HP today announced that it was dropping all webOS devices, with all hardware support ending completely by the end of 2011.
It seems like madness, as only a few months ago, HP announced the Veer, TouchPad and Pre3 at its ‘Think Beyond’ event. The hardware giant promised to ‘double down’ on webOS, but it is clear from todays events that HP didn’t understand that in order to break into this market it would have to lose money before it made any. The TouchPad has been out for little over a month.
What should of happened: HP bring out a range of new super-phones and tablets, pay big name developers to bring the big apps, undercut the iPad by a hundred bucks and launch a worldwide TV ad campaign.
What did happen: HP use Palm’s tired old Pre design for the Veer and Pre3, don’t pay big name developers, charge the same price as the iPad, and have a US exclusive TV ad campaign.
So, although HP seem to be talking about courting new hardware partners in order to licence webOS, we don’t buy it. They could, and should have had news about a partner lined up to limit the damage to webOS today. The fact that they havent means one thing: they haven’t even started looking yet, and these announcements came as a total surprise to 99% of HP.
The problem is, even if they somehow managed to get HTC, Samsung or one of the other big Android boys on board tomorrow, it would easily be a year and a half before we held any hardware in our hands that resulted from the deal. The same applies if someone comes in and purchases Palm and webOS from HP.
So, with the very best, and unlikely, result being new hardware in a year or so, and the worst result no hardware ever, that means no new apps. No new apps to review for what will be a rapidly falling user base that wasn’t big to begin with means that, unfortunately we can no longer cover webOS apps on the site, either for phone or TouchPad.
If, in a years time(or earlier) things change, or even look like changing, then we will resume webOS app reviews. All our previous reviews will of course stay on the site for perusal.
On a personal level, this is deeply disappointing. I believe that webOS is the best mobile OS out there, hands down and to have to drop coverage on the site is a difficult but inevitable decision.