Where Does webOS Stand Now?

Before I continue any further with the article, I would like to remind our readers that this is an overview of the webOS 2.0 operating system. We’ve tried to get HP/Palm to send us a Pre 2 review unit, but for various reasons it hasn’t worked out. Looking at how HP/Palm has gone about releasing the Pre 2, it seems to me as if they wanted to let developers use it as a platform for webOS 2.O development, rather than to really sell it to the consumers directly.

I have used the beta SDK and firmware (on my Pre Plus) to describe what new features and fixes webOS 2.0 brings to the table. This is definitely not the best way to go about looking at a major update to the platform, but we thought it would be a good idea to look at where webOS stands right now, especially in light of HP’s event next week and since it’s been almost a year since we last published anything webOS related on AnandTech. With that out of the way, here is HP webOS 2.0.


Where did the Palm logo go?

HP realized the growing importance of mobile devices in the current landscape and instead of joining the Android bandwagon like most major vendors, they hedged their bets on webOS and bought out Palm in the middle of last year. While we haven’t seen much from the HP-Palm union in terms of hardware or software (apart from the phantom-like Pre 2), HP has definitely made it a point to let us know that the Palm brand-name is taking a backseat (if it's not on its way out entirely).

The latest webOS release is officially known as HP webOS 2.0 and instead of the familiar glowing Palm logo, you now see the HP logo during webOS startup. While it’ll be sad to see the Palm branding go, HP has much more pressing issues to tackle than deciding what logo to put on their devices. Also, in the interest of simplicity, I will be referring to the union as HP from this point on in the article.

A Brief History of webOS What 2.0 Brings to the Table
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  • Noriaki - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    It's nice to have the flexibility of Flash I suppose, but I have little use for it in practice and I usually don't have it installed on my Nexus One. I mostly find it to be a waste of battery.

    On the nexus one it's a market place app I can install/remove as I like. Is there some way to control/disable Flash support in webOS2 ?
    Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    You can enable/disable Flash support in the browser. Also, even if Flash support is enabled, you can toggle whether or not to load Flash content automatically on a page. Reply
  • Noriaki - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    Oh toggle to load automatically, I like that!

    Thanks for the info. I'm pretty interested to see what comes of webOS2.
    Reply
  • tekeffect - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    I got the pre the day it came out. I liked the OS then but the build quality of that phone was shit. I will never understand how they put that much effort into making a OS and put it on the shittiest plastic/hardware they could find. I'm with Android now with no intention of leaving. I wonder how many people would be willing to go to Web OS after so much time. Reply
  • JHBoricua - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    I would, in an instant. But, only as long as the applications are there. That's the only reason I have an Optimus LG now, I got tired of HP dragging their behind and the lack of usable applications on the Pre. The application ecosystem on Webos is pathetic at this time. I couldn't care if coming February 9 HP shows some awesome hardware, if they won't have the apps behind the platform it will be the Pre all over again.

    I like WebOS. IMHO it beats Android and IOS hands down in terms of usability and the user interface experience is absolutely great, but what is the point if the apps are not there?
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    Exactly. It's a catch 22 really. Without the apps, people won't buy the phone. Without people buying the phone, developers won't create apps.

    While WebOS 2.0 may be technically better than Android, iOS, etc., having only one or two phones just isn't going to cut it.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Sunday, February 06, 2011 - link

    "I will never understand how they put that much effort into making a OS and put it on the shittiest plastic/hardware they could find"

    I worked for Palm for 5 years from 02 to 07. They are never able to fire on all pistons at the same time to get anything meaningful done... Alot of good people there, but the management on the hardware/engineering side is useless.

    My favorite quote from a Palm employee? "I have never seen so many smart people that truly care and are trying hard, go into a meeting together and come up with such stupid solutions"
    Reply
  • firechiefsta - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    That's the most perfect comment I have ever read about Palm. You nailed it right on, 100%. Great work.

    I've loved palm since the Vx days, but these last few years have been painful, to say the least.

    Sad.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    "Build quality aside, the Pre/Pre Plus had the innards to, at the very least, keep up with the competition of its time and the OMAP 3630 in the Pre 2 is the very same found in the capable and well received Droid X."

    The Droid X will be a year old soon (if it's not already). HP should be releasing a Pre 2 with next gen hardware if they really want to capture any meaningful amount of market share. Being an also ran isn't going to work.
    Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Thursday, February 03, 2011 - link

    I get that the 3630 isn't exactly the "in" thing...quite far from it. But I honestly feel that the the pace at which mobile CPU's are jumping forward every couple of months in terms of performance, soon we will be reaching a plateau in terms of how much CPU power we really need in a 3.5-4" device. Look at the desktop/notebook sector...apart from the Atom's, when was the last time you really felt the CPU was slowing you down?

    IMHO, the hardware needs to complement and be able to support the software it's driving. Now whether this means using a slow, low-power CPU with a software stack that almost entirely depends on the GPU (a la Nokia N8), or have it balanced like in case of the Pre 2 and webOS 2.0. At the end of it, it is the experience of using the device that really counts, not whether the CPU underneath is running at 1 or 1.5Ghz.

    That being said, the upcoming HP/Palm tablets should also whet your appetite fo raw CPU power :)
    Reply

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