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25Feb/13Off

WebOS sold to LG

Hey folks - long time no see. Sorry it has been so long since I wrote anything, I don't know why I haven't. I have been a fair bit busier. I do have a ~5,000 word post that I had been writing back in December about a Red Hat conference I was at, hopefully I can finish that soon and post it.

Anyway for now I just came across news that WebOS has been sold to LG to use as an operating system for Smart TVs. Several months ago there were rumours about LG working with HP for WebOS-powered TVs.

This is hot on the heels of HP releasing a low end Android tablet (well, going to release).

So for me this is just another sad story for the slow death of WebOS. Unlike most of the other die hard fans my Palm Pre was the first (and only) Palm branded device I ever owned. I had owned a couple different Handspring Visors way back when, and there was a couple different apps on them that I liked, so I looked to WebOS when a Palm emulator was made available for WebOS (later this emulator was killed, and hasn't been functional in years now). Of course I don't trust Google, never been much of a fan of Microsoft, and RIM at the time (2009) still seemed very business oriented.  The Pre was also my first smart phone. I did have a blackberry at one company though I really only used it for email (not even phone calls). It was awesome for email with a sort of monochrome-color display, the battery lasted forever.

Where to now ? I'm not sure, I certainly have enough WebOS devices to last for some time, I have very meagre requirements, just need to sync to exchange email, and would like a decent web browser, being able to watch video is nice too for travel. I really have spent no time on any other ecosystem so I don't know what all is out there(ignorance is bliss).

If there is one thing HP did get right with this new Android tablet is conceding the high end market, which they really don't have a chance to compete in. Most folks, myself included don't believe HP will be able to compete with this new Android tablet either, but who knows.

It's been roughly a year since my HP Pre3 and Touchpad got any software updates, the Pre3 still works fine, I suppose the only 3rd party app on it that I ever use is a weather app. Touchpad working fine too, there too there really aren't any 3rd party apps that I have used in a long time (3rd party apps I do use are WebOS/Mobilenations news, Accuweather, and Kalemsoft video).

WebOS was never at a point where I was ready to go try to tell my friends and family they just had to go buy it. I saw the vision and believed they could do it -- if only they had enough resources(they never did). Once HP bought them I expected significant investment but that didn't happen either they continued on a rapid release cycle which led to over promising and massive under delivery.

I had hope that things could turn around more after HP somewhat recently announced they need to do something with mobile. But I guess not. Windows mobile continues to disappoint, and most Android manufacturers are in the toilet as well (even Google's own Motorola).  BB10 is still new, so too early to tell if they can turn it around.

I found it interesting how seemingly neglected the Android market is compared to iOS. I bought my sister a TrendNET HD IP-camera to act as a "baby cam" of sorts she just had a kid. This camera had both IOS and Android apps. Her boyfriend has an iPhone she has some sort of Android device.  While both apps could connect, only the IOS app could remotely control the camera, the Android app just saw the streaming video. I thought, how hard is it to add the remote control functionality ? For some reason it wasn't there.  Of course for WebOS there is no app :)

I'll keep using my WebOS devices for now, I don't have any pressing need to make a change.

Oh how I wish HP would of kept that $10B they spent on Autonomy and invested it in mobile instead.

Also in recent news, Mozilla has announced many carriers have picked up their new OS - based on Firefox.

Mozilla is unlocking the Web as a mobile development platform with Firefox Marketplace and unwrapping mobile apps to enable more opportunity and control for developers and consumers

Where have I heard that one before...

HP did give Palm more time though, so I thank them(again) for that, just not enough time.

TechOps Guy: Nate

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  1. I refuse to use iOS (and think Apple has peaked), I’m OK with Android (currently have a cheap LG Android phone that works fine for me). Sometime I’ll look at the BB10 since I like the Playbook, but I’m not ready to spend a lot of money on a phone (or service; my current bill is ~$18/month) yet. BTW, BB10 does not require the special Blackberry services (BIS/BES).

    Firefox OS has a chance, but you’d probably have to get an unlocked phone (I doubt that US carriers will carry it) and use it on AT&T, T-Mo, or a MVNO on one of those networks.

    I’m hoping that HTML5 will encourage companies to create universal web apps instead of apps for specific platforms.

  2. HTML 5 would be nice.. I don’t know the current state of things, but recall hearing last year about how of all folks Facebook changed their mobile strategy after admitting that HTML 5 wasn’t working as well as they had expected (the same of course applied to WebOS – HTML5 made basic development easier but making things smooth was still out of reach).

    I read recently that Google recently released their Quickoffice thing as a sort of native C++ plugin to Chrome. Google doing that makes me think that HTML5 is still a ways off from being able to properly compete with native high performance apps.

    What I’ve always wanted to see is some sort of different standard (toolkit ?) that could leverage HTML5 across multiple types of devices. WebOS has Enyo – which they continue to develop (though have not heard of anyone else using it), Firefox has … ?? Not sure. I thought I read or heard some place that BB10 can use HTML5 apps too.. it is sad to me to see seemingly so much duplication of effort when it comes to HTML5 apps on mobile devices. I think iOS supports HTML5 apps too ? I assume Android does as well.

    They need to use vector graphics(?) as well, so people don’t need to make 50 different versions of the same app to support various screen sizes and resolutions, for the most part it should be automatic.

    Of course HTML5 doesn’t solve the gap of high performance games and stuff that need a lot of native code for max performance.. (or maybe it does I haven’t checked!)

  3. Yes, there are too many mobile HTML variants. IIRC, HP is using Enyo in some of their products and thus will keep developing it.

    BB10 supports HTML5 (WebWorks), Adobe AIR/ActionScript, C/C++ Native (Cascades, based on Qt), Android Java (non-native SDK), and BB Java. One final BB note: they made an interesting choice for their keyboard BB10 model, the Q10: it’s similar in design to my beloved Palm Centro – a candy bar phone with keyboard and square display (720×720).

  4. I had forgotten again about Ubuntu’s mobile ambitions too not that I expect much to come of them, but yet another player with some bets on HTML5 and probably not using a common toolkit vs the other players.


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