webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

Summary:Is webOS already poised for extinction? That's what a couple of respected pundits would have you think. I don't share that view as I think webOS is just taking off.

It seems every day the web is barraging us with tales of the death of one mobile platform or another. I have been guilty of doing that myself in regards to RIM. The mobile tech sector is so competitive and fast moving that the vultures are always circling overhead ready to pounce on the latest roadkill. The webOS platform built by Palm and now run by HP is the latest platform that pundits are pronouncing dead platform walking. I happen to think that webOS will be around for a while, and perhaps even bigger than most think it might.

The death of webOS as a mobile platform is being predicted by John Biggs of Techcrunch. I converse with John regularly on social networks and like his views a lot. Most of the time. His reasoning as I gathered from his article is that HP is where good ideas go to die. He thinks that sales of the TouchPad have been so poor for HP that they are already evaluating how they can quietly end the webOS platform and get back to their core businesses of printers and PCs. John does admit that he really likes the TouchPad and the Pre 3 running webOS, but that is not enough to get mindshare for the platform.

John is not alone in his view that webOS has the mark of death on its forehead. Amanda (TheGadgetMom) of Mobile Unwrapped thinks that webOS enthusiasts are just kidding themselves that the platform has a chance. She is recommending that long-time webOS users need to try other platforms to see what is out there. Her position on the demise of webOS is different than John's in that she believes the lack of apps will do the platform in. She admits she thinks webOS is the best mobile platform out there, but that is not enough. I should point out that I consider Amanda a friend in this crazy world of mobile tech, and while I understand her position I think that both she and John are not going to see their prediction of the death of webOS come about any time soon.

I am platform agnostic, as I use anything that works well for me. I like my Android tablets and the TouchPad, and my smartphone is full of Gingerbread. I don't get into the fanboy club for any platform, nor do I condemn any of them that don't meet my particular needs. I happen to like the TouchPad running webOS as it does meet my needs currently, and that is through both the OS and the apps already available for it. Like both of the platform demise predictors, I think webOS is a good mobile solution, although it is too early for me to call it the best mobile platform.

I do believe that HP is prepared to make a serious run at the mobile market with webOS, so they won't throw in the towel any time soon. They seem to be quite serious with the Pre 3 and the TouchPad, and more importantly about spreading webOS to a range of other devices. They have already committed to putting webOS on printers and PCs, so it's not going to disappear any time soon. The webOS mark will eventually be placed on quite a range of gadgetry, spreading it farther than the typical phone/tablet world of other platforms. HP has the opportunity to make webOS an important platform of the future, and so far they are making the right moves to see that happen. The webOS system must be a good one to support these lofty goals, and my experience with the TouchPad tells me it can handle this.

I think both Amanda and John Biggs make good points, but I don't believe webOS is going away any time soon. It is a good mobile platform as most of us seem to agree on, and HP is banking on webOS for some big things going forward. It has all of the right pieces to be a contender, and HP has the talent to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to be a winner.

I could be blowing smoke in front of mirrors and not seeing the end of webOS like these pundits, but I don't think so. Instead I see HP standing at the edge of a new beginning for mobile gadgets, and with the wherewithal to see it through. Customers may not ultimately flock to webOS (I think they will), but it won't be because HP gave up too soon. I do see enough value in webOS as a mobile platform to think that customers may eventually jump onboard. That's my take on it, anyway.

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Topics: Mobile OS, Browser, Operating Systems

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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