HP has spent the last year or so, as the new owner of the WebOS mobile operating system, alternately making arbitrary decisions about the platform's future and making sure to not release any nice hardware for it. After the company ignominiously shut down WebOS for good this summer, we thought that was it for the best smartphone platform nobody used--but today, HP surprised us with an announcement that WebOS will be going open-source.
Today, in an almost insultingly brief statement in the middle of a press release about something else entirely, HP killed off its most recent acquisition, and perhaps its most beloved platform: WebOS, the mobile OS designed by the scrappy gurus at Palm. It's a bitter, inconsequential end for an OS that in its own way paved as much ground as the iPhone, and that even in its current decrepit state is a damn fine platform. WebOS, you deserved better.
Palm's WebOS operating system, seen on the Palm Pre and Pixi, is the great underdog of the mobile world: critically adored, but commercially ignored, to the point that Palm actually had to sell itself to HP to stay alive. Since we've last had a big WebOS announcement, Android has exploded in popularity, Microsoft entirely rebooted their platform, and the iPhone came to Verizon--so today's announcement of the new HP (not Palm) WebOS devices is a do or die moment for WebOS. The lineup that will decide that: The Veer mini-smartphone, the Pre 3, and the TouchPad tablet.
Can you believe that only two or three years ago, the trope of cellphones used in America being so far inferior to what was available in Korea or even Europe was pounded to the point of cliché? Now, it's on its head: the complete opposite is true. And for that, a lot of thanks goes to Apple. No doubt about that.
But the Pre and especially its webOS software is so interesting because it's the first phone to actually build on the trail blazed by the iPhone in some truly key areas of functionality. And what's more American than some good ol' fashioned competition begetting forward-looking innovation that elevates the playing field for all?
While not exactly to scale, I love this expression of the evolution of cellphones via Russian Matryoshka dolls. It's a concept toy by designer Kyle Bean.
Even though we're all still digesting the Palm Pre--Apple's WWDC event is sure to bring news of the next iPhone iteration in just about an hour. We'll keep you posted.
So we got our Palm Pre review phone today. Even though you've probably read all the first-wave reviews from Pogue, Mossberg, our friends at Gizmodo et al, you still may have some questions--especially if you're thinking of plunking down $200 tomorrow.
Rather than rush up a review after using it for half a day, we're obviously going to put this thing through its paces. But in the meantime, drop a line in the comments if there's anything we can check out for you.
We've been waiting almost five months for the Palm Pre smartphone to hit stores. Now Sprint has finally announced the details: In two and a half weeks, you'll be able to get the Pre for $200 (after a $100 mail-in rebate) in stores around the country. If you don't have a Sprint retail outlet in your town, not to worry. Best Buy, RadioShack, Sprint's online store, and even some Wal-Marts will carry the phone, too.
Over the past week and a half or so, there hasn't been one gadget, trend, or tech company that's ticked me off enough to single out for a good flogging. There have been several! So, this week marks the kickoff of a new, semi-regular (whenever I feel like it) Grouse format that's a bit more all-inclusive than the standard fare. It takes aim at all of the wrongs that have been perpetrated against the tech-loving public in the last few days. Here we go!
A sexy smartphone aims to beat iPhone touchscreens and Windows Mobile
By Lauren AaronsonPosted 01.08.2009 at 5:07 pm 2 Comments
Ever since the Palm Pilot was introduced a decade ago, its maker has had some devoted fans. Today it looks set to gain some more. Palm just announced the Pre, a smartphone that has an iPhone-like touchscreen and a full keyboard, plus a new interface that looks easier to navigate on a small screen than desktop-style windows.