back to article HP eyes webOS iPad rival

In purchasing Palm, HP intends to build and sell not only a new collection of phones based on Palm's critically-acclaimed webOS, but a line of webOS tablets as well. On Wednesday, the two companies announced that HP has agreed to acquire Palm for roughly $1.2bn - $5.70 per share of Palm common stock - and according to Todd …

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FAIL

Not Enough Developer Support!

WebOS will simple remain a small player, not because its not technically up to par, or better than what's out there, but the developer eco system for it is still born. The reason, in my opinion, is not having a set of Java APIs to code against. Very few will invest the time/money to learn to program on the non-portable html/CSS/javascript API it now uses. I know that's what cooled my interest in it right away. Now Android, well it Java based, RIM Java based. iPhone well that's Mac Object C based. See the point, the successful platforms all leverage substantial community of developers for their device.

But wait, there is already a large community of web developers out there, why don't they code for the webOS? Simple, there are so many frameworks, tool sets out there in that land that for any given technology, only a small fraction of people actually know it well enough to do the really cool stuff. Most are probable of the cut and paste type of programmers.

One more thing, were we not their years ago with BeOS, vastly superior to anything out there at the time, but failed to gain market acceptance due to lack of developer support (M$ anti competitive behavior didn't help matter either). I always said that if the just made a solid Java API and pushed that, then it might actually have gained some traction.

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Silver badge

On the BeOS issue...

... I think people are a little revisionist on that one. It was technologically ahead, but lacking quite a lot of spit and polish on the user interface. For example, those funny window titlebars could be positioned anywhere along the top of their respective window so that you could easily create a stack of windows with the tabs working like real, physical folder tabs. But then the system would save the window positions but not the tab positions, so next time you'd have switched from each access to everything in the stack to no access to anything else in the stack without moving everything about all over the place. And that's just one example.

Though I guess their biggest mistake was trying to charge Apple double what they ended up paying for Next.

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Re: Not Enough Developer Support!

I kind of stopped reading when you described HTML/CSS/Javascript as "non portable". Really, now.

The point is that there are a lot of web developers out there that could use Palm's dev tools. And they have an amazing set of development apps that are (IMO) unrivaled even by Android (it took forever to get the SDK and particularly the emulator working for me).

Android is Java-based. iPhone is Objective-C. Windows Mobile is .NET. There's no such thing as an API that works across all platforms- though a few third parties are trying hard to provide one.

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Go

I'm Glad

I'm glad Palm are being snapped up, as I quite like my Pre. It's got a few problems - battery life being the most frustrating one - but it's a nice user interface, and I'd like to see it in more devices.

The most frustrating lack-of-app at the moment is Turn by Turn GPS - it's available in the US from Sprint (I believe), but there isn't a UK equivalent for any price...

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Anonymous Coward

You're going to be disappointed...

Have you tried getting any support from HP? Woeful at best; an SLA that seems to be over a week for consumer products; complete lack of knowledge of their own products.....

I had a HP Ipaq 614c - supposedly the top of the range - loads and loads of problems and their support was so bad, I just gave up and went to Blackberry instead.

Awful company - I'll never buy anything from them again. Only reason they're still around is they practically give the printers away and sell ink at vastly over-inflated prices using dubious techniques to make people throw away partially emptied cartridges.

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Alert

Only printers?

Umm, there is also the small matter of being one of the world's biggest vendors of servers, PCs, laptops and professional services. I'm not saying I'm a fan of the way they do business, but they do make some excellent servers, and they certainly do not only survive on ink sales!

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Pint

Cool

I didn't even consider a Palm phone as an option because I figured there was no guarantee they would survive.

With HP buying Palm, and investing in developing WebOS, they are now worth taking a serious look at.

I'm currently looking at updating to a new phone, so who knows, my next handset could be a Palm.

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Gates Horns

They will do that over Steve Balmers dead body

"With webOS, we'll be able to aggressively deploy an integrated platform that will allow HP to own the entire customer experience."

I wonder how monkey boy will react to that. Much like he did when Asus tried a similar thing I expect.

Where are all the ARM based netbooks I was promised anyway?

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FAIL

Its lucky...

they have managed to jump on the band wagon

maybe hp should re-brand themselves to 'me to ltd.'

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Manufacture

Did HP make their WinMo phones? If so where they made well? If the answer to the 2nd is no, then I don't see much benefit for Palm. Its problem (esp in the uk) was that the phone was sold on par with the iPhone but with no where near the build quality.

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Happy

Track record

HP (and previously Compaq) I think have a poor track record on Mergers and acquisitions.

I'll be pleasantly surprised if this works out.

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Unhappy

Track Record II

I'd also worry about their track record with converting themselves from a leading supplier of PDA's to completely incapable of producing a good smart phone. They flushed the ipaq brand down the loo - watch palm follow.

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Stop

Maybe

With HP behind Palm, they'll be able to make the Palm Pre's clock tell the right time? Seems to be an issue all over the world.

Oh, and maybe they can sort out the build quality of the Pre - slide phones are always tricky in this regard, but the corners chip off the Pre far too easily. I have 2 phones on a business contract, replacing one per year, so each phone should last 2 years. I'm expecting to have to replace the Pre after just one year - just not good enough for a device that's supposedly worth £300+.

For the record, my other phone is an O2 XDA with WinMo 6.1. Solid build, still like new after 18 months. Shame about the OS!

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Happy

IPhone -> WebOs

If Adobe can write something that can convert a Flash app to an iPhone app then why don't Palm do that for WebOS? As an iPhone developer I don't have time to learn a whole new OS but if there was a utility that did that for me I'd imagine thousands of iPhone apps would get ported over.

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ares

@Sean O'Connor 1: There isn't a tool that simple but have you checked out Ares? You can make your webOS app all in your browser. http://ares.palm.com/Ares/about.html

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Unhappy

Nope

I just don't have time to learn something new like that. If Palm makes it trivial for an iPhone developer to port their app to WebOS then it becomes a no-brainer for us developers. If it involves a lot of time and effort for not a lot of return we'll just stick to the iPhone.

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Happy

It is done

And it is called PDK.

It is coming out of Beta at the end of May, but in the mean time Gameloft had an early access and is porting ALL their games to WebOS (17 so far) the complete list is at http://www.gameloft.co.uk/download-games/palm-pre-games/?selected_sort=name&alpha_21=all_alpha)

Cheers

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Stop

Google should have just bought it.

And let it die...

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Anonymous Coward

They don't need to

HP will squeeze the last bit of life out of it anyway so google get it done for nothing.

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FAIL

Here's an idea HP...

You could have used Android, for free, hit the ground running with a full App Store of goodies, and surely created a better product. You could have paid me $1.2bn for the idea...

Instead you just wasted a bucketload of money...

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Not the best idea

And how will they make a different product from the zillions of Android phones already in the market?

In less than a year a very poor Palm has managed to have 2000 apps in the catalog, I think with HP's money, knowing that they will stay and the easy iPhone ports that the PDK brings, in one year the number of apps wont matter any more,

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IT Angle

Totally agree - From a HP Insider

Mark Hurd knows this. See his agenda is to make as much money personally before getting found out for the one trick pony he is. His ongoing strategy is to buy then cut then buy again before the market cottons on to internal problems, plus buying a company strokes his already overinflated ego. Developing something on the other hand would mean putting trust in his own developers, which means treating them with respect and opening the gates of pay restraint, which means Marky Mark risks not getting his bonus.

Wake up people, HP doesn't do IT, it does 'financial engineering' .

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Linux

"Did HP make their WinMo phones?"

No.

Afaik, like everyone else in this business, the designs come from the far east (maybe with some input from HP) and the manufacturing is done in the far east.

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Grenade

Signs on the wall

With Samsung developing its own OS, and now HP buying Palm, it seems that at least some of the larger players that still have options open to them (i.e. not Motorola) have become aware of the risks involved with allying yourself with the Google.

Android is not a mobile OS, it's a strategic weapon for Google to do as much harm to its competitors. As far as Google is concerned, it really doesn't matter how or where you connect to the internet, just as long as they can stuff your face with ads.

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Alert

Nice ... or not?

Nice to see Palm/WebOS getting some support but I'm not so sure HP is the best company to be delivering this support!

An ex Digital/Compaq/HP employee

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Anonymous Coward

Good outcome for Palm

And probably better than being sold out to Lenovo. I see Pre as being the Beos of the mobile world so it's nice to see someone coming along and preventing it's fall into obscurity.

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Coat

Focus Shift

And so BeOS finally makes it onto an internet appliance!

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"You could have used Android"

Of course they could have. But so could everyone else. Phone manufacturers have already started to have problems making their Android phones distinctive- they either add a UI layer (HTC, some Motorola phones IIRC) or go all out with hardware.

Although it's lacking in apps, WebOS is something that'll make HP products stand out in the marketplace. I own an Android phone, but if I'd had more faith in WebOS at the time, I would have bought a Pre.

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I don't like "HP to own the entire customer experience" either.

Maybe it's a matter of interpretation. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm the customer then I OWN the customer experience.

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