Most significantly, the Pre 3 launch is proceeding, albeit as a "limited" launch in "limited markets" and presumably, in very limited quantities. The USA will sadly not see an official Pre 3 launch despite the device hitting the UK and parts of the EU earlier this month in advance of the big WebOS hardware discontinuation news of last week.
Read on to see what I found in the way of Touchpad and accessory deals.
HP VP of WebOS Worldwide Developer Relations Richard Kerris sent out a surprise series of Tweets earlier today indicating that the QuickOffice update was coming this week and is in final stages of testing now. No word as of yet if this is a TouchPad-only update or if the plans to release a 2.x smartphone-compatible paid version are still in the works.
No word as of yet on the status of the status of the upcoming TouchPad 4G on AT&T but it will presumably not see the light of day either. If it does, it will likely be sold without any carrier support, marketing, or endorsements. As of this writing, AT&T is still officially selling the Pixi Plus and Veer 4G for "free" on a 2year contract online and in-stores, though there's no assurance these devices will last much longer, especially with unlocked Veer handsets already having been blown out by HP last Friday night for a mere $50.
As expected, response to the clearance pricing has been absolutely phenomenal, with the TouchPad arguably being the most sought-after piece of personal technology ever online. Over 350,000 TouchPads were reportedly sold this past weekend, with those numbers certain to grow as warehouses empty out the remaining TouchPad stock.
Unfortunately, users cannot manually pull the update and must wait for it to be available unless they are comfortable using unofficial homebrew techniques to install the update. A PDF of installation instructions and release notes is available here (.pdf link) from Verizon Wireless.
Aside from a few users reporting installation quirks, initial user reports for the update are quite positive thus far, at least as far as GPS lock and synchronization issues being resolved. As always, HP recommends downloading the update via wi-fi, though the 28MB update file can be downloaded over 3G.
Mace first asserts that the sudden departure of HP CEO Mark Hurd last summer was the first nail in the WebOS coffin, and the feeble sales figures of the Pre 2, Veer, and TouchPad turned out to be the finishing blows. In between these two milestones, Mace claims that both Palm and HP tried too hard to mimic Apple and iOS (something I have thought ever since the CES 2009 unveiling of the Pre and WebOS) instead of differentiating themselves with a unique set of products. He of course references Palm's disastrous attempts to spoof the Pre as a generic iPod in iTunes back in 2009.
At this stage of the game, it's unlikely any retailer will be chomping at the bit to stock this device. It's also uncertain how long HP will sell the device or how many have been produced, so depending on the status of the pending TouchPad4G, this could be the final "new" piece of WebOS hardware ever released. Collectors take note!
One bit of good news for legacy Pre users is that, despite the Pre 3's expanded screen and keyboard size, it is fully compatible with the original Palm TouchStone dock from 2009. This has been confirmed in the Precentral forums. Unsurprisingly, the Pre 3 does not fit the Touchstone as snugly as the older Pre and Pixi models but it is compatible and chargers properly.
Penned by Chris Martin, the Inquirer story quotes each major UK wireless carrier's plans for the Pre 3. O2, Vodafone, and Three all reiterated their plans to not stock the Pre3 in any capacity. Thankfully, Orange does plan to offer the Pre 3 through indirect channels and resellers, but in doing so the device is guaranteed to receive little in the way of carrier marketing or support. Carphone Warehouse, a division of Best Buy, will sell unlocked Pre 3 handsets starting in September. A number of other resellers in the UK are listed in the article as carrying unbranded, SIM-free versions of the Pre 3 in its 8GB and 16GB versions. While the Pre3 is supposedly in stock at some UK retailers, as of this writing only a handful of actual reports from users receiving the devices have appeared.
In the meeting, webOS GBU VP Stephen DeWitt made it clear that HP intends to continue to work on webOS and likely intends to license it. DeWitt was adamant, saying several times "We are not walking away from webOS."
[…] DeWitt said that there would be staff reductions, but told the team that the company needs people "that are serious about winning" and again reiterated HP's commitment to developing webOS as a platform. Both DeWitt and Bradley were clear that the current business model of webOS wasn't working primarily due to lackluster hardware, arguing that HP needed to stop "trying to force non-competitive products into the market."
In an absolutely stunning move, HP announced today that it plans to "discontinue operations for WebOS devices". They specifically refer to the TouchPad and WebOS handsets. According to the brief mention in the press release, HP claims that they will "continue to explore options to optimize the value of WebOS software going forward".
As an initial response, I feel that this is a knee jerk response to the lackluster worldwide response to the recent crop of WebOS phones (Pre 2, Veer, Pre 3) as well as the TouchPad tablets along with Monday's announcement of Google acquiring Motorola Mobility. My guess is that HP will choose to either aggressively court licensees to produce WebOS hardware or they may look to shift the platform to embedded devices such as printers and as an secondary "instant-on" OS for their PC line.
- HP to Open Source WebOS (8)
- HP Holds TouchPad Fire Sale, Sell Outs Ensue (3)
- HP to Discontinue WebOS Devices (115)
- HP TouchPad Review (8)
- HP Veer 4G Review (46)
- HP TouchPad Goes on Sale July 1st (12)
- HP Veer 4G Initial Impressions (103)
- HP Veer 4G Announced for AT&T (3)
- RE: ET Lives! -LiveFaith
- RE: HP Touchpad for Christmas -linds
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- ET Lives! -Gekko
- RE: LG WebOS TV -BaalthazaaR
- RE: LG WebOS TV -BaalthazaaR
- HP Touchpad for Christmas -wmckelvey
- New Year Palm OS plans -HyperScheduler
- RE: LG WebOS TV -HyperScheduler
- LG WebOS TV -BaalthazaaR
- TouchPad TouchStone Dock Review
- HP TouchPad Review
- HP Veer 4G Review
- HP Veer 4G Initial Impressions
- 2TwitMe for Palm OS Review
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