What would a webOS smartphone need to be competitive today? | webOS Nation

What would a webOS smartphone need to be competitive today? 89

by Derek Kessler Mon, 17 Sep 2012 10:50 pm EDT

What would a webOS smartphone need to be competitive today?

It's time for a webOS Nation brainstorming session. Late last week we were all some combination of perturbed, disturbed, hopeful, wistful, enraged, or just play befuddled when HP CEO Meg Whitman proclaimed that yes, HP eventually will have to make a smartphone. "But you already did that!" was the cry in all capital letters across the internet, followed by the cacophony of a million techies sighing at once.

But it got me thinking - is webOS as it stands right now really capable of standing up to the giants of the current smartphone industry? We all know the merits of webOS - multitasking, notifications, Synergy, Just Type, and so forth, but right now even the Open webOS that's coming up is looking to be seriously devoid of feature updates. So, if somebody - anybody - were to take webOS and make a smartphone out of it, what would it take for somebody to be willing to pick it up instead of the iPhone or Galaxy S or Droid or Lumia sitting elsewhere on the shelf in the carrier store? Let's delve into that, shall we?

We'll start with the assumption of webOS 3.0 melded with webOS 2.2.4 as our basepoint. Everything that webOS 3.0 can do, dropped down into the form factor of a webOS smartphone, essentially. Now sit this phone next to the Apple iPhone 5, Motorola RAZR HD, Nokia Lumia 920, and Samsung Galaxy S III. What's missing?

We could go on and on about hardware. A modern webOS device would need to have a higher resolution and larger screen (hell, even the iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen now), an LTE radio, faster processor, more RAM, more storage, a bigger battery, a better camera, and maybe other extraneous bits like NFC, all crammed into an impossibly thin shell to be taken seriously at a glance. This thought exercise is more a matter of software. After all, Open webOS is open source - anybody can take it and put it onto whatever hypothetical hardware they want (with some work, clearly) - so let's focus on how the software can be improved to modern standards. I'll offer up two major points - application selection and camera software.

App Selection

The Google Play app store has more than 500,000 available apps. Apple's App Store has over 700,000. The exact number of apps in the webOS App Catalog hasn't been announced, because it's frankly not an exciting number. As our last count, over a year ago before HP turned off the app feeds, there were nearly 7,000 total apps in the Catalog. Considering that the HP TouchPad, Pre3, and other future webOS devices were unceremoniously killed just 49 days after the tablet launched, it's little surprise that app development didn't take off after that point. There was never a "hey! 10,000 apps!" announcement because the App Catalog never got that far.

It's not just the sheer quantity of apps. We all know that at least a third of the apps for Android, iOS, and even webOS are specialty apps made by the developer often to fulfill a distinctly small niche and purpose said developer needed and maybe a few other people need too. Another third of the app store selection is utter and completely worthless crap. The last third are apps that a broader selection of people might find useful, with maybe a hundred apps that are going to appeal to the overwhelming majority of the platform's users.

So while the App Catalog's distribution fits around that one third/one third/one third model, the numbers are much fewer, and thus the bell curve of apps that people may fund useful is narrower. There's a huge chicken-and-egg problem with apps and platforms. Customers won't buy a phone because it doesn't have the apps they need, and developers won't make the apps because there aren't the customers to justify the development cost… because customers won't buy the phone because the apps aren't there. It's cyclical, and it takes a lot of effort to break the cycle.

How does one break the cycle? There are a couple of options. One is simply to get the hardware into more hands, thus creating the customer base. Nokia's been trying to do that by offering their flagship Lumia 900 smartphone for just $99.99 on AT&T. Sales have been decent, they report, but nowhere near iPhone and Android levels and nowhere near well enough to save Nokia or prop up Windows Phone. But it's made a difference in the app game, as many more Lumia smartphones have been sold and developers are starting to take notice of Windows Phone's growing, but still relatively small, customer base.

Another is for the manufacturer or platform builder to bribe (in essence) developers to make apps for their store. Both Microsoft and BlackBerry have tried this, though with limited success. Even Palm and HP got in on the game, offering reduced cost developer hardware, though we've long argued they should have bit the bullet and offered free developer hardware. Microsoft, when attempting the build of the Windows Phone Marketplace in the early days of the platform's life, offered developers up to $10,000 to have their apps in the Windows Phone app store, a scheme that Research in Motion is going to emulate as they ramp up the BlackBerry 10 app store.

There's a third option, and that's to hijack another platform's apps. It's the quick and dirty, if you will, way to get a bunch of apps and to get them quick. They may not all work well, if at all, and even if they work well it's not going to be an ideal experience. That's another thing that Research in Motion tried for the BlackBerry Playbook (in addition to giving away their stockpile of the poorly-selling tablet to developers), though it wasn't able to spur on sales of the PlayBook. Though really we could just chalk up the PlayBook to being a product that wasn't that desirable to begin with (don't tell CrackBerry Kevin I said that).

Flooding the market with cheap webOS hardware is a hypothetical right now, considering there's no such thing as new webOS hardware with which to flood said market. We can also check off buying the loyalty of developers - HP's not going to pony up thousands of dollars per developer, and we can't say that our hypothetical device manufacturer is going to do that either. They're hypothetical, all they can offer is hypothetical cash. So let's go hijack an app store, shall we?

There are two great last hopes for webOS. The first is Enyo 2.0. The cross-platform application development framework was rebuilt from the ground-up to be competitive and alive on all platforms. Technically speak, Enyo 1.0  is also cross-platform compatible, though in our experience Enyo 2.0 apps are simply faster and smoother across multiple platforms than the older version of the framework.

The problem is, despite HP's best efforts to break the bond, Enyo still remains inextricably bound to webOS in the minds of mobile developers. HP's had some success with Enyo 2.0 and outside developers who are looking to developer for multiple platforms, but right now Enyo 2.0 is still lacking in some serious ways that are holding back more serious app development. HP says they're working to shore up the broader reaches of Enyo to enable those apps, but it's going to take time.

The second great last hope comes from an outside source: OpenMobile. They're the ones that made a splash earlier in the year by showing off a demonstration of the Android Compatibility Layer at CES 2012. In January. Running in the TouchPad development emulator on a desktop machine. It wasn't exactly an exciting demo, except that it was Android apps running inside webOS. While a webOS device running the ACL wouldn't have access to the Google Play app storefront (that's only available to Google-certified Android devices), it would be able to get into third party Android app stores, like Amazon's, which offers tens of thousands more apps, including many heavy hitters in the Android space. We haven't heard much of anything from OpenMobile in the months since, though they recently assured us that they're still working on the ACL for webOS.

Whether or not priming the pump with an extra thirty thousand or so Android apps would make a difference for webOS is an unknown. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to have those apps available.

But it would only stand a chance of making a difference if those apps ran just as well on the hypothetical smartphone as they do on Android. Then, of course, that poses the problem of potentially hinder the need for developers to learn to developer for webOS in the more appropriate Enyo 2.0, meaning the better framework for the platform could languish instead of getting the attention and apps it needs. But that might be a risk our hypothetical webOS smartphone needs to take to break the consumers/developers vicious app cycle.

The Camera App

Alright, so let's talk camera, shall we? We can throw all of the fancy optics and megapixels we want at a webOS device, but it's not going to make up for the fact that the webOS camera app sucks. It's 2012 and it's just awful. I cringe every time I have to use my Pre3 to take a picture. The phone takes barely decent photos, but the app is just plain awful. The design is campy, the viewfinder doesn't fully frame the photo (photos are taken in 4:3, while the screen is a wider 5:3, cutting off the long sides of the viewfinder even though they're seen and captured by the sensor), and the touch-to-focus feature is finicky and has a tendency to jump back to the center a few seconds later, all but defeating the purpose.

To be competitive in 2012 (heck, 2013's not that far off), the webOS camera app needs to be rebooted from scratch. It needs better sharing, it needs better serious photographer features, it needs a better interface, it in needs… more. So very much more.

Let's start with the interface: make it clean, make it simple, and make it show the entire frame of the photo. Take a look at what is offered in the latest versions of Android and iOS for clean and simple camera apps with plenty of features for the average photographer. And of, those features that need to be there.

HDR - high dynamic range imagery - taking three photos in quick succession with wider and smaller aperture sizes and combining them to produce a final product that's ostensibly more 'life-like' in that there are enhanced details in the shadows and highlights that wouldn't be seen in a single ideal exposure - has been available on iOS and Android devices for years, though it takes some processing on the back-end.

Panorama too has been available for years, though the arena was first dominated by third party apps and the feature was just added to iOS 6 for newer iPhone users. The vast majority of those third party solutions (Android's built-in version included) would stitch together a series of images the phone guided you to take, while the new iOS 6 panorama feature captures the panorama image as you pan across your, uh, orama. Regardless, you generally end up with a sweet wide-angle view of your location.

Then there's focusing and exposure. Oh, how crappy webOS cameras used to be. Remember the 'enhanced depth of field' camera from the original Pre? The one that overly processed your images after taking them to make up for the fact that the camera wasn't that good to start? Yeah, that one. Thankfully we were able to drop the EDoF camera with the Pre3, gaining real live autofocus, but frankly it still wasn't that great. Like all smartphone cameras, the Pre3 defaulted to the center on launch, and you could tap elsewhere on the screen to change the focus point. Problem is, after a few seconds the Pre3 would forget that you'd told it to focus there and default back to the center. Good luck composing any interesting off-center shots with webOS right now.

Focusing with webOS needs an overhaul if it's to be taken seriously. Firstly, tap-to-focus needs to be persistent. Secondly, the camera needs face detection for when you're not using tap-to-focus. Chances are, if there's a face in the viewfinder, you're taking a picture of that face, or at least the person to which that face is attached. If you need to focus on something else, you tap elsewhere.

Additionally, I think this hypothetical webOS camera app should go further than what the default Android and iOS apps offer and allow users to independently meter exposure with a similar tap-to-meter scheme. Take the popular iOS app Camera+ for example. The focus box has a little + sign you can use to drag out an exposure meter, allowing you to focus on one point but get the light balance in another. Not sure what that could be useful for? Say you're taking a picture of a lit sign at night. If you take both your focus and exposure from the sign, you might capture the sign well, but the surroundings will be quite dark. If you can take your exposure reading off of of the darkness, though you'll get something a bit more like what your eyes see - a brightly-lit sign whose surroundings, while dark, you can see.

And it we're going to get into fancy features here, let's go all out and talk about shutter control. While a smartphone camera wouldn't necessarily benefit from the same kind of advanced shutter control you can get with a DSLR, there are still options that should be provided. Faster shutter speeds but at a lower resolution, for example, would be useful for capturing action like the kid's soccer or softball game. Any action photo you take with a webOS camera right now is practically guaranteed to be blurry, even on a brightly-lit day. Delayed exposures would be great for those group shots where you want to be in the photo too. And you know what? I wouldn't mind having the option for long exposure times either, letting you capture brilliant images at night (so long as you can keep the camera still) like those awesome photos of highways with streaks of headlights and taillights.

Then there's sharing. If I take a photo on my Pre3 I can send it to a friend via email or MMS or upload it to Facebook or Photobucket. My TouchPad lets me send a photo to an HP printer (how exciting to share these paper artifacts). If I take a photo with an iPhone I can also upload it to Twitter and it can be automaticallly added to my Photostream. The same photo taken with an Android smartphone can be uploaded to Google+ and other services. This sort of sharing needs to happen in webOS. There doesn't necessarily have to be a webOS equivalent for Photostream or Google+ autoupload, but to be competitive the webOS camera app does need to tie into more than just Facebook and Photobucket. Offer support for Twitter and Flickr, strike a deal with Instagram (or heck, offer your own filters), upload to Google+/Picasa, and whatever other up-and-coming photo sharing sites might be out there.

There's so much more

The application selection and camera features are just a few of the software hurdles that webOS must overcome to be competitive in 2012, let alone 2013 or 2015. webOS, quite simply, is behind the times of features. Many back-end improvements have been made to Open webOS in the process of open sourcing, but for any new webOS smartphone - or tablet for that matter - the features of the software are going to be what helps drive sales. It doesn't matter how fast or technically impressive it is if it just doesn't do what you need or want it to do.

That's how webOS fell behind in the first place. And that's partly because Palm didn't have the resources of Apple or Google to make the important things happen. Of course, when HP bought Palm they were supposed to bring that level of resources to bear, but that's an opportunity past. Looking forward, if webOS is to stand any chance of success in the marketplace, it needs major and rapid feature improvements. That conversation starts here.



Once again a well reasoned, logically presented editorial. The points you outline are the bare essentials points that any hardware manufacturer will have to address before webOS has any chance of success. There's no question that the future will be an uphill battle, and whom ever takes a risk on webOS will have to create something revolutionary for it to have any hope of being successful. That takes commitment and capital. 2 things HP ain't got.

I don't know if it's worth it. Chicks really dig iPhones. The only girl I ever saw with a Palm phone was a divorced mom. Kind of a turnoff.

They have shock therapy for phone fetishers now.

Excellent editorial. But I find myself wondering: is this worth it? Is there really a pressing need for WebOS in today's mobile market?

I still can't hold on to two webpages at once on my iPhone without having to reload the page.
Android still can't handle running apps in a way that customers understand. The new OS does some pre-card-like-things where you can swipe it off, but it's not the base of the operating system, you have to press special buttons to get there.

5 years later and webOS STILL has the best mutlitasking on the market.

There is very much a need for it :P

I agree with what you are saying, but the reality is can WebOS be put in a position to exploit these benefits in a timely fashion such that the market will even notice? And can they bring the other components up to date in that time?

I want it. I need it. I just don't see it!

Looking at it all, I would think the TouchPad has a better chance of being reborn the phones. I am very sad. It hurts me to say that. I love WebOS, it multitasks like no other. That being said, a lot of us phone users are now under a new 2 year contract with a different phone, so if it comes out within the next year, sales will probably not be too high, but, if they let us know it is in development at lest a year early, then when can prepare to not renew our contract until WebOS phone comes out.

I think mobile app development desperately needs to focus more on web technologies rather than proprietary OSes. Otherwise developers are stuck creating for iOS, Android, Windows, Rim, etc.

Mobile app development should learn from browser-based apps.

The App catalogue needs to be Global to begin with. So many devices out there are stuck without the option to purchase apps.

I think you already had a series of wishlists that you were looking for in webOS. For example, the email app needs threaded emails.

One idea is to flood the pre-paid device market (Cricket, Virgin, Boost, etc.) with low-priced hardware to match with cheap plans. An iPhone 4S on Virgin costs $550 because the plans are cheap ($30). Some mid-range Androids cost a few hundred dollars. HP (or someone else looking to make webOS competitive) could put better hardware in at a cheap cost.

Along similar lines, re-introduce the $99 webOS tablet. How? Give it hardware similar to the original Amazon Fire (but with front camera). The cost of that hardware is very cheap now. They'll still lose a money on each device, maybe as much as $20, but losing $20 on 10 million devices is $200 million, a small price compared to the billion paid in for Palm and the big write-downs that HP is taking.

Once you get the market flooded with devices, you get developers, and companies flooded with consumer demand for their bank to make a webOS version of an app. You can then start introducing better hardware that is actually profitable.

I think the bigger question would be what would HP need to do to make a WebOS smartphone competitive today.

TLDR version: Pack it with every tech goodie out there, differentiate it from the competition (WebOS and the portrait slider qwerty are still pretty novel), build it well the first time, and have a good marketing campaign to back it all up!

The phone itself would need to have spectacular build quality - something neither HP nor Palm got right with WebOS hardware. Their choice of materials were great on the Pre2 and 3 - they just need to have very strict QC. If they want to make a world class flagship device, then it needs to feel like a world class device. I think pride of ownership plays a huge part in the mobile device market and people want to own a great, beautiful, and durable device.

However HP could sell the best phone ever made to date and it would still flop without a killer marketing campaign to back it up. They could also sell a mediocre product if they could market it well. They need to follow through from the first teasers to the showroom floor. Do you all remember how the Touchpad was put in the corner of Best Buys all across America with all the fledgling android tablets? Yet the iPad had it's own separate display? HP needs to do that with any mobile device they come out with. It really makes a difference! When I was tablet shopping recently at my local Best Buy I ran into executives from Samsung scrutinizing the display for the Galaxy Note 10.1 a day after it was launched. I ended up having a lengthy chat with them about the Note and why I was hesitant on buying one. Originally I went to Best Buy to test out the S-pen, but there wasn't one in sight! The Samsung execs saw my struggle with the employees to locate an S Pen and they were furious that the display wasn't set up properly! They ended up going out of their way to fix the display so that it could allow customers to properly test the tablet's only redeeming feature. Thanks to their diligence and attention to detail to make sure the device was properly represented and differentiated from the rest of the pack, they ended up winning over a customer! HP needs to have that kind of dedication. Like the Note 10.1 display being front and scenter along with the iPad, HP needs to think of something that will make a WebOS device stand out at a Costco Verizon kiosk or Best Buy phone department.

I really do hope that HP surprises the world with another WebOS device. The OS is still surprisingly fresh after all there years of being stagnant. If they do end up making one, I just hope they see the project through 100% and realize what an amazing product they could make.

A frustrated WebOS fanboy

P.S.: give it good battery life please!!!

I think the big issue with your premise is that you include HP. They dropped the ball. They're not in the game. If it's going to happen, it is not going to include HP.

Put the webOS out so you can run on existing hardware like the xda developers do for ICS and Jelly Bean. There are plenty of users who cannot afford the later and greatest. So adapt and conquer.

Please don't let it grow,... I've got my TouchPad, I've got my smartphone and I want nothing inbetween. So I don't understand the hype about the size. It should only matter for people who can't afford a tablet.

I had this conversation with a Microsoft employee Sunday. I showed him the Nexus S I've been stuck with after Best Buy threw away my Palm Pre a year ago. I told him I can get almost any app I want for it, but that's not enough. I can still only do one thing at a time on it. Does it keep SOME apps open in the background? Yes. But I can only access one at a time. The tasks I was able to do on the Pre are laborious in Android. If folks were confident MOST of the apps they want would be available for the OS they prefer, most of the other items are of little consequence. For my wife, give her Words with Friends, Facebook and a few fitness apps and she's fine. But that means she wouldn't be fine with WebOS. Most are in her boat. And unfortunately, I think most of us WebOS diehards are too. Somebody, somewhere is going to have to solve the app riddle or WebOS just won't fly. We need apps and we need the apps people EXPECT a smartphone to run.

A feature I'd like to see added to the video camera app is the ability to continously buffer 5 seconds of video while waiting in standby mode, so you when you press the Start button, the previous 5 seconds of buffered video will be added to the start of the video. So that way when something interesting you can capture it (such as capturing a lightening strike). I saw this on a friend's digital camera that came out 10 years ago.

Another feature is the ability to take a still picture while the video camera is running. I've seen that feature advertised recently, but I forget which device has it.

A primative editing tool that lets you trim the start or end of a video (or split the video in two) would be nice.

PERFORMANCE, PERFORMANCE, PERFORMANCE! I think the most important thing today. Like Android, WebOS needs a huge and fast CPU to perform well. Even the Pre3 I own is very laggy, even with OC and Patches and so on. WebOS needs to be optimized like hell and used with powerful hardware. Thats the most important thing!

Second thing would be a good E-Mail Programm. I use Outlook.com and the stock client can't synchronise the different folders.

Third thing is a good Browser that doesn't load the websides a thousand times, just to NOT SHOW THEM AT ALL!

The design I would prefer would be a Pre3 in ultrathin and light.

Then rest is functionality, but this is the easiest to solve.

That's what I thought before, but performance is not crucial -take WP7 as an example. WP7 performs good as hell but that is not enough. In 2009 revolutionary UI mixed with great performance would be enough to establish platform. Now in 2012-2013 things are much more complicated.

Poor performance can easily kill a platform. Excellent performance in and of itself isn't enough to save one.


We have a great OS with many feartures other platforms are laging, but our OS ifself is much to slow. If I open my calendar on my Pre3 and it takes about 15 sec to show up, I do not care about 1.000.000 apps

Exspecially if my batterie is empty after 6 hours...

1 second for my Pre 3 calendar to come up.

I've just tried it. 4 seconds without any overlocking.

Maybe too many cards open?

mine opens in 1-2 seconds, and I have Exchange, HPalm, google calendars linked together, with s..tload of calendar events in them (5+ a day, on average).

Recently doctored, no patches nor overclocks on mine

It would need to work exceedingly well 'out of the box' -- if the device can't match the responsiveness that is typical of iOS, then it needs to be optimized until it can.

Keep the gestures and gesture area. I think it just works so well.

Improve all apps that come stock with the device -- especially phone, browser, e-mail, messaging, tasks, notes, camera, music, videos, photos, and exhibition. Right now we have to patch apps to add functionality -- and that shouldn't have to be the case. I would suggest working with the homebrew community to incorporate patched features into the apps itself, instead of having to patch them in! This is especially critical because the average smartphone user will be using these apps a lot, and a lousy (or basic) experience colors the perception of the whole device.

It should be able to do things that people are used to doing with their mobile devices: eg; have a file manager (Internalz Pro?) so people can manage their content; app(s) for document creation / editing; BT file transfer; etc

Along the same line of thought -- devote resources to getting critical apps onto the webOS platform (eg; WhatsApp, etc). Lack of these apps sometimes pose a barrier to users coming on board, no matter how much they like the device.

Update the phone tutorial to include more than just the up gesture and back gesture. It should also teach people about how Just Type can speed up tasks like sending a text message / setting up appointments / finding a contact -- all without launching any apps!

Simplify the process of geting PreWare onto the phone -- it should not require an install via a computer. Either include it on the phone by default, or combine it with the App Catalog.

And while I love the Pre3 form factor, I think for a new webOS phone to be successful it would need to break the (mostly negative) associations people already have with the old Pre models. Perhaps a slab phone with virtual keyboard for a start, and then introduce a keyboard slider variant if the market response is good.

YES, the OS needs to be optimized! But can it? Didn't palm promise that with the first Pre? Sounds like they never had the resources to get it done right as they were always in a time crunch.

oh yeah, battery life is very important too. Either pack in a huge battery, or there needs to be some way to creatively manage the power draw on this thing.


The question we should ask as any developer would ask is what is the consumer looking for in a mobile smart device?

1. Ease of use, intuitiveness - If at first glance the sales person at the mobile store can show how the applications work, and how easy it is to use. That is one hurdle over.
2. Performance or perceived performance - Apple has never played the CPU speed game. Their focus is on user experience, speed of opening application (SMS, contacts, email), booting speed, etc. Right now even Android players have not caught up to the sleek apps loading speed of Apple, but are only on-par with faster -dual-quad core processors at the detriment of battery performance. There might be a case for webos to allow developers to when in reduced card mode - freeze the application and thus freeing resources for other applications. The fact is that the mobile device has limited memory, cpu resources to run 20 apps at once. The fact that webos can do this (but on subpar processor , memory al Pre ) basically screwed the platform. If we can optimize the core webos platform to - boot fast, use less resources, dial fast, email, SMS change appls fast / sleek, I think we can win back some. Maybe it's time to limit the number of open cards available by default to 8 or ten. Frankly who actually opens 10 cards and multitask? - but I'd not be surprised that people will add widgets to their devices; so in conjunction with 10 cards, that should be sufficient.
3. With the increase in so called the mobile power user - they're still looking for a device that is small, but yet able to meet their needs - I think one area that webos need to revisit is the Palm OS graffiti mechanism and offer this virtual alternative to the keyboard. Frankly if I'm doing note taking, speed and not detail is the essence, and at the moment, only the actual keyboard can outperform the graffiti - the virtual keyboards in IPADs, android even touchpad cannot meet the accuracy speed criteria.
4. Battery life - The fact that a phone / smart device is small....we cannot continue to expect to pump the CPU and power consumption akin to a laptop. There is a limit to the size , weight, that the device must remain. Thus it's important we ensure webos has an efficient power consumption , energy saving mechanism that is superior to the competition. If someone can ensure webos can run on Palm Pre 3 specifications and yet the so called 2000mah battery can provide 24 hours standby time or more than 8 hours talk time it's a big PLUS.
5. Keep and enhance synergy and current webos key strengths...
6. They need to ensure development platform is mature.
7. Maybe integrate something that what's app into the OS... (Telcos will hate this), and provide an open API linked to synergy to telco's to enable cloud storage for mobile collaboration and mobile office applications.
8. Make the device a multimedia device - with a core API enabling - WIFI streaming of music / radio / movies in the house or anywhere. (car etc) - eg if I plug a HDD into my Webos phone, I can use it to stream to my TV ...etc.

I think there a faster, more compliant browser is important. The browser performance in the WebOS 3.x line was very slow compared to the competition on similar hardware. For example, you can compare the performance of the various browsers available for Android by installing CM9 on your touchpad, and then compare the performance with the stock WebOS browser and the WebOS browser will lose miserably.

Given that the browser engine underlies most of the apps, including all of the Enyo apps, the slow browser also meant slow performing apps. Secondly, the HTML5 compliance remained low, which means that the web experience was also not upto par.

The browser in OpenWebOS is supposed to be better, but afaik there are no benchmarks to show how much better?

Yeah exactly. Also a really good browser bypasses the need for many apps. Sure it is nicer to have a native app but apps often lack the power of the real website. There are some newer websites like banking sites, Mint.com which don't run on touchpad browser.
Best selling apps should be paid to make a webos version. Don't wait for developer minds to change - pay them cash. Most people have less than 100 apps installed. They will notice when words with friends is not available. I have pre2 and iphone and I have downloaded only 20 iOS apps and I'm not usually impressed by them.
Finally don't reinvent the wheel. Make sure webOS works with all the independent or Google or anything cloud services. You don't have to be Apple and make your own map app. Work with google maps or nokia. You don't have to have your own photo cloud service. Work with facebook, shutterfly, etc.

Open webOS has a newer, fast, better browser included.

Just see how much better it is: http://youtu.be/eCKC5aWKfcg

From that demo it just looked more standards compliant. It wasn't clear to me how it can be determined that it is faster, running on a desktop OS.

For me, webOS needs solid turn by turn navigation with voice direction. It also needs native apps for the top 50 web services, social or otherwise (Yelp, Kindle, Dropbox, Amazon MP3, Netflix, &c). This alone would keep me from bouncing between webOS and Android, WP7, and iOS for whatever suits my daily needs.

Derek may poo-poo the Pre 3 camera but it takes the smoothest looking HD videos of any phone I've had or currently own. I never had the fancy high-end phones like iPhone 4S+ or Galaxy S3, though. I'm strictly an off-contract subscriber, you see, so no subsidy for me.

Beyond that, I think just a general speed bump and maybe some UI overhaul (nothing drastic). Also, additional gestures and a good on screen keyboard would be nice.

Everyone talks about app numbers, but I'd say 50 - 100 name brand apps would cover almost everyone's needs. A sad fact is that BlackBerry 6 is better supported by third parties than webOS in terms of these core apps and services. Everyone boils that request down to "We need more apps," but I think pinpointing what essentials apps/services we desire is important.

Yes, the turn-by-turn directions is huge. Sometimes the carriers have a solution, but not all of them do.

Also you want a media ecosystem. For that you'd want to partner with Spotify or something like that, as building your own is a lot of work, money, and resources.

Another option here is partner with Amazon and do a TouchPad "Powered by Amazon" agreement. Amazon wouldn't mind this because they just want to sell content, ebooks, movies, music, etc. That's the whole reason for the Kindle Fire, they aren't making much or anything on the hardware. Let Amazon do that in webOS. It would be a win-win.

I think you raise a good point there. We need to know what apps people want from this OS, what do they need.

From your list there is a Kindle app, there's also an Amazon MP3 app. Unfortunately they are limited to the US which makes life difficult. They exist though so maybe some unashamed begging would get them fully distributed, who knows.

One more idea to increase pervasiveness of the webos platform...
1. If we're able to ensure the device runs on no so speedy memory and processor requirements, mfg would be able to offer a low spec hardware with the OS to make it available to a larger market
-- Who's going to ignore the large markets if there's suddenly someone releases a device with 8gb ram, running webos - on no so modern specifications but it's sleek, fast and cheaper than what's available for IOS, android etc. Go for the mass market.
-- then in tandem with the same OS, a higher spec phone can do well with the upscale moola market.
With more ppl buying the phone, developers will be forced to develop a webos app.

2. If HP wants to be successful with Webos, they will need the support of 2nd tier phone manufacturers (in china, india etc). Those whom MS are not interested in and those who might not have the technical resources to test, qa the OS onto their phone. I'm very sure in places like China, India, S,America - 2nd tier phones thrive cause they're simply cheaper.

Here´s how I think it could work:
Make an Android handset and sell it. Don´t make an Uberphone, just a decent one wich also runs OpenWebOS. Sell it for a reasonable price and give easy instructions on how to install webOS or sell it as an option. That´s really not too hard, the android handset is simply a decoy for everyone who tinkers and of course for developers. once they´re excited, they will start developing. Softwarewise I think it´s not as bad as it looks (apart from the camera app). If everything would run a tiny bit smoother on todays hardware I am sure many would get along with the stockapps quite well. Make the "Google Maps" app from internals a stock app! Make WLAN-Hotspot a stock app. Make the mediaplayer play more formats, fix (replace) the PDF app. That should be ok, for 1.0.

NOW: When some other manufacturer releases another handset, he can and will make modifications to openWebOS. And here´s comes the beauty of OpenSource! These changes will probably flow upstream and fix another bunch of bugs or add some nice features on that others can build. And so on, and so on...it all takes patience, but it doesn´t cost you a lot of money...

I'm going to be slightly picky here - my understanding is that they could make and sell an AOSP phone but Google would not permit them to call it an 'Android' phone or bundle the market or google app because they are not in the OHA.

As long as they don´t go with Win8 (I think the LA forbids dualbooting) they would have to become a member of the OHA either way if they are going to make a smartphone on their own. I think it could be a bit like "Dells Project Sputnik" to spark interest. The whole OHA and Win8 licensing shows exactly why it´s not desirable for a vendor to go with a thirdparty OS, even Samsung have their own OS up their sleeves in case anything goes wrong.... ;-)

I agree with the article but I think there is way too much "focus" on the camera features. As a user of a Pre- and a Pre3 I never had any issues taking pictures !!! HDR? Focual points? Appertutre settings? I use my Nikon for that !!! Seriously mobile phones will never beat a decent DSL and when I need a camera I take my camera with me.

Things like apps, hardware radio, good gps navigation software, bluetooth sharing, memory slots etc are far more important....People taking pictures and then posting them on instagram doesn't bring the need for a "better" camera...

Just my thoughts really...

Here's a few thoughts for you:

Online app browsing.

All of the major smartphone OSs let you browse their app catalogues from outside of the phone - be it by web browser, client software, or something else. Now granted that you are most likely to buy an app while browsing on the device itself, however it acts for a draw for people that are not already on your operating system. It also pulls in more passing trade. If you sold a few thousand apps more by having a web front end then that's a little extra cash. Recommendations also go with this - recommend more apps, people buy more apps.

Then there's the apps themselves.

HP need to invest greatly in the app ecosystem and the developers themselves to make up the serious backlog in applications to the opposition. Paying developers to develop for webos would go a long way. Recoup the costs from your 30% and all the while you are education developers about EnyoJS. Bringing in the community on this would go far too. Developer devices, prizes, funding would help tremendously. This has been done piecemeal in the past but HP needs to go all out. Also get some of the in house guys developing apps. Maybe have something similar to google where for Friday afternoons you can spend your time developing apps for the operating system, and let the developers keep the cash they have.


Get multiple devices out there and fast. Pre3 and Veer lost traction because they were unveiled in February only to be released nearly silently at the end of August. Show it off when it is ready to be released and get it in the shops a couple of weeks later. No point waiting months to release it as when it finally gets onto a shop shelf customers have forgotten about it, and rivals have reacted to it.


Get the community on board. the community aspect of webOs is one of the big reasons that I love it so much. HP could even hire more out of the pool of great community patch developers and galvanise their teams. WebOs 2.2.3 has been out so long almost all of the bugs have been uncovered. HP could focus on eradicating these and get a fix out in a matter of weeks if it wanted to.


HP need to do 2 things when it comes to the camera. Firstly, upgrade the outdated (and frankly rather bad) hardware in the device. Secondly, release all of the APIs to developers. This will screw more features out of the camera and get bring the possibilty of webOS's own version of Instagram etc. You would also get more flickr, twitter, G+ sharing etc.

How about this for a good device (and the best way to sell phones, keep webos, and retain the community) - make an Android device, that will let you switch to openWebOS. everybody wins. HP have something they can sell to the uneducated public, they Android userbase gets another awesome device to choose from, and us dedicated hardcore webOS lovers get a new device.

Oh, and HP. Please oh please keep the keyboard.

1st it has to appeal to the masses first NOT phone geeks. The masses make you competitive not phone geeks. If you can't take that skip to the next post.

you need a slab. Period. Yeah told you to skip to the next post. Masses mostly want slabs and the question was being competitive.

You need an ecosystem, place to by music, movies, and books and don't make it difficult in general, ugly to look at, or unavailable outside the U.S. Without this it not competitive regardless of software upgrades. And that right there is more then most want to recognize.

now to the software:

General thought. The masses buy a phone for WHAT it can do NOT HOW it does things. Regular people turn on their home computer to actually do something. They don't turn it on to engage in the act of switching apps. it's just something that may happen. When using a phone it's the same thing. They want to listen to music, watch a movie, send a text. that's about doing a specific task more then how you do it. You make it easy. They don't pick up a phone to multitask or touch to share. That's fine but it's fixating on things not important. They are important to the extent that if how you do something becomes such a pain that it bothers people it will drive them away and right now most people don't care about multitasking. So my comments are about giving the masses things to do and minimizing the bad aspects of how things are done that annoy the hell out of them.

You need App choice. You called it app selection. People telling you you don't need apps are wrong. all apps aren't websites. instagram isn't the same on the web. Infinity blade isn't the web. Garage band isn't a web page. RunKeeper isn't just a web page. You don't need every app, but you need enough of the big name apps. I don't care if you think Android or ios apps suck. You're seriously not important. The masses are and the like app choice and they want Netflix and they win. If webos was fine without apps it's still be being used on new phones.

General look overhaul. parts of the os looks dated, the grey menus, the lack of rendering, the lack of sheen and polish in the look. There's a distinct lack of gloss in some apps especially third party apps.

Music player, sort tags properly, get rid of bugs, gapless playback, aac mp3 other formats less important. and the masses care little about Flac. sort better. Genre, artist, album, song so i don't get a massive list of songs. Before it was genre, song, and then i'd 11,000 songs. could you imagine if i had 50 gbs of music? equalizer, audiobooks, speed up slow down audio speed, on board playlist management, Car mode with big buttons.

music manager and sync software for desktop would be a positive, But no matter what it can't be hard to get stuff on the device and can't be buggy.

cloud service,
you need a music in the clouds, cloud contacts, storage, photo storage, syncing, backups, books, notes. if icloud or google has it you probably need it.

camera, just make the app robust and not suck. make it full featured: white balance, red eye, zoom, 1080p video, great came front and back, yeah i know those aren't software.

Voice commands and not just voice dial. I mean "navigate to Santa Monica Pier" and it should launch the navigation app and plot the course.

Which brings me to Navigation app. Yeah you need one. Apple is simply way late in catching up.

A single place to manage settings would be nice.

fix copy and paste. It sucks. Simply copy Apple's with the zooming magnifying glass and the dots you can drag. It's the best period. Great artists steal.

Make a competent browser. tabs, bookmark managing, html5 support, render pages properly. that is it should just work. i'm a regular person. I don't care about that tech stuff, it should look good when i load a page. If it doesn't i'm moving on without asking why cause it's a hassle. popup blocker and advance features like cookie and password management and stuff you get in chrome mobile would be nice.

editable autocorrect dictionary.

Speed. This should have been about second in importance. If it still lags nobody but the walk on glass webos lovers will like it. I don't care what anyone said. I almost smashed my Pre Minus on the pavement for being slow and hanging many times. And i tried the touchpad at launch and it was horribly slow. You can be like that to webos lovers but not to people that will compare such a table to an ipad or a webos phone to snappier other phones.

Be able to hook into file storage like the HP cloud services i envision above, or Sugarsync, dropbox, box.net, gdrive, skydrive. Yeah i put those last two cause they got apps for multiple platforms and normal people aren't going to want to move gigabytes cause your phone wants to not support online storage of the competition. it's not like google don't have an ios gdrive app. i say go further, i should be able to upload my photos to any one of those sites. And no stupid restrictions like ios has where you can only add 5 photos to and email directly from the photo library app but more others ways. That's dumb and just needlessly makes users jump through hoops.

way better. i haven't used webos email in a long time but it was simply lacking in features.

contact images should always look correct.
pet peeve. you try and sync images with good contacts and pics looks horrible. you add a pic it may randomly get downsampled. Just make it work and not look bad when the image is perfectly clear originally. don't make it hard on customers. just make it work.

Podcast app.
look at Downcast on IOS, duplicate the interface and features. done and done. And make it compatible with ios feed oinks or something just as good cause that's where lots of people list their podcasts.

that's what i got off the top of my head. i still say without apps, speed, a robust ecosystem, and slab form factors being competitive is virtually impossible though.

this guy gets it. They must appeal to the masses or any type of comeback will fall flat on its face.

thank you, hey budweiser may taste bad, i may hate it. but the masses love it and they sell a lot more beer then my microbrew favorite that you can't get anywhere.

Hardware doesn't matter people, it can be put on anything, or at least thats one of the goals.

The real question is how to improve webOS software.

As a bare minimum webOS needs to improve its apps selection, turn-by-turn navigation, and entertainment apps (music, tv, etc.)

BTW: Anyone noticed how the gram logo resembles the late palm logo? Just saying....

I don't need 10000 apps. The OS is great in so many ways & the UI too. There is only one app that I switch to android phone for. Other folk will need a different app or two to me that's not available on webOS, but I suspect that no-one really needs many apps they can't get on webOS.
what it needs is the stock apps to be improved as so many have said.
what is then needed is a range of hardware and good marketing. History has shown that frequently the technically superior product dies due to poor marketing and ambivalent customers. (VHS vs Betamax, OS2 vs Windows3 etc.....)
I haven't investigated Android development, but Android apps appear to be Java. Possibly a JVM & a SWING replacement may make porting some apps to run natively in webOS possible & not too onerous.

Great write up and great responses. I love WebOS and tolerate Android. I have purchased 4 TouchPads for myself and my family and bought a Pix Plus through DailySteals no contract for $40 16 months ago to try out on Verizon right before we switched to Sprint. I say this to say - I'm for WebOS.

However, as I listen to these great ideas and suggestions I believe that HP should have been involving this community years ago - as soon as they bought out Palm (which I used for almost 15 years and lived in Sunnyvale during the great days of Palm, and my Sunnyvale office was 2 miles from both Palm & Apple headquarters). Like many businesses, government and education departments - when people at the top feel like they have all the answers and don't consult with their customers and existing customer base it usually results in a disaster. I know Steve Jobs didn't do that and he foresaw properly and molded the consumer base on what they would want. This was the exception and not the rule. Still HP continues to move ahead, IMO, without listening to this community and these great suggestions and ideas.

Unfortunately, as I think about your suggestions, it seems, short of a miracle, that it is too late. I feel as if HP missed the mark, many times, and now they are past the point of no return, for themselves and it looks like for any other OEM.

There is hardly anything I would like more than to be wrong. I just wished that HP would have brought those of you above into their circle of influence to get your ideas and advice - if so, I believe things would have been different today.

I'm not sure if we're assuming that carriers will have this device available. For me, that is the biggest thing. Get it out there. Bribe carriers to sell the device and get salesmen to actually mention it to customers. I would have a Pre 3 right now if there was a way to have it with Sprint. Changing carriers was too complicated with the 5 lines on my account, all with different contractual obligations.

I agree with some parts of what everyone has said and disagree with others. Bottom line is that I don't use a webOS phone anymore because my carrier doesn't support it (never really did anyway, verizon), the latest phone was never released (pre3) and I couldn't keep an unlimited 4G plan.

I don't worry about apps on the phone because I always carried an ipod touch free tethered to my pre plus then pre2, and many others do the same or better yet carry tablets and laptops to get real work done. Apps on smartphones are somewhat important but not the only big factor.

The phone with its software needs to be FUNDED, SUPPORTED, AVAILABLE.none of these factors have ever been present for webOS.

None of these are options for a webOS phone right now because hp was too busy screwing around. They could have fixed webOS but messed up.

Simple, it needs to be Android with an overlay that allows card management and Synergy. HP couldn't keep up 2 years ago and now they're even further behind. Nothing changed other than the entry barriers being raised even higher. Meg is just teasing, trying to save the stock price.

Pretty much. For webOS to be taken seriously, it needs to have the link to either the Apple App store, or the Google Play store in its menu. As the App store isn't really an option, that leaves the google play store.

As for Meg's comments, I believe she is being honest when she says they need to release a phone. I just think she has no interest in releasing a webOS phone. It will likely be android and/or win8 phones.


Google Play store isn't really an option either. The original article discussed it and the option is to hijack the store with the OpenMobile software (if it works and gets released).

fix the game breaking flaws, device must reset/restart from scratch, application database is full, etc etc, their massivly annoying and highly noticable annoyances for anyone, dont close it in around webOS devices only (thinking about bluetooth/transfer/sharing stuff here or our lack thereof).

ACL still required just as either a stopgap measure or a notable useful feature (come to a better OS yet retain your multitute of apps etc).

anything else i can live with, the hardwares fien tbh when patched/tweaked, my pre3/touchpad (mostly touchpad then pre3 a close 2nd) are still my most used devices, over my PC/Laptops/Ipad3/Android Tablet.

Just spitballing here, but I think about why I like my Touchpad so much more than my Pre 2 (successor to my Pre + on VZW). It's the software, stupid. The ability to have a two-sided tablet, ,which spends probably 80-90 pct of its time in WebOS mode and the remainder in Android has made it really really fun. Yes, we need more native apps and yes, I'm not sure how we get them. But it seems to me if Android is open-sourced and WebOS is kinda open-sourced at this point, why couldn't someone offer a dual-bootable phone? That way, someone can decided which GUI they like better and switch between them at will. Maybe it'd be a bit of a memory hog, but the Android ICS UI is a mess compared to WebOS, but WebOS has so few good apps remaining (at least without home brewing). At any rate, I think it would be an interesting - nay, unique - phone that would offer that much choice to the consumer. Add in stuff like contact charging ("Helllloooo, Lummmmiiaa") that other phones are just getting to, chop the price down and see what happens. With hardware specs in phones going the way of processor specs in desktops, software and importantly software choice (ie - can I do what I want in this UI if Saint Steve hasn't approved it?) is a looming way to differentiate your product and I suspect a competitive advantage.

"What would a webOS smartphone need to be competitive today?"


Comprehension fail.

Those who think it's even POSSIBLE for webOS to be competitive anymore are failing to comprehend...

This article highlights how far behind webOS is behind the competition. The HP webOS team has been working for the past year to simply release the 2011 version of webOS. Meanwhile, the other platforms have moved on with tons of new features. webOS hardware design is nonexistent. webOS app catalog is stagnant. Carrier support is nonexistent. About the only thing that webOS has going for it is a few hundred users on this site listing what features they want.

The Verge has a good article about innovation in the mobile phone space. Their focus is on the hardware. What's funny is that the Pre and Pixi are the exemplars for certain hardware configs in their list.

Hardware wise I'd like to see a modular phone system. At it's core a thin 4 inch touch screen with decent battery life and no front hard buttons. Add the ability to latch on a portrait slider keyboard, landscape slider keyboard, non-sliding keyboard, or attach an extended or hotswap battery back, improved camera module, gaming pad, or what have you. Then sell different configurations at different audiences as well as the base and the components separately for people who don't mind carrying some kit.

Software wise I'd like to see all the things that make webOS great, cards, stacks, gestures, notifications, synergy, just type, along with some of the new homebrew work for card management. Then leverage android underneath, opening up to all the apps that are out there, while at the same time building out the webOS specific webapp catalog and hybrid apps. Homescreens are just cards and you can put widgets on the cards or widgets in the status. You should be able to dismiss homescreens just like regular apps, with a swipe up and away. In that way you can set up profiles to run at different times based on if I'm at work I have one set of home screens running, then later at home I have a different set, but I can mix and match or close some home screens that I'm not using as a choose. For instance I might have a home screen that's all my social widgets and I might be bored with facebook/twitter/etc. for the day and swipe it away, until tomorrow. Or I might have a work mail/contacts homescreen and one night I have to do support work for the company off hours, I might pull that homescreen up even though I'm not in the office, and then swipe it away later that night when I'm done with it. But the whole homescreen and widgets are all on a nice self-contained card that I can pull up and use when I want or not.

Do you want them to include a monogrammed fanny-pack with your modular smartphone?

^ That's funny!

Wait...could they?

If someone wanted to pay for that as part of the bundle, why not. Look at how much people carry around right now stuffed into pockets and purses and handbags and backpacks? So while you put it out their in jest, there are people who would probably pay for the option, although I suspect not the general populace.

But me personally? No. I'd settle for the package that had the slider portrait kb and not care about the rest. I only suggest these things because when my wife and I had our Pre's and the kids had their pixis, my wife hated the portrait slider and wanted a landscape slider, my son hated the pixi keyboard and wanted an on screen keyboard and larger screen, and my daughter liked the pixi keyboard but also wanted a larger screen. We ALL loved webOS though. So it would have been nice for all of us to have a basically similar form factor that we could configure to our tastes.

Preware (or the equivalent) should come preloaded.
Not everyone wants to patch and hotrod their device, but its a very cool feature of webOS - none of the other OSs have anything like it.

1. Build quality, both of the hardware AND OS. Don't cut corners, when stuff doesn't work and it breaks a lot, people give up on it. If Gram can't get a feature working 100%, drop it and come back to it later. Do not cut corners and do not compromise.

2. More services. You don't need more apps, you need to provide more services. Every device, out of the box, needs a solid podcaster, a solid music player, a solid document management/office solution, etc. Don't rely on third party providers to supply your out of the box solutions. You have to maintain them as part of each OS update.

3. People will demand a lot of the little gimmicky features (read, stuff you don't use day to day) that iOS or Android has. But that stuff can and has been provided by the community. However, you've got to make it easier for homebrew app catalogs (like Preware) to be easily accessible without expecting users to do any legwork. You also have to supply hardware on your devices to make it possible to build all that nifty stuff (compass, radio, etc.)

4. Integration and emulation. If you can integrate cleanly and comprehensively into corporate environments, that's a massive market right there. If you make a kick butt phone that people can use for work, they'll likely use it (or another) for home use. If Gram can provide solid file system and emulation APIs, that would make many apps way, way better than their Android or iOS counterparts.

I hate to be the downer, but I really think the question is esoteric. I love webOS as much as the rest of those commenting, but it has become a forgotten platform. Personally, I think HP would be insane to throw more R&D into a new webOS phone given the phenomenal growth of Android and iOS. I almost wonder if Derek posted the question just to have something new on the front page.

I've long since abandoned my Palm Pre (I still have 2 semi-functional Pre's and a broken Pixi sitting in a drawer) and moved on to Android for myself and iPhones for the wife and kids. The sad, and very telling, thing is they don't miss webOS functionality at all. iOS is so smooth and polished and the hardware so incredibly good that they have never once commented on how much they miss webOS. Occasionally I find myself frustrated with some of the quirks of Android but, frankly, ICS is also a very good mobile OS. I'm not sure that the average mobile phone user was really saavy enough to appreciate the all the goodness baked into webOS.

So, this discussion of a new webOS phone - it's fun and all to window shop and daydream, but I don't think it will every happen, at least not by HP.

I'm in the same camp. I went thru the pain of 7 Pre- before finally going android. It's not perfect but the zippier hardware, bigger screen, and all the apps you could ever want... those are enough for me to not care about cards. At the end of the day, what makes webos unique to operate is the card system. ICS semi-does it. But apps make all the difference. If webOS ever came back, the only way I'm switching back is if they had tons of app support so I didn't ever need to worry about not having apps when I needed them.

What I want in a webOS phone / Tablet

1) The same integration & synergy that exists with 3.05. Which - in respect to my Touchpad - offers the perfect integration for my type of business - Real Estate. I'd imagine this synergy of accounts has great value to the Service industry.

2) Connection between my phone & tablet. Not just a web page, but data - in a seamless way.

3) Relevant apps. Apple may have 700,000 apps, but who's kidding who. How can that many be useful? Which speaking of having thousands of apps, I'd like some type of file grouping - otherwise I waste too much time "exploring" what I have.

4) I want a phone like the Palm Pre, but with better mechanics, and a larger screen - 3.75 " would be good enough. I don't want some monstrosity (ie. 5 inch screen)

5) A phone that can send documents to a printer, as the Touchpad can do. I use more paper these days then I did back in the 80's, so for those who think this option is useless, I beg to differ. As I said in a previous comment (on webOS phones), paper usage is up 50% from the 80's. Who ever said technology would eliminate paper, was the same guy who said Beta would win the VCR war. lol

6) In respect to No 1 above, the Touchpad has taken away a number of "duties" that my Pre normally handled. Hence, I need more ability from my Touchpad, then I do from a phone. If that phone can tether "properly" (I do it now), then I'm okay with a more simplistic phone, and a more sophisticated tablet.

7) CAMERA. Yes please - better capability, and more opportunities when working with a picture (ie. better apps). I want to be able to snap rapid-fire shots - like an iphone does.

But most of all ..... I JUST WANT A DAMN PHONE.

I could forgo having 50,000 apps for a phone that was made today. HP is a big company that should be racing with Apple when it comes to phones & tablets. And to me, webOS is the gateway to that scenario. Now HP just has to start acting like a big technology company - and not some candy-a$$ wannabe.

Great article Derek. And thanks for all the promo codes. webOS rocks.


When I was using my Sprint Pre, I was able to take pictures faster than anyone else. I had 10 before other people had a good 5 or 6. Just hit the button and it was ready again. My battery was long lasting also then. Then it got old.

2 things:
1) Apps. Tons of apps.
2) Cool hardware

Probably should have arrived about a year ago...
arriving today is already late!


My wife has a Pixi. It was a present from me. What she likes: the pictures in contacts, the easy handling, touchstone loading, colorful shell, soundscheme, gestures, it being linux. What she hates: lag, batterydrain, tiny screen, no apps. Well, I guess men and women ain't so different after all?

To make it work you need to get it into hands. Well, to quote the old song "I believe the children are our future." Make a cheap phone that kids can get used to. Once all of the kids are able to use the same phone, and the phone are easy to link up with each other and talk to each other, then, as they grow up, they will already know the platform. Both of my kids have core games and other things they love on my Pre as opposed to their Evo. Used to Iphone, so you stay with Iphone until it angers you. Cheap WebOS phone to introduce kids to cell phone world as first phone, as they get used to it, revamp it every year and let it grow up. Soon, all kids will have WebOS smart phones, and these kids will be grown ups with WebOS smart phones, and then we can take over the world. (rubbing my hands and laughing)

In a recent interview, ZTE's said they will release webOS smartphone in Q4 this year


This news is in Chinese only. Maybe ZTE will announce it officially in English press in a later time.

Here is a link with Google translating this to English....



But, this is quite interesting. Does this mean that HP has made it possible for Open webOS to run on hardware that isn't using the 3.3 Linux Kernel? Or will ZTE be using 2.x? If it's the former, this will be great for us all, due to the fact that nothing uses that Kernel yet. If the latter, this might push HP to truly globalize its Catalog, flooding the market with Chinese apps lol

Regardless, time will tell, and I'll be waiting.

My take:

Optimization, optimization, optimization. Fix the odd slowdowns and menu's that refuse to pop up. Stuff like that. (like fixing the media indexer)
Make everything reliable and work well. That's half the battle. And then\ more Synergy plugins, Just Type is just begging for Twitter integration. Make it so people won't be embarrassed when something freezes trying to show other people something. (awkward pause)

Make everything more stable and less buggy. (webOS 2.x feels like beta software, more so with 2.2.4)

Adopt homebrew work, donate to the developers of patches. Perhaps embrace it, noone else has truly done it.

Better office support, out-of-the-box Dropbox, etc. integration.

Battery life is appreciated.

Advertising, advertising, advertising. It must be all out. Instruct all salespeople on it, teach people, hold events, etc. People think my Pre 2 is cool and never heard of it beforehand. (which means marketing didn't do it's job)
Advertise the cool, small details. Make them matter, make them a big deal! (like how apple makes a small feature seem like the best thing evar!) The mirror is an awesome addition noone copied. (Back gesture? Simple, clean, kinetic. gestures > buttons)
Gestures have the bonus of not as easily being activated as compared to soft keys (a la ICS)

ACL is needed largely for marketing purposes.

As for hardware, I like the keyboard, but it appears to scare away people. Virtual keyboard option probably needed. Camera could use extra features.

MAKE IT SOLID, and so I will not be afraid to use the headphone jack and other stuff.

The Veer was a bit extreme for a small phone, although the techie reviewers arent the target market.

Clean up your self image, tech people know webOS as slow and laggy.
You've screwed us over a lot. (No 2.x on older devices, we'll do something special [like canceling hardware], no existing device support. etc.) You look bad, fix it. Say or do something! (still bitter over the dv2000 debacle, I've gone Lenovo)
Maybe you can be more human with responses, we get too many canned responses these days with anything tech.

and regarding everything else, make your own designs, your all-in-one desktop and ultrabooks could be more copycat that Samsung Galaxy's.

The binaries available for For the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G can be found here: https://developers.google.com/android/nexus/drivers

Can those be compiled into open webos 1.0 with out modification for porting the final release?

My FrankenPre broke, and while I am enjoying the Play Store App library, I can't get over how clunky Android 4.1 is over a dated WebOS 2.2.4. Was hoping this would be availible with the Aug Beta release.

The question to start with outside of it has to be as good or better than what is in the marketplace, is who is the buyer?

Tough question. Even now - I, personally, would give "Palm" another chance. For the general public, though, it's a tall order.

1.) Content. It's not really about OS's anymore. Hell, even hardware has taken a backseat to content. Nokia's Windows phones are excellent, but the lack of content is a killer. Compatibility/access to Android apps would be a major step forward. All the better if they run natively and not through an emulator. That may not be feasible.

2. ) Effective marketing of the product. Advertising is important and was obviously fumbled last time around. More important is to have the right people evangelizing the product. Take a note from Microsoft (they're giving their employees WP8) and give developers, tech bloggers, etc. phones/tablets so they can spread the word. Don't rely on product placement (TV shows / Dr. Dre videos) as much as people that will spread the word. People should know that (for reasons I don't understand) webOS does gmail and google calendar better than android. webOS does multitasking more intuitively than the others (though Android and WP8 have closed the gap)

3.) Undercut the competition on price...even if this means initially losing money per unit sold. This shows that you're in it for the long haul and just might restore consumer confidence. Assuming that's doable. It will be a hard sell after bailing 6 weeks into the the touchpad's life cycle. The $199/$250 price drop could have been a stroke of genius had it been done solely to expand the user (and thus the developer) base. Then again hindsight is 20/20.

4.) Have all future hardware be delivered the same day by a flying unicorn with a cotton candy saddle that will take you anywhere you dream for a week. Basically a lot of unlikely things will have to happen. As cynical as that sounds, I still believe and i would be the guy buying the product on day one. That's the jaded optimism that comes from being a "Palm guy" for many years....

Just one:



OK, but "apps" that go beyond "HTML5 without the browser".

I'd love to do more offline with the phone.

And I'd love an updated browser (engine).

First and foremost, however, I'd like to see fully (and correctly) implemented synchronization with Exchange (+google, if you will). All fields, all time zones, Birthdays on the correct day.

That must be the most academic of all academic questions. Because in REALITY, there is NOTHING that can be done at that stage, to bring webOS back from the dead. J. Christ, how blind one must be to haven't noticed it?

Just about best thing they could do, is to work HARD on Android app compatibility layer. Should be doable, Dalvik is after all a virtual machine. Then get out very nice hardware, with some really differentiating factors (like premium built 4"+ vertical slider). Get it out CHEAP, pray for people to bite.

But most probably, it would be exercise in futility. And realistically speaking, it would be just idiotic for HP to start pedaling back, after all these months & months of winding down ex-Palm division. It is ready to be shipped to Armenia, following newly acquired ARmenian gr.am domain, not being readied to ship anything, much less so anything "competitive"

it needs to have all of the apps. it should spend around a couple billion to accomplish this. make reliable hardware.

Some restructuring of how the webOS Account works would be very useful. I switch between my Veer, Pre 2, and Pre 3 very frequently. I've had to setup accounts for each phone in order to avoid erasing my devices everytime I want to port profiles (this entails having to re-setup and download everything not related to the webOS Account as well)...

Additionally, every webOS device I have suffers from a very poor boot time. Tweaking the OS to fix this would be very helpful!

"Additionally, every webOS device I have suffers from a very poor boot time. Tweaking the OS to fix this would be very helpful!"

...why SO many people here still assume, that cutting on the webOS' boot time is a simple matter of "tweaking" it, is beyond me. YES, them at HPalm most definitely did not notice, that they phones take FOREVER to reboot, YES, they most definitely did NOT do anything to remedy that (especially being developers, working to a tight deadlines, where every minute that could be cut from repeating, automated tasks counts & adds, and having to wait FOREVER to restart their developer handsets God knows how many times a day, for testing purposes), YES, webOS' is not a very high-level API, that requires loads of layers of the whole Mobile Linux OS', plus a WebKit browser's, AND eventually, on top of that all, webOS' own modules to load into memory, before it might start working. NOT AT ALL!!

webOS is slow to boot up - period. Most probably, there's little to none, that can be done about that, given it's architecture. That is why, pipe-dream ideas about putting it on things like printers, and other "smart" appliances were always just that, idiotic pipe dream ideas, made by "visionaires" at different levels of HP's so-called "leadership", that were actually clueless muppets, as for technology, reality, and all things in between.

It not necessarily is a deal breaker - you do not boot up your mobile devices often (if they are running STABLE, that is!), you keep them on/in sleep mode most of the time. But getting like, say, 15 seconds boot up times of webOS smartphone/tablet, well, is (and always was) just another pipe dream - not until we get faster memory interfaces, faster processors, on the mobile devices. Like, 4-6 times FASTER than what we have available today.

I want a small smartphone like the Veer. If a company can do that I'll continue to buy webOS.
Still think webOS is the best mobile OS.

Agreed in full on what you have said in here. :)