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  1. #41  
    Why did WebOS fail? I think you have to go WAY back, 8 years, to 2003. That's when Palm and Handspring merged and split into PalmOne (hardware) and PalmSource (software).

    Palm had recently created the smartphone market, with Blackberry closing in. I can't recite all the details from memory but the PalmOS platform passed from US Robotics, to 3Com, with some of the talent leaving for Handspring, licensing the OS to a bunch of hardware makers, and then Palm spinning off, and splitting, and re-merging back to Palm Inc. It is confusing, but you can look it up on Wikipedia.

    Why was Palm so successful in the early days? APPS. Thousands of them. Useful, indispensable ones.

    I still have most of my PalmOS devices. There was basically NO evolution of the OS from my first PalmPilot from 1996, until my Treo 650 from 2005. There were some incremental improvements, but it is basically the same launcher, the same calendar, the same contact list. Browsing was tacked on. Something like Google Maps was basically impossible. What was revolutionary in the mid-90s was extremely crusty in 2005. Because of all the corporate rearrangements listed above, work on overhauling the OS was delayed for far too long. I know there was one project, Access that was eventually abandoned, wasting several years.

    Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, Palm started dying in the spring of 2007, when both the Treo 755p and the original iPhone were released. Look at those two devices side-by-side. All would have not been lost by then, if Palm had not let their edge slip in software design. PalmOS still had the only app ecosystem to speak of. Android was still 6 months away (and far from being a competitor.)

    But it was not to be. In the spring of 2007, the long-promised replacement, WebOS was not 6 months away. It was nearly two years away. If the Pre had come out by Christmas 2007, with it's small screen, crappy keyboard and other flaws, it still would have been a worthy contender with the original iPhone (which had it's own problems). Palm still would have had a chance to keep all those great PalmOS developers from leaving for iOS and Android.

    The comments above have a lot of valid criticism for the Pre and Pre 2 (it was slow, it was buggy, etc.) but only when compared with an iPhone model from the same year. The Touchpad would have also been revolutionary if it was released a few months before the original iPad was announced.

    Why did WebOS fail? Because the Pre was an absolutely wonderful phone for 2007, released in 2009. Could HP have saved it? Possibly, but you don't make up for 2 years of lost ground in 2 months.
    Last edited by mwshook; 09/05/2011 at 12:08 AM.
    Palm Pilot Pro > Handspring Visorphone > Kyocera 7135 > Treo 650 > Pre Plus > Droid Pro & Touchpad
    popologuy likes this.
  2. #42  
    In the UK, the Palm brand is hardly known, so going against the Apple brand was a hard thing to do. Also, I can't help but feel that webOS didn't have a solid audience in mind when it was being designed. webOS certainly really isn't for consumers as multitasking isn't a huge desire in that market space. Business users were probably already locked into BlackBerrys and would be using the BES so no joy for Palm there. So, that only really leaves the niche techie market, which at the same time Android was very heavily being marketed towards and was seen as a more interesting proposition as it was a 'Google phone'.
  3. #43  
    It's simple. I loved the original Palm Pre announcement and waited eagerly for its release, until I was so tired of waiting (and the hardware was already outdated before the actual release), that I bought the G1 when it was released.

    I always considered switching to a decent webOS phone, but Palm / HP just wouldn't offer anything really competitive. Additionally, what made the decision even harder (or easier to stick with Android), was the growing app catalogue for Android and iOS while webOS seemed to be left behind. The first hardware announcement, which actually made me consider switching platforms was the Pre 3. But honestly I have to say that I'm not sure whether I had switched - if I ever had the chance to. I - and I guess millions of other users as well - just have gotten used to another OS, its apps etc. (of which several were bought), that webOS would have had to offer at least something close. But even today the list of Apps that I would miss is long.

    The Touchpad therefore is my first webOS device - and that's because of the firesale. I wouldn't have spent the original price for something that is simply missing basic functions:

    - Reading opportunities: Kindle is not available in Germany, pReader is still alpha, Adobe Reader is blurry and doesn't offer 100% zoom. Not really impressive.
    - Picture viewing opportunities: The gallery app looks very nice and the synergy integration is nice, but the app sorts the pics randomly - which makes it completely useless. At least basic sorting options would be necessary. An additional minor complaint is the lack of picasa support.

    These are just the most basic things. I'm not talking about the apps I would like to have (and which are offered for iOS and Android), but about the most basic functions a tablet should have.

    Don't get me wrong. I really like the idea of webOS and always wished that it would succeed. I told every of my friends in the past years, that I consider webOS the (theoretically) most advanced mobile OS. But missing hardware and sluggish support (compared to the effort e.g. google put into Android) pratically made it fail.

    I'm still hoping that webOS might resurrect, now that I played with it and am still convinced that its interface is superior. But something has to happen fast, or I will face a really complciated decision, once Android is available for the Touchpad.
  4. #44  
    Quote Originally Posted by blinktreo View Post
    And geez am I sick of reading about the lack of apps. iThing or iRobot users: How many apps do you have on your phone/device? ALL of them? "webOS only has 6000 apps. I need at least 10,000 on my phone!".
    Let me ask a simple question that will show the fallacy of you argument. Where do you do your grocery shopping?

    Do you go to just a little "mom and pop" grocery store? Or do you go to the big grocery store chains (Publix, Kroger, Cub, Festival, etc.)?

    Most people go to the larger stores for one reason: choice! You're right, no one can have 10,000 apps on their phone, and sure at those big grocery stores you will find lots of "farts in a can" products, but you will also find a Netflix store in the corner and a huge gamer area in the back. So at the end of the day the big chains are knocking the mom and pop stores out of business because of choice and price. Since price doesn't really apply in this analogy it must just be choice...
  5. #45  
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey47 View Post
    How many other proprietary OSes have been ported to new hardware platforms?
    AmigaOS 680x0 to PPC, and technically many Linux environments.
  6. #46  
    Quote Originally Posted by geekpeter View Post
    AmigaOS 680x0 to PPC, and technically many Linux environments.
    Huh? Linux is open source...Where do you have RedHat Enterprise Linux running on XYZ hardware? Or SuSE Linux running... You don't -- you may have CentOS running on XYZ hardware because RHEL is open source (and CentOS is taking the freely available source to RHEL and compiling it for a specific platform). There is no place to get the freely available source to webOS except through illegal means.

    AmigaOS on PPC took many licensing deals and finally a lawsuit to decide: Hyperion, Amiga, Inc. Reach Settlement, All Legal Issues Resolved
  7. #47  
    Quote Originally Posted by blinktreo View Post
    And geez am I sick of reading about the lack of apps. iThing or iRobot users: How many apps do you have on your phone/device? ALL of them? "webOS only has 6000 apps. I need at least 10,000 on my phone!"
    The lack of apps is why I eventually had to give up on using WebOS on my phone. I use Android now, and hate it, but need the apps. In my field (medicine) PalmOS was once the undisputed standard. I once worked in a hospital with Palm-compatible IR syncing stations on every floor, allowing you to download the labs and dictated reports for all your patients.

    In the 2 years after the iPhone came out and Palm was still stagnating, most of these developers jumped ship. Epocrates has always been the mobile killer app for doctors and debuted on Palm in 1998. They had a beta for WebOS and stopped updating it in February. Due to the liability of having stale drug reference information, they inactivated the app in June. This is finally what forced me to ditch my Pre. A lot of my favorite apps were never released for WebOS in the first place. Ironically, if you go to the Epocrates site, they are still selling a PalmOS version. There are more examples of this; PalmOS is still better-supported in the medical space than WebOS ever was.

    I'm on a committee at my hospital system for choosing what software we are going to purchase. The desktop part of the product runs on Windows, the mobile parts run on iOS. Someone asked about Android, and the rep said that was being worked on, but may never come out due to the myriad types of Android hardware. I didn't bother asking about WebOS.

    I cite these examples, because they are what I know. But I can only assume there are similar stories across lots of industries. Whatever the root causes (mismanagement, lack of funds, poor timing), Palm squandered the developer ecosystem it once had.
    Palm Pilot Pro > Handspring Visorphone > Kyocera 7135 > Treo 650 > Pre Plus > Droid Pro & Touchpad
  8. #48  
    On Palm's end, no microphone APIs for nearly two years was a very, very poor way to act as a smartphone "leader" for the past decade.

    On HP's end, the inability to comprehend the "Xen of Palm" by creating devices that feel perfect in your hands, like the Pixi & Pre, was a very, very poor decision when the design of both phones were pretty much perfect (gesture area and everything). The Veer and Pre 3 are not designed for my hands, nor is the TouchPad at an optimum weight. Size and weight are essential elements of my device purchases, and that's why a Pre 2 is as good of a phone as you can get. Too bad HP didn't realize they really were sitting on some hotcakes.
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