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  • 2 Post By hagster
  • 2 Post By toyotast165
  1.    #1  
    I realize this will be a touchy subject for some., so let me start this out by saying that on a personal level it's never a good thing when staff get laid off. People have families to provide for, mortgages and rent to pay, and other financial commitments to keep. I know what it's like to have a dependable monthly paycheck suddenly go away, and in no way do I mean to make light of that.

    With that said, viewing things from a business perspective, it seems to me that a pretty strong argument can be made that the webOS hardware had failed time and time again to deliver. Looking back over the past few years I see quality and reliability issues, battery life issues, and design choices that seem at odds with what the market generally (and often what webOS users in particular) really wanted. It seems that along with the questionable marketing (which of course includes the carrier agreements), the hardware being put out has been a significant impediment to the growth of the webOS platform, and I wonder whether it would not be unreasonable to hold the hardware team responsible for that.

    This is not to say that there is any lack of talent, insight, or vision on the part of the individual team members. There are no doubt some very skilled engineers and designers from that team who have now been snatched up or are being courted by other companies. It may not have been the fault of the individual members, or even the leadership, or even the upper level managers they reported to. Rather, the failure to come up with a winning device may just have been because of the group dynamics that determined how well they worked with each other, or with the structure of HP as a whole - maybe that synergy just wasn't there. Maybe the problem was not within the team itself, but in the relationship between the team and the wider company. I recently watched an interview with Leo Apotheker which was done last summer while he was still HP's CEO in which he made mention of trying to shield the webOS Team from the HP bureaucracy - perhaps there was more going on there than we are aware of. I remember my personal experience some years ago working in a tech company that acquired another, and the two never really integrated smoothly. In effect there ended up being 2 camps within the company, and people were seen as belonging to one or another. This created all kinds of internal politics that affected the decisions that were made, distorting the organizational structure and creating all kinds of 'wormholes' that could be exploited to bypass the regular chain of command.

    I do realize of course that I'm going off into a bit of speculation here, but if there were issues like that going on with the hardware team it's not difficult to see how they would adversely affect the ability of the team to get things right. And problems with group dynamics like this can be very difficult to address - often it is not as easy as replacing the head, or key team members, or even someone identified as being a 'problem child' - such attempts can often either backfire or have little to no effect.

    With all that said, I find myself wondering what if? What if HP hadn't decided to stop hardware for the time being, and were resolved to put out new phones and/or tablets this year? Would they have been able to confidently entrust this to the webOS hardware team once more, or would they have been thinking it was time to explore other options? I wonder whether, even if the webOS cancellation/un-cancellation and open sourcing had not occurred, there would not have still been mass layoffs for the hardware team, or widespread transfers and reassignments that would have been the kinder, gentler way to accomplish the same result?

    I'd be really interested to hear people's thoughts on this, especially if someone has any info to share on what is was like working in, or with the team.
  2. #2  
    HP was 100% wrong. I have a Pre3 and the hardware is just brilliant.
    Rnp and Cantaffordit like this.
  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by hagster View Post
    HP was 100% wrong. I have a Pre3 and the hardware is just brilliant.
    I 2nd this. I love this phone and get constant compliments on it...
    Rnp and Cantaffordit like this.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by toyotast165 View Post
    I 2nd this. I love this phone and get constant compliments on it...
    3rded. :-)

    As has been said above the hardware team got fired due to HP no longer producing the hardware.

    Plus - it can easily be argued that the hardware team might not be repsonsible (or at least only to some degree) for most of the problems.

    The original Pre hardware was obviously rushed due to Palm getting desperate.
    The Pixi, Pre+ and Pre2 were already increasing improvements over the original Pre.

    Later under HP it's obvious with hindsight that webos hardware got neglected due to strategic decisions (HP leaving the consumer market).

    And the Pre3 is of very very nice quality. It feels good, works well and is very solid.

    When it comes to the TP my opinion is mixed. I hate the glossy. But that is a design choice and tragically widespread in the industry at the moment. The case cracking near the speakers is a definite flaw - but things like that can happen. Even Apple has trouble getting everything right (see IPhone 4 "Antennagate" and earlier exploding IPhones and IPods). That it is not lighter/thinner is most likely mainly a cost decision. And there are reasons to believe that the design was based on an earlier windows tablet design. Screen and internals I have no complaints about.

    I don't have any access to detailed infos about the qualifications of then Palm/HP webos hardware team. We all just speculate here. But given the available infos that we have, I don't see much reason to assume any large incompetence on their part.

    The main problem is that HP thinks it can market Tablets without also offering smartphones. That is a mistake IMHO. And especially tragic as the Pre3 was their very best product.
    Pre -> Pre3 & TP32 -> Nexus 5
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by tholap View Post
    3rded. :-)
    The main problem is that HP thinks it can market Tablets without also offering smartphones. That is a mistake IMHO. And especially tragic as the Pre3 was their very best product.
    I agree with you. I wonder if anyone has done any research in take up of iPad amongst phone users. Wouldn't mind betting that the biggest users of the iPad are the iPhone users.

    It's about ecosystem, and HP really understood that, thus touch2share. Use your Touchpad to get info, but you don't want to carry around a huge block, so touch your phone and away you go! Brilliant!
    Siobhán

    Palm III, Treo 600/650/680/750, Pre, Pre3, AT&T Pre3, tp 4G, tp 64GB.

    I am an HP Employee. I am not associated in anyway with the development of webOS or associated devices. Opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not in any way represent HP or Palm in any official manner. Any implications derived from my posts are the result of my own point of view and do not indicate any intention or evidence of past, present or future activity or plans of the aforementioned HP or Palm.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Sweeney1 View Post
    They fired the hardware team because they aren't planning on doing any mobile hardware anytime soon - at least webOS hardware.
    Simple.
  7. #7  
    HP (big corporation) KNOWS something we don't. That's mostly the case.
    Game over!
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Sweeney1 View Post
    They fired the hardware team because they aren't planning on doing any mobile hardware anytime soon - at least webOS hardware.
    I think a number of people are missing the point of the thread, so let me be a bit clearer. Yes, we know that the reason they were let go when they were is simply because HP stopped webOS hardware.

    The question I am posing is, with all the issues that we've seen with webOS hardware over the last few years, did the hardware team deserve a significant part of the blame for webOS not catching on enough? And if HP had decided to continue webOS hardware, would they have been likely to keep the then existing team in place?
  9. #9  
    I don't think it was that people tried webOS devices and hated the hardware, I think most people never got to touch webOS devices at all. webOS was never the hero phone for any carrier after the Pre, and the Pre was for Sprint, so I don't think the blame is on the hardware team. And I don't think the buggy software is to blame either. I would have to blame HP's decisions, because even though webOS had little market share, it was still recommendable, now it is not. Also, webOS has never been to Asia, where there is a big BlackBerry market. I really believe that the Veer can be a big competitor to the Curve, which is for first time smartphone owners. Imagine having only BBM against having a touchscreen, the best multitasking experience, and apps (the majority of Curve users don't even use the App Word).
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by marcedhk View Post
    ...is simply because HP stopped webOS hardware.
    ...as part of a bigger strategy, to get rid of ALL hardware (w/ the exception of printers). If we keep things in perspective, we see that webOS hardware, in spite of everything else, was not significant in the big picture. Thus, it made no sense to put Personal Systems Group on the block, but keep the Palm hardware unit. Since this decision was an inextricable part of a much bigger decision, it was justified. You dont sell the farm yet keep the cows.

    ...with all the issues that we've seen with webOS hardware over the last few years, did the hardware team deserve a significant part of the blame for webOS not catching on enough?
    IF they got some blame it was only initially, and out of frustration (w/ the Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi, etc) but most fingers were pointing at Rubinstein. The recent interview w/ HP insiders revealed that the team was aware of, and brought the deficiencies to management. They simply had no choice but to work w/ what resources they were given, so I dont think they were being blamed much; certainly not after the Pre3. In the end we all felt it for the team and their families.

    And if HP had decided to continue webOS hardware, would they have been likely to keep the then existing team in place?
    Most likely. As alluded to above, the problem was not the hardware team. They were begging for resources to provide competitive hardware to match the top mobile devices. That they werent able to was due to the decisions of management - not a lack of ability or know-how.

    So yea, given the situation and change in strategic direction by HP board, the decision, however shocking, was probably the right one. It was not done as punishment for bad hardware - just good old (stupid) business.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by marcedhk View Post
    I think a number of people are missing the point of the thread, so let me be a bit clearer. Yes, we know that the reason they were let go when they were is simply because HP stopped webOS hardware.

    The question I am posing is, with all the issues that we've seen with webOS hardware over the last few years, did the hardware team deserve a significant part of the blame for webOS not catching on enough? And if HP had decided to continue webOS hardware, would they have been likely to keep the then existing team in place?
    Hardware design was problem, and for that part blame goes to management and marketing teams. They were aiming to high, trying to reinvent telephone design without enough money to do it right. Hardware guys are not magicians.
    Also, CPU and RAM in legacy devices were plenty enough powerful to drive any available OS of that time except webOS. Same as new devices Veer, Touchpad and Pre3 are enough powerful except for webOS.
    Device design and device features are mainly dictated by marketing in recent years. If you ask me, those *******s should be fired.
    Last edited by chalx; 02/28/2012 at 07:57 AM.
  12. #12  
    Which way is HP now 'going' anyway?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

    Date: Sunday, February 26, 2012,

    '..HP CEO Meg Whitman is said to be preparing to launch three new tablet devices by year's end that use Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and are powered by processors from Intel and Qualcomm.

    CNET quoted unnamed sources in a report over the weekend who said there are two designs being readied -- one using the next-generation Atom processor from Intel Corp. and one using an ARM processor from Qualcomm Inc.

    CEO Meg Whitman spoke of HP's (NASDAQ:HPQ) plans to use Windows 8 on tablet devices last week.

    CNET said there will be two types coming that use Intel processors -- a laptop-tablet hybrid and a more traditional tablet that will be aimed at business users.

    It didn't have any details on the third version that would run on the Qualcomm processor.

    HP's tablet efforts haven't been all that successful to date, with its Slate tablets proving little competition to Apple Inc.

    Its one real success in tablets has been the HP TouchPad, but only after it reduced it to clearance prices after killing the project that was developed by what used to be Palm Inc.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    HP seen with Intel, Qualcomm-powered Windows 8 tabs by Q4 - Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  13. #13  
    The implication of the above and other articles is that HP intend going both for the Intel AND the Qualcom routes with their prospective Tablets.
    The continued use of the ARM Qualcom processor would make the continued use of webOS also feasable.
    Perhaps therefore a 'new' (Open Source Community) 'Team' will take on that aspect?
    webOSInternals/Nation?

    ~~~

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