WebOS is Back, and HP is Declaring War on MS

HP unveiled the TouchPad this morning, but the real juicy news was them saying they’re looking to put WebOS on desktops and laptops.

HP’s been wanting an OS of its own for the longest time, and now it has it. No more having to depend on Redmond.

This also makes Microsoft look completely inept. iPad is going on year two, Android and HP have just unveiled serious iPad competitors, and Microsoft comes out this year and says “Wait two more years to Windows 8!!!”

I’m not getting any sense of urgency at all from Microsoft about this. This is the smartphone war all over again. Windows 8 might be decent for tablets, but by that point, Apple and Google will just own the entire game.

Microsoft’s turtle-and-hare strategy only works if the hare gets lazy and complacent. But with Apple and Google pushing each other, they’re both accelerating away faster than Microsoft can grow its fledgling business.

I really hope webOS gets some traction, but I fear it’s doomed. I’ll probably pick up a TouchPad, then I can finally know what it felt like to be an Amiga 4000 owner.

Boldface is my add. You seriously think HP is going to give up a lucrative Windows business, much less its Windows server business?

I think MS is dropping the ball in a big way and should have been looking at adapting the Zune/WP7 OS to a tablet form and integrate the WP7 + Tablet together while still working on what they want to do, which is a one OS for every device concept.

They’re losing out on huge market share inroads by hoping that when they do roll out the one OS for everything people will flock to it. I get and like the notion because it’ll offer you seamless transitions between devices, but that idea is still years out and they need to act on what’s happening now and start to steer things in that direction. They need to realize that they’re not the only ones looking at this route as both Google and Apple are heading there, and are already ahead of them in the game with merging two popular devices together with the same OS.

They are making great leaps with their business roll-outs and not with consumers and it’s a shame, because they have the resources to do well in both, just not the vision with their current leadership. Ballmer just doesn’t cut it in my books.

Who’s going to buy WebOS on laptops and desktops? Certainly no business. Will it run MS Office? I don’t see the point of WebOS on a computer for any market segment, consumer or business.

As for the tablets and phones, well, WebOS is nice, and has a few evolutionary refinements, but it seems like a non-starter. Why bother with yet another new app store ecosystem if it doesn’t bring something truly revolutionary or exciting to the table?

It’s very unclear what HP means by “WebOS on PCs.” I’m envisioning it as a shell layer sitting on top of Windows – though how even THAT works without touch, no idea. I can’t actually see them making a dual-boot machine.

The TouchPad seems great, vastly better than the iPad, and WebOS’s multitasking focus is perfectly natural for a tablet. But they didn’t announce a price, and that’ll probably kill it. Besides, tablets are useless for me, so I don’t care.

On the phone front, massively disappointing. Their big Pre 3 flagship phone is a single core device that doesn’t come out until “summer”? Dual-core Android should be all over by then, so good luck with that, HP. Also, it’s going to be running WebOS 2.0, which we’ve known about for months now, and which adds relatively few enhancements to the ancient WebOS 1.x. They’re just moving too slow.

I really enjoyed my Pre more than my Android powered Samsung Epic. It is an incredibly nice operating system. And the homebrew community that has grown around the original Pre is amazing.

The Pre3 will be nice, and I’m sure the TouchPad will be very slick. I want it to do well, and if the price is right on the Pre3, I may eventually switch back. I do think the Pre3 is a little disappointing, though, and I may be too thoroughly entrenched in my iPad to truly consider a TouchPad. I’m excited, but not necessarily blown away at the webOS announcements today.

If I weren’t totally subsumed by the Apple ecosystem I’d seriously consider a Pre3 and a TouchPad. They both look sexy as hell and the OS is super slick.

I love my Pre. But the Pre 2 was really just a Pre 1.1, and the Pre 3 is… well, the Pre 3 is what they should have introduced last summer, the bigger-screened, higher-res, faster version of the phone with more memory. It’s nicely competitive with like the iPhone 4 and Nexus One. But it’s going to be coming out after the iPhone 5 and Atrix 4G, and it’s just not up to spec.

Also, it’s sort of crazy that Chrome’s Javascript engine has improved by a factor of like a million since 2008, whereas WebOS’s… hasn’t. You’d think that optimizing their Javascript compiler/interpreter would be like Job #1, since poor performance is so obviously their Achilles heel (which is also why it matters so much that the Pre 3 isn’t faster).

“Jon Rubenstein likes to crush dreams and find new ways to burn companies to the ground each year.”

I lol’d.

Maybe HP would use it as a replacement for QuickPlay on their laptops?

I suspect HP will fuck this up with the pricing just like Motorola seems to be doing.

It doesn’t matter if your tablet is better under the hood than the iPad, it either has to be substantially better than the iPad in a way that my Mom would understand or it has to be significantly cheaper than the iPad. If you can’t do one or the other of those you’re throwing your money away attempting to produce a mid to high range tablet platform, especially when you’re still just preannouncing something that is half a year or more away.

And I say all of this as a hardcore “Apple hater”.

I don’t use WebOS much but I was under the impression that WebOS has always used V8… which is Chrome’s JavaScript engine…? Have they just not kept it updated with the mainline V8 since 2008? If so, yes that’s crazy since it should be relatively easy for them to drop new versions of V8 into their existing platform.

Microsoft gave up on the tablet market for this part of the decade when they let a certain two executives walk out the door.

I’m far from an Apple fan but why can none of these companies
learn from them? They announce a tablet but say nothing of
pricing and that it won’t be out till “summer”. In a few weeks
Apple probably show off the new iPad, they will tell us the price
and they will start selling sometime in April. By the time the Touchpad
comes out Apple will have pushed another 10 million iPads out
the door. I like WebOS but this thing will be DOA.

Exactly. You can have success with a new OS on a phone because every phone’s main function is to make phone calls, and apps are just a bonus. But on desktops and tablets, the whole point of the OS is to run the applications you want, and that’s where Windows and iOS (respectively) win by default.

WebOS on desktops is megadumb, it will fail even harder than Linux on desktops. WebOS on tablets… well, the position of iOS is perhaps not quite as strong as the position of Windows on desktops but it’s still a pretty formidable challenge.

There have been four updates total since the phone came out, and none of them has really done much with performance. Maybe they have been updating V8 and it’s not enough, but it doesn’t seem like it to me.

I love my Pre and I’ll probably get a Pre 3. The TouchPad looks nice, but I’m not in the market for a tablet yet.

The biggest failure of this is that they didn’t have solid dates or carriers or prices. As much as I don’t like Apple, I’ve always admired that they almost never announce a product without also being able to tell you exactly when you can buy it, how it will work, and for how much.

In my experience, the reason why companies (especially those that compete with Apple) don’t tell you what the price will be is because it’s higher than Apple’s, and they’d prefer the news cycle focus on the sexy new hardware instead of how few they’re going to sell because of the price.

If the TouchPad was going to be $499 they would have screamed it from the rooftops.

It makes more sense to wait to find out what the iPad 2 price point will be before releasing TouchPad pricing. Why give Apple any opportunities?