Tag Archives | Palm

Why WebOS Failed

From the start, lot of people (me included) loved a lot of things about WebOS, the mobile operating system that debuted on Palm’s Pre smartphone in 2009. We thought it had a shot at being serious competition for Apple–or at least we hoped it might. But my friend Brian X. Chen of The New York Times has a smart piece that makes the case that WebOS was doomed to disappoint, because its technical underpinnings and use of Web technologies made for a slow and generally disappointing experience:

“Palm was ahead of its time in trying to build a phone software platform using Web technology, and we just weren’t able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design,” said Paul Mercer, former senior director of software at Palm, who oversaw the interface design of WebOS and recruited crucial members of the team. “Perhaps it never could have been executed because the technology wasn’t there yet.”

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How Not To Release A Tablet

With all the hubbub surrounding HP’s shocking announcement of the death of of WebOS and its various devices such as the TouchPad, there’s been a whole lot of finger pointing. But the most stunning revelations may have come from TheNextWeb’s Matt Brian.

WebOS was tested on an iPad 2, Brian says. The results? It performed beautifully–more than two times as fast as the TouchPad, and running WebOS through Safari on the iPad 2 produced similar results.

If this is true it means HP’s crappy hardware killed the platform, and not the OS itself. That just floors me.

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Coming on Wednesday: Live Coverage of HP's Web OS Event

Those of us who think that WebOS is one of the best mobile operating systems in the business are looking forward to the WebOS event HP is holding on Wednesday, the first big bash it’s thrown since it acquired Palm last year. The company has pre-announced that it’ll announce something related to WebOS tablets, and there could be more news. (I’m still waiting for a handset that looks a bit like an iPhone but runs WebOS.)

The event is happening at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, and kicks off at 10am PT; I’ll be there and am looking forward to liveblogging the proceedings at technologizer.com/webos. Come hang out with me, won’t you?

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HP's WebOS Tablet: Think September, Not February?

Engadget’s Nilay Patel has an apparent scoop: pictures and details on HP’s plans for tablets based on its WebOS operating system. The images aren’t as exciting as the factoids–all tablets look pretty snazzy in product shots–but the most striking factoid is the apparent possibility that the tablets won’t ship until September. That seems eons away given how many other tablets are set to ship in the next few months. It’s also not the “early 2011” that HP was promising a few months ago. And if HP talks about the tablets at its Feburary 9th WebOS event, it would be preannouncing them by seven months or so. Here’s hoping we don’t have the whole story just yet–and that the whole story involves WebOS tablets showing up before the fall.

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HP WebOS Tablet: Think February, Not January

The bad news is that it looks like rumors that HP would unveil its WebOS tablet (possibly called the PalmPad) at CES were wrong. The good news is that the company has scheduled a WebOS press event in San Francisco for February 9th at 10am–and it seems like a very good bet that the tablet will make its debut there. (It presumably sent out the invites today to inoculate itself against anyone being disappointed if CES comes and goes with no WebOS news.)

I’ll be at the event and will provide live coverage–more details as we get closer.


Help Us Pick the Hottest Smartphones

Seriously, folks–these days, you can barely move your contact list to your new phone before coveting the next one.

I queried a few of our Last Gadget Standing judges and they’ve got no shortage of opinion on which phones should be in the running for the award we’ll hand out at CES next January.

Some voiced concern about the Nokia N8 being an oddity.  Yeah, well, it’s an oddity with a 12 MP camera (with Zeiss lens) and HD video recording.  Those video watchers amongst us will be intrigued by the form factor; those who are dubious about Symbian less so.

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Palm’s Pre 2 Looks Nice. But at This Point, WebOS Needs More Than Nice

I don’t claim to have an unerring gut when it comes to judging new technology products. But stuff that knocks my socks off does tend to go on to do reasonably well. One notable exception, however, has been the Palm Pre–I continue to think that it’s one of the best phones on the market (thanks mainly to its WebOS software), but I can’t imagine that anyone involved with it, from Palm/HP to wireless carriers, is pleased with how it’s sold so far.

Today, HP announced the first WebOS phone to emerge since the company bought Palm. It’s the Pre 2, shipping this week in France and at an unspecified future date in the US. It looks like–well, like the Pre only better, with more modern specs (such as a 1-GHz CPU) and a meaty-sounding software update in WebOS 2.0. If it’s all it’s cracked up to be, it sounds like a phone that Palm Pre lovers will love even more.

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Palm Pre 2 Leaked: Like the Original, And That’s OK

D’oh. SFR, a wireless carrier in France, briefly posted a product page for the Palm Pre 2. The page is gone now, but we all know what goes up on the Internet never really comes down. Pre Central has the details preserved.

As the name suggests, the Palm Pre 2 doesn’t deviate much from the original. Instead, it modernizes the hardware — there’s a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and an unspecified bump in battery life — and refines the design, with a flatter screen and what looks like a matted finish to reduce cracks in the plastic. And of course, WebOS 2.0 will be on board. Think of it as the Droid 2 to Motorola’s original Droid.

It’s tempting to look at the leaked Palm Pre 2 evidence and wonder what HP and Palm are thinking. When HP announced its plan to acquire Palm, it seemed giddy about getting WebOS, but didn’t mention the Pre at all. All signs pointed to some kind of smartphone reboot, not a rehash of the same hardware models that bombed commercially.

But updating the Palm Pre to reach parity with other smartphones doesn’t preclude HP and Palm from being more ambitious at the same time. A slab-like phone codenamed “Mansion” is reportedly in the works, and we know nothing about HP and Palm’s strategies for pricing, marketing and wireless carrier deals.

Certainly, HP is in a deep hole with Palm phones. The App Catalog is tiny and brand awareness is lousy. Maybe the solution lies in releasing a lot of solid smartphones to a lot of carriers, and the Pre 2 is just the beginning. We’ll see.

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