I hope webOS doesn't end up in HP's hands after all this


Yesterday, newly-hired HP CEO Meg Whitman held a meeting to discuss the future of webOS, a pretty hefty investment of $1.2 billion back on April 28th of 2010. She talked about plenty of things, like how she and her team have been trying to figure out what the best thing to do for the software that HP thinks is great.

For us tech geeks, the obvious decision was to keep webOS and make some killer hardware to compete with Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Unfortunately, the company couldn't do that. 

The TouchPad and the Veer were the only two products to be released from the marriage of HP and Palm, and both of them suffered from build quality issues and various software kinks. 

The fact that HP doesn't know what to do with webOS, which could potentially have an incredible future, along with the production issues that accompanied the stuff that was released, makes me feel that HP is not worthy of holding the software under its roof. There are too many second guesses, too much playing around, and too much waiting for the webOS faithful. 

I'm being dead serious when I say that HP would be better off getting any money for webOS at all, and giving it to a company who knows how to produce things. Let's take a look at a few of those examples below, shall we? 

HTC might be an interested buyer, although my personal belief is that it's a little too invested into Android and Windows Phone 7 to viably use another operating system. Honestly, though, HTC does one of the best jobs of revamping GUIs and making them run fantastically and look beautiful. Sense is my favorite manufacturer skin by a long shot, so I think webOS would look even better with some of those styling cues. 

Samsung is another option, although its CEO bluntly denied the rumors of the software coming to any Galaxy S II device. Still, companies say things all the time, so there's still a possibility that we could see something along the lines of that scenario happen at some point in the future. 

RIM could make a purchase, as well, but I think it would be best if we keep that company out of the equation. RIM has about as many problems as HP right now, so let's just keep that thought out of our minds.

Basically, the point I'm trying to get across here is that there are plenty of options for webOS at this point. It's not dead. If HP keeps it, then they better darn well do a good job with hardware and rolling out software updates and bug fixes. If not, then I hope with all my heart that somebody with some talent can take it away.

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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

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3 thoughts on “I hope webOS doesn't end up in HP's hands after all this

  • There’s also the option of licensing it out. I may be in the minority but I like HP. They’re everywhere. I just picked up a 17.3″ HP i3core laptop at an unbelievably low price. This kind of presence in the marketplace plus their ability to produce devices at strong price-points makes HP a good company to push WebOS. They just need a game plan.

    Remember… this is the same company that was going to go the IBM route exclusively as a way of reinventing itself. They just need to reinvent a section of their business and start thinking big (platform) with WebOS riding point (sorta’ like Amazon is doing with their own offering).

    They certainly have the ability to create working partnerships with media, for example – in the same way B&N is doing. But… like I said, they need to approach WebOS differently – not as a device you throw out there hoping for the best but as a solution.

    HP would need to think about how they want to position WebOS, also. Do they use the simpler iOS way (point and tap with little user control) or something more advance like Android (which is somewhere between iOS and a Desktop OS). My feeling is that they’ll opt for a more iOS way of doing things which would hurt them because they certainly had plans to include it on all Desktop shipments at some point (another strong selling point if their Desktop WebOS could read/write to NTFS for example).

    Anyway, I think we should show HP more support. They bought Palm when it was dead and gave it hope. They had some dramatic missteps but it’s natural for a company moving into a new territory. I also think that most other companies thinking about WebOS will probably buy it for the patents/IP and shelves the OS itself. So yeah… WebOS’s best chance at success remains with HP (the *worldwide* leader in PC sales with a strong presence in nearly all technology stores).

  • I don’t believe licensing is a truly viable solution, since licensing is more money for potential partners and the software would most likely be limited by HP; that is, HP does all the tinkering, not the manufacturers. And that’s where the problem is. I doubt Samsung wants another OS owned by another company on its products. I’m sure it would rather be able to tinker around with it and own it.

  • While I agree HP made missteps, that’s not the primary issue. HP has no vision of what to really do with this, and no will to carry it out. All the resources in the world are meaningless without those two guiding forces. I think that’s what differentiates Apple; they do make mistakes, and some things they do are maddening (like almost no push for non-Exchange emails), but they have a vision and go after it with passion and will.

    I think webOS will never fill its potential. It could and should have been the #3 mobile OS behind Android and iOS, but it’s unlikely anyone will step up and carry it forward in anything except a minor role. The HTC and Sony stories have been around a while with no traction other than rumors. Companies that are not Android or iOS are jumping on the WP bandwagon. There’s little left to invest heavily in webOS now – the ship has sailed.

    Finally, if HP decides to reboot this – they have to consider smartphones, which Meg hedged on in this talk. I doubt tablets alone will be enough for webOS to succeed. Integration and cloud storage are keys because this is about mobile computing, not just a particular hardware segment. And far more people have smartphones than tablets.

    I sadly retired my HP/Palm Pre this week and now have a new iPhone. Many of us early adopters are now leaving as our two year contracts are up. The window is closing fast for webOS, and most likely is closed.


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