After HP’s recent announcement about their intention to drop webOS I didn’t want to post something straight away, but rather give it some thought first.
When Palm dumped OS5, sold off their OS and then eventually came up with webOS I really wondered if they knew what they were doing. Palm OS5 had potential, it had a loyal developer base and a lot of people who loved their Palm devices, and yet Palm’s strategy was to abandon them. I still don’t understand that strategy. So it isn’t a big surprise that webOS has failed. It might have been a great mobile OS, given time, but it doesn’t look like anyone was willing to give it any time at all.
I think it was only in March that HP committed to put webOS at the heart of their strategy, and yet in August it’s dumped. I wouldn’t say that’s much of a commitment.
So what will they do with it? Open source it? Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. But that’s not the worst thing about the failure of webOS and the TouchPad. The worst thing is that it is one less possible hardware competitor for the iPad.
But there’s still hope I guess. HP claim to still want to work the OS itself, as MacRumors states:
The hardware reportedly stopped the team from innovating beyond certain points because it was slow and imposed constraints, which was highlighted when webOS was loaded on to Apple’s iPad device and found to run the platform significantly faster than the device for which it was originally developed.
With a focus on web technologies, webOS could be deployed in the iPad’s Mobile Safari browser as a web-app; this produced similar results, with it running many times faster in the browser than it did on the TouchPad.
I don’t know how that would make any money for HP, but it sounds like fun.