Tag Archives: webos

Decision Time For HP and WebOS



HP TouchPad

The rumours continue to swirl around HP and WebOS but AppleInsider is claiming that the fate of WebOS could be decided today (11th October). Reports suggest that the initial bidding process is complete and that an annoucement may be made after a meeting today to confirm the next step in the sale process.

There’s been much speculation as to who the prospective bidders might be. At various times HTC, Samsung, Qualcomm and Facebook have all been in the picture, some more realistically than others, and one of the current hot favourites is Amazon. Looking back at when Palm was up for sale and HP purchased it, BusinessInsider claimed there were five serious suitors, suggesting Apple, Lenovo, Research in Motion (RIM), Google and of course, HP. Which of these would still be interested given the success that HP made of Palm?

Some were after Palm’s considerable patent portfolio rather than WebOS itself, and the famous “smartphone” patent in particular. Even HP were pretty upfront about this with Mark Hurd saying that HP wasn’t buying Palm to be in the smartphone business. (How prophetic was that?)  Ultimately the nature of the sale may depend on HP’s feelings towards WebOS. Do they want to simply get as much as they can of their $1.2 billion back as quickly as they can, or do they want WebOS to succeed, even if HP was unable to make it a winner. Only time will tell.

Read related articles at GNC for HP, Palm and WebOS.


Crushing Demand for HP TouchPad in UK



It’s been an insane day and evening here in the UK if you were interested in HP’s TouchPad firesale. Rumours persisted throughout the day as to when various on-line retailers were going to cut the prices and there was disbelief that the prices were going to be as good as the US $100. Word leaked out that it was going to be £89 for the 16 GB and £115 for the 32 GB but no-one was ready to believe it.

The DSG group stores blinked first with Dixons, Currys and PC World all selling out within minutes, but the price had been confirmed as true. Carphone Warehouse then dropped their prices and within minutes were totally crushed under the load and the website went offline. Comet came on next and were slammed but many people managed to get orders in by refreshing the browser. I managed to snag a 32 GB one to upgrade my 16 GB but it took me an hour to get through all the steps. Amazon seemed late to the party with just the 16 GB on offer but also sold out pretty quickly.

No doubt more stores will drop their prices tomorrow and there will be another frenzy. HP.com is still to drop its prices and they should have a pile. The Pre 3 may also come to the firesale as well and I’ll snap one up if I can. But it tells you one thing…people are hungry for tablets but they can’t afford an iPad. For once it’s not all about apps, it’s about cash.

In exiting a market, HP has propelled the TouchPad to the #2 tablet slot. Can they capitalise on this and turn WebOS into a success or have they simply jumped the shark?


Microsoft Poaching webOS Developers



A few days ago we received the sad news that HP was discontinuing webOS devices.  The only good news out of that was for gadget lovers – HP has slashed prices on the recently released TouchPad (it’s already out-of-stock at Walmart online).  The bad news for HP, beyond the bad press and bad stock prices, was that Microsoft leaped on the news and immediately began recruiting webOS developers for their Windows Phone platform.

Microsoft’s Brandon Walsh reached out to webOS developers on Twitter, and began the process of bringing them over to Windows Phone.  He even went so far as to offer free phones and other tools.  At last check, he had received more than 200 replies.

While HP has killed off the hardware-making side of their webOS business, they are hoping to keep the software alive by licensing it to third-party hardware makers, as Google does with Android.  That means HP needs to keep these developers on board.  That will be difficult with no agreements in place yet to ensure the OS’s future.  Still, they are trying their best to maintain ties – see their blog post The Next Chapter for webOS.

Given the current state, it will be hard for HP to hold onto these developers, and given what they have already done, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t pull the plug on the software side of webOS at any moment.  This has been a short ride for HP and webOS, and I can’t help but think that they didn’t give it it’s deserved time and effort.  Consider it a premature death.


HP Getting Out of the PC Business?



Today HP announced they are discontinuing operation for webOS devices including the Touchpad and webOS phones. WebOS was originally developed by Palm and first released as the Palm Pre in 2009. In 2010 HP purchased Palm. The Touchpad and HP Veer and HP Pre 3 were all announce in February 2011. Unfortunately they couldn’t penetrate the market and sales were almost nonexistent. Best Buy ordered 270,000 HP Touchpads and according to various sites have only sold 25,000. Other companies like Walmart haven’t had any better sales for the webOS devices including the Touchpad. Reviews of the HP Touchpad said they were ok, but lacked an app eco system and at times performance was sluggish. Since they were originally around the same price the same as the iPad2 and the Galaxy Tab, the only reason to purchase it was if you preferred the webOs (Palm) operating system, unfortunately for HP not enough people did.

The other big news from HP which hasn’t been confirmed is that it is trying to spin-off it’s PC division entirely. HP is one of the founding companies of Silicon Valley so for them to even think about selling off their PC division is big news.  The growth in the smartphones and tablet market plus the downturn in the economy worldwide has definitely effected PC sales. PC growth over all has been very slow with worldwide shipments only growing 3% in the 2nd quarter of this year. Is this a sign of the general decline of the PC market are PC becoming trucks as Steve Job once said, or is it just part of the overall economic downturn. Once the world economy revives will the PC market also revive. The PC market depends on selling a lot because prices are so low there is very separation between success and failure. It is clear by HP actions that they believe the personal PC market is no longer profitable. Whether they are wrong or right only the future can say, but it is certainly a bold move.


Goodbye Palm and Thanks for the Ride



It’s finally the end of the line for Palm and WebOS. HP killed off the Palm name a few months ago and it now looks like it’s fatal for WebOS too.

In a press release today, HP reported “that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

I’m writing this on a Pre 2 and there’s a TouchPad on my desk, the last in a long line of Palm devices, starting with a Palm III, followed by a IIIxe, a Sony Clie SJ30 and a Clie TH55, possibly the greatest PDA of all time. There was a Tapwave Zodiac 2 somewhere too. Then the era of the smartphone arrived with a Palm Treo 650 and 680, before the long wait for WebOS and the Palm Pre. That’s about fifteen years of close personal friendship.

There’s a small glimmer of hope that WebOS will continue without the devices or perhaps it will be picked up by another manufacturer, but let’s be honest, it’s not looking good.

Farewell, friend.


HP TouchPad Answers Critics



The HP TouchPad came on to the market with two main criticisms, first the lack of apps, and second, pricing was on a par with the iPad 2. Even with these two points, most reviews gave the TouchPad the number 2 tablet slot for WebOS’s ease-of-use.

A month on from the TouchPad’s launch, much of the original criticism can be deflected. HP has reduced the price of the TouchPad by $100 in the US and by similar amounts in most other territories, making the 16GB version $400 and the 32 GB $500. Early purchasers have been taken care of with a $50 credit to buy apps from the App Catalog.

As for the apps, a bundle of new apps get added to the App Catalog every day and there’s usually one or two key apps each week that round out the TouchPad’s portfolio. This week saw UPnP AV Player and a Google Reader client, TouchFeeds, released amongst others and while there are other similar apps in the App Catalog, these are the first that don’t deserve a beta version moniker. There are plenty of really good apps in the Catalog and there are more coming through as developers get to grips with the platform. Twitter app – check; Facebook app – check; Flickr app – check; ToodleDo app – check; digital music store app – check; ebay app – check; WordPress app – check. It’s definitely getting there.

There’s also some evidence that it’s beginning to pay off for developers who have invested in the platform. PreCentral reports that OneCrayon, developer of TapNote, has seen sales jump significantly since the TouchPad went on sale. Regrettably the graph that accompanies the article doesn’t have any units on the y-axis but it certainly looks impressive.

HP’s done something a little different as well. Each month it produces a digital magazine called Pivot, which showcases apps in a glossy setting. It’s even customised for the particular country, so the UK version is a little different from the US one. Overall, it’s a nice touch.

It’s looking up for the TouchPad and at $100 less that the iPad 2 with apps coming every day, it’s a bargain.

 


HP TouchPad Mini Review



My HP TouchPad arrived on my doorstep last Tuesday and it’s been an interesting week since I opened the box. Here are a few thoughts on the first WebOS tablet.

First impressions do count and the box itself started well. It has an almost airtight sliding drawer construction that makes it impossible to open quickly. This slowly reveals the TouchPad as it pulls gently out. Once you eventually have the ‘Pad in your hand, it’s obvious that this is a well-constructed device. The front is glass, presumably of the Gorilla variety, and the black is a hard shiny plastic with the HP logo in the centre. It is heavier than I was expecting but not uncomfortably so.

As a Pre 2 owner, I was right at home with WebOS from the start. Some of the gestures are missing, such as the back swipe, but the main upwards swipe from the bottom of the screen persists. Along with the multitasking this is the heart of WebOS. And it works very well. I’m probably biased but I definitely think that WebOS is the best tablet OS by far.

This would be for naught if there weren’t the apps to run on the OS. And it would be wrong to say that there are loads, becuase there aren’t. But they’re coming and each day new apps are released specifically for the TouchPad. Most of the phone-based apps also work in a kind of emulator but you don’t get the benefit of the big screen. The TouchPad apps are pretty good and there’s some nice free stuff that HP has presumably helped with. The Epicurious app is chock full of great recipes and there are Sky News and USA Today apps as well. Of course, Angry Birds makes its obligatory appearance.

Other commentators have mentioned that the TouchPad is a bit laggy. Laggy is the wrong word – it pauses sometimes. When you are actually doing stuff, it’s pretty quick – I have no complaints there. For example, doing a bit of web surfing is as quick as you’d get at your laptop, but if I switch to the email app and I change to a different email account, the app sometimes seems to pause as if it’s checking for new email. These are generally minor irritations – looking at my TouchPad now, I’m listening to music with a weather app, email and three web browsing sessions open. Flicking between the apps is smooth and they respond instantly once they pop to the foreground.

What else is good? The Beats Audio is very impressive – I think it’s possibly the best MP3 player I’ve listened to.
The Skype client is integrated into the Messaging App and seems to work well. I Skype-d my father with video from the UK to Shanghai and there was a bit of lag at the beginning of the call but the call got better as it went on. (Of course there are a number of factors involved in Skype calls).
Ms Office document editing isn’t ready yet but the viewer has handled all the Office docs and Adobe .pdfs that I’ve thrown at it.
Video plays well but the hi-res screen shows up the limitations of the source. What looked really crisp on my phone now looks a bit pixellated in places. Perhaps I should have bought the 32 GB version after all.
Flash works as well as Flash ever does. The BBC’s iPlayer works ok but I had a bit of trouble with Channel 4’s on demand programming.
Bizarrely, there’s no calculator app. C’mon guys – how long would it have taken to take the basic calculator from the Pre and re-skin it?

There’s a nice three pane app interface that I hadn’t seen before. It’s used to good advantage in the email app, with the left column showing accounts, the middle showing the email headers and the right showing the email body. By tapping on a little III icon, you can get the pane to expand over the panes to the left. It’s very slick and very handy.

One personal peeve is that certain apps insist on running in a particular orientation, which as far as I’m concerned is upside down when I’m holding the TouchPad in my hand. I can understand that some apps want to run in landscape rather than portrait but wanting to run a particular way up is nonsense.

Overall, I’m pleased with my purchase – for the purposes of disclosure this was a personal purchase and not a review unit. There are some rough edges and there is a lack of apps, but there’s nothing a few software updates won’t fix.