HP's webOS - The Ultimate Answer to iOS and Android/Honeycomb Mobile Domination?

Bill Loguidice's picture

HP webOS DevicesHP webOS DevicesAfter acquiring Palm back in April 2010, HP yesterday unveiled their long awaited webOS strategy. While the two showpiece devices are arguably the HP TouchPad tablet and the HP Pre3 smartphone, HP's strategy involves getting webOS on all types of devices, including desktops, laptops and even printers, and making the development environment inexpensive and relatively transparent. This should in theory create an explosion of apps for all webOS devices in short order, assuming there is reasonable positive reaction to an alternative to the headline-grabbing Apples iOS and Google Android/Honeycomb device infrastructure. Certainly HP and Palm seem to have gone all out, creating what is being called an attractive and effective operating system/interface and one with hitherto unseen connectivity features. One example of these impressive connectivity features is shown in the video below:

I'm certainly intrigued, but seeing as I'm firmly in the iPhone 4 camp for at least the next two years, the connectivity features between phone and tablet - though awesome - are not that much of a factor (and there is indication that both Apple and Google will be catching up in this regard), though I could certainly see being compelled to upgrade say my printer to an HP to work with an HP TouchPad and then go on from there. I've talked about wavering on what tablet to get ad nauseum on Armchair Arcade, and it will essentially come down to what does at least as good of a job as the iPad 2, and what has sufficient support and apps to make such a costly purchase worthwhile (which may leave the only choice, iPad 2, but I genuinely am looking for a different experience, even if it means I'm not with the market leader for tablets). While Google-powered tablets have piqued my interest (particularly since I've converted to Chrome as my PC browser of choice and standardized on Gmail for my e-mail, calendars and contacts), there is still way too much uncertainty at present. That still leaves a sliver of a chance for a THIRD option, like the one from HP, but certainly that window won't stay open very long. There's also of course RIM's Playbook, but they may not be focused enough on the consumer for most of us to care, and Windows 7 tablets, but those may never be optimized properly for the format.

So, what do you guys think of HP's move? It's certainly bold and there's much to be impressed about, but the competition is pretty tough right now, to say the least, and there may not be room very much longer for another option, no matter how clever.

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Bill Loguidice
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Here are some PCMag thoughts

Here are some PCMag thoughts on this very issue: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2379968,00.asp . Can't say I disagree with any of it.

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Catatonic
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It's looking like iPad and

It's looking like iPad and Android tablets will have almost 100% of the best apps between them. The other platforms lack developer support, so they will be mostly stuck with the apps that come built in. This might be ok if you only wanted email and a browser. There will also be practically no market for accessories except iPad. (Android market too fragmented)

Nous
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Sums it up nicely

The article pretty much sums it up for me! I do like WebOS and hope HP do the right thing with this platform - more competition is a good thing!

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Bill Loguidice
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Wow, crazy events just in the

Wow, crazy events just in the past 24 hours. Nokia getting in bed with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 for their product line. Rumors that RIM will have an emulation layer for Android apps for their Playbook. Samsung set to announce another Galaxy Tab by the weekend, this time a Honeycomb model. Etc. Like I said, all this points to HP hurting themselves deeply by not getting their webOS devices out sooner than this summer. In any case, this is good for consumers, because by the end of the year I think it will be clear what kick-ass tablet(s) will be "safe" to own. This is an amazing time in the mobile space.

This very much reminds me of the mid-80's in computers, with the post-crash companies vying for consumer dollars, with PC, Mac, Amiga and ST leading the charge and it eventually shaking down to just two competitors. We've gone through the pre-crash phase of dozens of competitors in mobile and are now in that next stage of no doubt several years of heated "battle" before we pare it all down to the handful of companies that will get us through the next decade...

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Nous
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Crazy stuff today indeed! I'm

Crazy stuff today indeed! I'm still in two minds about it - I really love my Symbian and Meego fix (as a geek) but I can see why , perhaps, adopting WP7 might lead to something bigger and better in the future. It is the end of an era, that's for sure.

About that Honeycomb Tab by Samsung ... I wonder how much it'll be. I'm guessing north of $600 ... $650 at a minimum. I know, we have no idea what the specs are going to be like, but hey ...

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