In a stunning piece of irony, HP's move to kill off its webOS devices is actually bringing tens of thousands of new webOS users into the flock. If you are one of the new webOS TouchPad users, welcome!
Your new TouchPad is a little bulky and it loves fingerprints, but the engine that runs this baby is the absolute best mobile operating system on the planet. Yes, webOS is better than the iPad's iOS and Google's Android platforms.
We think you will quickly learn to love a few things about your new Touchpad:
- The ease of multitasking. webOS rules in this area. Sure, the others can multitask, but webOS does it so beautifully. You will love being able to quickly flip between open cards.
- Synergy. Got Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo, a business Exchange server or LinkedIn accounts? Got them all? webOS will weave them all together for you. All of your calendars in one place. All of your contacts synergized together in one place. It's a beautiful thing!
- Apps. Ok, we are a little lacking in the quantity of apps compared with the iPad and Android devices. And, to be honest, there are some glaring holes (i.e. Office document editing and remote desktop to name a few). But looking through the app catalog will yield some wonderful programs for your business productivity and entertainment. webOS has THE best Facebook app on the market. And if you manage a WordPress blog, webOS is the ONLY place for the official WordPress app. A few of the very first apps I downloaded were, Glimpse, USA Today, Angry Birds and RadioTime.
- Box.net. Heck, the price you just paid for your TouchPad is well worth the lifetime 50 Gig Box.net membership alone! Use it and feel great about this wonderful freebie!
Honestly, we're not sure about the future of webOS. Some say HP just killed it off. Others see HP's move as a positive step to attract a hardware suitor. Let's just say that the state of webOS is....uh, fuzzy. But we choose to live in the today. And today, thousands of new folks like yourself are holding a shiny new Touchpad that you picked at a breathtaking price. And really, that's a great thing.
Congratulations - and welcome to the webOS family!
Spring has arrived here in the Midwest. Rising temperatures...growing grass...allergies! And there is one other thing that us webOS lovers were looking forward to next month -- the tiny WebOS hotrod, HP Veer.
But even as we are within a few weeks of May, HP has been strangely silent on the Veer. Lots of questions are on our minds:
- What carrier(s) will this arrive on?
- How much?
- What is the specific launch date?
- What is the target audience? How will HP differentiate this product from iPhone and Android?
Come to think of it, what about the Pre3? Seems like all HP has been talking about, since the February event, is webOS this and webOS that. But, what about some hardware, HP?
Not sure what to think of this lack of communications surrounding the new smartphones. Worst case scenerio -- HP doesn't have any carriers lined up yet. Best case -- they are putting the final touches on an all-out marketing assualt.
What do you think? Is this a troubling sign? Or is HP just holding their cards close?
Yes, the Palm/HP Pre2 finally arrived in the U.S. this week with very little fan fare. And, by "little", I mean none. It's almost as if Verizon, the only U.S. carrier with the Pre2, has other things on its plate. Say, maybe the launch of the most popular phone in the world on their network?
You'll have to search the Verizon website to find the little Pre buddy. Or just use this link. And reports from across the country are showing in-store Verizon staff to be fairly un-knowledgeable on anything Pre-related.
To add insult to injury, one of the remaining features that makes the Verizon Pre2 appealing -- free Mobile Hotspot -- is no longer. Verizon has opted to return to charging $20/month for that service.
All in all, a horrible launch by HP and Verizon.
Now, the Pre2 is NOT a bad phone! In fact, it's a great little device housing the best OS on the market - webOS. Unfortunately, a combination of bad timing, production delays, corporate mergers and uninterested carriers has resulted in a Pre that is too late to the game and too expensive for folks to care about. Well, we do CARE about it, it's just that who wants to sign up for a 2-year contract when we have seen glimpses of Pre3 goodness set to arrive before Fall 2011?
Prediction. The Verizon Pre2 will be heavily discounted within a few weeks; and become extremely affordable off-contract by April. Much like we are seeing with the Palm Pixi now. Verizon and HP will want to move inventory before the launch of Pre3 and Veer.
Bottom Line. Pre2 is a great device, a much-needed upgrade from Pre Plus (and minus), AND it is the only way for us to get our hands on webOS 2.o until new devices come out. But, plopping down cash and signing a 2-year contract for a phone that will be shoved off the stage in 4-6 months is too much to swallow.
On Feb. 9 we are going to see a whole new lineup of webOS devices -- or at least a roadmap of devices to come. As I read between the lines of their "Think Big, Think Small, Think Beyond (Think too much!) slogan for this event, I envision the introduction of various new devices targetted to specific groups of people -- students, businessmen, soccer moms, and techies.
Gone are the days of Palm being a business productivity tool. The next generation devices will delve into all aspects of life -- social, productivity, communications, entertainment, and media consumption.
I know that I'm in the vast minority when I say that I LOVED the "spooky girl" ad campaign, because that was exactly the message -- that the Palm Pre was a central hub for your life. But that's a debate for another time!
My point today is that we seem to focus on specs so much -- processor speed, camera resolution, onboard memory, 3G or 4G, storage, data speed, video resolution, GPS, Flash compatible...blah, blah, blah.
Don't get my wrong. Specs are important. On February 9, HP/Palm had better have devices with specs that knock the competition back -- if only to capture media attention and feed rabid Palm loyalists.
For MONTHS, people have been SPECulating about the SPECS that the new webOS devices will have. But at the end of the day, it's not really the specs that matter, is it? It really comes down to a simple question.
Will webOS devices create a need that people need to fill?
A few years ago, the Palm Treo did just that. The concept of merging my contacts, calendar, email and tasks with a phone brought me to plop the cash down to buy one (and another, and another).
In a marketplace of waaay too many smartphone and tablet competitors, how will HP/Palm create a device that people will need?
Well, that's just it. The device isn't really going to matter that much. In fact, Palm can not and should not compete head to head with device specs. That is a never-ending, never (fully) winning battle. And really, in the next few years, specs really won't be enough to differentiate mobile devices.
There must be something more.
HP, with the webOS environment might just be able to pull this off.
Perhaps a family of devices that can sync and actually work together seamlessly. And priced affordably so that a real, working family could actually bring a few devices into the home, school and workplace. A tablet for the daughter in high school; a small but sophisticated smartphone for mom; a slab (gamer's) phone for the junior high son; and a business-class performance device for the road warrior dad. And maybe a netbook that sits at home to power the media center.
All separate and unique, but also all interconnected through the power of webOS and cloud-based syncing.
Now THAT would be a comeback for Palm!
For months, the Palm diehards have been say, "just wait til 2011 CES...THEN we'll be back in the game!"
Well...not so much.
The big Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas has become a beehive of Android tablets and mobile phones. I've lost count. But somewhere between Samsung, Dell, Motorola, Cisco, Asus, Lenovo, and Mattel (ok, I made that one up -- or DID I?) I'm guessing we've had announcements for nearly 50 new Android devices this weekend. And that doesn't count the highly regarded Blackberry PalmPad...er Playbook.
Whew! What a mess! An exciting mess, but still a mess!
So, why would Palm want to miss out on CES? Well, to state the obvious, who wants to compete with dozens of similar devices in an atmosphere where no one product is going to be able to 'steal' the show (as Palm did 2 years ago). I think HP absolutely made the right decision. Assuming they have the clout to pull in the media, HP is setting the stage to show off their webOS products in a 'focused' light.
With CES, no one product has really stood out among the clutter. In February, webOS will have the opportunity to shine all by itself.
So, what say you? Did HP/Palm miss out big time by not showing up at CES? Or will the spotlight in February really shine on our beloved webOS?