Why there's real hope for webOS - if HP is committed


TouchPad + CyanogenMod 7 = best VFM tablet of 2011

If you could actually get a firesale TouchPad (I did), the fact that you could put CyanogenMod 7 (Android 2.3.7) with CM9 due next year too (Android 4) and dual boot between webOS and Android was pretty unique amongst phones/tablets. For the first few months, I tweaked my TouchPad on the webOS side enormously (Preware, Uberkernel, Govnah, patches to speed it up), but it got less and less use over time!

Why? Well, it's the holes in the webOS app catalogue that bothered me the most. Some of those holes were due to HP refusing to release UK versions of US webOS apps such as Amazon Kindle [I had to fake my registration country to US to get it] or the HP Movie Store [I peeked at it and was appalled as the prices mind you!]). Having region-specific stores and promo apps codes is horrendous, especially when you can't see any "rights" reasons for many of the differences.

Also, crowing when you had 1,000 apps on the webOS platform that were TouchPad compatible (and many thousands more that provided a phone-emulated dismal experience) was not a good PR move when Android and iOS tablets have an order of magnitude more.

So when CyanogenMod came along, I jumped ship to Android on the TouchPad and have been a happy bunny ever since. Games are way better on Android and there's even MAMEdroid and Beebdroid for emulation of 80's classics. Loads of free high quality chess and Sudoku programs on Android (the few on Android either aren't TouchPad compatible or you have to pay for them) are also available if you're into more cerebral puzzles.

I couldn't find a decent free video player that would play all the common formats on webOS at all (which you'd think was a critical app for webOS on tablets, but nope), but there's a couple of dozen free ones to choose from on Android. Heck, early webOS releases didn't even come with a free proper camera app that could take photos and videos, FFS!

Ultimately, a vibrant app store can take a year or so to build up a critical app. HP pulling the rug uder webOS hardware less than 50 days after release has meant that no-one can buy a brand new webOS device and this in turn will inevitably lead to developers gradually leaving the platform for iOS or Android. HP or another OEM needs to get more webOS-using hardware out there or its future remains grim.

Yes, the TouchPad was the best bargain tablet of the year (totally ignored by El Reg's year-end review of 2011 tablets, which was a ludicrous omission - at one point it was world's #2 best-selling tablet!), but unless someone follows up with a TouchPad/Pre successor, it'll be the swansong for webOS.


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