WebOS – The Monster Phone That Never Was

by Dan Rather on July 31, 2011

HP's Slate running WebOS

Hewlett-Packard's Slate

Let’s start off with some history about the device for those of you who might have no clue of what a webOS is. webOS is a proprietary mobile operating system running on the Linux Kernel, initially developed by Palm, which was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in April 2010 for a massive 1.2 billion U.S dollars. If you still don’t have a clue of what it is I am talking about, just understand it is a really good looking smart phone. That’s what you basically need to know. The additional webOS and devices include the Touchpad, the Pre 3 and the Veer. The webOS is one of a kind as it uses a feature, Synergy, to integrate information from many sources. What I mean to say is that users can sign into accounts on Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Microsoft Outlook and integrates all of these sources into a single list. For messaging synergy combines all conversations with each contact into a single chat – style window, imagine messaging with joy to someone or everyone on each and every one may it be through an SMS, AIM, Gtalk all doesn’t matter with this little phone. Multitasking with the phone was especially elegant, utilizing a card metaphor that is still unmatched by any other mobile OS right now.

With all these amazing features that this phone has, HP is now out to completely wipe it from the market. HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for the webOS devices, specifically the Touchpad and webOS phones. It is true that webOs phones are great devices, much beloved by users, but they haven’t sold well. Despite HP buying Palm, the phones still failed to catch on. There weren’t enough applications, there weren’t enough updates and consequently there weren’t enough users.

This must surely bring smiles to the heavy weights that are left in the race; the smartphone market is therefore a four way race between iOS, Android, Blackberry and WP7. This drop out of webOS  is sure likely to explain the recent price drop on the Touch Pad.

I was so excited to have a webOS since I saw the potential that HP hap to do something huge with webOS, but they didn’t. We’ll honestly I wasn’t excited because of the potential. It was the little fact that it looked great especially when new. I was crushed and the way things are turning out it means that if indeed webOS has a future it will not be one that runs on HP hardware. A tweet by the vice president of HP notes that “webOS is an awesome software platform and now we can explore the best hardware partner for it.”

In my view they should have given it a bit more time and for sure with appropriate funding it would have grown into the monster phone it was supposed to be. Looking back now and imagining its level of uniqueness, but too bad now, it held so much potential. All we can say is goodbye to the great smart phone we might never be able to use.

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