Technologizer posts about Palm

From the start, lot of people (me included) loved a lot of things about WebOS, the mobile operating system that debuted on Palm’s Pre smartphone in 2009. We thought it had a shot at being serious competition for Apple–or at least we hoped it might. But my friend Brian X. Chen of The New York Times has a smart piece that makes the case that WebOS was doomed to disappoint, because its technical underpinnings and use of Web technologies made for a slow and generally disappointing experience:

“Palm was ahead of its time in trying to build a phone software platform using Web technology, and we just weren’t able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design,” said Paul Mercer, former senior director of software at Palm, who oversaw the interface design of WebOS and recruited crucial members of the team. “Perhaps it never could have been executed because the technology wasn’t there yet.”

Posted by Harry at 2:05 am


How Not To Release A Tablet

By  |  Posted at 1:15 pm on Friday, August 19, 2011


With all the hubbub surrounding HP’s shocking announcement of the death of of WebOS and its various devices such as the TouchPad, there’s been a whole lot of finger pointing. But the most stunning revelations may have come from TheNextWeb’s Matt Brian.

WebOS was tested on an iPad 2, Brian says. The results? It performed beautifully–more than two times as fast as the TouchPad, and running WebOS through Safari on the iPad 2 produced similar results.

If this is true it means HP’s crappy hardware killed the platform, and not the OS itself. That just floors me.

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Quick reminder: At 10am PT, I’ll be at HP’s WebOS event, where news about at least one tablet is guaranteed, and announcements of other WebOS gizmos aren’t an impossible dream. You can join me at, and I hope you will…

Posted by Harry at 7:40 am

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Coming on Wednesday: Live Coverage of HP’s Web OS Event

By  |  Posted at 12:40 pm on Monday, February 7, 2011

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Those of us who think that WebOS is one of the best mobile operating systems in the business are looking forward to the WebOS event HP is holding on Wednesday, the first big bash it’s thrown since it acquired Palm last year. The company has pre-announced that it’ll announce something related to WebOS tablets, and there could be more news. (I’m still waiting for a handset that looks a bit like an iPhone but runs WebOS.)

The event is happening at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, and kicks off at 10am PT; I’ll be there and am looking forward to liveblogging the proceedings at Come hang out with me, won’t you?

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HP’s WebOS Tablet: Think September, Not February?

By  |  Posted at 11:15 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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Engadget’s Nilay Patel has an apparent scoop: pictures and details on HP’s plans for tablets based on its WebOS operating system. The images aren’t as exciting as the factoids–all tablets look pretty snazzy in product shots–but the most striking factoid is the apparent possibility that the tablets won’t ship until September. That seems eons away given how many other tablets are set to ship in the next few months. It’s also not the “early 2011″ that HP was promising a few months ago. And if HP talks about the tablets at its Feburary 9th WebOS event, it would be preannouncing them by seven months or so. Here’s hoping we don’t have the whole story just yet–and that the whole story involves WebOS tablets showing up before the fall.

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HP WebOS Tablet: Think February, Not January

By  |  Posted at 4:06 pm on Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The bad news is that it looks like rumors that HP would unveil its WebOS tablet (possibly called the PalmPad) at CES were wrong. The good news is that the company has scheduled a WebOS press event in San Francisco for February 9th at 10am–and it seems like a very good bet that the tablet will make its debut there. (It presumably sent out the invites today to inoculate itself against anyone being disappointed if CES comes and goes with no WebOS news.)

I’ll be at the event and will provide live coverage–more details as we get closer.

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Fox News’s Clayton Morris has a scoop: drawings and basic specs for HP’s WebOS-based PalmPad, which he says will debut at CES in a couple of weeks. Nothing revelatory, but it’s nice to think it may be on its way sooner rather than later.

Posted by Harry at 10:14 pm

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Help Us Pick the Hottest Smartphones

By  |  Posted at 10:05 am on Thursday, October 28, 2010


Seriously, folks–these days, you can barely move your contact list to your new phone before coveting the next one.

I queried a few of our Last Gadget Standing judges and they’ve got no shortage of opinion on which phones should be in the running for the award we’ll hand out at CES next January.

Some voiced concern about the Nokia N8 being an oddity.  Yeah, well, it’s an oddity with a 12 MP camera (with Zeiss lens) and HD video recording.  Those video watchers amongst us will be intrigued by the form factor; those who are dubious about Symbian less so.

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Palm’s Pre 2 Looks Nice. But at This Point, WebOS Needs More Than Nice

By  |  Posted at 12:07 pm on Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I don’t claim to have an unerring gut when it comes to judging new technology products. But stuff that knocks my socks off does tend to go on to do reasonably well. One notable exception, however, has been the Palm Pre–I continue to think that it’s one of the best phones on the market (thanks mainly to its WebOS software), but I can’t imagine that anyone involved with it, from Palm/HP to wireless carriers, is pleased with how it’s sold so far.

Today, HP announced the first WebOS phone to emerge since the company bought Palm. It’s the Pre 2, shipping this week in France and at an unspecified future date in the US. It looks like–well, like the Pre only better, with more modern specs (such as a 1-GHz CPU) and a meaty-sounding software update in WebOS 2.0. If it’s all it’s cracked up to be, it sounds like a phone that Palm Pre lovers will love even more.

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Palm Pre 2 Leaked: Like the Original, And That’s OK

By  |  Posted at 9:13 am on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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D’oh. SFR, a wireless carrier in France, briefly posted a product page for the Palm Pre 2. The page is gone now, but we all know what goes up on the Internet never really comes down. Pre Central has the details preserved.

As the name suggests, the Palm Pre 2 doesn’t deviate much from the original. Instead, it modernizes the hardware — there’s a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and an unspecified bump in battery life — and refines the design, with a flatter screen and what looks like a matted finish to reduce cracks in the plastic. And of course, WebOS 2.0 will be on board. Think of it as the Droid 2 to Motorola’s original Droid.

It’s tempting to look at the leaked Palm Pre 2 evidence and wonder what HP and Palm are thinking. When HP announced its plan to acquire Palm, it seemed giddy about getting WebOS, but didn’t mention the Pre at all. All signs pointed to some kind of smartphone reboot, not a rehash of the same hardware models that bombed commercially.

But updating the Palm Pre to reach parity with other smartphones doesn’t preclude HP and Palm from being more ambitious at the same time. A slab-like phone codenamed “Mansion” is reportedly in the works, and we know nothing about HP and Palm’s strategies for pricing, marketing and wireless carrier deals.

Certainly, HP is in a deep hole with Palm phones. The App Catalog is tiny and brand awareness is lousy. Maybe the solution lies in releasing a lot of solid smartphones to a lot of carriers, and the Pre 2 is just the beginning. We’ll see.

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I’ve assumed ever since the Palm Pre turned out not to be a blockbuster that there would be a more iPhone-like WebOS phone. PreCentral has published some scuttlebutt along those lines.

Posted by Harry at 4:36 pm

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WebOS: HP, and HP Only

By  |  Posted at 2:35 pm on Monday, September 27, 2010

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More news from TechCrunch Disrupt: TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington asked Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP’s Personal Systems Group, whether the company had any intention of licensing WebOS, which it acquired when it bought Palm, to any other company. He gave a definitive “no,” and if that decision has been publicly stated before, I’d missed it.

Bradley knows whereof he speaks: He’s a former CEO of Palm, back when it was an independent company–one that, at one point, staked its future on the idea that a company could be both a hardware maker and a licensor of its operating system to other companies. Some decent products emerged during this era–I certainly dug my Sony Clie–but overall, it seemed to be terribly damaging to Palm, and the fact that the company split into two entires (PalmOne and PalmSource) hurt rather than helped. In fact, it probably contributed to Palm being in the sticky situation that eventually led to it being acquisition bait for HP.

I can’t think, offhand, of an operating system that’s been both a successful in-house platform and a successful licensed one for any period of time. (If you can recall any, shout them out–no, Mac OS doesn’t count.)

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A Taste of WebOS 2.0

By  |  Posted at 5:25 pm on Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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In the months since HP agreed to acquire Palm and its WebOS mobile operating system, the company has said that it plans to put the OS a tablet, in printers, and, yes, in new phones. But it hasn’t said much about WebOS upgrades or new features. Until now: The Palm site has some info on WebOS 2.0, which it’s beginning to prep developers for. Looks like some neat stuff is on the way, including an upgrade to the Cards multitasking interface that groups related Cards into Stacks, and a feature called Just Type–evolved from WebOS’s current Universal Search feature–that lets developers build apps that provide users with the ability to perform searches or “quick actions” by…just typing.

The upgrade will also allow developers to write apps that run when a WebOS phone is charging in Palm’s Touchstone inductive cradle.

Even though the Pre and Pixi turned out not to be blockbusters, they run the only smartphone OS that competes with Apple’s iOS in terms of user interface sophistication and polish. (There are a number of things I like about Google’s Android, but the intelligence of the interface isn’t one of them.) It’s heartening to see some tangible proof that it’s going to continue to get better. Here’s hoping that news of new handsets isn’t too far off either.

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HP WebOS and Windows Tablets Are Real

By  |  Posted at 1:51 pm on Friday, August 20, 2010


We now finally have confirmation that HP plans to bring to the market both Windows and WebOS-based tablets, the first time the company has publicly confirmed its plans. The confirmation came from personal systems chief Todd Bradley during the company’s quarterly results call.

HP’s on again/off again Windows Slate would be the first to appear in “the near future.” This would be followed by the release of the WebOS tablet — which some are guessing will be dubbed the PalmPad — early in 2011. There is very little detail as to the specifics of these devices, but at least we can officially put to rest the speculation on the company’s plans, no?

The acquisition of Palm led many to believe that the company would be more apt to sell a tablet based on WebOS simply because it would obviously be cheaper to use in-house code. But the company’s silence on its plans, and even some of its public statements, led some in the media to speculate that it had given up on the Windows Slate altogether.

In any case, all this apparent delay is good for one company in particular, and that’s Apple. It’s iPad continues to be the flagship device of this market segment, and the longer competitors wait, the further it will get out ahead. Time is of the essence here.

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HP’s bid to acquire Palm is now a done deal. It still isn’t willing to talk about the fate of its Windows 7 slate, though. Stay tuned…

Posted by Harry at 3:41 pm

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All Things Digital’s John Paczkowksi, is reporting that Matias Duarte, the guy in charge of the user interface of Palm’s WebOS mobile operating system, has left Palm and appears to be headed to Google, presumably to work on Android. WebOS is the only phone OS that’s in the same league as Apple’s iPhone OS when it comes to general usability, so Duarte clearly knows what he’s doing.

I’ve said before that the one Android upgrade I most want isn’t tethering or automated translation or built-in music streaming–it’s an overhaul of the interface that makes the OS, core programs, and third-party apps more consistent, efficient, and enjoyable. If Duarte is charged with making something like that happen, he could work wonders.

Posted by Harry at 1:31 pm