I got a Pre2 from ebay last year. I finally decided to upgrade from PalmOS for the following reasons:
1. The CES rave - "iphone beater" etc. I used to chuckle about the iphone not even having cut n paste
2. The apparently failing Palm had been bought by "deep pockets" HP.
3. The Classic app would enable a smooth upgrade - I could practically have my old device on the new one!
You know how this story goes. Between buying and receiving, HP made the shutdown announcement. My old palm phone had lasted years, so I gritted my teeth & downloaded Classic. Again, I couldn't buy a license - Motionapps directed me to HP and HP back to Motionapps!
OK, back on topic. I agree that openwebOS needs to move on if it isn't to die as the old hardware dies / gets broken / becomes fatally outmoded. But it seems obvious that it will become a niche, 'hacker' project if the user base declines - and finally gather dust despite it's promise. Need I mention Betamax, BeOS, etc? Superior products that failed. Apple itself was due to go under until the ipod...
Therefore, I think it is also important as stated by Remy X, to maintain current devices to slow the inevitable drain of the user base - many comment that they are going , but will return in the event of new hardware, but once they're gone...
Ecosystem. Apple built the ecosystem first with itunes. The first iphone was an ipod that made calls. That system now delivers apps too. Now apple is rich. Google basically owns search and related products - maps etc. that fit well with a mobile platform. They also open-sourced the OS and pulled together a consortium. Windows is on the majority of desktops and owns the dominant gaming platform. Blackberry may yet hold onto the enterprise market and those teenagers on BBM.. or maybe not.
What is the HP/Palm/webOS ecosystem? If nothing else, you need apps. Very few people are writing them, but though we should look forward, not back, there is a large legacy of PalmOS apps. According to Motionapps, HP/Palm have all the materials of Classic. They should make the license available because the cost will be negligible and will bring more usefulness to the platform - even if it's retro. Possibly Classic could be tweaked to give a more webOS feel to things. This might also encourage old palm app devs or those who like an old app to port to enyo. It may go nowhere, but at this point, I think HP/Gram need to clear out the cupboard and throw everything at the wall in the hope something sticks or at least keeps the patient alive log enough to recover!
Hardware. I realise that a DIY/indie/kickstarter phone is a big ask, but I think in the light of devices such as the raspberryPi, the possibility of some kind of device may be possible soon. If openwebOS goes to GNex because it's a reference device, perhaps Gram should specify a reference device that could be made from off the shelf parts. I recently saw a device called EVE hit it's target on kickstarter - it's a radio board for the Pi and the internet of things. Like the LTE-free Nexus4 (and ALL webOS devices to date), it might not be cutting edge, but would at least be as good as "last year's phone" - at least current. It might simply be a case of installing open radios in existing handsets - FrankenPre/GNex if you will
Enough rambling. My pie in the sky plan:
1. Yes, port to Gnex - hopefully an easier next step to Nexus 4 (maybe Xdadevelopers will do it for us!)
2. Yes, maintain current devices - or HP get the drivercode or licences so openwebOS will run on the current hardware (back porting).
3. Once openwebOS is usable on a device(s) the user base may grow slightly (ideally as more devs take an interest). This may in part solve the R&D problem and may encourage manufacturers to take a punt.
4. Release Classic as a paid app or a free app and open source it (the last bit may actually be a legal minefield). Ideally, get at least top quality and ideally, all old PalmOS apps in the catalog or Preware. Popular downloads could have ports funded bu HP/Gram or use a bounty system for ports or new apps. BTW, How about a bounty for Phonegap / ACL? HP should make an enyo app that will print to any wireless printer - or even via the mini USB port.
5. Gram offer up a reference spec of hardware upon which open webOS will run without modification - as Linux used to do (still does?). While this would likely be a large ugly box in practice, It might encourage manufacturers to take an off-the shelf system with an open, quality OS and make a better box, buy the LTE license (or whatever) and submit some improvements to the code. Oh, yeah, all future HP devices should have an open boot loader (you can lock it for windows!) and spec that runs webOS - it's called an insurance policy and potential gold mine (however unlikely that currently seems).
You can all start to shoot me down now. I don't really know what I'm talking about. Is there even such a thing as an open mobile phone radio? Palm Apps are only a stop gap - still no real eco-system.
Is that an idea? webOS synergy as the hub in an internet of things? Could that be a USP? The remote control/monitor of ALL?