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Multiple webOS Devices Rumored for 2011

The recent news of the upcoming Palm Pre 2 may just be the tip of the iceberg for new WebOS devices in the coming year. A report from the Chinese industry publication CENS.com is claiming that OEM giants Foxconn and Compal have landed contracts with HP to produce a slew of new WebOS devices. Reportedly, a total of 5-6 devices are in the works and all set to hit the market sometime in 2011. Additional details are also being reported by Telecompaper.com.

Both articles are fairly light on details but do indicate that Foxconn will be the primary supplier of four or five devices, with Compal providing the remaining device. Interestingly enough, the CENS article specifically mentions "smartphones" and not tablet-style or netbook-style devices.

Let's do a bit of wild speculation and assume that WebOS is going to power a variety of devices and formfactors next year. One or two of these products is almost certainly the mythical "PalmPad" tablet, perhaps in 7" and 10" screen sizes. Another is likely a candybar-type Pixi smartphone successor, as that device's EOL date has already been revealed to be in March of 2011, at least with Verizon. Yet another could be a flagship large-screen smartphone with a virtual keyboard, much along the lines of an HTC Evo, HD7, or Droid X.

Finally, the last two devices could be a high-end smartphone with a slide-out landscape keyboard, similar to the Motorola Droid or HTC Touch Pro line and possibly even the spiritual successor of the Palm Foleo in some kind of netbook/smartbook device. A solid assortment of a half-dozen devices hitting all spec levels and price points would make for a powerful WebOS lineup. If nothing else, the combined HP/Palm would conclude their first full year together with a bevy of varied new product and in a much stronger position than Palm was easier this year with a mere two devices to showcase WebOS.

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wouldn't that be special?

nastebu @ 10/27/2010 2:00:21 PM # Q
All cynicism aside, it's fun to read *good* Palm news. Even if it is vague rumor and wild speculation.
RE: wouldn't that be special?
LiveFaith @ 10/28/2010 6:37:56 AM # Q
With Palm, wild rumor and speculation has been the best news for the past 6 or 7 years. Oh, except for the mighty Tungsten T5.
Pat Horne
RE: wouldn't that be special?
bhartman34 @ 11/4/2010 6:35:06 AM # Q
Now, that's hardly fair. The Pre was pretty good news when it came out. Hell, before that, even the TX was a good device. (I owned a Centro, too, but that wasn't much to write home about except that it was for the budget-conscious who wanted a smartphone.) Palm's seriously dropped the ball as of late, but that doesn't mean they didn't have some successes.

Palm should release a device in the Epic or Droid form factor, and put a lot more effort into beefing up the app catalog. People need a compelling device to buy and to develop for. I think they've got the OS for it, but they need devices. Just beefing up the specs of the Pre every year isn't going to do it.

RE: wouldn't that be special?
LiveFaith @ 11/4/2010 9:14:55 PM # Q
Yes, the T|X was a decent device, but just about 2-3 years LATE. I mean compare the thing to an iPod Touch (except for PIMs) which came soon thereafter. Palm had already fumbled horribly by going backwards from the T|3 -> T|5, then had basically nearly caught back up with the T|X to where they already were 2-3 years before technologically. How many years did it take just to get WiFi. It was bewildering.

Two to three years of going basically nowhere is about like GM trying to sell a 1985 Olds Cutless on the showroom floor in 2010. What was the top seller in 1985 is a laughing stock today. The game was over for Palm and Palm OS by the time Apple brought the revolution.

All this has been hashed and rehashed forever, but thinking that tired hardware running a prehistoric OS was "good" can't be so. The Pre was certainly impressive. I love mine, but when the money ran out it just plain ran out.

I agree on the big screen slab WebOS device as you say. I'm sure HP has that underway. Otherwise they are as clueless as Palm was for the past 7 years. I would jump all over a 4-4.25 inch screened WebOS screamer with two fists fulla dollas.
Pat Horne

RE: wouldn't that be special?
hkklife @ 11/4/2010 10:46:53 PM # Q
In all of their years of existence, Palm was never known for having class-leading hardware, aside from the iconic Palm V in 1999 (which was lauded more for packaging/size/style than having a ton of horsepower) and possibly the m500 line in 2001 (primarily because they did a lot to jumpstart the fledgling SD/MMC memory card standard and do away with all of those silly half-proprietary DOA formats like SmartMedia, Memory Stick etc).

Well, there was one brief time when Palm was truly on top of their hardware game. That was 2003--they started the year off with a bang with the T|C (400Mhz, 64MB RAM, gigantic battery, wi-fi, QWERTY + touchscreen + SD slot=still halfway decent specs nearly 8 years later) and to a much lesser extent, the Zire 71. But the T3 and TE that fall really were spectacular devices for the $ compared to Handspring's aging Visors and Sony's various Clies and all of the PPC competitors. Even right up to the Pre 2, Palm never again truly produced a no-holds-barred flagship device like the T3. Other than lacking wi-fi and having a weak battery and questionable slider reliability, that device really had no shortcomings. Then when they became "Palm0ne" the next year, it all went to hell on a skateboard. The LifeDrive would have been a solid device at the time had it had flash memory instead of that hideous microdrive and a decently debugged OS.

Comparing the Droid X (running Graffiti 1) I have in my pocket right now to the LifeDrive I owned only 5 years prior is just an ASTOUNDING bit of technological progress to comprehend!
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro-> Verizon Moto Droid X + Palm TX

RE: wouldn't that be special?
richf @ 11/6/2010 6:40:27 AM # Q
Can't recall where but I saw an article where the Pre 2 is able to be pre-ordered somewhere around the eighth. If it's legit is anyone going to do it? I don't think I will as I have eight more months on this contract. I guess I could get ambitious and ebay these two phones I have now, but that is another story. What do all of you say?
Have a nice day!
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->Pilot Pro->IIIe->IIIc->M500->M505->M515->TC->T3->T5->Treo 650P->Treo 700P->Droid>Pre Plus
RE: wouldn't that be special?
bhartman34 @ 11/7/2010 7:49:52 PM # Q
@richf:

I think the Pre 2 is a decent device for someone who likes the WebOS UI and doesn't mind the form factor. IMHO, there isn't anything about the specs that make it stand out from any other device out there, though. If they don't come out with another beefed-up device soon (and for me, "soon" means summer of '11), I'm probably going to jump ship to Android.

@Pat:

I'm not sure it's fair to compare the TX to the iPod Touch. The iPhone itself only came out in '07, and the Touch came out after the iPhone. That's a good 2+ years after the TX came out. And before the App Store (which, if you'll remember, the iPhone didn't launch with) the iPhone wasn't the super-magnificent juggernaut it is today. It was basically a dumbed-down smartphone (e.g., no PIM) with the ability to play music. A lot of the sales were based solely on having an Apple logo.

IOW, if the benchmark we're using is the iPhone, then the TX wasn't quite as far behind as you think. Where Palm lagged behind most was in the screen technology. When the TX was out, there were already higher-res screens putting more colors on the screen at once.

@hkklife:

I never owned a T3, so it's hard for me to make that kind of comparison, but I seem to recall the Pre launching to widespread accolades. For a time (before it became apparent that the apps weren't materializing) some people even tossed around the "iPhone killer" phrase. And even before that, there were a lot of people in love with their Treos.

I think the beginning of the end for Palm (as an independent company, at least) had less to do with hardware than with the OS. They just waited too long to do something about/to PalmOS. It was definitely simple and functional, but even with better hardware specs (e.g., inclusion of Wifi) it just lacked the refinements of other OSes (e.g., the Windows smartphones of the day).

I'm hopeful that HP/Palm can redeem itself with a nice slab device. I agree with Pat that a phone in those dimensions would compete a lot better.

RE: wouldn't that be special?
hkklife @ 11/7/2010 10:26:43 PM # Q
Couple more comments on bhart's thoughts above:

-Pre2 is a very solid little midrange device. It's a great $99 (or less) midrange smartphone. I'll be curious to see this thing if only to see how the body has been subtly changed and how they've managed to improve the keyboard. A Pre 2 rerfresh (Pre 2 Plus?) can easily bump it up to 32GB and maybe a higher capacity battery and keep it competitive well into next year. That said, Palm MUST get at least one high-end (preferably two) WebOS 2.x devices out ASAP. I'd like to see something along the lines of the Galaxy S Samsung Epic on Sprint: 4" screen, landscape slider keyboard. 3G now and LTE/WiMax versions later in '11.

Also, Palm/HP need to jump on the bigscreen candybar phone bandwagon (Droid X/HD7/Evo formfactor). With WebOS 2.0 supporting virtual keyboards, this is a total no-brainer. Such a beast would have an absolute minimum screen size/res of 4.3", 800x480 here, with 4.5" 960x640 even better. Tegra2-powered would be nice too.

As far as the TX coments, you cannot really criticize Palm in lagging in screen technology. The T3 was revolutionary with 320x480 in 2003. The TX was solid in 2005 with that same resolution. But Palm then choose not to develop any new PDAs and went backwards to SSS (small square screens) from there on. So the Pre of 2009 had the same screen resolution of 2003's T3 or 2007's iPhone. That's not progress AT ALL. Also, Garnet didn't support anything higher than 320x480 so it's not like Palm could have spec'd a VGA screen on the TX even if they wanted to.

As it's been stated here before endlessly, in an ideal world, Palm & Access would have extensively reworked Garnet around 2004 or 2005 or so to make it a viable OS for another few years. Better security, stability, 802.11g support etc. Something like a TX-style Treo in 2006 would have done wonders for Palm at that time. All of the PIC faithful were BEGGING for a "Big screen Treo" from 2004 on. It took Apple several years later to give us the closest thing to our dream device that Palm could not (or would not).
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro-> Verizon Moto Droid X + Palm TX

RE: wouldn't that be special?
bhartman34 @ 11/8/2010 5:08:27 AM # Q
@hkklife:

The TX wasn't lagging in 2005 with it's screen resolution, but it looks to be about average. Check out Pen Computing's best handhelds for 2005:

http://www.pencomputing.com/editors_choice_2005/pdas.html

The HP iPAQ hx4700 has specs that kick the TX's a** all over the place.

And I think this article nicely sums up the state of things in 2005:

http://www.tuxtops.com/?q=node/241

(e.g., even the devices that had 320x320 screens were displaying at 160x160 but double-pixeling).

In the end, you're right: The ugliness I took for a screen resolution problem was actually a limitation of Garnet.

RE: wouldn't that be special?
hkklife @ 11/8/2010 7:50:11 AM # Q
OS5/Garnet had some MAJOR limitations, even as far back as 2003-2004:

No support for >128MB RAM, no support fror recognizing storage volumes >4GB, poor security, no 802.11g support (a problem poor Aceeca is STILL working on even today!), no multi-tasking/multi-threading support, limited CPU support for newer platforms (no native ARM support etc), no protected memory area (if an app crashes, the whole OS crashes), no automatic screen rotation or accelerometer support etc etc. The screen resolution limitation is just yet another problem. And these were shortcomings years ago. Nowdays, it wouldn't even stand a chance as far as stuff like N wireless support, multi-core CPUs, accelerated GPU and capacitive touchscreens. Look how hard HTC had to hack WinMob 6.5 to work without a stylus and on the HD2's capacitive screen!

The more time goes by, I wonder if Cobalt was really that bad or if was simply that no one wanted to pay for it and spec the appropriate hardware. I am still surprised we haven't heard the "real" scoop by now from an ex-insider. After this long, I doubt we ever will hear the full sordid saga of Cobalt vs. Garnet!
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro-> Verizon Moto Droid X + Palm TX

RE: wouldn't that be special?
Gekko @ 11/8/2010 5:40:36 PM # Q

"It's too late for Palm." - Michael Dell

"Ok a little perspective here. For quite a few years now these little devices have been with me everywhere I go. They've saved my bacon on more than one occasion and have the outline of my life. My contacts contain my associates and friends, my calendar shows the outline of days gone by and days to come, my notes contain simple thoughts to grand ideas, and it even holds pictures that tell thousands of stories. These little devices have been indispensable for some and almost like a friend to others. Though it is simply an electronics device devoid of thought and personality it has over the years been the bearer of so much information about who we are and who we want to be. With the above thoughts in mind it is no wonder we've become attached to the way we view this information. Many of us feel a loyalty to Palm and expect a certain amount of mutual respect and trust when it comes to our devices design. I have a feeling many of us feel they have betrayed and feel that trust has been abused. This is why many of us are so vocal. Perspective is a necessary vision and change is always good, but can be unpleasant at times, but this is only an electronics device. We'll still be the same people with the same plans, associates, and friends whether this device is a dud or not." - superdork

"For Palm Pilot owners, the standard applications, called To Do List, Expense, and Date Book, are magic shields that hold back the evil forces of chaos, forgetfulness, and midweek senility." - Steve Casimiro – Fortune

"Palm's aging operating system, Palm OS, was originally created for a relatively simple personal organizer; it was then added to and patched up to do things like power a cell phone—a task it was never intended to perform. It was a bit like using a lawn-mower engine to build a go-kart, then adding a bigger chassis and turning the go-kart into a real car, then turning that into a plane, and then trying to make the plane fly to the moon. Palm needed a fresh start." - Dan Lyons

Never underestimate Palm's ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Colligan Head Stuck

http://daringfireball.net/2006/11/colligan_head_stuck

RE: wouldn't that be special?
BaalthazaaR @ 11/9/2010 6:41:20 AM # Q
Please don't quote Dan Lyons. He usually spews unintelligent and biased drivel.
RE: wouldn't that be special?
Gekko @ 11/9/2010 3:08:04 PM # Q

i think he's brilliant and i liked his analogy.

Reply to this comment

PalmPad

mikecane @ 10/27/2010 3:31:15 PM # Q
Bring. It.
Reply to this comment

Good

Wynter @ 10/28/2010 11:02:47 AM # Q
I'll take vague good news over nothing. If they can have anything compelling released by October and AT&T allows even one of the better spec'd devices on their network, I may consider not bailing on WebOS.
RE: Good
LiveFaith @ 10/28/2010 9:41:33 PM # Q
amen
Pat Horne
Reply to this comment

They are sooo far behind the power curve

Tuckermaclain @ 10/30/2010 4:10:43 PM # Q
Palm pooped on every developer who wrote for Palm OS. Getting developers back into the fold will be key. I just got this uber-cool man-toy installed on my car:

http://www.dronemobile.com/features/demo/

It allows me to start my car, track it on GPS. It allows me to choose any notifications from the car to be sent as a text (like if the alarm goes off) or if my wife is speeding. I can also kill the engine from my phone. Cool if it were stolen. It is all controlled through an app on the Evo. Available for Web OS? What do you think?

Reply to this comment

New device code names

BaalthazaaR @ 11/9/2010 8:32:32 AM # Q
RE: New device code names
Gekko @ 11/9/2010 3:11:16 PM # Q

Sleepy, Dopey, Sneezy, Grumpy, and Bashful?

Reply to this comment

Microsoft Only Sells 40K Windows 7 Phones

Gekko @ 11/9/2010 4:38:26 PM # Q

lotsa luck.

So how does 40,000 Window 7 phones measure up? Google said last month that it was selling 200,000 Android phones a day. And Apple has said that its iPhone sales rate was 270,000 a day.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10916575/1/microsoft-sells-40k-windows-7-phones.html?cm_ven=GOOGLEN

RE: Microsoft Only Sells 40K Windows 7 Phones
jca666us @ 11/9/2010 8:36:38 PM # Q
You forgot to add in the 89,000 phones Microsoft gave away to employees.

Microsoft needs to realize their main competition is not Apple, but Google.

Reply to this comment

WebOS 2 UI Scalability

BaalthazaaR @ 11/24/2010 1:29:50 PM # Q
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WebOS Tablet predicted for March 2011

BaalthazaaR @ 11/29/2010 9:31:44 AM # Q
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HP prefers WebOS to MS Home Server

BaalthazaaR @ 12/2/2010 7:52:34 AM # Q
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