When Palm revealed to the world that webOS would feature a whole new, ingenious way to multitask, many were very excited to see it come to mobile devices available for consumer use in the near future. The first device to feature this interesting OS was the Palm Pre. If you could write a one sentence review of the Pre, it would be “Software ain’t finished cookin’, hardware is subpar” Being a first hand owner of a Pre and a Pixi, I can personally say that the hardware of the Pre was by-far, the worst hardware I’ve ever seen, (or felt) on a phone. Even with a case on, parts fell off, pieces chipped, and after using the touchstone charger, the back of the device lost its grip. Palm tried to ease the pain of potential new customers by releasing the Pre2. It boasted minor hardware changes and some speed improvements, but nothing drastic While the webOS 2.0 update to Pre2 users was a great upgrade, the lacking hardware didn’t bring anything new to the table, therefor, not bringing in any new customers. This is where HP comes in.
As Palms sales dropped, other companies rose. Palm had little hope left in salvaging their company. HP bought Palm in April of 2010. They now had rights to webOS. In February of 2011, HP announced a line of new devices that would run the new webOS 2.2, and the Touchpad, which would run 3.0.
On July 1st, the Touchpad was released, along with an array of mixed reviews. While some claim it to have “the best mobile operating system on a tablet, with some flaws” others say it still feels too buggy for mass market. Regardless of a buggy OS or not, you’re sure to get updates. A bug here, a bug there, and a lag here, soon they’ll all be fixed through updates sometime or another. I think that the general concept of webOS is just, well, right! After getting a short, but sweet 1 hour test of the Touchpad, I didn’t notice any laggyness at all. It felt fast, responsive, and the touchscreen felt of something that would crawl out of Silicon Vally’s 1 Infinitive Loop. Placing a Xoom, and an Acer Iconia side by side next to the webOS device, the Touchpad clearly sweeped though web speed tests, loading applications faster, and other non-scientific speed tests. Multitasking is perfect. Nothing else to say. Honeycomb can boast ‘better multitasking’ but there always seems to be something missing on my Xoom when trying to fast app switch, (or maybe its because it’s a Xoom?). Of course, you have to face the cold, hard truth that webOS has a nearly empty app store. Even Honeycomb can brag at a bigger, badder app store. HP needs to get dev’s more interested in doing what they do best, developing. Blackberry had a Playbook contest to anyone who summited an app to Blackberry World, could win a Playbook, So why doesn’t HP? They need to get the dev’s interested. If in 6 months the Touchpad can get 30,00 apps, HP has a clear shot at getting webOS into a home near you.
The final thing I’d like to touch apon (pun intended), is an eco-system. Apple has made the mobile eco-system nice and famous, and now webOS has a great opportunity to capitalize on creating an eco-system of their own. One nice feature HP included in the Touchpad was the ability to place your Veer or Pre3 right onto the Touchpad itself, and transfer data. What if you can buy an app right off your Pre3, get home later that day, place your Pre3 on top of your Touchpad and transfer the app right there. What if you can transfer all of the data from the app too, just like a MobileMe, but better. webOS is like a little kid who just got into a great school. It’s has so many opportunities to capitalize on, it just needs be executed perfectly.
Is webOS the big thing right now? No. Does it have a boatload of potential tobecome the next big thing? Yes. If HP can play their cards right (pun intended once again), the mobile war will no longer be Apple vs. Google. It’ll be Apple vs. Google vs. HP. I can see it now……