning to tablets & smartphones, with tablets being the most important aspect (at this time). That return is essential to HP's stabilization, for which the road has certainly been rocky. It's especially important to the investors counting on HP to resume it's dominance as a technology giant.

.

At this time ... HP really only has 2 choices - in order to minimize the risk. A risk that is being monitored by investors, and for which there is no appetite to make another run at webOS. The key point here ... at this time.

HP has had a good relationship with Microsoft, a relationship that has continued (somewhat) with the mobile component of Windows OS. But... the sluggish start to this mobile OS, certainly affects HP's game, hence the Android foray.

One could look at the Android route, as one of those nails in the webOS coffin. However, if there is one OS system that has relevance to webOS, Android would be it. The Touchpad began as an Android adventure - as illustrated by early TP models with Android on them. The Linux connection, as well as the "alleged" hardware behind the new HP tablet, should give a greater opportunity towards any future webOS may have.

.

In your previous article "HP moving to Android", you made one key statement that allows for Optimists within the webOS crowd, to hope there is still some future ahead.

By virtue of the Linux Standard Kernel 3.3 at its heart, Open webOS is fully capable of running on hardware such as the rumored Tegra 4 HP tablet

One can only hope the gang of webOS Ports, webOS Internals, Phoenix, and especially webOS Nation, can somehow keep the flames going on this favourite OS. An OS, that even in its' dated form, still seems ahead of the crowd.

.

For the time being, HP will dabble in Microsoft's OS, with a more substantial foray into Android - for the simple fact that they need to be in the game. But ... IF HP decides they need to reach their prominence again, they'll have to balance the risk of webOS, versus just being one of the crowd - an Android groupie.

Since HP abandoned the original webos and repackaged it as openWebos and open sourced it, any potential future webos device has actually nothing to do anymore with HP.

Any other company that decides to use a non-Android OS has the same openWebos available as HP.
And we have seen 0 signs that HP actually considers to use webos on any tablets let alone phones for any foreseeable future.

Forget HP.

I am sorry folks, after using webOS since 2010 (first a palm pre plus, then a pre 2), I have purchased a blackberry z10. It's pretty comparable to webOS (real multi-tasking, developer options (C/C++, or webbased APIs), exchange support, VPN), but way faster, includes the Android Java runtime, and the browser is up to date with today's standards (see html5test.com). If any of you are looking for a worthy successor to webOS, bb10 is it.

I thought about buying a galaxy nexus and installing open webOS, but the maturity just was not there yet, and realistically, my 2 year bb10 contract will have expired before webOS is once again ready for modern day devices.

I love the community here, and I do miss preware on bb10, but at least you can side load apps, unlike iOS.

I wish all you webOS die hard fans all the best, and I hope to return when webOS is ready to take over the world!

Yes. I feel the same way and unfortunately, I am almost done with WebOS and I will never forgive HP for this.

I'm coming to the same conclusion. But will have to wait until the Z10 is available here in the US on Verizon. Glad to hear you are having a good experience with it. Thanks for the feedback.

I think the BB10 and QNX has adopted much of what made webOS so great and is a natural successor.....

i think that my comment on the previous article fits better here... sorry but i read the other first hahahah:

i will only buy an HP Tablet that can have open webOS ported to it, wich seems to be the newer one, but thay might need to donate some to webOS ports for that...

i use android on my touchpads but just for gaming, but i really hate it.... my wife says it sucks, and i only see that it is good because of so much apps, must of it crap, but i hate ads, and as halfhalo said: android multitasking is like sticking your fingers into a blender... so is Windows Phone's haha, but right now i think Windows phone for my future... but i have to see the HP android phone and Tablet and see what the webOS ports team can do with them... again i have to say HP SHOULD and MUST give them a couple of tablets to port open webOS... i think they will, because i don't think they want to leave the super server they gave them to be used mostly with other brands hahaha...

the only things that webOS was lacking is for a better browser and more iOS ported games hahahaha....

i think HP didn't go with Windows phone because of the tricky deal that Microsoft make with them... but that's why i also think is why HP made webOS open source and decided to go with andoid... that way GRAM can sell us the Open webOS PE license for our new HP hardware, and i'll be happy to pay for it, but i wish that i could run Andoid apps on it... i don't think its impossible... and if not, i still can dual boot my new phone....

welll this are my toughts.... but if none of this happens i'll go to Windows Phone, and multitask in a webOS like way, but without the gestures, and fast response... and i also think widnows phone lacks of many games... my wife already uses Windows phone and she's happy, but she misses webOS ease of use a lot... specially the cards multitasking... like in the browser, when trying to open more than one email at the time(copying info from one and putting in other without closing the other) and mostly the same thing in messaging, and.... the just type features.... my Pre3 still rocks!!!! and i love it... hope we'll see open webOS in action...

RQ

open webOS [[[ ]

[deleted]

So they open source WebOS then don't show any faith at all in it by releasing any hardware with it. Hoping others do it. Its real bad when a company won't support their own initiatives and I'm sure does not give other confidence in it. Understand HP has to make money, and probably see android as a better choice, but okay, you develop the hardware and make it with Android, hows about offering WebOS as an alternative? Android pays the bills but if people want WebOS here it is as a choice? Hows about a dual boot? But so far nothing, seems to me to be just pissing on WebOS grave by HP.

Ubuntu coming to Nexus 4 at end of February...
Good time to step off WebOS and buy yourself a Nexus 4 and go Ubuntu.

That graphic is just painful... I wouldn't have the nerve to do that even to a bricked webOS device.

I'm sorry for being so evil but I hope HP burns down, and fast too.... for what it did to webOS and I wish worse for Leo. Once again I apologize for being so evil. I just can't help having the feeling.

I've been an Android user for well over 3 years now, but I was fortunate enough to give webOS a spin a while back and I was so impressed with it I was seriously considering to make the switch if the hardware it was built around improved. Sadly, that never really happened. Pisses me off to see HP completely screw such a promising platform over.

Palm should have released a 4" black slab device along side the Pre. A lack of hardware that the consumer based market wanted to see killed the os.

What if HP uses WebOS functionality as a "Skin" (e.g. Touchwiz or Sense UI) over Android to differentiate itself.

Ribbon, Notifications, Synergy (as in combining FB Messenger, Text, GTalk, etc. into one interface), Card based multitasking.

There are apps that do these things to some degree already. I"m sorry. I HATE HP, but I would have to seriously consider buying an HP Branded Android phone with the best of WebOS on top of it.

And I'm thinking, as much as it would hurt... You would too.