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

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.

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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

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66 comments
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  • In the world of apps, where are the WebOS apps?

    Amanda is right and that smoke is clearly clouding your vision.

    No one will dispute WebOS can work well. But working well does not ensure market success. Have you forgotten the sad history of Commodores' Amiga platform (which reminds me of HP's current tablet)
    kenosha77a
    • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

      @kenosha7777
      The debate about webOS seems to be restricted to its use in mobile devices, such as phones and tablets; however, my understanding is that HP intends to use it in all of its devices from printers to laptops and desktops (webOS will apparently be used as a second OS in laptops and desktops). If HP were to make a smart toaster, fridge or tv, then webOS would be the operating system that it would use in those devices.

      So, whether webOS will be successful in mobile devices is one issue, but whether webOS will overall be successful for HP across its broad product range is quite a different issue.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @ptorning You honestly think people who buy an HP PC to run Windows are going to give a toss about WebOS? It's almost laughable to put WebOS next to Windows. I also doubt Microsoft is going to put up with HP trying to piggyback their way to success off of Windows for very long.
        JoeHTH
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @JoeHTH <br>JoeHTH, I don't care what people think nor do I care what they may or may not do with a computer that has webOS. I merely explained the strategic direction of HP and that webOS is not just for mobile devices. Whether that strategic direction is good, bad, or otherwise will be seen over time.<br><br>In future, please do no confuse a simple explanation as being an opinion.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

      @kenosha7777

      The Commodore Amiga platform isn't applicable in today's world. At the time, you couldn't do anything with a computer without an application for it. Today, with only one application, a web browser, you can do almost anything. As it turns out, the same browser technology powers iOS, Android, and webOS.

      It's been a long-time since I've needed any particular OS on my laptop. The basic apps exist for Mac, Windows, and Linux and they likely suit more than 95% of the people more than 95% of the time. The same is becoming true of the tablet world today. webOS is only missing about 5-10 of the apps that a majority of people would want (like Netflix for example... and that's just because Netflix doesn't use Flash for their video).

      The lack of apps is a poor argument for the death of webOS.
      bmacfarland
  • It may well be able to catch the pack...

    But the pack ain't going nowhere. There is no tablet market, just an iPad market.
    jgpmolloy
    • I agree, HP will be out of the tablet market after Apple's first lawsuit

      @john@...
      Now that Apple is nearly finished knocking Samsung out of the iPad market, they will go after HP next. Look at the TouchPad:
      - rectangle
      - rounded corners
      - white packaging
      - icons

      In a few years, iPad will be the only tablet legally allowed to be sold anywhere.
      toddybottom
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @toddybottom

        Right. Samsung just happen to stumble across a 30pin connector and the same icons. Look at all the tablets that preceded the iPad.
        And the TouchPad only managed to not only app the look of the iPad 1, but create a name that combined two of Apple's products in one shot.

        When left on their own, HP gave you the Slate.
        dhmccoy
      • Every time you regurgitate this stuff, all you do

        is demonstrate your ignorance on trade dress law. You might want to stop while you only look mostly stupid.
        baggins_z
  • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

    Perhaps I missed it, but I heard 2 legitimate reasons why web/os is failing and 0 reasons why you think the opposite. 2 questions I would ask:
    1? so far with this release, is web/os doing better under hp?
    2? will hp risk confusing users by having tablets running windows 8 and web/os? Is it worth the risk to their core business?

    Ok that was 3 questions
    rwalrond
    • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

      @rwalrond HP is firmly behind webOS, not just on phones and tablets but on a range of other devices too. I feel certain they are in it for the long haul.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @JamesKendrick
        +1, but at the same HP is also committed to Windows and have strong relationship (I think still) with Microsoft. that means they could still release Windows 8 ARM tablets. If that is the case then we have to see how does HP address the confusion between these two lines marketing, Windows 8 for enterprise and WebOS for consumbers or will release dual boot or virtualized platform like Windows 8 will be hosted in VM on WebOS or Windows be host of WebOS. That would be an interesting scenario.
        Ram U
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @JamesKendrick Not wanting to repeat what Rama.NET has pointed out, which I think is bang on. I would point out that HP makes billions of dollars selling Windows PC's to enterprise and consumers. I don't understand for the life of me why they think they need to have their own OS. The point about this not being their core business is a valid one and might end up causing them to loose their lead in the PC business. I'm really really curious what they're going to do once Microsoft and other OEM's start to push Windows 8 on consumer based tablets/devices. How do you think they will handle this?
        rwalrond
      • The big picture that many are not seeing.

        I agree with you James, and I find it laughable that theses pundits below are pooh-poohing Web OS. Unfortunately they lack the vision of what HP is really up to. They don?t just plan on giving an added competition to Apple, but they are also lighting the fire by creating a tactile/capacitive touch Linux base operating system that will compete with Red Hat, Susa, Ubuntu and any other Linux OS flavor you can think of. It is also possible with the growth of WebOS growing as an organism that could become anything it wants. You can see it on TV?s, capacitive touch screens on cars with included GPS and satellite or internet radio, to displays on refrigerators and home appliances. This is the push to make all things interconnected on the web.
        All that is needed with these narrowed versioned naysayers is a little creativity.
        hocarlos
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @rwalrond said, "I don't understand for the life of me why they think they need to have their own OS. The point about this not being their core business is a valid one and might end up causing them to loose their lead in the PC business."

        I don't understand why they wouldn't want their own OS. Look at the margins Apple makes. Look at how they can dictate that anything bought on our platform carries a 30% tax. These are margins that can't be matched by trying to be another Dell.

        How was HP going to enter the mobile market without webOS? Were they going to go with Windows? The Slate showed that the OS wasn't ready. Were they going to Android? Ha, and compete with HTC, Motorola, Asus, Samsung, Acer, Dell and who else? All those companies can just make hardware and do some minimal customization of what Google gives them with Android.

        WebOS gives HP the ability to be unique. And as critics even in this article noted, "webOS is the best mobile platform out there."
        bmacfarland
    • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

      @rwalrond I have to agree with your questions. It looks to me like the TouchPad is no better than the Palm Pre in terms of execution. That's why I didn't dash out and buy one over the weekend while it was on sale for "cheap."

      Sadly, I don't think as a stand-alone consumer product, WebOS will make it. It may work out as an embedded component of something else.

      I believe HP ought to open source it. That would at least make it fun to play with and worth $300.
      Olderdan
  • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

    You nailed it James.... you don't spend (has to be at least $2 billion now) on a platform just to bury it. HP makes some of the finest equipment in the industry, and they don't run from a fight.
    prdamrican
    • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

      @prdmarican I have an HP computer & I'd definitely disagree with your statement. This is easily one of the worst computers I've ever had. Luckily for me it's just home computer & I get along fine with my MBP. The fact HP can't make their own OS & is dependent on Microsoft, shows their road map for the future quite clearly. Windows 7 is a failure because it is not any better than Vista. Windows 8 is just another re-skinning of previous Windows OS's. HP is in a lose-lose situation, especially with all of the pressure Apple is creating in the various markets.
      SBMobile
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @SBMobile

        [i]Windows 7 is a failure because it is not any better than Vista. [/i]

        Wow. Clueless much?
        Hallowed are the Ori
      • RE: webOS has enough gas left in the tank to catch the pack

        @SBMobile

        "I own one HP computer that has an issue therefore they all suck"

        So I guess if I own a Mac that sucks, they must all suck as well? In reliability studies HP consistently ranks among the top 3 in the industry.
        irwinr12@...