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HP Insiders Claim WebOS Was Doomed From The Start

Illustration for article titled HP Insiders Claim WebOS Was Doomed From The Start

We're all well aware of the commercial problems that HP has endured with WebOS. But now, according to the New York Times, insiders have admitted that the software was doomed from the get-go.

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When WebOS started development, it was ambitious: Palm originally intended for the operating system to be based on common Web technology, WebKit. That through up plenty of issues, sure, but the reasoning was sound. The idea was to make it easy to create software for the device, which Palm hoped would attract programmers to make WebOS apps.

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Sadly, it didn't quite work out like that.

Paul Mecer, former senior director of software at Palm, explained to the New York Times that Palm "just weren't able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design." In fact, he's even more fatalistic than that. "Perhaps it never could have been executed," he continued, "because the technology wasn't there yet."

But others involved with the operating system have gone further in pointing out the problems with WebOS which were evident from the start. One HP employee, who declined to be named because he still had some ties with the firm, told the New York Times that "there were neither the right leaders nor the right engineers to do the job." Despite the concept behind the OS being sound, Palm and HP simply failed to capitalize on its promise.

There's more—much more—to the backstory over at NYT, and the full detailing is definitely worth a read. But more important than the flawed platform's past is its open source future, where hopefully lies the chance to realize webOS's potential and forget its muddled start. [New York Times]

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DISCUSSION

This article just confirms what any Touchpad owner knows. WebOS has some beautiful ideas and certainly some of the UI elements are superior to Android and iOS, but, and this is a large but, the core touch features are simply still rudimentary. For example, touch is clumsy and not as precise as iOS. I can touch an element on my Touchpad and it won't register. Video playback is terrible, sort of hit or miss and when it does work its incredibly slow loading.

The whole OS gives me the feeling that it started out with a lot of energy and good ideas and was shortly abandoned. They didn't finish by polishing the core tasks of a tablet. I think the amount I paid for the tablet $150, makes it worth it to own, but if I had paid $500 I would have seriously felt I had been ripped off.