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Guardian Reports WebOS Days Are Numbered

hp webos logo The UK's Guardian paper is reporting that an imminent shutdown is looming for the last vestiges of HP's WebOS division. According to a new piece posted today by Charles Arthur, the report states that up to 500 jobs could be lost due to the closure of the WebOS division between now and November.

With yesterday's announcement that HP intends to keep its PC division, unconfirmed internal memos reportedly claim that there is a 95% likelihood that the end of WebOS as an operating and as a part of HP's portfolio is in sight.

Sporadic rumors continue to swirl about possible suitors for HP's Palm and WebOS-related IP, namely yesterday's report that Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer responded with "Never say never" in regards to an inquiry about acquiring WebOS from HP.

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This is the way it ends

mabsut @ 10/31/2011 4:12:28 AM # Q
Not with a bang, with a whimper.
And with a whimper, I splitted long ago!
Free WebOS?
HyperScheduler @ 11/1/2011 10:41:47 AM # Q
RE: This is the way it ends
Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 11/6/2011 10:42:42 AM # M Q
Never checked to see if the transcription processing is done on device or on Apple's servers. Both Windows built-in voice recognition and Dragon NaturallySpeaking provide decent voice recognition for Windows desktops/laptops in 2011. I'm not sure if a 1.2 GHz ARM processor can handle fast, accurate voice recognition + multitasking with another open app that is being dictated into. Anyone here know the details on how Siri currently handles voice recognition on the iPhone 4S?

Looked at the Pre 3 on eBay last week - you can get one for $200 or so. Tempted to get one, but the lack of apps is a showstopper. I don't mind carrying 2 devices, but I can't justify carrying a Pre 3 when the iPhone 4 does so much more than the Pre 3 and is around the same size.

My TouchPad is now relegated to Internet browsing when sitting on the couch at home and occasional email. Still, for $150 I don't regret having bought it.á

Tried out the new wedge-shaped Sony tablet today. The shape and weight actually make it easy to hold and it feels unusually well-balanced in the hand. Too bad it's running nasty old Android! In the end it's yet another tablet that's priced essentially the same as iPad and is doomed to fail just like the Xoom, PlayBook, Galaxy Tab(s), TouchPad, Toshiba pad, etc. have all failed over the past 2 years. The only way to compete with iPad for the forseeable future will probably be to either sell at a loss (TouchPad, Amazon tablet, eventually PlayBook) or have Windows 8 installed. All the Johnny Come Latelys (RIM, Sony, etc.) that jumped blindly like lemmings into the tablet market without an intelligent strategy are going to get massacred in 2011-12 when they realize that the promise of massive tablet-derived profits was just a mirage. RIM hasn't yet killed off the PlayBook because doing so too quickly would have been even more of an embarrassment, but they appear to have finally realized that they need to focus their (dwindling) resources away from the bloodsucking PlayBook and onto getting their slick little QNX OS stable enough to ship with all of their future phones. Focusing on the PlayBook at the expense of developing a next-generation OS was a potentially fatal mistake for RIM, just as how Palm's distraction with the Foleo at the expense of developing PalmLinux or webOS was ultimately responsible for the death of Palm as an independent company. Stange how these companies never seem to learn from the past.

One last random observation: at what point does the cost of the supposedly "free" Android outweigh it's benefits to manufacturers? They currently have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft and Google is going to eventually lose its fight with "Looney" Larry Ellison/Oracle over its Java theft. Apple's case against Android is also pending. If manufacturers end up having to pay say $20 in various licensing fees per Android device and a Windows Phone 7 license costs say $10 per device, will they dump Android en masse? Go back to their own OSes like Bada, Symbian, etc; buy webOS (helloooooo HTC!!!); develop a true royalty-free open source OS; fork Android (Amazon)? 2012 may be remembered as the year that Android turned around (T-1000-style) and bit a LOT of na´ve, greedy manufacturers in the a$$...

Fake Jeff Hawkins

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Shortsighted, if true

Adif @ 11/1/2011 3:53:15 PM # Q
That would be a real shame. I picked up a Touchpad from Amazon recently for $250 and i absolutely love it. It's a terrific platform, just that the initial price point was excessive.
RE: Shortsighted, if true
HyperScheduler @ 11/1/2011 4:02:12 PM # Q
Even though I have not even *seen* a TouchPad in the wild, I am happy to hear that you like it. It baffles me that HP thought that their tablet could command the same price as Apple's tablet. HP just needed to price it accordingly.
RE: Shortsighted, if true
Adif @ 11/1/2011 8:37:58 PM # Q
They also needed to ditch that ad with the "Let me entertain you..." song. That ad made me want to barf. I wish I had some mental benzene to wipe it from my head.
RE: Shortsighted, if true
HyperScheduler @ 11/2/2011 8:08:20 AM # Q
Ha! Well, you got a point there. The only redeeming quality to those TV commercials is that they actually showed WHAT the advertised device could do. Contrast that with other (non-Apple) TV commercials: the focus is on the person running through a street or the person sitting in a rocket-ship cockpit, NOT on screen-shots of just WHAT the advertised product can do.
RE: Shortsighted, if true
nastebu @ 11/2/2011 3:49:08 PM # Q
That's great they sold well at $250, and great you felt like that was a good value. The problem was HP lost money when they sold it to you. I think Hyperscheduler is pretty much summarizing why HP got out of the market. If they can't compete with Apple without slashing the price, there's no market for WebOS. Amazon is able to sell at a loss and still hope for profits--HP can't.

Besides, there's no evidence that even at the reduced price the Touch Pad was successfully competing with the iPad. iPad sales weren't affected. It was other Android tablets that saw sales fall.

RE: Shortsighted, if true
bhartman34 @ 11/4/2011 6:09:43 AM # Q
HP's problem was that they barely had any content lined up at launch. I had hoped they'd learned their lesson with the Pre, but alas, they didn't. There's an embarrassing lack of apps for the TouchPad, and aside from the Kindle software, there's no great way to get content on to the device.

Amazon can afford to sell the tablets at a loss because they can make it up selling content for it. HP can't do that.

RE: Shortsighted, if true
hkklife @ 11/4/2011 2:43:37 PM # Q
The refreshed Nook Color "tablet" @ $250 is going to be the steal of the century *IF* it's as hacker-friendly as the first-generation model.

1.2Ghz TI OMAP CPU, 16gb internal storage + microSDHC slot and a pretty good IPS 7" 1024x600 screen and a standard microUSB connector makes this a hacker's dream budget device!

I personally love the 7" to 8.9" formfactor tablets so I cannot wait to see some serious entries in this segment (iPad/Touchpad are too bulky no matter how thin they are) . Such a shame we never saw a smaller Touchpad variant. HP still should have gone on and pushed the Touchpad Go into production. Early Q1 of 2012 would have been a better time to kill off WebOS.
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RE: Myopic, if veracious
Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 11/4/2011 9:56:12 PM # Q
I personally love the 7" to 8.9" formfactor tablets so I cannot wait to see some serious entries in this segment (iPad/Touchpad are too bulky no matter how thin they are) . Such a shame we never saw a smaller Touchpad variant. HP still should have gone on and pushed the Touchpad Go into production. Early Q1 of 2012 would have been a better time to kill off WebOS.


A BlackBerry PlayBook for $300 would be nice, but the lack of apps is concerning. The Android UI is an absolute mess - Hellooooooooooooo Matais Duarte!!! - but the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 has decent specs and design if you can tolerate Android. I suspect if Microsoft plays its cards right then Windows 8 tablets might kill off all non iPad tablet competition even faster than the iPad Hype Monster destroyed the netbook market. Late 2011 is NOT a smart time to buy a tablet, though: iPad 3 and Windows 8 tablets in 2012 would be a much better investment.

- Fake Jeff Hawkins

RE: Shortsighted, if true
hkklife @ 11/5/2011 7:41:37 AM # Q
Depends on what Apple sees fit to do with the iPad 3. If it truly has the "retina display" (which I am very skeptical of--panel yields from LG/Sammy AND what GPU/SoC can push ALL those pixels and maintain decent battery life?) then it would be a world-beater.

I think the lack of any reasonable competition is going to keep Apple making incremental upgrades. We'll probably see an iPad 2S for early 2012 with a gig of RAM, a 1.2Ghz CPU, Siri, and the usual thinner/lighter formfactor tweaks.

Right now my plan is to either make do with one of the current crop of Android devices and hope that ICS/4.0 is an improvement over the disastrous Honeycomb OR snag a Galaxy Tab 7 Plus or 7.7 since those are simply superb formfactors. Quad-core Kal-El tablets are absolutely pointless, as Android cannot even properly utilize 2 cores, and hardware acceleration is nowhere to be found and/or poorly implemented in all current pre-ICS devices. All of the extra CPU power will be negated by the the manufacturers' and carrier bloatware and Google's coding inefficiencies and poor memory management.

I think Win 8 may even go over better in tablets than on traditional PCs. Win 7 is "good enough" for 99.9% of users and will probably be the next XP, far outliving its its original EOL date.
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RE: Shortsighted, if true
Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 11/5/2011 12:39:07 PM # M Q
If the iPad 3 has a high res screen as good as my iPhone 4 I will buy one. The number of apps available for the platform has now reached critical mass - there isn't much I would want to do on a tablet for which there isn't already a good iOS app available. And for those times that I would need access to Windows apps I can easily remote in to a Windows desktop using the free app TeamViewer.

I still use XP on all my computers except a new desktop that came with Windows 7. At this point, Windows 7 would probably be all the average user would need for the next 10 years. Microsoft wisely is using Windows 8 to fuel demand and to expand into a new market (tablets).

I own 2 different Tablet PCs, but that version of Windows was a flop. The new Windows 8 tablets will need to compete head on against the iPad and Android tablets to succeed. Microsoft needs to start selling its own brand of AGGRESSIVELY PRICED high quality tablet hardware to kickstart the Windows 8 tablet market in 2012 and quickly kill off the Android pretenders to the throne.

RE: Shortsighted, if true
Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 11/5/2011 12:55:51 PM # M Q
One other thing I'd like to see on iPad 3: global (available in all app) voice recognition. I hate typing on touchscreens and given how good Siri's voice recognition is right now I believe an iPad 3 with a higher end CPU would be able to pull this off. Voice recognition and Siri-style interaction with a tablet will be the next killer app for 2012. Apple is smart enough to focus on User Experience and just leave the specs race to the pretenders.

Just noticed recently that the bastards at Apple were planning to deactivate the Siri app that I've had on my iPhone 4 for over a year. How clever of them. Yet another reason why I don't care for Apple as a company. If only there was another phone out there with as nice a screen/design as the iPhone 4 and could run iOS apps..

RE: Shortsighted, if true
hkklife @ 11/5/2011 7:06:25 PM # Q
But what about always-on connectivity? Would the rub there be global voice recognition only for WWAN iPads?

Google got off to SUCH a good start with their voice functionality in Android in 2009 but utterly failed to do much to move it forard. Android's voice interactions remain little more than people searching for restaurants and directions on their phones with the occasional drunken SMS dictation for a few good laughs.


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 X2 + Palm TX

RE: Shortsighted, if true
Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 11/5/2011 11:20:09 PM # M Q
Never checked to see if the transcription processing is done on device or on Apple's servers. Both Windows built-in voice recognition and Dragon NaturallySpeaking provide decent voice recognition for Windows desktops/laptops in 2011. I'm not sure if a 1.2 GHz ARM processor can handle fast, accurate voice recognition + multitasking with another open app that is being dictated into. Anyone here know the details on how Siri currently handles voice recognition on the iPhone 4S?

Looked at the Pre 3 on eBay last week - you can get one for $200 or so. Tempted to get one, but the lack of apps is a showstopper. I don't mind carrying 2 devices, but I can't justify carrying a Pre 3 when the iPhone 4 does so much more than the Pre 3 and is around the same size.

My TouchPad is now relegated to Internet browsing when sitting on the couch at home and occasional email. Still, for $150 I don't regret having bought it.

Tried out the new wedge-shaped Sony tablet today. The shape and weight actually make it easy to hold and it feels unusually well-balanced in the hand. Too bad it's running nasty old Android! In the end it's yet another tablet that's priced essentially the same as iPad and is doomed to fail just like the Xoom, PlayBook, Galaxy Tab(s), TouchPad, Toshiba pad, etc. have all failed over the past 2 years. The only way to compete with iPad for the forseeable future will probably be to either sell at a loss (TouchPad, Amazon tablet, eventually PlayBook) or have Windows 8 installed. All the Johnny Come Latelys (RIM, Sony, etc.) that jumped blindly like lemmings into the tablet market without an intelligent strategy are going to get massacred in 2011-12 when they realize that the promise of massive tablet-derived profits was just a mirage. RIM hasn't yet killed off the PlayBook because doing so too quickly would have been even more of an embarrassment, but they appear to have finally realized that they need to focus their (dwindling) resources away from the bloodsucking PlayBook and onto getting their slick little QNX OS stable enough to ship with all of their future phones. Focusing on the PlayBook at the expense of developing a next-generation OS was a potentially fatal mistake for RIM, just as how Palm's distraction with the Foleo at the expense of developing PalmLinux or webOS was ultimately responsible for the death of Palm as an independent company. Stange how these companies never seem to learn from the past.

One last random observation: at what point does the cost of the supposedly "free" Android outweigh it's benefits to manufacturers? They currently have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft and Google is going to eventually lose its fight with "Looney" Larry Ellison/Oracle over its Java theft. Apple's case against Android is also pending. If manufacturers end up having to pay say $20 in various licensing fees per Android device and a Windows Phone 7 license costs say $10 per device, will they dump Android en masse? Go back to their own OSes like Bada, Symbian, etc; buy webOS (helloooooo HTC!!!); develop a true royalty-free open source OS; fork Android (Amazon)? 2012 may be remembered as the year that Android turned around (T-1000-style) and bit a LOT of na´ve, greedy manufacturers in the a$$...

Fake Jeff Hawkins

PIC's comment system
Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 11/6/2011 10:57:58 AM # M Q
Kept getting server errors with every post and now they all show up! SMH...

Anyway, back to hkklife's suggestion that Apple will just do an incremental upgrade on the iPad 3. Not likely. The know the threat from cheap Android tablets is real and Windows 8 also has the advantage of running MILLIONS of programs out of the box. Apple has the advantage of momentum but needs to keep pressing aggressively in 2012 to try to kill off Android in the competition for non-Windows tablets. They can't/won't fight $200 bottom feeder Android tablets but will need a lower priced offering in the $300-$350 range. A 7 inch model for $300 and a 10 inch high res model for $500 would probably be enough to keep iOS tablet sales going in 2012.

Fake Jeff Hawkins

RE: Shortsighted, if true
jnuneznj @ 11/18/2011 6:45:01 AM # Q
@hkklife: "I think the lack of any reasonable competition is going to keep Apple making incremental upgrades."

When you look the upgrades that the rest of the industry is making to their devices, it makes these Apple upgrades look monumental. Incremental upgrades are 1.2 to a 1.6GHz bump and there are tons of those in the smartphone industry. The problem with all of these non iOS devices is they don't offer an end to end solution. If you have a bump in gpu/cpu speed then provide a useful application for it (not a demo). Without an application then all you have is a new pocket warmer. The majority of the consumers do give a rat's ass about GHz. Everyone reading this might but you are not the majority. The Android smartphone makers are in the same frame of mind as the Sega Saturn creators (not the actual engineers but the suits). Just jam in another CPU and we can call 32bit or dual processing!

Also this is not just about hardware and software but content. This is the only way that Apple (and Amazon) are going to continue to maintain a lead. The hardware manufacturers release a device which will blow away the current competition not the one that is coming soon. The only iOS device killer will be the next iOS device and this will continue until someone decides to make a real investment into the industry. It will not be Microsoft even though they seem to be making the most money from the Android market!

The worst feature I have seen on a smartphone is 3D. Sure it looks good but you have a battery life that can't get past 40 minutes of a non-streaming movie.

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RE: WebOS fate
hkklife @ 11/8/2011 2:45:08 PM # Q
My gut feeling is that Oracle will pick the IP up for pennies on the dollar to use to sue/strong-arm Google et al. HP will , at most, hint at a few more TouchPad OS updates & announce some sort of "leveraging our core strengths" arrangement out of it to keep some bits of WebOS to use in printers or for instant-on functionality on their PCs (Splashtop instant on browser style).
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RE: WebOS fate
HyperScheduler @ 11/8/2011 4:25:26 PM # Q
I respect HP for pushing out updates of WebOS, but I would just like to ask *why* HP is doing so. Is the reason that HP is pushing out updates of WebOS is because it is just the right thing to do, ethically? Is the reason something like trying to keep good relations with those who bought the products? Again, I support HP pushing out the updates, I just wanted to see if anyone knew why they are doing so. Thanks in advance!
RE: WebOS fate
gmayhak @ 11/8/2011 7:36:33 PM # Q
My guess is they are just trying to keep it alive so they won't loose the entire 1.2 billion when the dump it.

The best of the real HP is on the iPad, they should realize that you need to innovate to stay in the game.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/i41cx-rpn-calculator-printer/id289068865?mt=8

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Happy Thanksgiving

richf @ 11/23/2011 4:25:50 PM # Q
Nothing going on here so, have a Happy Thanksgiving. OBTW, waiting on the Nexus but keeping the Razr in mind. Droid getting a little long in the tooth but is still quite capable.
Have a nice day!
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RE: Happy Thanksgiving
hkklife @ 11/23/2011 6:28:37 PM # Q
IMHO, RAZR is a POS (for the asking price and amount of hoopla). Too wide to fit comfortably in most hands (bezel is too big relative to the screen that's "only" 4.3"), screen should be 720p, and Moto's insistance on trying to be like Palm and HP and aping Apple with a fixed battery is going to cause nothing but enormous pain for LTE power users.

I myself now have a Bionic, since I felt it might be the final VZW LTE device to have the holy trinity of a dedicated microHDMI port (new devices are trending to those horrid MHL adapters or no video-out at all), expandable storage and a removable battery. Add to that the forthcoming ICS release for the Bionic and you have a pretty solid no-frills handset for people who value maximum productivity and expandability over sleekness.

I carried a Treo with the big Seidio "rumpshaker" battery back in the day and carried 2 devices (PDA + big AMPS cell phone) back in the original Pilot days, so having a Bionic with a an extended battery is a non-issue for me.

Also, I hope to have some more time to devote to PIC in the coming days so keep checking back in! Happy Thanksgiving to all!
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