With the news of webOS being open sourced on Sunday, let me tell you that, in my opinion and as a previously firm supporter of webOS, the platform is dead. And it cannot be revived no matter how hard HP tries either. Their damage to the platform and devices has been done and cannot be repaired until some amazing product is made, which knowing HP’s history with webOS is an unreachable dream.
Any possibility of a revival has been molested by HP and their mind numbingly pathetic and idiotic decisions that could only come from people who are out of touch with the entire industry and where technology and people are going. Or monkeys. They could be monkeys.
But before I bore you with why webOS is doomed, let me go through the disaster that was the HP acquisition of Palm. In April 2010 HP buys Palm for US$1.2 billion. February 2011 HP introduces the Pre 3, the Veer and the infamous Touchpad.
The Veer was and still is one of the stupidest phone ideas in the smartphone era and sold terribly. I could’ve told you at any time that a small smartphone is an incredibly niche product and would not sell well no matter how much money they put into marketing. But HP insisted that people want small, chunky phones.
Then the Touchpad is rushed out, and could’ve been a good product but it is released too early and HP kills it too by announcing an upgraded 4G model with a faster processor 12 days after the original release of the Touchpad, treating tablets like their computers: disposable goods.
Then, as well as the Touchpad, the other product that had a grain of potential, the HP Pre3, is killed before it can even be sold as HP shuts down the whole webOS hardware lineup and the Touchpad is officially killed under two months after release. And then HP sells the remaining HP Touchpad models for US$99. Wow.
And the other project with potential, the Pre 3, doesn’t even get a try. And it could’ve actually worked, but instead HP acts like a car maker that decided to “make dem tablets.”
The original problem with webOS was always the lack of quality hardware. Nobody could seriously look me in the eyes and tell me that the Touchpad or Pre were built well. And I know, as a Pre 2 owner, that the build quality, while not terrible, isn’t great. And now HP has completely stopped making hardware, until at least 2012-2013. And by 2013 it is too late to release a forth tablet OS as iOS, Android and Windows 8 will already be deep into fighting over the tablet market share and webOS cannot be sustained on a small budget, even with an open source community. And I wouldn’t trust a webOS tablet from HP ever again after the tiny lifespan of the Touchpad.
The design of webOS was and still is great, but it was only a little worse than iOS feature-wise when it came out. And now, years later, it is still the same OS as when it was made, while iOS and Android have matured and truly become greater. webOS still feels like it was made in 2009 whereas iOS and Android could make you think otherwise. And little things, like the old browser and lack of quality apps, hasn’t changed either. And things like HP replacing Google Maps with a crappy Bing Maps app shows that they are more interested in money than making a good product and making money from that.
And what kind of developer is going to build apps for webOS now? Either homebrew or teenage developers tempted by the free webOS store submission fee or crazy developers with some other goal.
Now webOS will join MeeGo and other OS’ that failed, were made open source and then gained no traction.
Or, and I’d love this, I could be proven wrong. Please HP, don’t prove me right again.
The following article was posted on Chris Southcott’s personal Tumblr. We have received permission to republish the article – we have slightly modified the title and some of the content due to the date of publication.