Following on Motorola being snatched up by Google, this week isn’t short of surprises. HP has announced that they’re going to “discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones”, but “HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.” Sure, webOS had a big climb to meet competitors like Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry face-to-face, but webOS couldn’t even hold its ground against another OS reboot, Windows Phone. The announcement makes it painfully clear that webOS phones are done, we can’t help but wonder what hints of Palm’s legacy will creep up in HP products in the future. Our editors are weighing in on the decision, its implications, and why it happened.
I won’t lie. This makes me a little sad. I was there for the announcement of webOS, and have spent a fair bit of time with the various Pre models, as well as the TouchPad. In the mobile world, operating systems are just getting more and more alike with very little real differentiation, which made webOS something of a breath of fresh air. Palm had a great underdog story going for them, especially when HP picked them up. Yet here we are, a little over a year later, and even HP couldn’t keep these guys on life support. I suppose given the rumoured sales numbers for the TouchPad, this move shouldn’t come as any surprise, but it’s still unfortunate to see the last legacy of an industry legend heading out the door. After this, I can’t help but wonder if HP will ever earn back the money they paid for Palm. In any case, I guess my Pre 2 is something of a collector’s item now, eh?
Blame HP. It barely did anything to utilize the Palm acquisition, and the efforts it did put in were half-assed. WebOS had potential but still needed some innovation behind the “card UI”. HP bought Palm and threw it under a rug, which in turn got ran over by a bus. So much could have been done.
TouchPad? Flop. Pre 2? Meh. Pre 3? Pass. Let’s not even get started on the Veer.
This makes me wish that HTC did end up buying Palm, as initially rumored. Even if that would mean losing a huge Android player, WebOS would grow into something that people would want to use and not suffer this sort of fate.