Tag Archives | Palm

WebOS: HP, and HP Only

More news from TechCrunch Disrupt: TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington asked Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP’s Personal Systems Group, whether the company had any intention of licensing WebOS, which it acquired when it bought Palm, to any other company. He gave a definitive “no,” and if that decision has been publicly stated before, I’d missed it.

Bradley knows whereof he speaks: He’s a former CEO of Palm, back when it was an independent company–one that, at one point, staked its future on the idea that a company could be both a hardware maker and a licensor of its operating system to other companies. Some decent products emerged during this era–I certainly dug my Sony Clie–but overall, it seemed to be terribly damaging to Palm, and the fact that the company split into two entires (PalmOne and PalmSource) hurt rather than helped. In fact, it probably contributed to Palm being in the sticky situation that eventually led to it being acquisition bait for HP.

I can’t think, offhand, of an operating system that’s been both a successful in-house platform and a successful licensed one for any period of time. (If you can recall any, shout them out–no, Mac OS doesn’t count.)

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A Taste of WebOS 2.0

In the months since HP agreed to acquire Palm and its WebOS mobile operating system, the company has said that it plans to put the OS a tablet, in printers, and, yes, in new phones. But it hasn’t said much about WebOS upgrades or new features. Until now: The Palm site has some info on WebOS 2.0, which it’s beginning to prep developers for. Looks like some neat stuff is on the way, including an upgrade to the Cards multitasking interface that groups related Cards into Stacks, and a feature called Just Type–evolved from WebOS’s current Universal Search feature–that lets developers build apps that provide users with the ability to perform searches or “quick actions” by…just typing.

The upgrade will also allow developers to write apps that run when a WebOS phone is charging in Palm’s Touchstone inductive cradle.

Even though the Pre and Pixi turned out not to be blockbusters, they run the only smartphone OS that competes with Apple’s iOS in terms of user interface sophistication and polish. (There are a number of things I like about Google’s Android, but the intelligence of the interface isn’t one of them.) It’s heartening to see some tangible proof that it’s going to continue to get better. Here’s hoping that news of new handsets isn’t too far off either.

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HP WebOS and Windows Tablets Are Real

We now finally have confirmation that HP plans to bring to the market both Windows and WebOS-based tablets, the first time the company has publicly confirmed its plans. The confirmation came from personal systems chief Todd Bradley during the company’s quarterly results call.

HP’s on again/off again Windows Slate would be the first to appear in “the near future.” This would be followed by the release of the WebOS tablet — which some are guessing will be dubbed the PalmPad — early in 2011. There is very little detail as to the specifics of these devices, but at least we can officially put to rest the speculation on the company’s plans, no?

The acquisition of Palm led many to believe that the company would be more apt to sell a tablet based on WebOS simply because it would obviously be cheaper to use in-house code. But the company’s silence on its plans, and even some of its public statements, led some in the media to speculate that it had given up on the Windows Slate altogether.

In any case, all this apparent delay is good for one company in particular, and that’s Apple. It’s iPad continues to be the flagship device of this market segment, and the longer competitors wait, the further it will get out ahead. Time is of the essence here.


Good News for Android's User Interface?

All Things Digital’s John Paczkowksi, is reporting that Matias Duarte, the guy in charge of the user interface of Palm’s WebOS mobile operating system, has left Palm and appears to be headed to Google, presumably to work on Android. WebOS is the only phone OS that’s in the same league as Apple’s iPhone OS when it comes to general usability, so Duarte clearly knows what he’s doing.

I’ve said before that the one Android upgrade I most want isn’t tethering or automated translation or built-in music streaming–it’s an overhaul of the interface that makes the OS, core programs, and third-party apps more consistent, efficient, and enjoyable. If Duarte is charged with making something like that happen, he could work wonders.


HP Slate: So Long Windows 7, Hiya WebOS?

I started out thinking that the rumor that HP was canceling its much-hyped Windows 7 “Slate PC” strained credulity. But it’s been a couple of weeks since the idea surfaced, and HP isn’t denying it. Which isn’t a good sign–if everything was fine, wouldn’t the company say so?

Now GottaBeMobile is reporting that an allegedly excellent source says that HP is ditching Windows 7 and replacing it with the operating system it just bought: Palm’s WebOS, on a slate code-named “Hurricane.” You’d think it would take awhile to reengineer WebOS to work well on a larger device, making a release in the next few months unlikely–or has Palm been secretly tackling that challenge all along?


Charlie Stross's Grand Unified Theory of Everything

This has been an unusually eventful week in the tech world. Let’s see, we’ve had…

Steve Jobs’ thoughts on Flash

HP’s Palm acquistion

HP’s rumored termination of its Windows 7 slate

Microsoft’s confirmed termination of its Courtier concept tablet

The Gizmodo and Apple saga

Apple’s announcement of its WWDC event (and specifically the lack of awards for Mac apps)

Blogger Charlie Stross does a remarkable job of tying everything together in this post–which says that Jobs’ aversion to Flash is really about Apple, and the rest of the computer industry, facing a life-or-death struggle over the next few years as PCs get even more commoditized and even more of our digital lives move online. Apple, Stross says, is trying to reinvent itself from a manufacturer of Macs into a gatekeeper and provider of services, and it’s trying to do it while it still has time.

One striking, subtle point about Jobs’s memo: He says “Flash was created during the PC era…” In other words, he’s saying we’re no longer in the PC era. Stross says that “the PC revolution is almost coming to an end,” which seems like as good a way to describe where we are as any.

You can quibble with bits and pieces of Stross’s overarching analysis–or the whole damn thing if you want–but it’s incredibly thought provoking. Having grown up in Boston in the 1980s, where Route 128 was lined with wildly successful minicomputer companies which no longer exist, I’m certainly not discounting the possibility that PCs will cease to exist sooner than we expect, and that none of the huge companies that make them is guaranteed an afterlife.


Hey HP, You Now Own These!

With all the ugly legal tussles going on in the phone world, it’s a safe bet that HP is pleased to be picking up a giant portfolio of mobile patents along with Palm, whose acquisition it announced this week. Digging through the riches at Google Patents, I found a lot of Palm patents that didn’t result in PalmPilots–at least not in any obvious way. I’ve assembled some for your viewing pleasure–from the super-ambitious to the merely strange. Wonder if HPalm will make use of any of them?

View The PalmPilots That Never Were slideshow

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The PalmPilots That Never Were

When HP bought Palm on Wednesday, it got itself a powerful mobile operating system, two phones (plus whatever’s in the pipeline), numerous talented people, and a venerable brand. And it also scored fifteen years’ worth of mobile technology patents. Some of them resulted in iconic products. And some of them…well, didn’t. I’m sure Palm leveraged some of the ideas in the patents you’re about to see. But it also protected a bunch of concepts unlike anything that has ever carried the Palm name–so far.