By Harry McCracken | Friday, August 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Instapaper creator Marco Arment says that WebOS’s reputation for being great is overblown, since it never ran all that well on any device that HP or Palm shipped it on:
HP definitely mismanaged Palm. The TouchPad’s software shouldn’t have shipped when it did. The hardware wasn’t very good. The marketing was insufficient. The retail channel was poorly managed.
But webOS, despite having some great ideas, never became competitive. Palm and webOS’ developers bear most of the responsibility for that, not just HP’s managers.
I can’t really argue his point. In fact, he quotes my TouchPad review as evidence of WebOS’s problems. But I can make a clarification: When I speak enthusiastically about WebOS, as I often have, it’s mostly over the user interface. Arment is right that WebOS as it existed on real devices always had issues. (For instance, it loaded programs way more slowly than other mobile OSes.) WebOS’s potential was always enormous; the actual product has always had its frustrations. And on the TouchPad, it had tons of frustrations. But boy, I’ll still be sorry if it’s all over.