Guest Editorial: Why should HP license webOS to other smartphone makers? | webOS Nation
 
 

Guest Editorial: Why should HP license webOS to other smartphone makers? 181

by Tim Stiffler-Dean Wed, 06 Jul 2011 1:29 am EDT

When we first took a look a few weeks ago at the possibility of HP licensing out webOS to other manufacturers, of which Samsung was named a possibility, there was a lot of polarizing discussion that rippled throughout our community here. The opinions were clear; HP could license out webOS and lose full control over their market to bring fragmentation and malware, much like Android, or they could keep webOS all for themselves and on HP hardware, which users are becoming more and more disenchanted with.

In this guest editorial, Dominique Bashizi tries to bring all of those conversations back to a single point. Click through the break to read on, and give Dominique your ear for a few minutes. He has a lot of great things to say, and we think that it could start up those important discussions once again about that big question that has been sitting in the corner of the room for so long. 

"Why should HP license webOS to other smartphone makers?"

The short answer? Android.

Now with the long answer. Ever since it came out in 2009, webOS has been almost universally lauded as the best mobile OS for multi-tasking and for general “intuitiveness” and “ease of use”. Not faint praise at the time, when Apple had just redefined the space with the iPhone and iOS.

Despise the initial positive reception, some consistent criticism has been leveled at webOS since 2009:

  1. Poor hardware performance
  2. Not enough applications in the App Catalog (HP/Palm’s version of Apple’s App Store), and lack of developer support
  3. Lack of a “flagship” device (aside from the TouchPad, which we’ll address separately)

Let’s forget about Palm and their various issues for the purpose of this article. HP owns webOS now, and its future rests squarely in their hands. 

"Fighting the Apple Battle"

That said, let’s take a step back and consider what Apple has been able to achieve in the smart phone market. They were able to completely redefine the space of “mobile phone-based computing”. They chose to do so by introducing a new O.S., and by controlling the hardware. This led to great success initially, but I would argue that we have already started to see the proverbial “crack in the armor”.

As with the P.C. era, Apple refused to give up control of the hardware, and thus refused to license iOS to other manufacturers. And as with the P.C. era, another company came along with an arguably lesser product, and decided to let any manufacturer use it. This time, it was Google with Android, instead of Microsoft with Windows.

Android has done amazingly well since its initial release, and Google recently announced that they are activating 500,000 Android devices a day1. To put things in perspective, current projections2 predict that Android will own almost 40% of the worldwide smartphone market, vs. 20% for iOS, by the end of this year.

Three years ago, Android was barely on the map, and Apple was taking the industry by storm and redefining the space for everyone else. A year or so later, it seemed almost impossible for the established players to stay ahead of Apple, let alone have a newcomer steal the show. So, how did Google do it?

Leaving aside the technical details, and oversimplifying the business aspects a bit, Google basically undercut Apple by licensing Android and letting any manufacturer fight the “Apple battle” for them. And it doesn’t hurt that Android is free.

"How to market an operating system"

Android may not have been able to compete with iOS feature for feature, but it didn’t have to. Because while Apple was offering a single handset, albeit a very good one, on a single carrier (in the U.S.), Google’s partners were offering regular size phones, jumbo phones, phones with physical keyboards,

cheap phones and expensive phones on every single major network in the U.S. Google let their partners
fight their battle for them. Even the success of the “Droid” brand on Verizon is largely attributed to
Verizon’s advertising efforts, not Google’s.

cheap phones and expensive phones on every single major network in the U.S. Google let their partners fight their battle for them. Even the success of the “Droid” brand on Verizon is largely attributed toVerizon’s advertising efforts, not Google’s.

And while Google was busy gaining ground with a “good”, but not “best of breed” mobile operating system, what were Palm/HP doing with their “best of breed” OS? They were busy coming out with phones like the Pre, Pre 2 and Pre 3. Which are all phones that were fairly well spec’d and competitive when they were announced, but that were all (even the Pre 3, which hasn’t officially come out yet) already out of date by the time they actually came out.

Let’s consider the Pre 3 specifically. Since it was announced in February 2011, at least 8 new Android handsets have been announced on Verizon alone3 and several of those have already been released, with specifications that are significantly better than the Pre 3, including the ability to use Verizon’s new LTE network.

It does not matter whether the Pre 3 is better, despite lesser specs. It does not matter whether webOS offers a better user experience. It does not matter that some people still want a portrait slider form factor. When Android can generate so much buzz and excitement just with its devices, it’s simply not a fair fight for buyers’ attention.

HP has only two choices. Either they figure out how to accelerate their own hardware development life cycle, or they look for help from other outstanding hardware manufacturers in the space. Either way, webOS, as good as it is, cannot capture the public’s imagination on its own. It needs help from the hardware side of the house. Even Apple, with all its marketing might, its “head start” in the space (given that it redefined it before everyone else woke up and decided to play catch up) and its engineering prowess is struggling to keep up with the onslaught of Android devices.

"It's hard to sell an idea, so sell some phones instead"

webOS is also so much of an “experience”. You have to see it, use it, live with it and experience it in order to understand just how much better than your current software it is. It’s the catch 22 webOS has been caught in since its inception. People need to “see it to believe it”, but there hasn’t been enough exciting hardware to bring people to the table in the first place.

And without the buzz and excitement associated with top-of-the-line hardware, HP will continue to struggle to generate public interest, and therefore struggle to garner support from the developer community. All the talk about including webOS on printers and other devices may be visionary, but there is no evidence that these additional devices (and even PCs) will allow developers to capitalize on their webOS development efforts.

The TouchPad is somewhat separate from this discussion because the Tablet market is still in its infancy, and the only established player at the moment is Apple, so HP still has a strong chance to carve out its own corner, especially as it approaches the space from the enterprise, where Apple does not have nearly the same foothold that it has on the consumer side.

The TouchPad and the Tablet market notwithstanding, the status of Web OS is unfortunately largely the same now as it was 21/2 years ago. Every user who’s ever had a chance to use it for a while swears by it, but not enough users get their hands on it. HP, it’s time you seek help getting more devices into more users’ hands. webOS deserves as much.

Thanks, Dominique!

181 Comments

This is interesting and the argument in relationship to Android is a good one.

The big unknowns are the details...Would HP be licensing webOS "as is" so that the webOS experience is the same on all handsets, no matter the manufacturer? OR will HP allow them to "tweak" webOS so that there is a user noticeable difference between an HP webOS device and the others?

I think the consistent user experience is really important. There could be several hardware differentiators, as well as carriers and geographical areas too.
If the Pre 3 is everything we hope it is, it could be a strong play in the enterprise, and other manufacturers could go more directly after the consumer market.
HP could partner with manufacturers in Asia to bolster their presence there too.

The problem is not "if" but "when". Even if they do decide to go down this route, it will be at least another year before we see a Samsung device running WebOS, at which point we might have 4 or 5 HP WebOS devices in the marketplace. I expect HP to start throwing out devices left, right, and centre now. It's just taken time to get the first lot out.

LOL!! It will not take Samsung a YEAR to get a device out. They are NOT HPalm. That is the point. I expect they would have one out within six months of signing the agreement.

LOL HARDER!! 4 or 5 HP WebOS devices in a year?!?!? The article does NOT count tablets - only phones. HPalm can't even get one phone out per year.

So what do you call the Pre2, Veer and Pre3?

Pre2 - barely appeared in the US.
Veer - Niche phone (to damned small of screen).
Pre3 - vaporware currently.

He said one phone.

What Pre3?

Honestly, Pre 2 "a new phone"??? It is but mild rehash of Pre+, which is barely reheated Pre-. Minor updates since day one (and crude ones, in case of Pre 2 with it's glass screen slapped on top of otherwise unchanged Pre + body, which looks awfully). To the point, that Pre 2 could not gain my interst over my overclocked & homebrewed Pre- - there was no incentive to upgrade at all (well, until they've dropped the bomb about "no 2.0 for you, dear (l)user!", that is, and until my Pre- didn't start falling apart)

Veer is the first & only truly NEW phone, as of now, since original Pre- left the production line in 2009. Funny choice of priorities, though.

Pre 3 is not out yet.

I don't think you have really used a Pre2. I have both a Pre and a Pre2 (no Pre+) and they are a world of difference. Pre2 is how the Pre should have been from the beginning, sure, but it wasn't. You can't compare the feeling of using the two models. The pre was full of promise and hope but not really a powerphone. The Pre2 is a fully functioning power smart phone, albeit with some issues.

Not comparable, or "a glass screen slapped on".

...and I don't thnik you have ever overclocked you original Pre- to @1GHz, using screenstate governor and compcache module? Because if you did, you would know, that other than webOS 2.0, that has been denied at some stage to legacy device users (and possibly for the very reason, to convince (shall I say: "force"?) legacy devices users, to make a jump onto non-significantly updated phones?), Pre 2 has precisely NOTHING on offer for me. Same lame screen resolution, same tiny screen size, same lame battery, same lousy slider mechanism and very cramped keyboard.

Literaly, other than processor upgrade (that I do not need, already running @1GHz), and glass screen (again: executed extremely crude), it has NOTHING on ofer, hardware wise.

HP should license "as is" only. The advantage of WebOS is the look and feel and functionality, which should be consistant across all platforms. Much like Windows on PCs.

I totally agree, there's no point in diluting webOS' user experience, that would be absolutely disastrous.

Just let them OEMs forge hardware, get it into the hands of users, and lock it fully as software is concerned (single point of OTA updates, consistent UI/UX, consistent OS platform for developers)

Cannot wait to use HTC's metal Unibody Desire S-like webOS phone... match made in heaven.

They need to keep it the same across the board..
no skins, because skins = delays in temrs of updating to the latest version of WebOS...

I think licensing WebOS as in, is a beautiful idea.. because lets face it, HP sucks at pumping out phones.. atleast so far.. PRE2 should have been released months before it was, on it should have been on sprint..

The Pre3 should have been released with the tocuhpad (AT THE LATEST!), preferrably it should have released a few months after announcement or when veer came out..

HP license out WebOS to someone who knows how to prodcude multiple phones at a reasonably quick pace.. and it do it ASAP, so they can start working on it now!!

DON'T HP/PALM UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ABOUT MARKETS AND OPINIONS?!

If your product is not awesome out the door nobody is going to jump "their ship" to your product nobody knows about. The decisions by these people are some of the worst I have ever seen in all of my life concerning business.

WHO CARES IF UPDATES ARE COMING! If reviews are showing it is slow and unresponsive then people are not going to buy it. They don't care if updates are "coming". I wouldn't buy it either.

As much I want Web OS to succeed it will not with these people at the helm. Just mind blowing the stupidity of HP/Palm.

If they do license it out, I hope they get HTC. I don't want Samsung because we're going to hear a lot of complaints that we hear now about the hardware, it feels cheap, its to "plasitcky". :(

but the samsung battery is better than htc's

Samsungs get dropped like crazy and hold up fine. Breath on a big black slab and it breaks.

In the 20 years I have had cell phones, probably hal of tehm have been Samsung. I love Samsung hardware. It may be "plasitcky" but whatever "plasitc" they use, and how they put them together, has held up better than any other phones I have used.

You are thinking too small. I would love to have Samsung over HTC anyday of the week. For one reason, ecosystem integration. Look at all the appliances and electronics they make. Phones and tablets are just the tip of the iceberg.

Stream audio from my cloud storage straight to my samsung AVR? **** yes. Have my samsung refrigerator add milk to my shopping list when it goes out of date or I run out? **** yes. Turn on my home a/c with my phone while I am out running so that it will be nice and cool when I get back? Yes please. There really is no limit to what can happen with their whole ecosystem and webOS integration.

It could be a good move. On the other hand, why would smartphone companies care about WebOS in its current buggy state?

First, HP needs to fix many of WebOS problems.

Buggy?

WTF are you talking about? I don't know of ANY major bugs in WebOS right now. The only moderate bug is the "speed bug" in WebOS 3.0 which is really just an optimization issue, and is going to be patched shortly. There may be a few minor bugs, but to call WebOS "buggy" is a gross mischaracterization.

Now. if we look at Android, look at all the people who put Gingerbread on their Android phones (Droids in particular) and had them **** out at the end of last month, requiring a Factory wipe and reset to the previous version of Android. Now THAT is "Buggy"!

What are you talking about?!

webOS is buggy! Have you not been reading the reviews of the TouchPad? Do you not have a Pre-?!

Check out Engadget's review of the TouchPad where the game flips out and an app doesnt load. Check out This Is My Next... where Ruby says he knows of the issues and will fix them in the coming weeks.

Seriously, you can be a fan of something and be objective. Open your eyes!

It does seem as if WebOS 3.0 is buggy. However, WebOS on my Pre- is not buggy in the least and I've had it since launch day back in 2009.

You're probably both correct with your points with WebOS 3.0.

As I am meta-doctored and overclocked to death I can't remember 100% what my vanilla 1.4.5 experience was like.

What I do remember was without overclocking it was a pain in the butt to use, and with out Govnah and Compcache memory changes I'd have TMC errors all the time. That seems pretty buggy and not optimized to me.

And yes, webOS 3.0 is buggy and going to be fixed soon apparently.

""The only moderate bug is the "speed bug" in WebOS 3.0 which is really just an optimization issue, and is going to be patched shortly""

-->They have been saying that it is an "optimization issue" and "will be patched shortly" since 2009! lol

I love webos but it is laggy as **** ! especially on my pre(-)..

P.S. thank you webos internals, without the govnah and OC'ed kernal, I would have thrown my phone out the widow a year ago!

You're right -- HP provides the webOS doctor just so people have a warm fuzzy about it. Not a single person has every had to doctor their phone with it yet.

Come on, you guys who go to extremes in your defense of an OS are ridiculous. You can't see anything but the good in your platform and nothing but the bad in the competition.

You must not spend much time here! The 'fans' can't seem to find anything positive to say in most of the articles.

Is there any OS which doesn't have bugs? Linux? UNIX? There are allways bugs and the only question is how many and how serious they are. This is a first version of Touchpad and as hp claims they will be fixed soon.
Btw, I wonder what will these peoples argument be, say, couple of months down the line...

I have no idea why people are voting you down.

People need to wake up and see that webOS in its current state is buggy.

It's a variation of the typical WebOS-head-in-the-sand "if I don't need it, nobody else needs it either" argument.

"If I don't notice (or can ignore) any bugs, that means it's not buggy for anyone."

True.

OTOH there is the equally annoying opposite mindset.
* Specs that are not double what the competition has are total **** and outdated
* Occasional lag = laggy all the time
* Some Pre- have hardware issues = all Pre- have hardware issues
* Call it DOA weeks/months before the first device has been available for sale
* Complain that the Veer is too small for power users while it's clearly not meant for power users and complements (not replaces) Pre2 and Pre3
* Nobody wants Flash - Steve said so

The silliness goes both ways

I think that as of right now, its the only way to go. webOS just isn't going to get the recognition it deserves if there aren't enough phones out there.

I think the phone would keep the gesture bar, much like how android and wp7 phones all have the buttons on the bottom. Here's an idea of how nice it would look: http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c279/bhughes719/5auivfmx.jpg

That looks even more like an iPhone than their android version that apple is suing them over, not sure they want to go for another lawsuit.

P.S. you have mad Photoshop clone stamp skills!

i agree with the fact that you have mad skills, but that is the ugliest phone i've ever seen and it should be decapitated and buried on oppositional sides of the world

Yeah I agree, that phone looks horrible. It looks like an old Sanyo phone threw up on a WebOS platform.

I used the spot healing brush with content awareness in Photoshop, it literally took me a total of 30 seconds. I wasn't worried about it looking perfect, just getting the point across about what it could look like.

I would love to see WebOS on more phones, especially for Sprint!

Good point, it's really not "just" about hardware, but also about carriers. How many of us "Pre -" users are languishing out there, waiting for WebOS to come back to Sprint (as of tomorrow, I'm on Verizon, just couldn't wait anymore)? At this rate, Sprint is going to get the iPhone before they even get another WebOS device.

You picked a bad day to switch to Verizon, with the data plan changes and all...

Sprint would have to agree to sell them and so far Sprint is not wanting this regardless of what HP has put out.

Every one keeps assuming HP is licensing webOS to Samsung for phones. And maybe that's the case but I saw something in the most recent Crutchfield catalog that caught my attention.
Samsung has "Smart" Televisions that run apps and such. Don't know what they're using at the moment but why not webOS?

Hmm, this may be something to look into. I never thought of that. I still think that WebOS on a TV, coupled with Kinect, would be fantastic. I'm not sure about it without Kinect though. Take away gestures and WebOS loses it's appeal.

You really think that gestures is the only thing that webOS has going for it?

while using the touchpad for the first time i was disappointed with my experience a bit because of the lack of advanced gestures that i currently can use on my phone

agreed... I just tried one out at best buy this last weekend and i kept finding my self a little lost trying to figure out to opperate it minus the gestures. I think adding gestures adds a much more fluid experience. Hopefully HP will notice this w/ the release of the TP1 and will add it back in to the TP2.

For Real. The thing that makes WebOS work so beautifully for me is the gestures area. I have several cards/apps open and using the gestures area (much like a remote control), grants me an experience that is very fluid and truly like nothing else. Good call on that

@ leichliterk - Not the only thing, but I struggle to see what WebOS could bring to a TV that other solutions couldn't do better. WebOS is fluid, but I imagine that it would lose it's appeal if you had to try and operate it with a TV remote.

I think licensing webOS makes a lot of business sense. I think concerns about fragmenting the os are real, but I think it will be a neccessary consequence of the development of the market. Any operating system will become fragmented over time if you have more than one device available at a time. The writing on the wall for apple is that the garden can't grow any bigger. HP/Palm have already presented webOS on multiple devices on multiple cariers, and the fragmentation has already begun. Licensing will accellerate that process, but the gains in sales and income will outweigh the backend costs by a huge factor as the life cycle of these devices is generally less than 2 years. Consumers will be just as inclined to get a new device as be concerned about having the newest os on their older device.

I would question why another manufacturer for adding a skin on top of webos, but I would be deeply critical of HP if they prevented them from doing it. Let's face it, the average reader of this article on PC that has a Sprint Pre- still in use probably has tweaked and modded and themed their device to the point that much of it is customized to their liking. HP would be hypocritical for preventing another manufacturer from doing the same thing.

However, I think that HP should require that all manufacturers and carriers preserve the ability of the consumer to make changes to the os (including removing the "skin" and making changes to the launcher [let's see that code, okay HP?])

For some reason, I just think that image looks wrong.

because it says AT&T and not Sprint...hahaha

Good article but there are still some fundamental holes in the platform for it to realistically penetrate the enterprise space. Two and a half years in and we still cannot edit Office documents natively on the webOS platform! My PalmOS TX is still not retired yet!!!! I've now had eight months with the Pre2 and didn't think I would still be here at this time without that gap being filled. HP need to solidify the platform with their core app partners and get this foundation baselined before seriously going to cast the net out through licensees. The tablet space is a good option, likewise I'd like to see HP stabilise it first there have been very mixed reviews on the TouchPad so its clear there is work to be done here.
I hope webOS and HP products are a success but as you state that time to market from device announcement is killing them at the moment - the market moves on and customers are fairly unforgiving. With the TouchPad HP has an opportunity to cement webOS and its key that growth in the smartphone space is realised in the next 12 months (and that means more and improved devices covering the world carrier ecosystem - Pre4, and potentially keyboardless hardware)

Im fine with licensing webOS, but they should maintain control over experience. The way MS did it with WP7 seems best to me.

If hw manufacturer wants to do something specific to platform that couldnt be done via app (for instance widgets) - it should be thought through with HP/Palm and submitted to webOS source for all devices.

Some random thoughts:
Dont destroy webOS with TouchWiz!
I feel like Nokia should have bought Palm. Cause they do amazing hardware (Im about to jump to N9 - another dying platform :D ), have some really nice sw (maps) and were just in need of OS. And they arent afraid of making "niche" (E70, E75, E71) and unconventional smartphones (7705, 7600)

You made the point I was going to, tr47. Microsoft learned a lot from the Windows Mobile experience- most of it bad. When they launched W7 for mobile, it was basically from scratch. The one thing they wanted to do was ensure a user friendly OS with a smooth UI experience. But they also wanted a system where updates and improvements could be made to the devices easily and quickly. So, they split the difference between Droid being completely open and the closed systems of Apple and RIM. By making requirements on the hardware side, they assure themselves of a solid platform to work updates out of. Anyone who had a first generation W7 device could attest to how smooth the nodo update worked. But as the OS matures, they can allow "skins" or other manufacturer touches to it which will allow Nokia's to be different from HTCs.

This is what I hope for from HP:
1) Keep the Pre line alive yourself. I think that is the right thing to do.
2) Require hardware which will allow for legacy device updates.
3) Let manufaturers have "skins", but require they can be ditched at user preference for a stock WeBOS experience.

Since, of course, I have a "bat-line" straight to HP, I am on the phone with them right now, and they are hanging on every word....

Or sense, or motoblur!

Personally, I want only HP to make HP webOS phones, but that's just me. I wouldn't mind a Samsung webOS phone, but I prefer HP.

And Samsung has plenty of things, so licensing webOS doesn't necessarily limit it to phones. They make TVs, blu-ray/DVD players, phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, camcorders, washers, dryers, and fridges. Concerning the cameras (some of which are wi-fi enabled from which you can upload pictures), imagine having a camera that can sync to the cloud. Take a picture, and BAM, it's uploaded to the cloud with the ability to download the picture to your webOS phone/tablet/computer. That'd be pretty cool!

Also, maybe unrelated, but I would like a better way to manage what is on my device as well as the cloud. Like being able to upload photos and videos and docs from my desktop/phone/tablet to my Palm Profile (or whatever it's called now) and place them in a Venn Diagram type interface for your various devices. I can drag a photo into one circle, or the overlapping section, which would add the photo to the device or devices I choose.

last paragraph, I agree... I think it would add a better experience to have a web interface that you would be able to work in to manage your media or contacts and info that lives in the cloud.

Question: "Why should HP license webOS to other smartphone makers?"

Answer: Because HP and Rubenstein are so incompetent that are unable to give webOS the right hardware at the right price and sell it everywhere in the world!!!
:-(

I agree with this article in almost all of its points. I also think that the question is not only if HP should give webOS, but also who would have webOS.
Nokia would be a good choice, but they have gone all WM now and it is to late (they even stopped the Meego experiment).
HTC makes phones for both Android and WM, why should they start making phones for a third OS that has a tiny market share?
Samsung has managed to become one of the best Android makers as they have created some of the best high-end phones that can compete with Apple. The Galaxy and Galaxy II and also the Nexus S. Again why they should be interested in webOS?

So really, HP has either start making more models and pretty fast or they have to find someone interested in webOS.

You forgot about kyrocera! Who doesn't want a phone with 2 screens and 2 hours of battery life?

I can answer that question: Overcrowded

Now there are way too many handset manufacturers for Android, which makes it increasingly difficult for them to diversify, especially since Google is trying to get more control over Android.

WP7 is not that interesting any more for them, since Nokia has a "privileged" partnership, which gives all other manufacturers a disadvantage.

While on the same side HP could either limit itself to certain carriers (leaving the field open for their respective partners), customer-groups (Business-Phones, Teen-Phones, "Geek-Phones" etc.) etc.

If HP makes it right this could be good for them, off course, as always, it can end really bad if they execute it bad ;)

Vito, do you think you will you ever get your pre3 that you have had on pre-order now for 3 months?

I have a Veer for now. Thanks for asking. Great to live in a country where you actually can choose your device and then your carrier :P

Sadly that execute it Bad is more of a possibility.

Licensing will be the best way forward if webOS wants to reach a critical mass which is attractive enough for developers of both hardware and software to seriously look at creating a meaningful eco-system around it. It will also allow HP to go global and free itself from the clutches of carriers. Its really sad to see the hobbled Pre 3 release saga in the US. Another immediate benefit would be the ability to reach out to millions of global users (think Asia). It will also give HP and its webOS partners the platform to differentiate themselves from the avalanche of me too devices that will eventually emerge from China sporting WP7->WP8 or aOS at incredulous price points. If a hardware producer does not qualify they would never be part of the global eco-system built around this concept.

But HP should definitely create a strict set of guidelines wrt user experience and OS tweaking. Follow the MS route of the same XP/Win7 OS selling on a multitude of devices. Any tweaking beyond say a custom OEM wallpaper or some essential or non-essential appware add on's which breakaway from a standardised webOS experience should be a no-no. The look, feel, usage, menus, etc. for every app should have the same basic fluidity that us webOS users are familiar with.

OTA updates for every device category specific webOS version irrespective of carrier or hardware maker should be simultaneous to avoid any sort of fragmentation.

Imagine a future scenario of the following partnerships:

Smartphones: HTC, Samsung, Motorola
Tablets: Samsung, Motorola
Printers: Canon, Samsung
TV's & DVD's: Samsung, Panasonic, Pioneer
Digicams & Vidcams: Canon, Nikon, Panasonic
Cars:..........

I guess its easy to envision all of this and horrendously difficult to implement but the way I look at it if HP wants to look to the future it has to shift away from being a hardware vendor. We are moving towards a post PC environment of cloud based, cross device, undulating, uninterrupted computing touching every sphere of our lives. If HP can leverage webOS and position itself as the gatekeeper of one such ever expanding eco-system the possibilities are endless. Think beyond!

If only HP could have gotten Nokia to signup with WebOS it would have been the best solution.

HTC would be great option too but they are tied to WP7 / Android world. So everything left is Samsung or Motorola.

What HP Should do is hire lots and lots of engineers from Nokia to make new phones and tablets.

Then get deal with Volkswagen for bringing WebOS to cars.

Also HP should put out money for developers so we got get more apps apps apps!

I like it, put the OS that keeps failing in cars that can't stay on the road.

i still want the beats edition of everything,it would dfnt be supercool

... You do think that if somebody implements such a software he connects it directly to the hard-wires that control the safety of a car?

Of course, these are the same people that would let a Windows 95-Computer control the cooling system of an atomic reactor ;)

By that standard, I would disqualify the TouchPad as having eliminated the gesture area.

Did you know Volkswagen AG (one of the biggest car makers, and probably one of the biggest employers worldwide) is switching to Apple products? I don't know about details, but I am pretty sure the reasons include the security and restrictiveness they get with Apple, as there is not 100 Devices and clustered OS versions. Manageability dies once you let everyone cook his own soup.

That said, I like to see HP license webOS, but PLEASE take care of the clusterfuck.

This indeed would be a problem if the decide to take the Android-Route. This would NOT be a problem if they make it like WP7 or if they decide that HP delivers the "business-phones" while the consumers get their meal from Samsung at Verizon, LG at Sprint and HTC at AT&T (for example).

Again, I do not think there will ever be an Android-style open platform. The disadvantages to it for Google are really getting hard to hide now that it is so large. HP has had years of experience being on the other end- putting out the PC/laptops/notebooks hardware, and getting software to run on it. The clusterf-, ummm, the mess you refer to will not happen with HP. They may not be doing a great job getting out the Pre, but they are not flopping either. This is a very successful company, and while I may not get the WeBOS I want now, bet in two years when I want a new device I will have great products to choose from. The present ain't great for WeBOS, but I am excited for it's future.

By the way- I worked for 13 years at a manufacturer of camshafts in the state of IL. Want to know one of our biggest customers, that kept about 200 or better Americans employed? Yep, VW. They had very strict quality requirements on their product, by the way. (Ford was the best on that in my experience among America's big 3.)

If WebOS doesn't get licensed to other cell phone manufacturers, then I regretfully believe WebOS will get sucked into the Android black hole and disappear.

I have a launch day Pre handset that still works good (knock on wood). My two year contract is up, but I'll keep using my Pre as long as it works since it doesn't appear that Sprint will be carrying the Pre 3 in their phone offerings. :'(

i really don't think that a lot people gonna like the pre 3...
i think HP is alienating intentionally its core user base because we are very demanding and start from scratch

yeah i'm in the same boat... i plan on holding on to this phone as long as it works and until HP releases a phone i want on Sprint. Not to fond of the Pre3 i'd prefer a slab so... say sprint gets the Pre3 i'll hold on till the pre- dies then move to the Pre3 unless HP releases a slab b4 then. but the sooner the better. this phone is failing quickly and constantly shutsdown or reboots on it's own. I do fear if there were ever an emergency and i needed my cell i'd haffa wait 4 min.s for the phone to boot up. :-(

Dominique,
I think you've hit it on the head. HP has realized that the hardware development group that they got from Palm is not up to the challenge of creating leading edge phone hardware. Palm had a talent problem before HP and it is worse now after all the people that left after the acquisition. The best designers go to work for Apple. Hurd destroyed HP's reputation as an employer so HP can't bring in the talent it needs.

If HP had a choice, it would subcontract out the phone hardware development. That is their style. The best company for that used to be HTC. HTC used to do the Palm phone hardware. But they don't do that any more and HTC is trying to plant its own flag in the phone world. Whoever HP licenses to, it will have to be someone that will allow HP to control the hardware. HP realizes the entire experience is critical to success and won't let that shoot off in uncontrolled directions.

it's very hard to see where HP will go from here,there are a lot of factors that make things more complicated like for instance HP business structure is hardware based on windows which means that they have a plan B if webos is about to fail they would go back to windows.

nice article. this has been said before like two years ago an many just flamed people with this opinion. I think it's well reasoned personally.

Agree with everything you've said here.

HP/Palm's problems are the same as Apple's only amplified. A single vendor owning the software and the hardware stack cannot iterate the hardware upgrades fast enough to keep up with the latest and greatest parts.

Apple can get away with it because of their brand identity, perception of quality and 'the cult of Apple' (irrespective that IOS is inferior to both Android and webOS nowadays).

If it is HP's strategy to get webOS 'everywhere' then they need to license it to get the volume - but I don't think they will (yet). I believe they think they can achieve the volume by rolling out webOS on their PC's.

Everything about how HP have done things so far makes me think they don't actually care about the consumer space as much as people want them to - and webOS on phones and tablets is just a part of a bigger strategy, the success of which will be based on getting webOS into the enterprise via PC's and printers and phones and tablets.

Btw, I really do think HP should release a netbook running webOS which competes squarly with Google ChromeBooks - that is a market I actually see gaining some traction.

Take a look at Apple's sales/profits. I really don't think they have a problem.

Envision the scale HP talks about by putting webOS on printers and PCs. Think about the millions of devices they are referring to if this is done.....

Now imagine webOS on Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Nokia smartphones. Think about it on Motorola, ASUS, and Samsung Tablets. Envision the tech that displayed webOS controlling a light. Now place that tech on Samsung, Sony, Pioneer, Hitachi, Denon, Toshiba, and the list goes on electronics.

I think the positives far outweigh the negatives when you think about the potential for the tens of millions or maybe hundreds of millions of devices we are talking about.

HP would still be able to create enterprise focused devices for their IT ecosystems. They could opt to keep the PC experience to themselves but, may do better by licensing that as well. I do believe that a standard UI experience would be difficult but, not impossible to achieve.

WebOS needs marketshare. To gain it quickly they need as many quality device choices as possible on every major carrier and extraordinary marketing.

Without marketshare it will simply survive until it becomes time to retire it.

I dont really need 20something new phones or tablets each month, so I personally don't need WebOS to be licensed out.

But there a a lot of peaple who need more devises the the Pre. Many dont want the keyboard, others like to have whatever the like more. WebOS needs more Hardware to get the people who like WebOS but dont want the Pre.

If HP is able to license WebOS under strict conditions like Microsoft with WP7, so there will be the same WebOS on every devise, that would be a great step for the hole system.

Samsung would be a great partner, not only for smartphones and tablets but also for the vision to bring WebOS on Laptops, printers and even TVs or digital cameras. Samsung has many devises that could run WebOS in the future that HP does not, so with HP and Samsung there would be two really big players in the game to bring WebOS to the consumers

I think HP doesn't have its large corporate heart in the smartphone space. Touchpad and its siblings and successors and its peripherals/PCs are HP's focus for webOS. Samsung or HTC would be a good licensee since they make good hardware quickly and neither have proven themselves in software other than skins. They wouldn't have to differentiate themselves much from the keyboard vertical slider and would be much nimbler. **** they could probably throw webos into a couple of existing devices. Why would they do this? Because too many big players are in android space. It was easy access since it was virtually free but now motorola, samsung, htc are all battling each other and trying to differentiate through cutting edge hardware can get expensive and skins add as much problem as they cause. HP can continue its relatively glacial pace at making its devices and the hungrier licensee can start churning out devices on other carriers.

It's sad that a Hardware company is struggling so badly to make hardware. I figured that the OS would suffer a bit because HP has not been a software company, but it's very disheartening to see that they can't come up with anything creative.

I think a reason for the Pre3 delay is that US carriers are not interested in another version of the pre, just scaled up a bit. The pre failed, the pre2 failed, and the veer is failing. The carriers are probably pushing HP to innovate and try something new because the Pre form factor (I know people here like it, but that does not matter in the real world) has failed every time.

License ASAP HP, you have no vision, creativity, or desire to be cutting edge, all you want it to try and match apples products one year too late.

Glenn,

Again we agree. I was a bit cautious when the takeover was announced, but I thought it would be good because HP are a hardware company, and apparently making a smartphone isnt hard (haha!).

I can't believe that they are struggling to make a decent piece of hardware. I am disappointed by the TouchPad. Played with one the other day. And why can't they put a phone out?!

Rubbish.

cause webos is dead

Great article. Let me get my one gripe out of the way first.

"Every user who’s ever had a chance to use it for a while swears by it, but not enough users get their hands on it." That exaggeration almost ruined it because it is simply not true.

Anyway, this was a great read. I'm not 100% convinced that licensing will save webOS. Casion pointed to the obvious timing issue. I question whether the market will sustain this. Clark Howard often refers to the rule of three. Markets tend to collapse down to 3 dominant players. If this holds, it may be too late for webOS. You've got Apple with the non-license approach plus Google and Microsoft with the license approach already. The question for me is whether webOS can make any significant headway before Windows Phone 7 locks in. Then there's RIM to worry about. They may be in decline but they remain a force to be reckoned with.

Having said all of that, I agree that HP needs to do "something". webOS has been executed the same way for over 2 years with no success, so it's time for a change.

If you compare the number of Sprint users who jumped on the WebOS bandwagon plus the TINY number of Verizon and AT&T users, then compare it to the number of iPhone and Android devices, then yes, not many people have actually tried WebOS for long enough to really get a feel for it.

That is the real issue, AT&T and Verizon won't advertise the Pre 3 when it comes out, because they won't have it as an exclusive, and HP has not been doing much in the way of TV advertising that I have seen(may have missed it), so how is the public supposed to know about WebOS and the Touchpad and Pre 3?

TV captures the attention of people more than any other media coverage, because the focus isn't spread out all over the place. Banner advertisements on web pages...people are focused on the main page, not on the banners. Newspapers are the same way, people look to read the paper, and the advertisements don't get noticed as much. Radio and TV commercials, plus having announcers and media personalities who use the product themselves are the way to get things done.

Remember, when you have a lot of distractions, people become very good at filtering out the distractions to get what they are looking for. This is why newspapers are having problems, because people don't pay attention to the advertisements.

So, HP, they have a great product in WebOS, so the more devices that are released that use WebOS will mean there will be more of a chance that people will notice it. If HP could release a new product every few months with WebOS, that would help, but they can't get a device out even in a six month period these days!

My guess is that he was referring to:

"Every user who’s ever had a chance to use it for a while swears by it..." That exaggeration almost ruined it because it is simply not true.

I would agree that not enough people have had their hands on the device, and I'd agree with Taharka to say it is an exaggeration to say that those who've had their hands on it, swear by it.

Not true. Look at how many of us here complain about it. Look at how many users have left to go elsewhere.

Yes, this is what I meant.

However I do agree with Targon as well. That is why in the end I said HP has to do "something". At this point "EVERYTHING" should be considered (or reconsidered if they've dismissed any ideas in the past) because what's being done now does not seem to be worked well enough.

Well, I don't usually like absolutes, so a sentence that says "ever" twice is quite likely to be an exaggeration indeed. What I meant, and should have said better, is that most users who get to play with WebOS for some time like it a lot, often a good bit better than what they used in the past, and when they do complain, a lot of the complaints (see how I'm staying away from absolutes) have to do with the hardware.
As a long-time WebOS user, I certainly have hardware complaints, and software ones too, actually. But the software ones aren't "fundamental" ones, like the inability to control whether or not an app is running (Android).

LOL, love the Android dig. Reminds me of webOS' fundamental inability to automatically manage resources. ;-)

TV is a nice way to generally brand, but web advertising can be focused and can work really well. Apart from being economical, it is easier to target. With TV, you wind up advertising to grandma and grandpa. Guys like us skip commercials with DVRs.

I think HP can hire the best talent in advertising and those entities can provide sufficient ROI. What worries me is that I still haven't seem one focused campaign. Is it Everybody On, or Like Nothing Else? Or is it, In A World Of Tablets Who Needs a Big Phone?

They need consistency and focus. They also need to define what the strategy is. Is it Russell Brand for the masses, or is Enterprise really the target?

focus equals returns and growth!

I agree. I propose that HP give themselves a year to get their products out of the pipeline and into the mainstream, see what the markets do with them, before they consider the licensing option.
I'm counting a year from June 1st, 2011 - Touchpad release date - by the way.

Question is, will the market give them that long? That will be 3.5 years in? And if it doesn't work out, will they need roughly another year to get agreements in place and 3rd party hardware out the door? That's adding up to be a long time.

Given that webOS is 3.5 years in, and HP and Palm appear to have different marketing approaches so far, perhaps it's not so fair to saddle HP with the preceding 2.5 years Palm ran with webOS.
Effectively 1 year. I think we'll just have to wait and see. I personally think that if HP retains control of both their software and hardware, we'll get a better OS experience.

They didn't purchase the good without the bad. They have to work their way out whatever mess the previous owner made. If they do good, people WILL eventually forget about webOS pre-HP. But for now, it is still fresh on the mind of many and HP will have to work through this. So, unfortunately, the time counts...for now.

If new hardware is released that can even come close to the quality build of the iphone4, I would switch over.

I think in another year this isn't even a discussion. HP should have 1 or 2 more tablets released and hopefully 3 or 4 more phones in different form factors. Printers should start shipping with webOS by that time, too, as well as webOS showing up in PCs. There may be other enterprise devices that HP has plans to put webOS on that we don't know about yet. At the end of the day though webOS will on hundreds of millions of devices within a few short years WITHOUT licensing.

However if HP wanted to license webOS to Samsung to put on refrigerators and televisions that would be fine. Just keep the phones to themselves.

Well said. In the irritation of all the WeBOS users who have been waiting two years or better for a new device, (Not so long with me, I have recently grabbed an used Palm Pre plus when my Blackberry died. I am a fairly recent convert.) I think the the WeBOS community has lost sight of the reality of how new this ecosystem is for HP. I would rather see them put out good products that improve leaps and bounds every time than hurry up and put out junk. WeBOS cannot afford more flops.

Again, pointing out that this was said last year and the year before.

You understand it takes time to implement ideas, right? HP can't just send out a company wide memo telling everyone to stop what they're doing and start working on webOS. Current production has to complete it's cycle before the company can go in a new direction.

No arguments here on the "it takes time" front. Just pointing out that so far, every year there has been a few claims that this will all go away "next year". I simply don't agree that "in another year this isn't even a discussion." In fact, I'm of the opinion that if HP is going to license out webOS, maybe they should do it now so that new devices roll out in a year rather than waiting a year and then doing it (which would result in a 2-year wait rather than 1).

On the current production having to complete its cycle point; not really. HP has killed of products in order to go in a new direction before. In fact, didn't they do that to the windows slate when they decided to go webOS?

So, the solution, phones that can be upgraded by anyone reasonably technical. We all know that a simple comm board swap has the potential to add things like HPSA+ or LTE to older devices, so why not make it so the CPU is also on a board that could be easily swapped? You want a faster device, swap the CPU board and bingo, problem solved. Of course, that would be something that only "authorized" dealers should be allowed to do for devices under warranty, but honestly, if your phone could be upgraded to be faster, then HP would not suffer from the slow release cycle.

We all want HP to just bump the specs by throwing a dual core CPU in the Pre 3 due to how long the release has taken, so picture if it could be done right now without ANY other hardware modification? Pop the back, take off an inner cover, and then even the carriers could perform the board update before shipping, or offer multiple versions of the same device at different speeds. Generally easy for someone with experience at swapping components if it is a board swap.

It's funny, the absolute worst OS is actually the leading OS on smart phones. Who the HE** would use an android phone.

I guess if you put your os on anything and everything people will just buy it. Not to mention the people at the cell stores push android over everything else, not sure if they get a kick-back.

I will go back to a no-os flip phone before I ever get an android phone.

First off, no one says that the best of breed always is the winner. Betamax, Amiga, and countless other superior/advanced for their time technologies/devices are history because it's one thing to MAKE something that's really good and a completely different thing to competently SELL that thing.

And I'd even argue your premise that Android is somehow the worst mobile OS. It totally depends on your perspective. Maybe plain vanilla Froyo or earlier, but Gingerbread running Sense, or even a third party launcher like Launcher Pro? How is that UI (along with countless apps/tweaks that offer much more in the way of configurability even than Homebrew patches) so much inferior to webOS? Have you actually used an Android phone for any extended period of time and tried modding it to your liking?

No I do not use google products since I value my privacy. I don't like that a company can and will log all of my calls, locations, and emails just because I agree to use their OS. Google is killing privacy in every way possible and people don't care.

So I have used android in store demo phones and feel it is clunky and ugly, but again, personally I would never use ANY product run by google. They are criminals.

I have, and I have a friend who has even more so. As nice and open as android is, the experience in customization and even core usage still feels messy and almost scary considering my friend who is very savvy with android has bricked two phones beyond recovery for very little gain. WebOS is the most wonderful experience out of the box of any OS. Add to that the personalization and acceleration you can get from the home brew community then even more so the near infallibility of being able to reset WebOS without bricking. This adds up to a much better ownership experience for me while I see my girlfriends android which I have tried to improve for, get slower and less usable with each update it seems.

I think when all else is equal people would choose WebOS over android. I.e. If the Samsung galaxy 2 was to release with one android phone and one WebOS phone I think people would be more comfortable with WebOS if they don't have to choose it over better hardware.

Some would choose webOS, some would not.

The issue here is "all else" is NOT equal and I know quite a few people who have chosen Android over webOS because of webOS (the software itself) lacks. I'm not sure why people keep assuming hardware is the only flaw that webOS has. It is not.

Personally, I've use both platforms for roughly the same amount of time and have developed for both and they are both usable and intuitive. webOS' problem is not how usable it is. Its problem is what it lacks (yes, including hardware, but not limited to that).

Great visual add. Hits home when you visualize it like that.

I would actually put my money on Apple's growth as it is steady and slowly increasing. Android surges, spikes, and is moving up waay too fast. How high will it go? What is it going to take to sustain that growth? It could get worse and worse for them. Too much isn't always a good thing. Just think, the more time you spend with a product over time the more you will trust and abide by them.

Until now, I've been really against licensing, but this editorial makes a good case. I think the main argument against licensing is the fractioning and meddling of the OS that we've seen with Android. So, if HP can somehow maintain control of webOS and the user experience with the webOS, I can get behind the idea of licensing. Essentially, I don't think people buy android-based phones because they like the OS, they buy them because they're available from every carrier of choice and they've got tons of apps. If HP can capitalize on full distribution on all carriers by licensing to other hardware manufacturers, then there's another huge increase to the scale of webOS distribution.

I actually don't think it would be that hard to prevent platform fracture. It simply has to be a part of the basic licensing agreement that no OS alterations of any kind save drivers for hardware may be made. Then make it really cheap to license (Maybe even dangle the "free" carrot for the first few companies to sign) and you have a winner!

HP isn't dumb. They've seen the success of Android, and also seen how it could be growing even faster were it not for the issues of OS fracture that Android has. If they can ride that middle line between Apple and Android they can sweep the market.

HP isn't dumb? Could have fooled me on that one.

Licensing WebOS would be a great idea because it would almost ensure deeper market penetration for all the reasons stated in the article.

But they have to either fire or demote Rubenstein. His presence at the helm would only continue to stifle creative hardware design input.

samsung/htc: "guys we've put WebOS on this awesome sleek slab."

rubenstein: "weeellll....can we get that in a vertical slide form factor instead?"

LOL. Except he would start out his statement with "So..." rather than "Well..." and the word "variety" would be tossed in for good measure.

LOL

Its not only the fact that it lacks hardware its also Availability, they continuously bring it out to the same countries that made the Pre series a "success" NOT.

After two years of Pre they havent been able to bring out 1 SINGLE pre to the Netherlands (for example) via normal retail.

So HP just license it because Samsung IS able to bring it to the Netherlands.... and you still arent.

+ Build Touch Only Phones i dont need physical keyboards...

Do people really wear wood shoes there?

yeah and we all live in mills ;-) And we are stoned every day and bang all the hookers in the red light district :P When watching to tulips.

qwerty keyboards are great as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe they are but i prefer not to use a physical keyboard, they need more diversity all the "success" phones are touch-only phones :P

(iphone,Galaxy S (II) , HTC Desire series, HTC sensation).

I havent seen much physical keyboard phones that are "top" phones (maybe Desire Z?) But thats the other kind of slider.

i wish that they could just surprise us in a good way,i really don't care about specs but i care UX so they should just make sure that it works ,look at apple they don't really have the latest specs but its fast,stable and reliable and look TP is completely the opposite.
they should know that the market is moving fast,if you can't take the heat,get out the kitchen

If HP really wants this world dominance with webOS instead of just talking about future visions, Samsung would be a good choice. Put webOS on refrigerators, washers, TVs, TV remotes, cameras, and oh, phones :)

I agree with alot that was said in the article BUT webOS and android would be totally different in the way they are implemented if HP decides to license. HP would have more control over their OS b/c it will not be a free for all (like android) which would keep the manufacturers in check. I do not think we would see the same problems that android has b/c it would be extremely different ecosystem. So with that said I dont think them licensing will cause a flood of new phones like android has but it will def help with the choices and amount of phones available for consumers.

licensing webos is not like licensing android. HP doesn't have a whole lot to gain from licensing webos. Google has a lot to gain for licensing Android.

Android is nothing more than a platform to drive users to google services. HP has no such services to drive users to.

Apple's iTunes/App store/etc is the reverse, it is meant to drive more users to the hardware where the profit margins are much higher.

So right now HP is incurring the R&D hit of hardware as well as software. If they license to other providers that will quite likely eat into the sales of HP's own hardware to some degree.

So while I certainly want to see more WebOS phones out there, it may only really make good sense if HP abandons the hardware front entirely, or at least if the partners licensing WebOS are not in spaces where they would compete directly against HP's own hardware.

The Pre3 is going to have a really tough time selling against the iPhone 5 and the free iPhone 3GS which are both being released at about the same time as the Pre3 (assuming the Pre3 schedule doesn't slip again). I'm still holding out to get my Pre3 regardless though.

If the Pre3 does fail to capture market share (which I think is pretty likely, they may ship a bunch of units but the market itself continues to expand), HP may indeed decide to bow out of the smart phone arena and leave it to other manufacturers to make that hardware. I'm sure the Palm division is resource constrained as-is doing everything that they are doing now. I have no doubt they're hiring as fast as they can to beef it up but it's not easy.

But wouldnt HP make money on each phone sold or manufacturers paying them to use their OS? Im pretty sure one of those two are the case and that Android is free.

I am all for licensing. Been talking about it for years and getting flamed by webOS fanboys.

But, make sure you get an editorial on why they shouldn't license webOS. Would like to read that article and the comments.

I cannot believe that some people still think single-source proprietary is the way to go.

The ONLY player that has succeeded (until relatively recently) with that strategy is Apple. And they're quickly being put to pasture by an open multi-handset-vendor OS (Google).

At this point, the question isn't "how much bigger will WebOS be?"

The question is "will WebOS be viable in 12 months' time?"

Right now, we still lack even a single modern, up-to-date business-class handset. (We have a promise of one shipping "sometime this year" with specs that are well-behind mid-range Android handsets from 2010, however).

Licensing WebOS to Android and Windows Phone OEMs will bring the same dividends to WebOS -- more choice, better handsets, a larger market opportunity.

Waiting around for HP to release last year's handset next year will simply ensure that the Touchpad is WebOS's last hurrah.

Apple is not a good example as to why you shouldn't used closed source OS. The better one is RIM. The plain inability to develop quality software for their devices and compete in App development on the part of RIM despite how strong of a marketshare they have is a great example of why HP, with almost no apps and zero OS experience, should get help. I do hope they maintain control, but remove one leg of WeBOS development, the smartphone hardware, from your plate.

Apple is a different animal simply because of the headstart they had in smartphone development and the name reconigtion they have from early success.

Excellent points. WebOS needs to get more market share to succeed. The compelling point is getting WebOS in the hands of people so they will realize how much better it is than iOS and Android. Another key issue is the available software for WebOS. If it isn't compeditive with Droid and Apple, the OS and Hardware will become moot. My biggest concern is that WebOS will go the way of the Sony Betamax - DOA at the end of the day!

Great editorial. It's amazing to me that some people seem to think HP can do this alone given their track record so far. Come on, people! Their hardware seriously trails behind what's available for Android, and what will soon be available from Apple. Why are you guys hung up on one or another manufacturer? Is webOS so precious to you that you'd rather kill it than see someone else than HP utilize it?

Palm allowed themselves to be bought by HP in order not to have webOS die, but I fear that perhaps HP sold them on something they couldn't deliver - good hardware in multiple form factors in a reasonable amount of time. Really Palm should have just licensed the OS over a year ago when things were looking bleak. They could have gotten an infusion of cash that would have allowed them to continue to develop it. But instead, they get bought by HP who, despite all their huge scale, can't seem to make give enough resources to Palm to help them develop devices in any reasonable amount of time.

More and more, it's starting to hit me that the only thing that is going to save webOS is removing HP from the picture, and relying on other manufacturers for the hardware, and giving the Palm GBU the resources they need to bang out upgrades to their OS at a clip more similar to Apple or Google...

Palm went with proprietary hardware and went out of business.

HP is going proprietary and we still don't have a handset for business users....and every day the release date of that handset slips further and further away.

If you can't get your OS to market in an actual phone, in what sense are you achieving anything?

To be fair, webOS did not kill Palm. It just so happens that Palm used its last breath to utter the word "webOS". There is a difference.

Who said WebOS killed Palm?

Palm was killed by two things: 1) it was overvalued and 2) it was overleveraged because it was overvalued.

But that doesn't mean that the vision of Palm as an Apple wanna be didn't do them in. Had they refocused on software and left the hardware to others they might still be around.

And HP is demonstrating today why people know all about its printers but not its computers...because they don't understand the need to get the product on the floor and out the door in a timely manner.

A computer or a phone is not just another deskjet...or widget.

I meant the entire platform/ecosystem/hardware, not just the OS when I said webOS didn't kill them. And I still maintain that Palm was on its deathbed long before webOS came about.

So I don't disagree with your post except for the implication that going with proprietary hardware caused them to go out of business.

All you people who are against it, don't worry it won't happen.

Reason 1: Because Apotheker has publicly said he wants to sit at the "cool kids" table like Apple. Nowhere, that I know of, has he mentioned in ANY way that they want to be like Google.

Reason 2: Do they really want to compete against other hardware manufacturers? Google produces nothing, Apple produces everything -- does HP want to sit in the middle and produce something and compete against whomever it licenses webOS to?

Reason 3: Unless HP puts up BIG dollars no manufacturer is going to take a leap of faith in a platform that is not proven. A manufacturer can't just take an existing phone and load webOS on it, there will have to be considerable money spent in research and development.

You may have missed the part where they have already said publicly that they are now open to talking to third parties about licensing WebOS on their hardware during a public forum meeting.

So this possibility is becoming more real as time goes on and shareholders are staring at Apothoker and company waiting for them to make something of their 1.2 billion dollar acquisition.

If they are not seriously considering this on some form, I would be worked and an investor and a WebOS lover.

They only need 3 partners:
- Samsung, HTC for phones
- Samsung, LG for appliances
- keep tablets and netbooks to themselves

Phones move too fast for them.
They don't need to get into appliances.
They've had the PC hardware chops for years.

They don't need to open it up to anybody with a pulse, like Android - that just lets in the **** hardware. I think if they keep it to a small group of well chosen partners they can still have the control they need, achieve some scale in number of models they can put in front of people, and they can focus more attention on the cloud services they keep forshadowing.

Or just Samsung. I love HTC, but if Samsung can use it on appliances and it helps them there, the loyalty may pave the way for the (soon to be) largest maker of handsets in the world to make WeBOS the software of choice for their premium devices. They will always use droid, but maybe just for the "tier 2" smartphones they put out. I like the idea...

I just don't see that. Do consumers really care what OS is running on their appliances? I'm still trying to understand how this will cause people to buy more webOS-based phones/tablets.

Or just Samsung. I love HTC, but if Samsung can use it on appliances and it helps them there, the loyalty may pave the way for the (soon to be) largest maker of handsets in the world to make WeBOS the software of choice for their premium devices. They will always use droid, but maybe just for the "tier 2" smartphones they put out. I like the idea...

This is a horrible idea. They become more android/windows like and less apple like. The apple model works better and if hp takes a little bit of the good of each then thats a good place to be in the market. They JUST started putting out new hardware (touchpad hardware is good) so lets give hp a bit more time before calling in the commodity handset makers.

I want to add something here... if the vision is to have webos on appliances (ala the toaster) then clearly they need to work with companies like samsung and others in that market but the point is they should not use samsung,htc or anyone else to make personal devices. That model is outdated and needs to be put out to pasture.

The Apple model works if you have a track record of launching devices in a timely fashion. Right now, HP does not have a good track record. And while you can argue they are still assimilating Palm into the company, I think it is fair to say one would have expected better from the world's largest technology company.

"HP will stop making announcements for stuff it doesn't have. When HP makes announcements, it will be getting ready to ship. That's a simple management decision, I don't need to re-engineer the tanker [HP] to do that."

Leo Apotheker, January 27, 2011

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12291529

Fair point although I think there are a couple things to consider.

1) I am pretty sure the delay is software not hardware
2) Its hard to make a trend from 2 or 3 data points post merger.

I wouldn't rush to go with Windows/Android way... I work in tech and will be happy to see that model go away at some time. It's a mess and it only works to gain market share quickly at the expense of user experience. Thats how MSFT ate Apples lunch back in the day... not so much anymore.

The Apple model works for Apple. HP isn't Apple....they're, well, Hewlett Packard. Safe, Standard, PC and printer driven.

No one is walking around with Hewlett Packard stickers on their cars like Apple. License WebOS out and it may have a chance. Continue on the path they are on and WebOS will become irrelevant very very soon.

The best reason I can come up with is:

It seems that HP/Palm struggle bringing hardware to the market in a timely fashion. Let someone else handle it?