R.I.P. HP WebOS And Palm: An Obituary - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
8/19/2011
09:42 AM
Fritz Nelson
Fritz Nelson
Commentary
Connect Directly
Facebook
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

R.I.P. HP WebOS And Palm: An Obituary

HP's WebOS died after a long bout with apathy and neglect. Mourners recalled the Palm early years, when WebOS was just a gleam in the eye.

HP's WebOS, the supremely innovative but notoriously reclusive mobile operating system, died Thursday along with the associated Palm devices in a pabulum office park in Palo Alto, Calif., after a long bout with apathy and neglect from developers, various owners, and, ultimately, customers. It was 15.

Palm seemed on the road to recovery recently, after tech behemoth Hewlett-Packard purchased the company almost one year ago for $1.2 billion, reviving its health with every form of investment, from R&D to the massive marketing campaign behind the TouchPad. The TouchPad hardware was elegant, if unremarkable, but WebOS drew well-deserved rave reviews. The Palm Pre3, spotted briefly, was a serious leap ahead from older, quirkier models. The company was rumored to be readying a 7-inch TouchPad Go.

But it all took a turn for the worse when, barely a month after its revival, its health continued to suffer. Sales were anemic, HP and its retail partners dropped the price, Best Buy ratted out the poor performance numbers, and all hope was gone.

Mourners recalled the early years of Palm, when WebOS was just a gleam in our eyes. US Robotics first introduced the Palm Pilot publicly at the DEMO conference in Palm Springs, and it featured Graffiti, a shorthand concept for handwriting recognition, which this author still uses to sign legal documents.

3Com took ownership of Palm when it merged with US Robotics in 1997. Ironically, 3Com is now a part of HP. In a way, Palm came back home to die.

There was Handspring and Palm Computing, the Zire, the Treo, the Centro, the Pixi, the Pre, the Veer. May they, too, rest in peace.

The WebOS code lives on, like the final remains ready to be tossed into the sea. Someone still may decide its memory must live on.

Palm and WebOS is survived by Symbian and RIM.

Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.

Follow Fritz Nelson and InformationWeek on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+:

See the latest IT solutions at Interop New York. Learn to leverage business technology innovations--including cloud, virtualization, security, mobility, and data center advances--that cut costs, increase productivity, and drive business value. Save 25% on Flex and Conference Passes or get a Free Expo Pass with code CPFHNY25. It happens in New York City, Oct. 3-7, 2011. Register now.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
IT Careers: Top 10 US Cities for Tech Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  1/14/2020
Commentary
Predictions for Cloud Computing in 2020
James Kobielus, Research Director, Futurum,  1/9/2020
News
What's Next: AI and Data Trends for 2020 and Beyond
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/30/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll