HP, who purchased Palm in April 2010 and then killed the brand, mind you that internally the folks who once worked at Palm still refer to themselves as Palm, recently launched their answer to Apple’s iPad: the TouchPad. Yes, the name is bland, but it got a lot of people excited because it was the first tablet to ship with an operating system other than Apple iOS or Google Android. The OS in question is called webOS, and it’s up to version 3.0 now, but it’s still not competitive enough compared to what’s already out there since early reviews of the TouchPad were quite critical, to say the least. Jon Rubenstein (pictured above), Head of the Palm group within HP, sent out an email to all of his employees that basically said: “Listen, all the reviews out there on the net may be negative, but they all recognize the potential of webOS. Here’s some quotes from reviews of the early versions of Mac OS X. See, people didn’t like it too, but it grew into something magical. We’re on the same track, destined for greatness.” That’s all paraphrased of course, you can read the complete letter at Pre Central.
Now while Jon has a point, webOS has the potential to be kick ass, the old saying “you don’t get points for trying” holds true here. If you don’t get good reviews, you don’t sell products, and when Palm was independent that lack of sales caused them to nearly go under. With HP’s money, Palm has some additional runway, but if by this time next year they can’t release something that is on par with iOS 6 and whatever dessert Google will use to name their next version of Android, then they may as well close shop.
Then there’s all this talk about HP licensing webOS … yea, let’s see how good that goes. Licensing really helped Mac OS X take off, oh wait, it didn’t.