A sad day for the future of HP/Palm webOS devices

Posted By on August 19, 2011

219135-webos-event3_originalI was disappointed to hear that HP lost its way as a productive technology company in this economic downturn and was caught off-guard in their decision to say “so long” to webOS. (business story LINK)

As a longtime webOS Palm Pre user (a “longtime” is a relative term for smartphones), I’ve been wondering just what has been going on over at HP headquarters while waiting for the molasses-like slow to market HP Palm Pre3. Obviously there hasn’t been much to cheer about in their tablet attempt, as the Touchpad was a dis-appointment with its “not ready for primetime” upgraded webOS; it wasn’t ready to compete with the big boys … meaning Apple iPad and the many Google Android tablets. In fact, according to most it was a mistake to try and hit a marketing date instead of having HP’s hardware and webOS software working in synergy (pun intended).

Here’s a little bit from Dieter Bohn’s editorial … I liked it.

The story of Palm and webOS is The Little Engine That Could, but some jerk ripped out the last three pages and we’re forced to read it over and over again. It’s frankly exhausting seeing this same narrative play out year after year, never seeing the top of the hill. webOS is perennially the little engine that could have.

Yet we keep opening that book at night, re-reading it. Mainly because there’s one key thing missing from that the litany of failures above: webOS itself. While the transition to webOS 3 and its Enyo underpinnings has been a little rocky, it still represents an intelligent, extensible, accessible, hackable, and above-all elegant framework. Yes, the original version that shipped on the TouchPad was critically flawed, but in general there’s more that’s right about webOS than what’s wrong. Now that HP has given up on making hardware, webOS may never get its chance.

Given the stiff competition webOS faced in the marketplace, it’s tempting to just say that webOS has failed. The truth is that we don’t really know if webOS could have succeeded given HP’s utter inability to execute on the basics of making smartphones and tablets.

I think it’s better to say this: HP failed webOS.

The good thing for me is that this new ‘now’ makes my decision to stick with webOS and hope for a Pre3 a lot easier. Good bye webOS and Pre3, you would have been a sharp smartphone (below) … Android … here I come!



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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
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