On Sunday, the New York Times detailed one of the biggest technology flops of 2011 – the webOS TouchPad from Hewlett-Packard. It's a pretty good review of all the things that went wrong, beginning with decisions made prior to the first Palm Pre device.
Nothing exactly new here, however, we are starting to hear from people who have now moved on from Palm and HP.
Paul Mercer, former senior director of software at Palm is quoted saying, "we just weren't able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design." Mercer cites the core decision to base webOS on WebKit as a major factor in making webOS flounder out of the gate because it prevented apps from running as fast as competitors like iPhone.
Another factor was finding developers who had not already been gobbled up by Apple and Google.
The NYT blog provides a little more light on the subject with a quote from Chuq Von Rospach, a former WebOS community manager. He wrote in his blog:
"During my tenure at Palm/HP — just under three years — I had six direct managers, averaging about 5 months per, ranging from a first level manager to directors to a couple of VPs. I reported to, or up to, eight different VPs in that time. One of my direct managers (the last one) and two of those VPs are still with HP. Does that give you a sense of how well things were going in the organization? yeah, I think it does. Apple in the worst of days — the dark, damp days of Spindler that made you want to wake up screaming, but you couldn't because you weren't asleep — were never as bad as these last few months in Leoville. Seriously."
HP announced today that they will be contributing webOS to the open source community, ending weeks of speculation about the future of our beloved mobile operating system.
“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and CEO. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”
The press release also says that HP will continue to deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.
No word at this point on hardware or any manufacturing partners.
webOS is off of life support!
Today we might finally have some clarification on the future of webOS. An "all hands on deck" meeting is taking place this morning (Friday, Dec. 9) for the webOS Global Business Group. Meg Whitman is expected to be in attendance to delivery some news in person.
Most likely, we will be frustrated with another "wait a couple more weeks" announcement. On the other hand, Whitmas has been making some positive webOS comments in public lately. Perhaps there is some good news to share afterall.
Let's hope that today's announcement does not include the shelving of the webOS and mass layoffs right before the holidays. But with Meg appearing in person, I doubt that will be the case.
[Source: PreCentral and WebOSRoundup]
The HP webOS Developer blog posted a teaser about their big "Black Friday" sale.
We’ll be doing our part with a big sale on some fantastic apps.
If you are a webOS owner, watch your inbox Friday for details.
[Source: HP webOS Developer Blog]
Last night's earnings call with HP yielded no news on the future of webOS. However, looking at the reported numbers is somewhat depressing. HP is reporting a 2011 loss in regards to its webOS operations of $3.3 Billion.
At this point, there's really no need to pile-on. HP's handling of the Palm acquisition and the webOS product rollout was devastating to our beloved mobile OS.
Certainly, much of that 3.3 billion is related to product cancelations, severance packages, and development of new products that will never see the light of day. But it's still staggering to see such a loss for a brand that once had so much promise.
The question is … will HP have any motivation whatsoever to do anything with this albatross?
HP's first earnings call under the leadership of new CEO Meg Whitman takes place tonight (Nov. 21, 2011) after the market closes.
Investors will be looking for signs of life from the beleaguered and dysfunctional PC maker.
The dwindling webOS fan base will be watching for any signs of life for our beloved mobile operating system.
Don't expect anything like the bombshell that HP dropped at their last earnings call where they announced that they would be getting out of the PC and webOS Hardware business. But, at this point, who knows?
[Source: ABC News]
Well, not exactly an "app", but I believe Rhapsody.com is certainly the best music streaming service available for the TouchPad.
I love my music. Usually on slow, quiet Sunday mornings like today, I'm putting David Crowder, Matt Maher, and other great worship bands in the mix as I work up breakfast for the kiddos. And, as a webOS fan, I've been trying all of the streaming services over the last couple years. Of course, nothing beats having the music actually ON the device, but there are lots of app options out there for streaming -- Slacker, Grooveshark, Pandora, Spotify and a myriad of Shoutcast apps.
I am a paying customer of Slacker, Grooveshark, Spotify and Rhapsody. But after this weekend, I will be scaling back to just one service.
For the TouchPad, the streaming app selection is pretty limited. Pandora is there but only in compatibility mode (small screen). GrooveShark recently released a TouchPad app, but it is far from a user-friendly application. Slacker, although a strong player for the Pre and Veer, is not available on TouchPad.
I've been a paying customer of Rhapsody for years. For $10 / month, they have arguably the best selection, ease of use, and (legally) affordable service. Rhapsody was great back in the day when sporting my Treo 650 with Pocket Tunes. It would allow the transfer of DRM music straight from the PC to my Treo for easy listening to as much music as I could find.
Unfortunately, we can't transfer DRM music anymore with webOS devices, so Rhapsody has been kinda on the back burner for me, although I use it on my laptop.
This morning, I decided to check out the Rhapsody website using the TouchPad. They've recently made some great improvements to their online streaming interface.
And, surprisingly it is a great experience on the Touchpad! Much better than any of the streaming "apps" on the marketplace. And while the Slacker.com and Grooveshark.com websites have some glitches when run on the TouchPad, Rhapsody.com runs seamlessly. Compared to all the other apps and websites, Rhapsody streams quickly, allows the user to browse around easily without distrupting play, and, of course, synchronizes everything throughout all devices that access the Rhapsody service.
Tip -- run Rhapsody using the Advance Browser app. The standard TouchPad app will not continue to stream Rhapsody when the screen turns off. Using Advanced Browser, I was able to stream for six continuous hours today without any interruptions.
Bottom line -- I no longer care about streaming music "apps" when I can simply tap into Rhapsody's intuitive web interface. Rhapsody doesn't get the media attention anymore, however, it has a huge music catalog, a mature user interface, and, with Advance Browser, provides the best streaming experience on the TouchPad.
What about you? What is the best music experience for you and your TouchPad?
TouchPad users got a nice little surprise update in their app catalog yesterday. Grooveshark, the music streaming application, released a TouchPad version of their webOS app. It is Pretty much the same app but 'right-sized' to fit the large screen of the TouchPad.
The web-based version of Grooveshark has a free account. However, mobile users are required to have a $9/month "anywhere" subscription for full access. There is a free 50-song trial for new users of the mobile app.
The beauty of Grooveshark is that it provides quick access to almost any song you can possibly imagine. Songs can even been queued for offline playing.
There are a couple downsides, however:
- Due to the nature of the source files, music fidelity is not always consistent.
- Although the website service is pretty slick, the webOS app can be cumbersome to use and difficult to manage songs.
- The $9 monthly fee seems a tad steep, especially for an app that is not quite fully developed. Those of us who were grandfathered in at a lower price point are in a much more comfortable position!
Kudos to Grooveshark for keeping up with the desires of webOS users! We're wondering (and hoping) that Pandora and Slacker will be soon to follow.
Reuters Reporting That HP is Seriously Considering Fate of webOS [UPDATE - HP Holding All Hands Meeting Today]
[Update] The Verge is reporting that HP will hold a webOS Global Business Unit meeting tonight, led by CEO Meg Whitman. The meeting will take place late this afternoon at the Palm campus in Sunnyvale, CA.
It's not really a big surprise, but it looks like HP is making some movement to shed off its webOS unit. Reuters reported on Monday that HP is working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch "as it weighs whether to sell or keep the webOS unit.
Several companies, possibly including arch-rival Oracle, have shown an interest in acquiring the division, which would certainly sell much less than the $1.2 Billion that HP paid to acquire Palm in 2010 (yes, it was just last year!).
Another "must have" app has just found its way to webOS marketplace. FTPit! is a full-featured FTP client for webOS, allowing you to manage multiple FTP servers directly from your Pre, Veer or TouchPad.
For web developers, this tool allows you to log into a website, edit code on a webpage using the built-in text editor, and then save it back to the webserver – all from your webOS device. You can also copy, delete, move and rename files/folders.
I've been testing it on my TouchPad, where it features an easy-to-use three panel interface that allows me to store and manage an unlimited number of FTP accounts. The app also serves as a file manager for local files. Kudos to app developer "pcworldSoftware" for bringing this tool to market.
[Source: My TouchPad]