WebOS/MeeGo: What Would You Have Done Differently?

  • September 28, 2011 8:29 am

Two amazing mobile platforms have succumbed to the insurmountable forces of neglect and disinterest: WebOS and MeeGo. Both platforms had their strengths and weaknesses. What they shared, however, was a huge amount of potential. The only major fault of both was that the owner(s) dropped the ball. Whether it be poor resource management, lack of marketing, or fractured roadmap/schedule, may never be known. Ultimately we’re left with a single option: choose from one of the few big platforms offered by Apple, Google, Microsoft or RIM.

If we were in charge of HP we would have put a considerably greater amount of in-house developers and company financial resources behind the webOS platform. Because MeeGo is/was open source we would have been a lot more proactive than the mishmash of supporters have been thus far and advertised the hell out of it. (How is anyone supposed to get excited (read: care) about your platform if they don’t know it exists?)

But we’re sure there are at least a few other good ideas out there. What would you have done? Leave it in the comments after the break…


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Dean/100001220793555 Christopher Dean

    ePutting more money into WebOS would have only hurt HP more now that it failed. What would I have done if I was in charge of Hp’s decision making, is to have integrated WebOS into Meego. Being open-source, Meego had the leverage of the community at its side. Combining forces with this movement would have created an OS with the best (in my opinion) native development options with an emphasis on Web Apps. Meego and WebOS would have been a powerful combination that we won’t know about. If I was Intel…. I would have stuck it out with Meego and found a way to leverage Meego as an OS that takes full advantage of new and upcoming chip sets. Meego on Ivy bridge could have been a powerful system, add some working and affordable hardware and there is your product. Making companies like acer create the architecture ports themselves was a BAD idea and left Meego with no OEMS. Learn from Qualcomm in this area Intel, Enabling OEMs to get Meego up and running on more hardware would have sparked more interest.

  • http://www.gadgetsteria.com The Gadgeteur

    webOS uses web-based languages.  I didn’t think MeeGo did (or used very little).  

    Your idea is interesting, though to me it sounds like it would become another Android.  Android in its own right is a fantastic OS — but it’s fragmented simply because of the openness.  Openness is a bittersweet thing to have.  On one hand the communty is free to tweak it as they see fit and cater to every majority as well as the smallest niche.  On the flipside, cross-compatibility between manufacturers and other 3rd parties is generally quite poor.  

    webOS took some of iOS/Apple’s best strategies and levered some features of Android much like WP7 is attempting to do.  

    I still think the only reason webOS failed is because HP didn’t put enough money into it, specifically R&D.  

    There is of course the massive failure by HP of hiring Apotheker — an enterprise-minded individual who really had no interest in HP’s pro-consumer path hence the gutting of the company’s roadmaps over the last year.

  • Fredo

    WebOS failed because…

    When Palm showed the first Pre device to the world it then took them 6-7 months to deliver the product to Sprint.  Palm was already on the ropes when the iPhone announced and RIM was hitting on all cylinders.  Android was the new kid that everybody was watching.  Palm chose weak partner Sprint to launch their phone which at the time was losing customers every quarter.  The exclusive agreement that Sprint had on the phone initially kept out ATT and Verizon which ended up backfiring on Palm.  Sprint/Palm were not able to create the euphoria ATT did with the  iPhone.  Don’t forget that the hardware was lame and they did not come to market with the development community behind them.  All this sucked the life out of WebOS up front.  From then on it was fire fighting mode even when HP picked up the pieces.  
    Two things could have saved WebOS.  
    1. Quit trying to be an iPhone/iPad killer.  They are (were) not Apple and cannot compete with Apple saying that I am better than Apple.  They were Palm/HP tell the community who you are and that you are different. IMO if Palm wanted to go after someone RIM and Microsoft should have been the target.   Why?  Palm had a loyal following in the business segment not the consumer segment.  Apple is very strong in the consumer segment.  Everybody that has tried to compete with Apple on those two devices has done so based on hardware and features.  However everyone of them forgot to tie all those features together with a usable service platform such as iTunes.  The Pre is a very usable business tool.  If they had leaned to that strength it would still be PALM.  If HP had corrected that strategy the Pre 3 would be taking foothold.  Same for the Touchpad.  It was marketed to consumers and not the Business community.  Just look at all the celebrities HP signed up to market the device in commercial… Not one business Suite getting work done.

    2.  Applications Store for Developers… They were left out at launch.  The original Palm and HandSpring  devices were widely successful because the device could be transformed into some other tool by loading software and modules.  Palm threw all this knowledge aside to their detriment.  The modern touchscreen phone has to have developers behind it interested in creating applications on the phone.  Without it the customer just gets hardware that he will have to cobble together 3rd party tools and become the administrator.

      I wanted Palm to be successful because lets face it they were one of the first to implement touch interfaces on phones. They just sat on their laurels and got lazy and slept while Apple and Google burned the midnight oil.  They should have been in high gear when Apple showed the world the iPod Touch.  That device should have awaken all the handset makers.  It certainly got my attention with its potential.

  • http://www.gadgetsteria.com The Gadgeteur

    Some very good points.  Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/astraith Allen Straith

    I would have made a larger device for WebOS from the start. Spent more money on the actual phone. And so many other things. I mean, it probably would have been better to work with HTC to make the Pre instead of designing it yourself. 

    And with Meego, I wouldn’t have given up on that platform if I was Nokia. Meego is more advanced then Windows Phone 7.5. Apollo might surpass it next year, but I doubt it. The fast app switching in Mango seems out of place and not very thoughtful. Maybe Nokia should help Microsoft with ideas on how to approach the mobile space.