Posts Tagged ‘webos’

Sum up WebOS? Not enough resources and a flawed foundation

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

The choice of webkit:

After some internal debate, the company chose to have WebOS rely on WebKit, an open-source software engine used by browsers to display Web pages. Mr. Mercer said that this was a mistake because it prevented applications from running fast enough to be on par with the iPhone. But a former member of the WebOS app development team said the core issue with WebOS was actually Palm’s inability to turn it into a platform that could capture the enthusiasm and loyalty of outside programmers.

…and there wasn’t enough in tank to keep it going:

 The company had enough staff to get the Pre out the door, but it underestimated how many people it would need to make improvements, the former employee said.

Brian Chen at the NY Times. Now contrast this with the efforts that Microsoft are putting in to Windows Phone. Really they are the only company that can stick at it long-term and challenge iOS and Android – and even then have they given the other platforms too much of a head start?

Yes, it’s going to be a fun 2012.

WebOS future to be decided this week?

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Surely the time for HP to decide on the future of WebOS was before they launched the fire sale on the TouchPad, pulled the rug out from the developers and the ecosystem, and did a pretty good scorched earth number on the platform?

Cart. Horse.

HP’s split means they never learned from Palm’s biggest mistake

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Hold on, Palm’s operating system, being split into two different branches of the company – hardware and software – all so that it should be easier for the parent company to licence the OS to other manufacturers and thus create a thriving ecosystem of devices.

Where have I heard that before? Oh yes… Palm, Inc.

Leave WebOS to wither in the corner, Samsung won’t save it

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Samsung are going to buy WebOS? Oh come on, pull the other one.

The name of the game in the smartphone space is one of perception. It’s not enough to be the best operating system when geeks do a double blind test of the underlying code and SDK capabilities, the market needs to emotionally belive that you are the best (which, imo, is one of the reasons Symbian is where it is now).

So remind me why a failed operating system, with minimal developer support and not one hardware success that could even be counted as a triple, let alone a home run, would be suitable for Samsung to swoop in, retrain their engineers, and retool their production line? Far better to have a new and fresh in-house OS which they can control 100%.

Which is what they’re doing with Bada.

What could happen to WebOS now?

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

So you have a competent smartphone operating system, an engineering team that, with the right inducement, could stay with the OS, and a rather fluid market looking for options. What will HP do with WebOS next? Let’s have some pointless speculative fun over the next few paragraphs.

Facebook buys the whole operation.

Probably a long shot, and built on the speculation that Zuckerberg and co. are working on a Facebook phone. They certainly have some raw data (via Three in the UK), and acquiring a bundle of software engineers, an OS that is built on HTML5 and web technologies, with (you assume) a working relationship with hardware manufacturers. the question remains whether Facebook could sell better than HP, but they’d be in a far better place to monetise the handsets through Facebook Credits, advertising, and the whole social graph. Chances on this one? Low but at least it would make sense.

The patents go on Ebay

Most likely the jewels will be hawked around – there are a bundle of patents available to the highest bidder, various tranches of IP, and I’d expect the Linked In profiles of all the Engineer to be up to date. Broken up is the most likely fate.

Christmas comes early for the open source movement

Yes Android is open (Go  Andy!), but a people are finding out, there’ a lot of kinks along that road. So what if HP decided to go for a scorched earth? Engineering time would need to be found to clean up the code and make it suitable for public consumption, but imagine if WebOS was suddenly available to everyone. Android is closely tied to the Google ecosystem so could never be 100% open, Symbian is out there, but Nokia has kept back a lot of the more useful applications. There is no ‘build it youself’ OS out there.

It’s a very very low chance, but it would be just another crazy step in the smartphone world over the last few weeks and months.

David Potter’s chequebook opens up 20 years later

Back in the mid-nineties Palm had a number of options to it – it sold and went with 3Com, but one option would have been to be bought by Psion. And while that company has had an even rougher time of it, it’s still around, making PDAs for Enterprise as Psion Teklogic. Specialising in lower volume runs, could they swing in and take WebOS and build up a  boutique range of smartphones? (Hey I did say these would be fun!)

HTC become the primary licencee

To my mind this is a strong contender. With problems in the house of Android and Google hitching Motorola to their side, the major Andoird players need to check their cupboards. Yes they could swing to Windows Phone ,but Nokia’s the big player there. Samsung do have a reserve option in Bada, ZTE are churning out low cost handsets so won’t be that worried about any high end device dominance… but what does HTC have? Exactly. If they’re careful they can avoid burning a bridge with Google, but if HTC want to move up from simple box shifting, then WebOS could be one strategy.

What will really happen?

Who knows. I suspect the answer will be not much. The last thing HP need is another company making a success of WebOS when they didn’t. That could be muted if it was a simple licencee program and a sucessful partner, but that has a lot of support needs and I don’t think HP are moving in that direction. expect lots of noise, some smart ideas never followed through on, and no more WebOS devices.

Don’t compare the WebOS tablet reviews to WebOS smartphone reviews

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Jon Rubinstein would like everyone to compare the muted reviews of the WebOS powered HP Touchpad to the muted reviews of Mac OSX – rather than the muted reviews of the WebOS powered Palm Pre. After all wasn’t the Pre going to have a bundle of firmware updates for the bugs they already knew about, more software from mythical developers in their store, and become the darling of the users thank to the multi-tasking?

HP ready to licence WebOS, is "the Palm OS" set to repeat history?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Follow through the chain of thought here. HP buy up a promising mobile operating system from a small company with "Palm" in their name. They get ready to use it in a device or two, but are also ready to licence it to other manufacturers.

Other handset manufacturers think this is nice, but would rather HP don’t know what they had planned for a new product (eg Samsung. Speculation but does that sounds a fun idea?). So HP set up a chinese wall between the WebOS software engineers and the WebOS hardware engineers. Which becomes two separate departments. Which work independently inside HP and both could easily be spun out as separate companies.

And of course everyone will work nicely together and there won’t be any conflict and they’ll be able to shift 275,000 WebOS enabled devices every day. Why didn’t anyone think of doing it this way before?

Oh.

I wonder if anyone in HP has read Piloting Palm: The Inside Story…?

This Is An Ex-Operating System

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

PalmOS is dead. That’s Ed Colligan’s assertion, and given he’s Da Man at Palm, I think we can call that case closed (yes Centro’s will still be sold, but no new models. From here on in you can go Windows Mobile or webOS – so make sure you hold the shift key down on the right letters.

To be honest this doesn’t surprise me. If handspring had bit the bullet when it was formed all those years ago and started with a blank page rather than licence PalmOS back from 3com, they wouldn’t have hit the dead end they did with Garnet.

Palm as a company now is a start-up. The name has history, but it runs a licensed OS and is now debuting its own; backed up by VC money; and hoping the sales of the pre will get them through to the next device. Can they do it? I hope so, to be honest, because the market needs more serious players to keep challenging everyone else.

Not Your Father’s Palm – Impressions of the Palm Pre

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

So at CES today, Palm unveiled their new phone, the Palm Pre. This is a tough time for Palm, they’ve not had luck with their recent devices and software. The assumption is that this device had to hit it out of the park for Palm to survive the recession.

Form the initial looks, I think it’s going to struggle. There’s nothing especially new in the smartphone space here. The screen is 320×480 in portrait mode; it’s running on EV-DO for data 9so it’s effectively US only), it has a multi-touch screen that has support for ‘gestures’; a Qwerty keyboard slides out the bottom; GPS and accelerometers; 8gb storage…

If the game was to produce something new, Palm failed. If they planned to match devices like the iPhone the Nokia 5800, and the HTC touch, then they equalled their expectations. Nothing here was actually new to the smartphone world – just new from Palm. Given the timescale since their last phone that did something different, pretty much anything modern on the Pre would be seen as a bold new step for Palm.

Ed Colligan and the presentation team spent a lot of time in the one hour session at the Venetian in Las Vegas talking about the history of Palm before introducing the device. That’s worrying, because with a new device you want to spend time looking forward. Perhaps Colligan wanted to reach back to Palm’s initial DNA to position this device… but the market is not going to measure this against how revolutionary the Pilot 1000 was for it’s day, but against the current devices.

Spec wise the Palm Pre is middle of the road when compared to other similar devices. It has some nice UI features that were presented well (there’s a surprise), but from what I’m seeing online, in snap judgements people are saying Palm were great, so this must be them back. That may prove true eventually, but past performance is no guide to future success.

The big test will come when it reaches the public. Via Sprint. Which is not going doing well with the US bloggers. let’s just hope that Palm actually ship this one out the door.